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January 29, 2010
On Being Abroad (A Throwback)
Because my Italian reunion is approaching, I thought it might be appropiate on my thoughts about studying abroad:
"Only 5 days left. Many of the Americans here keep saying how fast time flew by. They'll tell you in a minute that it feels like we arrived in Italy yesterday, but I have to disagree. It doesn't feel like that at all. It feels like its been 3 and 1/2 months!
For me, every day was an adventure. Whether I was trying to order food in Italian or trying to find the right bus to catch, I learned something new every day. I may have learned a new Italian word, the name of a cheese, the history of a church, the significance of a painting....the point is, I was constantly learning. And with everything I've learned, it could not have possibly occurred in a day.
As I reflect about the past 3 months, there is one thing that I am sure: while studying in a foreign country, the most important lessons you learn will be outside the classroom.
Let’s be honest. You only get one college semester to be twenty-something while abroad. The administration of your program and home institution will emphasize the importance of making the most of your abroad studies. They’ll tell you that your semester abroad grades will be visible to graduate schools. They’ll tell you studying with professors in a foreign country will open your eyes to the learning process in other cultures. Basically, they’ll tell you that you shouldn’t b.s. this semester away.
However, listen to me. I didn't come here to learn in a classroom; if that was the case, I would have stayed on campus. I came here to learn a new language. And yes, I may have begun learning the basics of that language in a classroom, but it was not until I began having conversations with locals that I actually started to master it. I came here to enjoy a culture's food; who knew the wonders of a salad with simply olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little salt and pepper! I left America to see the world. And that means struggling with train schedules, trying to find cheap RyanAir flights, and booking hostels.
You see, traveling abroad stretched me as a person. I cant really describe to you what its like being lost in a city where it seems like no one speaks English; from those experiences, I can only say I've grown. I learned how to be flexible and spontaneous... basically, I've learned to be prepared for anything.
These life lessons simply can’t be taught in an hour’s lecture. You can’t just teach independence, endurance, and resilience, but you need all these things to survive in any foreign city. And who knows how my time abroad will aid me once I'm back in the States. All I know is that I'm stronger... I dont think I could have asked for anything more."
How I miss it.
In case you may have forgotten, I studied in Perugia, Italy over a year ago. As much as I miss Italy, I dont have any prospect of going back anytime soon. But there are substitutes. This weekend, Brad and I are going to Denison to meet up with friends from our study abroad program. We haven't seen them since we left Rome over a year ago. It should be a great weekend. They told me to bring my A-game this weekned. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds like its going to be a blast.
I'll bring my camera.
January 27, 2010
As a true Lost fan, I have been waiting for the last and final season for months. Its finally here! Beginning next Tuesday, its a 3 hour event. I cant believe it.
You may recall last summer Cliff and I began watching Lost because we were bored one day. In the span of eight weeks, we went through five entire seasons. It was the best decision I made all summer. Lost is so interesting because it raises so many interesting questions. Finally, during this final season, I'm praying for some answers. For instance, what is the island? Where the survivors somehow chosen to crash on the island? What is their destiny? Who is Jacob? What is the smoke monster? Where the hell is Clair? What is the nature of this war?
The show really raises some interesting questions about the tension between fate and free will. This debate has been going on for centuries, and I doubt that the show will be able to resolve it, but that wont stop me from watching.
6 more days.
January 23, 2010
I got the most amazing news last week. Clark University has invited me to interview for a spot in their PhD clinical program. When I opened that email, I yelled for 5 minutes. I was so excited! I have worked so hard to get into grad school. I have been in the process of conducting research, finding programs, (re)writing personal statements, and submitting applications for over a year. It feels good that all that hard work paid off.
My interview is on February 24th. So, I have some time to get ready. Clark is in Worcester, MA right outside of Boston. The school is amazing and it as a long tradition of studying psychology. Freud gave a series of lectures in the early 1900's there.
I'm doing everything I can to prepare for this interview. I'll update you as I go along.
January 21, 2010
8 year old terrorist?
According to the New York Times, The Transportation Security Administration has a list of individuals who could be dangerous if let on a plane. There is a "No-Fly" list and a "Watch" list. Since he was a month old, little Mikey Hicks has been hassled every time he boards a plane. Because he shares a name with a suspicious person, he gets double and triple checked every time he goes through airport security. When Michael was a baby, his mother had trouble buying him a ticket at the airport kiosk because his name was "on the list." Even today, 8 year old Mickey is patted down multiple times and misses his flight because he is delayed by security. Eventually, when airport security realize that there is not a bomb in his Go Diego Go lunch box, they let Mickey and his family go.
I simply dont understand how this constitutes as security. The TSA has a "Watch" list of about 13,500 people. Some people, like Mickey, are subjected to heighten security searchers because they share names with possible terrorists. Throwing a bunch of names on a list and calling it security is NOT security. Why is the TSA not more systematic in how they identify those people on the "Watch" and "No-Fly" list? Innocent people cannot travel simply because they share a name with a potential terrorist. Even more, Mickey, who was born one month before 9/11, clearly was not involved in the destruction of the Twin Towers. Why is this kid still on the "Watch" list?
I just dont understand.
January 20, 2010
The Beginning of the End
Monday was the start of my last semester at Wabash. Where has all the time gone? How did I lose 7 semesters so quickly? I can vividly remember my first days atWabash. I can remember moving into Beta Theta Pi on Freshman Saturday. Back then, the house wasn't so clean. I knew my mom was questioning my choice of residence. But it came to be my home. And I'm not so sure I'm ready to leave.
All these thoughts came crashing down on me not on Monday, but they came to me when I completed my orals. Once I was done, I felt sad. Before comps, I had something to work towards. I had to pass these tests in order to graduate. But once I was done with the tests, I felt like it was the end. I know my time is almost up.
Even though I have to leave, I want to go out with a bang. We're planning so many trips this semester. I'm going to Denison next weekend, Boston towards the end of February, and a 10-day Spring Break.
Some of the most memorable times in my life have been at Wabash. I might as well make a few more before I graduate.
January 15, 2010
All Done With Comps!
Its odd. I am finished with comps, and I feel unsatisfied. I've been working toward that day for so long, and now its over. Dont get me wrong, I'm relieved. But what do I now? I dont have any papers to write. I dont have any tests to study for. I can just relax.... I guess I'm just not used to that.
I learned something about myself this week. I like to work; I like to feel that I'm immersed in some activity. I dont like to be idle. When I'm not busy on a project, I feel empty. I'm craving my next task. I think I might be in the early stages of becoming a work-a-holic.
On a brighter note, I feel like my orals went very well. I had a great experience. My oral comps board were friendly, and we had a great conversation for an hour. We talked about everything from my favorite psychology class to studying in Italy to C&T. It was honestly fun.
Next week, my professors will give me some feedback on how I did. I'll keep you updated.
January 13, 2010
Day 2 of Comps Done!
I think day 2 went a lot better than day 1. I feel like I managed my time better than I did on the first day. On day 2, we were asked to answer a series of questions about 3 journal articles. I wasn't sure what types of questions they were going to ask, but I tried to study for any and everything. It turns out that I was able to answer all the questions. I felt really comfortable with the questions, and I feel confident in my answers. You know, sometimes when I take a test, I want to immediately go back and change my answers. It wasn't like that this time. When I read over my answers, I was pretty happy with them. After the test, I honestly felt like there was nothing more I could have done to prepare for it.
Now, I just have my orals to take. My test is scheduled for tomorrow at 2. Orals is a different sort of test. There are 3 professors who question your reasoning skills for about an hour. A few of my friends had theirs today, and they said it was pretty challenging. So, I'm taking it pretty seriously. Its really hard to study for this test because its a conversation. And conversations can go so many different ways.
I'm excited. I'm comfortable with talking with people, and I'm hoping for a good conversation tomorrow afternoon.
January 11, 2010
One Day of Comps Down
Wheeww. I cant believe it. One day is done!
Comps were not what I expected at all. I thought there would would be a lot of substantive questions; I thought they would ask specific questions like what's standard error or what's a t-test. But the questions were applied, and kind of difficult. The test had three sections, and they gave us one hour to complete a section. On the first question of the first section, I spent 45 minutes! I felt like that way too much time. For the rest of the test, I was worried that I wouldn't finish in time. After the test, a lot of my friends told me they struggled with the first question too. I'm glad I wasn't alone. Since this morning, I think I definitely passed the first test, but I've been trying to identify any mistakes I might of made. In reality, this is unnecessary stress I'm putting on myself. I have like a month before I get the results. I told myself that I have to focus on tomorrow test... which I hope will go just as well as today's.
January 09, 2010
The Best/Worst TV Shows I've Seen (When I should be studying for comps)
Well, as you know, comps are Monday, and I should have my nose in a book. I hate to admit it, but there aren't many books around me. However, I do have every season of House on my desk. I have to say that I really like this show. It was perfect to take the edge of all the comp studying. I think I like it so much because it raises interesting questions about morality and the value of life and death. Dr. House is a caricature of the worst doctor imaginable. He's brilliant, but he has the worst bed side manner. He doesn't care about his patients' feelings at all. His personality usually creates really funny situations.
On the other hand, I had the displeasure of watching the worst show on MTV, Jersey Shores. This show perpetuates every negative stereotype about Italians. The protagonists constantly refer to themselves as Jersey Shore's tannest "guidos/guidettes," which is a perjorative word to the Italian-American community. They are the most vile people I have ever seen, and they're also pretty stupid too. Snooki, one of the girls, was asked how she would change the world if she could. She said she would install tanning beds in everyone's home across America.
The poor thing. She probably doesn't know too much tanning causes CANCER!
January 06, 2010
The Worst News Update I've Seen (When I should be studying for comps)
Ok. I know I should be studying, but I cant seem to keep focus. I just read the most ridiculous news update. When McDonald's workers made a mistake on an order, a woman did $3,000 worth of damages. I just dont understand why people act so foolish sometimes. I mean, the McDonald's employees would have corrected the mistake. Please click on the link below to watch the video. This woman destroyed the restaraunt because her hamburger was messed up! Absolutely ridiculous!
January 05, 2010
The Best/Worst Movies I've Seen (When I should be studying for comps)
Ok. I know I should be studying, but I feel like there is only so much I can do before I crack. In between study sessions, I watch movies. Let's start with the best movie I seen since I've been on break. A couple of nights ago, I went to the theatre to see The Blind Side. The film stars Sandra Bullock and follows the story of a young homeless boy, who turns out to be a beast on the football field. The film was very well done; you get emotionally involved with the characters fairly quickly. By the end of it, you really want Michael and his family to have a happily ever after. Even more, I felt a connection with the film because it was set in Memphis. Throughout the movie, I was trying to identify streets and stores. When I get home, I went on Wikipedia to read more about the film; to my dismay, I learned that it was filmed in New Orleans. Even though it wasn't filmed in Memphis, I still loved it.
Now, to the worst movie I've seen lately. My friend Dave was in town for a few nights. He asked me if I wanted to rent a movie. I suggested Angels and Demons; he said he wanted to watch a movie where he didn't have to think. He picked Paranormal Activity. Well, I was against watching it from the beginning. I hate horror movies. They are dumb, and usually not scary (especially when you dont watch them in theatres). We got the movie, and I read the back cover. One critic reported that it was "one of the scariest movies of all time." HAHAHHAHAAHAAHAHAHA! Although I never had high expectations for the film, I dont think my words can convey how disappointed I was by the end of it. The scariest moment didn't even occur until the last two minutes of the movie.
I should have used that 90 minutes to study for comps.
January 02, 2010
Can you believe its my last semester at Wabash? These four years really fly by.
Its hard to fathom that I will be packing my bags for good. This place has become my home over the past four years. Now, its time for my next move. I'm thinking about spending the summer in Memphis... maybe get an internship or something. Only time will tell.
Looking ahead.... I have comps in a week, ahhh! There is so much studying to be done, but I get bored easily. I somehow manage to get sidetracked with other tasks; so, I'm not studying in the most effective way.
But, I do have my moments. I've almost finished a study guide for Psy 201/202, the research methods and statistics class. This course scares a lot of majors, but I thought it was a lot of fun. I'm spending loads of my time reviewing the major principles in that course. Then, I have to worry about reviewing materials for Social and Cognitive Psychology. I think I feel pretty confident in those courses too.
I'll be glad when all of this is over.