Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reading Suggestions

Read this:

And this:

And this:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

College - Spring 2011

My first semester, college was AWESOME. My second semester, college was pretty
sweet, but I was significantly less satisfied. Although, in retrospect, it was a good
semester. Last semester, college was good and school was not fun. I felt like I
learned nothing and I retained little. This semester, college and school are okay and
I'm happy, even though I'm frequently bored.

Don't get me wrong, I love college and I love Bridgewater and am still wholly
committed to her. And, it's not so much that I have complaints, it's just that I see
a lot of areas where things could be improved. Overall, my college is satisfactory,
but there are lots of little details that could really make it awesome.

In regards to this, there is a continuum (surprise, surprise) that goes from harping
on every little detailed flaw on one end to ignoring those details and being passive
and satisfied on the other. In the middle lies a balance of active participation in
striving for greater satisfaction. So, no, I'm not going to list the little details that
bug me. From now on, I'm going to try and filter out what I believe really is not so
important from what I think really does need changed. And we'll see what I end up
with and what is actually feasible to change.

There is a continuum that goes from considering every positive possibility and being
greatly dissatisfied on one end to being stagnantly satisfied and ignoring every
possibility for greater satisfaction on the other.

Surprise, satisfaction.

Well, that's what I'm THINKING. Let's talk about what I'm DOING.

Psychology Research Methods
Ehhh. My professor is very much close to my conceptualization of a utopia professor,
according to my "If I Were a Teacher." And I like the class, it just has a tendency
to not keep me awake because so much of this is review from Socio Methods-I last
semester. It also has the potential to muddle things in my head because it is very
much overlapping with Socio Methods-II and the styles of these professors are a bit
different and learning the same information twice in slightly different ways with
slightly different details potentially causes some confusion. Also, this course will
be a good opportunity to practice empowerment and transformational leadership
because I am fairly confident in my knowledge of this information and am planning
to relent a lot of power to other people for the group project so that they can get
the most out of the learning experience. Third test on Friday. I met with my prof.
this afternoon to finalize and confirm the psych classes I am taking next year for my
minor and we also momentarily discussed methods class and how he can frequently
feel (and empathize with) my boredom and how he should not be concerned if I step
back within the group project in order to empower my classmates to learn.

Today, we were working on our project methodology and there was a pretty stark
conflict because two of our members were opposed to ( as in, "not at all interested in")
the design that had been determined last week. It was weird. Thanks to Group Process,
I was extremely aware of the tension. Or, thanks to Group Process, I saw where tension
should be and succeeded in fabricating how the group felt. Maybe that's what I
understand least about Group Process... I'm starting to see when typical group events
(ie, conflict) occur, but an observer (whether internal or external, overt or covert) cannot
infer that every member of the group feels the typical feeling associated with specific
events. …which I guess is okay, as long as the observer recognizes that. Reflexivity.

Geology is a fine gen ed class. Lots of millions and billions and lots of kids who
don't pay nearly enough attention, but it's okay. I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite.
Second test on Wednesday. I do enjoy the concepts we’re learning, but the class really
drags on. It’s from 10-10:50am and, every time I look at the clock expecting class to
be nearly over, it’s only ~10:30am.

Group Process
Weird weird weird weird WEIRD class. At first, it made me super super nervous.
Then, I really started to enjoy it and it was my favorite and it was awesome. Now?
I really don't like it much at all. I do feel like I am learning a lot about group process
and, in terms of the COURSE, it's great. In terms of the CLASS, I feel quite a bit of
tension, although it's usually below the surface. [insert previous discussion of tension
here] For the course term paper, I am observing Jazz Band. So far, it’s been pretty
sweet because I already knew I love ethnography and ethnography-like things. The
hardest part is the fact that I have to observe and participate at the same time. It can be
really overwhelming. I wonder if anyone in Jazz Band has gotten the feeling that I’m
creeping on them. Anyway. The outline for that paper consists of Humor, Authority,
Subgroups by Section, and Cliques. So yeah, I definitely like the class more than I like
the course. Yay, Sociology!

Social Inequality
Being polite, this course is fluff. It is a 400-level course and has so much potential to be
really enriching. After all, it is a required course for Sociology majors. Last week, as a
study of the effects of class inequality, we watched The Notebook. I feel like it would
have been a more enriching and applicable choice to watch The Aristocats. (and, while
The Notebook is good, The Aristocats is AWESOME) There's a really strange disconnect
in the course. The professor always emphasizes how this is a 400-level course and we
are expected to execute 400-level Sociological thought and analysis. But instead, we're being
told how to formulate paper intros and thesis statements, watching The Notebook, and
just skimming the surface of an analysis of inequality. Watch out, future students of this
course, I'm going to tear it apart on the evaluation. I'm also going to suggest
watching The Aristocats in future semesters. That is my gift to you.

Socio Methods-II
Going well. I'll have more to say once data analysis begins. Data collection closed today
and I have all of my data entered, as of 4pm today. I’m probably going to back off a bit
from helping my classmates so much. Maybe. It’s frustrating and time-consuming, but I
feel somewhat obligated. Compassion? I dunno. But we have tutors… But I understand
students probably feel more comfortable asking a peer rather than a professor or tutor…
But… Empowerment, empowerment, empowerment. Right? Right.

Also, there was ridiculous drama Wednesday and Thursday between some students
over the homework that was due Thursday. It was ridiculous. In class on Thursday, the
professor admitted that he had not explained the assignment sufficiently and that points
would be given for either of the two answers that were ill-explained. There was no real
reason for all the drama that occurred. So yeah, I’ll try to be more empowering, but what
really needs to happen is for everyone to take personal responsibility for their own stuff
and not judge their correctness based on the answers of another student. Ughhhh.

Also going well, although I feel like I'm learning significantly less literature than any
previous semester. But that's perfectly fine with me. The Beethoven piece took a lot of
time and I did that for the General Recital last week. The Mozart piece is different than
what I usually learn, but it's fairly simple. I started with the second movement and have
started working on the first movement, but haven't played it for my teacher yet. And
then there's the Scarlatti piece. I learned a Scarlatti sonata last semester and tackled
it with relative ease. But this semester's piece is killing me. Well, kind of. I just don't particularly
like it. I'm not sure if the difference in Scarlatti experiences is due to a difference between
the pieces or a difference between piano teachers.

Today, my teacher and I spent the entire 30-minute lesson working on the Scarlatti piece.
He had me tear it apart by working hands separately and writing down fingerings. He
said the moral of today that, for anything you’re going to do that you’re less than familiar
with, you need to have a plan. Life lessons from Dr. Taylor. :)

Also going well. Not much to say because we’re currently experiencing the liminality
between the high from a really great concert and the commitment to working toward the
next concert.

Working at the library is probably one of my favorite things about Bridgewater, actually.
I wonder if I could get a library job for a few hours a week wherever I decide to go to
Grad School. You know, in addition to a real job and/or an internship. I love seeing so
many people in such a short time and serving as a distraction from homework for people
who want to stop by and talk. It’s the best.

Book Club
To counteract the boredom I had been experiencing earlier in the semester, I met with
my PDP advisor, who is an English Professor, to discuss the possibility of starting an
informal book discussion club. We’re doing it. For right now, as far as I know, it’ll be
just him and me, but we’re meeting on Friday to discuss Neuromancer. I’m super
excited that he’s excited about my dystopian list of books to read. SUPER excited.

French Horn

After not touching my French horn all year, I met with Dr. Weir on Friday to make
sure it was in tune, learn a bit about French horn, and have a very simple beginner
lesson. It’s feasible, but it’s going to take some time and I probably won’t be able
to devote enough time to it during the rest of the semester. We’ll see. Summer goal
number one!


In a last minute scramble, I applied for an RA position for next year and had an
interview. I didn’t get the position, but I found three new apartment mates and the four
of us will be living in the Stone Village next year. SUPER excited.

Additionally, I dyed my hair “violet soft black” on Saturday and dyed “soft black” over
that because it was too light and too purple. Well, not really too purple. It was in a weird
middle area where it was neither purplepurple or if it was purplyblack. It’s now mostly
black with some reddish-purple undertones and I love it. SUPER excited.

Also, my HOBY friend in Baltimore posted about a Matt and Kim show on June 1 and
I said that I would come down to attend that with her. I happened to browse the other
shows that were occurring at the venue and saw that Iron and Wine (opening with The
Low Anthem) was playing on April 20. I’m going. Even though it’s a school night, even
though I’ll have to drive three hours up to see the show and three hours down for my
Thursday 8am and three hours on Thursday to go home for Easter. Theoretically, I could
just bail on my Thursday classes and go straight home from Baltimore, but Jazz Band
is supposed to be playing a set at the retirement community that afternoon. But even
though, I’m going. SUPER excited.

Also, I added semester end-date to my criteria for prospective grad schools and all of the
schools on my current list (Pitt, Bryn Mawr, Gallaudet) end early enough for me to keep
attending HOBY. HOBY every year for the rest of my life, forever. SUPER excited.

And, on an unrelated note, I think "army wives," "army girlfriends," and the like
serve a really important purpose for the mental health of spoken-for military
members. Sure, the soldiers want to return home to their family, neighborhood, and
so on, but there's even more motivation to stay alive when a significant relationship
(ie, romantic) is involved. I wonder if military members are even more susceptible
to mental health breakdown due to the breakup of their military-civilian relationship.
Or maybe they use denial by focusing even more on their military life? Or maybe
civilians generally avoid ending civilian-military relationships while their significant
other is away? That seems plausible.

And, finally, in conclusion, I'm really sorry if my posts tend to be redundant
restatements of what I've said before. I have experienced conversations where each
new conversation is a shallow rehashing of everything that's already been covered.
And I don't want to do that, so I hope I'm able to be a bit deeper in my redundancies
than simply repeating what I've said before with no additional insight(s).