Hell Week 2.0

Psychology

Here I sit in the university library, cramming for my Research Methods midterm tomorrow. My friend, Shayla, and I review for the test asking questions as confusion arises in the study guides. Silently I hope to have every answer memorized by the time we put our pencils to paper and take the midterm, or maybe my grade from the last test will be copied over to this one. At this point my mind is growing fuzzy and I haven’t even finished some homework for another class that’s due tomorrow, let alone started a paper we’re supposed to finish by Friday. This is Hell Week 2.0.

In the infinite realms of possibilities, I decided to be a psychology major, not following in my family trade of software or hardware engineering. My overall GPA isn’t fantastic and my departmental GPA isn’t even above 2.0 the last time I checked. Why do I continue with this goal? I don’t even know what I want to do with my psychology major. I’m not even sure if I want to go to graduate school or try to find a job when I graduate. Will I spend four or five years at Ball State working on my bachelor’s? I think all these could be better answered if I had a firm goal in mind, what career to work toward.

I can’t think about this today, there’s too much to be done. Another assignment is due Friday, another test to study for on Thursday, packing to be done by Thursday night, and three routines to choreograph before I leave for spring break for an upcoming ballroom competition. I’ll have no internet access starting at 3pm Friday until Sunday of the following week, so kiss goodbye any chance of doing web development on WordPress. Several textbooks to catch up on with the reading, but most of my time will be spent with friends. When is the relaxation supposed to start?

So much to do, so much pressure. If the end of this week doesn’t leave me with a feeling of release, I’m going to be more than steamed.

I give up…

Psychology

I tried to post my class notes every week, but it quickly became too much effort to edit, convert, and upload the files, let alone linking to them in each new blog post. I will keep to my promise of posting notes and the occasional summary, but I doubt I’ll be able to do so on a regular basis.

On another note, I found that professors like to sync up their tests to around the same time. I’m taking two 200-level courses, two 300-level courses, and one 400-level course so, mixed with my extra-curricular responsibilities, it’s just too much to try to document every week. This week, for instance, continues to be known as “hell week” for me. Today seems to be the only day since last Thursday that I haven’t had a test. On Friday of last week, it was a Research Methods test; Monday was a test in Advanced Statistics; Tuesday (yesterday) was a test in Sensation & Perception; Thursday (tomorrow) will hold a test in Industrial Organization. Before this weekend I have to prepare everyone for our exhibition at Late Nite, which involves making sure our AV expert gets all of the music we’ve chosen so he can cut each song to 2 minutes respectively, going over each routine with each couple dancing, and checking in on the progress of our fliers we plan to pass out.

To try to make this story shorter, those are just a couple of my stressors now. It leads me to feel overwhelmed at times, which increases my need to relax and not do productive work so as to forget my obligations for a few minutes. At the same time, it brings to light the downward spiral people can get into when the pressure is put on.

Spatial Theory

Psychology

This past week has been pretty funny in that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were all declared “ice days,” which has totally thrown me off. We took our Spatial Theory test event though class was cancelled for the day we were to take it. It was taken online in the funky new format where we were required to use a mind mapping software, still being beta-tested by us. If you’re not familiar with mind mapping, it’s basically the visual outline you did in elementary school–you know, the one with the main idea in the big circle in the middle… The problem with this style is that the average sentence at the university level equates to about 8 connections, assuming the sentence doesn’t contain a list. More information on the mind mapping software can be found in my other blog post.

In short, I found it very difficult to determine what Dr. Butler was looking for, and how to best optimize my responses to reflect his objectives. Most professors in the 100- to 200-level courses stick to the regurgitation method of teaching, but Dr. Butler is the type who makes you think and come to your own conclusions. How do you test over that? That’s why he created this testing software.

It’s completely online, hosted on his company’s website with the ability to take the test from any location. Hopefully I got a good grade on it!

UPDATE: I got a 98% on it, even after he said the high score would never be higher than a 99%. Score!!

More Stats

Psychology

In stats this past week, we essentially reviewed the stuff we went over in the prerequisite stats class. By the time Friday rolled around, we did start working with SPSS again, but it got really confusing really fast. I figure I just need to sit down and spend some time working with the software.

My confusion is only exacerbated due to the fact that the required version is 17 and the version that we actually use is v18. There are some major differences between the pieces of software! When starting with zero knowledge of the software, the interface is different enough to make the instructions from the book (also required and also based on v17) direct you to click buttons that don’t exist! In short, I had to resort to using Google to find a less specific version of  the instructions on how to create a certain type of table.

All while I was doing my homework for today, I kept thinking how much easier it would be if I could use some parsing-friendly language like Perl or Python with a SQL database of some sort. Using language to sort through the data would be much easier to instruct users how to do than a graphical UI that changes for each version. Hel-looooooo R!

Zimbardo is the Devil

Psychology

This week in class, we discussed many things about the IRB, how our “bullshit-o-meter” should have been going crazy during his Stanford Prison Study, and generally studying the ethics of research in the field of psychology.

At first, we started watching Zimbardo’s video as if it was a normal study. Everything looked fine to most people, but Professor Wallace found numerous flaws in his explanations, one of many was the fact that Zimbardo supposedly stated every room in the study (warden’s office, prison cells, solitary confinement, film room where hidden cameras are located), yet there was a “relaxation room” if anyone got into too terrible of a mental state, as was made evident by one moment in the study. Another example was the complete lack of amity or anonymity of each participant.

Continuing on with the week, we found out what constitutes ethical deception, what some major research ethics issues are, and a select few actions that can ruin a career as a psychologist.

NOTE: the attached notes are a bit out-of-order and I shall go back and fix them, but for now they are complete (unfortunately). Also, since this is the first week I’m reporting the events of the class, I’ll be including all notes since the beginning of the semester.

FILES:

“Grad School” Means What Again?

Psychology

Recently, I’ve been reading more about the average income of a U.S. psychologist with only a bachelor’s degree. Sure, the money is decent, but is this what I really want? Answer: yes. I’ve never been a school-person in my life. Sure I’ve performed formidably on every standardized test I’ve come across, and I’ve “psyched-out” many of the personality tests I’ve taken (Meyer-Briggs anyone?), but I’m just too ansy to get into the workforce.

Staying with a B.S. in psychology seems more plausible by the minute. I did some research for my Orientation to Psychology class and it seems like jobs with a bachelor’s degree are both plentiful and interesting. They’re my kind of work including optimization of organizations and the way they function, giving workers more freedom in convincing corporate executives that keeping the masses happy is in their best interests, and so much more.

We haven’t gotten into studying exactly what kinds of careers are involved with the average Ph.D. in psychology, but I’m sure it will be eye-opening.

Procrastination

Psychology

As one may have noticed, I am the type of person to procrastinate. I posted earlier that I was going to blog my notes from class, but so far I have only created numerous drafts, all of which still require much revision. Instead I have decided to post as often as I can with attached HTML versions of the notes I’ve taken in class. Already I’ve offered to give a copy of the notes I have thus far to two people, and have received the blanket request emails for notes (paired with some excuse for a missed day of class) innumerable other times.

In response to this, I decided to take the easier route by (a) merely posting an exported copy (in HTML) of the notes I take and (b) writing a quick overview of all of the events for that week(?) in class. Doing this will not only make it more likely for me to blog on a regular basis, but it may also cut down on the blanket requests for notes. If I miss a day of class… … well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Week One: Check!

Psychology

Week one of the spring semester is done and I’m definitely interested in the courses I signed up for. My Tuesday-Thursday schedule is interesting in that I have an almost four-hour hiatus between two classes in particular. It works out great for if I plan on getting a job (and I do) because most employers want you to work through the regular lunch hour as someone to fill-in. My early class I only have on Tuesday before the four-hour break so Thursday is my day to sleep-in.

As for my Monday-Wednesday-Friday courses, They’re all blocked around the middle of the day. In two of the three courses I have on those days, my roommate, Andy, is in the same class with me. I try not to sit next to him for the most part since I’m sure he gets enough of me when we’re living together in such tight quarters. At the same time I appreciate him being there since I know I’ll have someone to rely on if I have to miss a day of class and need notes. We’ll see how this will end up…

This semester I plan on blogging about each of my classes, more specifically, I plan on blogging my notes from class in hopes it will let me better grasp the material. A happy side-effect of this is that my notes are visible to everyone if I ever need to share them. With the world turning more towards cloud computing and me wanting to use every advantage I can get, it only figures that blogging would be my next step.