Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

One, but the light bulb has to want to change.


My roommate is singing a celebratory song about winning Solitaire to the tune of "Take On Me" louder than I would have thought possible. His lung capacity is amazing, the notes are being extended to an incredible length. He is a double major in European History and Music with a concentration in Holocaust & Genocide studies. Don't misinterpret, however, because his major in music does not imply that he is good at staying on key. It certainly makes the day more amusing, though. Too often I wish that my life was a musical. But then I remember that not everyone can sing (including me) and I would probably spend most of my life laughing at off-key notes and silly dance moves. Um, that sounds excellent, actually.

I ended up seeing the Clark University Fall 2010 musical, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (link to a touring company site here and a link to a youtube clip of the Clark version here). I enjoyed it very much! A few audience members were asked to go on stage and participate with the spelling bee, and one young lady was so great at spelling that they had to call her forward twice in row to spell, in order to get her eliminated before the intermission. I really enjoyed watching the audience members on stage while the actors around them were singing; their expressions were a cross between amused and embarrassed.

An update on my Experimental Methods (PSYC 108) project: so far seventeen Clark students have participated. Only eight more before Friday! Mostly I've been able to ask friends or acquaintances to help out, but have also had some people from various classes participate. Though it wasn't the project's intent, it's given me reason to talk to people that I normally wouldn't speak with. I've had many pleasant conversations with my participants (afterwards! Of course, so as not to mess up the results).

In about two hours I will be heading to my Experimental Methods discussion in which we will practice entering data in a systematic manner (I think). Before then, though, I will be reading All But My Life, a memoir written by Gerda Weissmann Klein, about her experiences with the Holocaust. I'm a big fan of memoirs, so I'm excited to finish it up (it's due tomorrow but I might not finish because of other homework shhhhh).

I get really excited about all of the identity concepts that my Holocaust: Agency & Action professor brings up. I'm not sure why exactly, save that I am a bit infatuated with the ideas of the fluidity of identity and the maintainability of self even through difficult times. Anyway, so in class on Tuesday we went around the classroom and said the three words (nouns) that we would use to identify ourselves (I picked Jewish, Feminist, and Mainer). Most people used familial relationships in order to identify (e.g. daughter, mother, brother) and almost everyone included their gender. I found it interesting, because it sort of points to the concepts that society dictates are important in our minds. We talked about how the victims of the Holocaust would have identified (probably similarly to the way we did) and my professor again posed the question: "Are you who you think you are, or are you who others think you are?"

I don't know, maybe both? It's hard to imagine how many of the things I like now I would in turn like naturally without societal implications and peer influences getting in the way. How much of our identities are defined by ourselves, and how much of it is an expression of what's expected of us?

I'm off to read now! It's warmer but it's windy and the tree outside my window is orange and red. Autumn is so soothing, and I'm pleased to spend my afternoon reading.

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