Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looking Ahead (I have a Single!)

Before I begin, be sure to check out Dylan's video depicting a beautiful day at Clark! (And check out his blog, too: here)

I cannot believe that I have only about a month left in my Junior year at Clark! I have successfully completed the Housing Selection process for next year (I will be living in a single in the Wellness House). Three of my friends will be living in the house along with me, as well as a variety of other upper & underclassmen. The housing process was fairly simple this year, as it has been in all of my experiences with it. It is important to strive for what one wants, but to keep in mind that it just may not be plausible, and to keep a list of back-ups just in case. Actively monitoring rooms/prices throughout the process is helpful as well.
A picture of my current & future home

I've begun looking at course offerings for next Fall. My focus will be on completing my mid-level courses (for Psychology) and final requirement for the Jewish Studies concentration, as well as beginning preparation for my two capstones (one in Jewish Studies and one in Psychology). I am somewhat unfamiliar with this entire process, but I am confident that my Faculty Adviser will be able to guide me in the correct direction. As far as I can tell, it is necessary for me at this point to look for seminars/labs/research that I would like to engage in, and then contact the faculty of these courses. Clark has a lot of interesting offerings for next semester, so I will need to spend some time narrowing down my choices.

An update on classes:
I ended up writing my Human Sexuality reflection paper on time spent in sex shops (there are two in Portland, ME that I visited previously). Writing the paper was somewhat difficult, despite its overall narrative format; much self-reflection was required, not just in regard to my experiences in the sex shop, but with my own ideals in regards to sexual activity, and speculation as to where those may have been produced. Once again, I am thankful to be taking this course because it has allowed me to view sexuality from a more academic perspective while providing a comfortable setting in which to discuss potentially sensitive topics.

Last night I engaged in my second lab session for Astronomy. I'm still finding it somewhat difficult to find the constellations and stars on my own, but luckily I've been attending the sessions with a partner, as well as receiving much aid from very helpful TAs. I'm really good at finding Orion, but still maintain some difficulty with other constellations (and especially singular stars). The sky is becoming overall more familiar, though, which is really neat!

We're still in the very early stages for our Interview Project in Qualitative Methods (though we've been doing some fairly interesting readings), and we've just started to examine the Proverbs in Hebrew Bible II, so I don't currently have much to report from either of these classes.

This weekend is exciting and full of events! Curtains: The Musical is occurring this weekend (I'm planning on attending the Saturday evening show), there are Pea Pod Squad shows on Friday and Saturday, and I picked up a free Worcester Sharks ticket from the Office of Student Leadership & Planning today for the games this weekend! All of these things are very exciting, and free.

Hopefully I will soon have updates on my Interview Project, as well as some more information in regards to courses for next Fall.

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Emerging from the Spring Break Hibernation

Yesterday I had the terrifying realization that - gasp - I have homework! Being home for Spring Break allowed me to slide back into the cozy mindset of relaxation in which free time could be spent reading/watching movies/hanging out with family & cats, completely guilt-free. Alas, the revelation has occurred and it's about time for me to get back into the swing of things and use my brain again.

Soon I will be returning to Clark (very early tomorrow morning, in fact) and I will be instantly absorbed by my busy Monday-class schedule. In addition, housing forms are due tomorrow! I am probably one of few who are planning to continue using Clark housing through senior year. However, I have officially moved out of the traditional dorms and I am hoping to live again in one of the Clark houses, the wellness house. This year I had a very pleasant experience living there; it was generally quiet, with kind and polite residents. Rather than experiencing the somewhat overwhelming bustle of living with lots of other students, I was able to settle into a routine in a smaller & cozier house, something that felt more comfortable for me personally.

The rest of the semester should go by quickly now - I have a few more projects in addition to classes going more in-depth into their subject-matter. For Human Sexuality I have a reflection paper due on Wednesday based on my experiences doing one of the following: 1. attending a drag show, 2. going to a strip club, 3. visiting a sex shop, or watching one of three movies ("Hedwig & the Angry Inch", "Ma Vie en Rose", or "Secretary"). The paper will reflect my own ideas about sex, based on the information I've absorbed from past experiences and thus far from class. I will update again when I have decided on what to write my paper.

I will also be working on two group projects this semester. The first is for human sexuality; my group will be examining Gender Identity Disorder and then preparing a twenty-minute presentation for the class. The second project is an ongoing project for Qualitative Methods in Psychology; as I've mentioned previously, we will practice interviewing each other within in the group and then later interview elderly volunteers. I am excited about this project! Not just because I love the elderly, but also because I enjoy hearing people's stories.

Alright, I'm off to finish packing things for my return to Clark. Happy First Day of Daylight Saving's! I hope everyone's not feeling too bummed about the loss of one hour of sleep.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Early astronomers must've had it tough: they worked in Apollo-ing conditions

I can't believe it's March already! Spring Break is next week and so class work has picked up quite suddenly with midterms, papers, and last-minute assignments. Sometimes it feels like professors try to cram in these last-minute assignments right before the breaks (especially due to the few cancellations we had this semester caused by the snowy weather).

So far I've completed three of my four midterms; I took the astronomy midterm last week, the human sexuality midterm this past Monday, and I handed in my observation project portfolio & paper for qualitative methods on Tuesday. Tomorrow I will complete the Hebrew bible II midterm, and then I'll wrap up the week by handing in my astronomy lab book on Friday.

Astronomy has certainly been an interesting course, to say the least. It is considered a "cop-out" science to some at Clark, mostly because it mainly attracts those majors who are not familiar with or do not want to take part in the traditional sciences: physics, biology, chemistry, etc. Clark requires that all students take certain perspectives (e.g. natural science, aesthetic, historical (the complete list found here)) before graduation, and so there tend to be courses that act to fulfill these requirements but possibly not in the traditional sense. For example, many students take the course Creative Actor to fulfill the aesthetic perspective, whereas I took an art history course. Neither is better, per say, but allows for more flexibility for the students to elect the courses that they find most appealing.

Anyway, so it's of little surprise to me that many of my fellow psychology majors are taking astronomy as well. It certainly has not been a cop-out, though! The course has been rather demanding, involving three 50-minute lectures per week as well as one lab session per week (spent either observing outside on Clark's own astronomy observation deck, or watching a film chosen by the professor - a film generally full of great clothes and glasses from the 90's). In addition, we've also been taking part of a separate moon observation project, in which each student is required to observe the moon twice per day at a time corresponding with their birthday month (i.e. I was born in October, so I look & make note of the moon at 10am and 10pm).

This course has required more work than I would have anticipated, but overall the class material is interesting. My favorite part is when the professor does demonstrations to display certain phenomena - during one class he stood on a rotating wheel and held a weight in each hand, showing how he spun faster when the weights were tucked closer to his body. I'm pretty sure I saw a few people taking videos and pictures on their phones (he did look quite silly).

Alright, I'm off to study and finish up the work I need to do for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the weather as it starts to warm up a bit!