Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ladies, Jews, and Research Review

Hello! Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah!

It's a brand new semester at Clark University. Incidentally, my last semester. Ever. Well, of undergrad.

!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell that I'm So Excited?

Anyway! The semester has started out smoothly. I moved back into my house (23 Maywood - the 'Wellness House') on Sunday afternoon, and settled in/caught up with friends & housemates. On Tuesday I attended three of my classes, all of which were wonderful. This semester's theme seems to be one of mainly Jews, coping (with death/dying/illness), and ladies. Three of my favorite things by far. As a reminder, these are my courses:

1. Lab in Social Psychology (PSYC 201), which fulfills my lab/research requirement for my psych major
2. Women in Society (PSYC 249), which fulfills my first seminar requirement for my psych major
3. Women and Jewish Culture (SOC 258), which sounds interesting and is taught by a professor I really like
4. An independent study regarding Biblical and midrash passages relating to illness, death, and dying (with Prof. E. Fox), which fulfills the capstone requirement for my Jewish studies concentration

I'm super pumped to spend my final semester thinking about/studying topics that are of interest to me - mainly: women & gender, Jewish culture (and the intersection between gender and religion), and ways in which folks cope with illness, death, & dying. The lab in social psychology will be a nice continuation from my psych capstone last semester (which covered the same topic), in addition to a review of the research process.

Recently one of my friends introduced me to the television show 'Six Feet Under', which is about a family-owned funeral home. I've frequently considered aspects of the death process (illness, dying, or death) to likely be a part of my future career (why? You may ask, which is a great question. And a succinct answer would be: to lend meaning to life and to care for folks when they need it the most), but lately I have been pondering the question of death versus dying; specifically for myself, would I feel more comfortable working with folks while they're in the process of dying, or after they've died?

Last semester I went on a field trip to a funeral home with one of my classes, and found myself overall upset by the sight of a corpse beneath a sheet, with just the toes peeking out. For a while, this made me wonder if death was something I could spend time with in a professional setting while still maintaining comfort.

It's still a difficult topic to ponder, and I haven't yet reached any conclusions, but I do hope that experience (internship, perhaps) would help me to decide what exactly it is that I'd like to do with my life.

Returning to thoughts regarding courses! I'm also anticipating that it'll also be a great semester because I'm working with two of my favorite professors - Prof. Fox and Prof. Tenenbaum - in addition to two new (to me) professors who seem intelligent, approachable, and generally just great. Prof. Curtin is teaching the lab in social psychology, and Prof. Falmagne is teaching 'Women in Society'.

So, overall, should be a pleasant semester!

And now I'm off to do reading. Hooray! Homework.

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