Saturday, April 28, 2012

Final Entry?! Summaries of Papers. Future Plans. Reflections on Clark.

Hello! For, I suppose, the last time.

May I express some excitement?

YESTERDAY I ATTENDED MY FINAL, EVER, UNDERGRADUATE CLASS.

!!!!

Anyway. I'm all done with classes, I've completed my final exam for Women in Jewish Culture, and I've presented my hypotheses/results for my Lab in Social Psychology. There are three papers remaining to be completed, all due on May 8th.

Brief summaries of papers:
  • Lab in Social Psychology - this includes the standard intro/method/results/discussion of a psych paper. I'll be reflecting on my own individual hypotheses (that women would reflect more empathy than men and that men would reflect more individualism/independence than women). My results did not reflect these gender differences, which is swell, because now I am able to discuss somewhat some problems with gender difference research (reinforcing the dichotomy, people's tendency to report differences rather than similarities). I will also discuss things like using a WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) sample, and questioning its external validity or applicability in other areas.
  • Women in Society - this paper will be focusing on gender roles, specifically within Jewish tradition. I'm hoping to look at different points in history, including some Jewish traditions and sections from religious texts that suggest the subordination of women, and looking at how these traditions and texts have affected the roles that women and men have adopted within Jewish culture. I will be utilizing some of the books & articles I read for Women in Jewish Culture this semester. I'm likely to focus on Judith Plaskow and Cynthia Ozeck near the end of my paper, in order to suggest ways in which feminists have been working more recently to alter these ingrained gender roles.
  • Jewish Studies capstone/independent study - I'll be examining changes over time regarding causes of and cures for illness within Jewish tradition. I'll look for times when people found it appropriate to look to God for aid, as opposed to seeking help from physicians. I'll examine specifics when visiting the sick; where you sit, what you do, what you say, how you pray, how much you do these things. I'll contrast older traditions with newer ones, trying to determine when chaplaincy arose and in what form.

And then I'll be done! I'll be hanging around Clark with my fellow seniors, engaging in some senior week activities, and then commencement.

Afterwards I'll be returning home for some amount of time to be in Portland/at home, with my mom and cats. I'm quite pumped. Lately I've been considering purchasing a pet guinea pig, as a part of my post-graduation plans.

But in all seriousness (re: post-graduation, though I would quite like a pet guinea pig), I'm hoping to continue with Jewish feminism in some form. After I've turned in my papers, I will ponder this further/talk to folks who are interested in similar things. Chaplaincy/hospice work is still a very real possibility, but I'm not certain how to pursue those things yet.

Anyway, I wanted to spend a bit of this entry writing about Clark, and of how much I've enjoyed it. Recently I was feeling rather bland because, unlike many of my peers, it seems, I did not choose to complete a senior thesis, nor to present anything during academic spree day. I have had no extravagant object to present; I had no display to show what I've learned or how I've changed.

But perhaps it's not necessary. I have learned so much at Clark. Academically, socially, personally. Freshman year I began by taking courses in a variety of topics and through that exploration I ultimately realized that I care very deeply about women, Judaism, and care during illness and death. As I further delved into those topics of interest to me, I found my voice and found the courage that had been lacking previously; while taking courses of less interest, it was endlessly more difficult to express myself. But in taking classes that I cared deeply about, I finally felt that my thoughts and expressions were of value.

I became involved in activities that were interesting and fun. Being a co-president of the film society was difficult and frustrating at times, but I enjoyed something that previously I had shied away from (err, responsibility, and being in a leadership position for others). Having a weekly radio show with friends was quite enjoyable.

The friends that I've made here are very dear to me. Some of them I've known since freshman year, and some of them are newer. Through classes, clubs, work-study, and mutual friends, I've met so many wonderful and interesting people. I will always maintain that Clark is unique because of the lovely people that are drawn to this school.

I am so grateful for my time at Clark. My undergraduate years were so enjoyable and meaningful. Through these past four years, I have become a more confident, intelligent, and comfortable person.

Thank you for four swell years, Clark. I'll miss you, and I'm definitely going to come back to visit.

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