Jan. 20th, 2009

theladyrose: (Default)
I'm beginning to understand how addictions start; I've drunk more coffee since the start of the semester on Monday than in the entirety of my educational experience. I can somewhat rationalize my new Starbucks habit in trying to jumpstart myself to handle a packed semester because I really can't justify being unfocused. Due to my stupidity in drinking an iced caramel macchiato at 4:30 yesterday, I was up until 5:30 this morning reading like a maniac. It also means that I've done all of my reading for my aging policy class until spring break in mid-March and read my death and dying textbook from cover to cover. Naturally, of course, I have more difficulty focusing on this week's priorities, like writing this op-ed piece due Friday about the portrayal of Asian Americans in the media as perpetual foreigners, or divying up work on a presentation with a classmate due this Thursday.

My sense of priorities confuse me, too. But caffeine makes me feel like a superwoman, and I figure there are far unhealthier addictions to have.

Today I'm meeting with my thesis advisor to figure out what on earth I'm writing for my honors proposal, which will most likely deal with age differences in the mood congruence effect on certain types of verbal memories. The mood congruence effect, to quote Wikipedia, "refers to the tendency of individuals to retrieve information more easily when it has the same emotional content as their current emotional state." The simplified version is that depressed people tend to enter a vicious feedback loop regarding the world as uniformly negative and unchangeably so. With age, people tend to have better emotional regulation coping strategies and are generally more optimistic in what they remember. The other project I'm working on investigates whether or not older adults' optimistic bias affects the way they interpret facial expressions. Malcolm Gladwell has this thoughtful piece published in the New Yorker a while back about the power of being able to read expressions and catch their nuances and its value in lie detection. The research is genuinely fascinating, but I'm really not looking forward to learning how to score hundreds of cognitive assessment measures and having to work out some interrater reliability measures on the project off of which I'm piggybacking for my thesis.

I swear, you don't realize that you have a soul until you do research because it pretty much sucks it out of you. It's also made me seriously question whether or not I could actually handle a PhD program and if I really want to go down the clinical psychology track professionally. I'm considering jumping ship to gerontology and doing a PhD in that. I have a fairly decent chance of getting funded for a gero doctorate if I continue to stay here at USC after I finish my master's, which I start next year. My current classes in aging policy and the management of chronic diseases is proving far more interesting than I had expected it to be.

That, and I'm a wimp who is deathly afraid of multivariate statistics and advanced research methods. I don't know of any clinical or counseling psych PhD grad students who have a decent quality of life in their programs, and I interact with them on a regular basis thanks to my jobs. I also suspect that earning a PhD is my attempt to prove that I could be just as smart as my freakishly brilliant friends and the people I look up to, which doesn't really make sense when my problem is that I tend to lack more common sense about general life things than anything else. At least I know now that you don't die if you accidentally get hydrogen peroxide contact lens cleansing solution...twice.

On to more cheerful topics...

Brief thoughts on the Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Next Doctor, with spoilers )

Brief thoughts on Hustle 5x02 )

On a totally unrelated note, I discovered that many many moons ago, I attempted to translate the opening dialogue of the Prisoner into French. Oddly enough, it seems somewhat funnier in a different language.

- Où suis-je ?
- Au Village.
- Que voulez-vous ?
- Des informations.
- Dans quel camp êtes-vous ?
- Vous le saurez plus tard... Nous voulons des renseignements...
- Vous n'en aurez pas !
- De gré ou de force, nous les aurons.
- Qui êtes-vous ?
- Le Nouveau Numéro Deux.
- Qui est le Numéro Un ?

- Vous êtes le Numéro Six.
- Je ne suis pas un numéro, JE SUIS UN HOMME LIBRE !


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