I have to confess, being off LJ and other blogs for 2 weeks was gloriously liberating - so much time available for so many new experiences! I'm hoping to strike a happy balance between being sucked into reading interesting things online and achieving my (existentia)list goals for the coming academic year.
I just realized that I haven't updated in nearly 2 months, and while I don't lead a completely and utterly fascinating life, I do feel like thinking things out through the written word to process everything that's happened.Short version
: turned the year that's the winning number in blackjack, seriously questioned life goal of getting a clinical psych PhD, learned about doing geropsychology research at Stanford, hung out with mostly 70 and 80 year olds when I wasn't chasing after them with pedometers, cheated on Douce France at Coupa Cafe with dragonfly66
, visited my NY relatives, and spent an enchanting week in Oregon before returning to college
I keep hearing that college graduation's supposed to be this pre-quarterlife crisis inducing transition, and quite honestly I don't feel in the slightest anxious. Then again, I'm sticking around another year for grad school and crossing my fingers that Rose and darklightluna
will do their master's here, too, starting next fall, so that I won't be bereft of college friends (Gabe, I already know you're sticking around :P). Despite the pessimistic trends in American unemployment data these past few months, I'm feeling pretty good about where my life is going - and increasingly it's headed towards the workplace rather than into a aging-focused psych PhD program.
My intense love-hate relationship with research continues to be...cyclical. The prospect of my future career focusing primarily on research makes me want to bludgeon my head with the nearest blunt object. As fascinating as I find the culture of academia, it's mostly because I know enough now to legitimately snark at it. Thanks, Stanford, for showing me that bureaucratic pettiness is rampantly flagrant even in the best psychology department in the US. Though I am just a wee bit jealous that they actually pay *all* their participants $15/hour. The intellectual territory they explore is absolutely fascinating, but being the one who actually extracts all the data from those who inhabit it - terrifying given the pressure to produce publishable, grant-awarded results on a continual basis. I know just enough about doing research to sound vaguely impressive to undergrad business students (ie. my college friends), but I keep realizing how little I know about meta-level stats. I stand in awe of econometricians and demographers. I can do multinomial logistic regression now, which is the most complicated stats test I need for my thesis data, but I'm not fluent in SPSS syntax the way I wish I were.
On the one hand, I love my academic mentors and my thesis project, and almost all of my personal idols are/were professors or otherwise educators. But reading PhD Comics
and reading Thomas Benton's columns in the Chronicles of Higher Ed have been playing legitimate devil's advocate with all these voices telling me to get a doctorate. I've come to the realization that much of the appeal of having a PhD is the prestige, as much as I genuinely love what I'm learning. I'm working past my intellectual inferiority issues about being dumber than all my good friends and role models. Growing up in Silicon Valley, which is the most intellectually snobby place in America outside of Boston, instills a warped sense of linking higher education at brand name institutions with being financially and otherwise successful. Alas, that's just not true these days. My friends who haven't gone to college are some of the smartest people I know (I'm referring to you, f-list), and I have to get over my incredibly classist notions that higher education is the Path to being a person worthy of deeper respect.
As to what I was actually doing, I'm too lazy to summarize it, so I have my grant app report ( here if you're curious )
Outside of research - I swear I will actually elaborate on the rest of these experiences in a later post, but that's almost dooming myself to never getting around to it. Given it's the 1st week of classes, though, I probably will actually write about them : )
Loved my first day of classes and can't wait for film music history tomorrow with Jon Burlingame, one of the best lecturers I've ever heard and the producer of the MFU soundtracks. Here's to an incredible (and hopefully productive) senior year.