Falling in love with academia

September 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Apologies for hiatus upon hiatus upon hiatus. Sometimes it feels as if this blog’s predominant setting is on break! (are people still reading out there?)

Tha dust settles and I’m now back in the world of the living. Week 7 of second semester has come and gone, and with it-

– 4 matlab assignments for cognitive modeling,

– a half hour social psychology oral presentation on pronoun priming and culture,

– a fifteen minute discussion on another social psychology paper on dehumanization and objectification

-countless hours of data collection for my thesis (we’ve got a sample of 170 participants so far, and counting!)

– a required presentation on my thesis at this mini-conference we had last Thursday. Imagine the difficulty of trying to condense a whole paper (and the work of over 7 months) into a quarter of an hour!

Always a work in progress.

20120908-175320.jpg

This, boys and girls, is what we call a factor analysis. Terribly exciting stuff.

On and on we go, deeper and deeper into the trenches of academia I fall. And not unhappily, for the most part. I like the work, I love the new people I keep meeting. I love being exhausted after thinking all day, that all I can do at the end of most days is lie in bed mindlessly flipping through twitter. I love the intelligence I encounter and feel like I’m developing. I love the feeling that i’m learning, i’m growing. On more than one occasion I’ve had to internally shake my head at myself when I realize what I’m sitting there doing – intelligently arguing the dodgy statistics of a paper, critically discerning the claims the authors are making and how with such shabby numbers, it scarcely seems like they have any right to do so. What am I doing, I think to myself, critiquing the work of someone who does this for a living? When i’ve only learned the complexities of regressions and anovas and how they’re essentially the same thing, a few months past? If I take anything away from this year, let it be the ability to judge what people are saying according to the strength of their facts. Hmmm.

Each week, on average, I get preached at to do a PhD 4.75 times. They talk about PhDs around here like it were a trip to the grocery store. Oh, no biggie, it’s just 3 years…I’ll only be 26 when I finish it. What’s the deal-io? And I hear it spoken about with such nonchalance and matter-of-factness that the message is finally getting to my head. I will declare, here and now, that I have enjoyed this year immensely, that I will miss this when this is over, more than the whole 3 years of my undergrad combined, that… I am now open to the idea of doing a PhD. There, I’ve said it. Let this be the end for now. People who’ve heard me adamantly say that this is my absolute last year of formal education, start laughing. Is this what the universe was trying to teach me all along? I am open. FINALLY. I am so incredibly open.

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