Some lessons learned from the (academic) year that was

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I handed in the last of the final essays on Monday, the big thesis two Mondays before that. Now the course work is finally over. All we’re waiting for is grades and graduation, and we’re free. Okay, we’re free now. But before I’m incapable of any intelligent thought from the copious amounts of sheer stupidity I plan to drink in from different media, here are some things I’ve learned…….

But first…! A photo of my first-born.

On to the lessons…..

1. It’s not always as painful as you think. Sure, for most people, just the thought of statistics and data analysis is enough to send shivers down one’s spine. And sure, at times, it was as boring and confusing as it sounds. It made my eyes glaze over and my head pound, all at the same time. But here I am, after a 10,000 word thesis, still with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, with a working knowledge of SPSS that may or may not come in handy on this job hunt I’m currently on.

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“Hi, I’m ambivalent. Nice to meet you!”*

September 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

ambivalent – (adj.) having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone

I have mixed feelings about this thing they call growing up. Depending on a number of different factors such as cloud cover, amount of rainfall, wind speed, and current temperature, how I feel about it all changes- sometimes once every few days, at other times once every few hours.

There are days when I’m absolutely ready to conquer the real world, get out there, and experience how the other half out there (out of school*) lives. I get excited about the idea that after the 5th of November after the last sentence has been dotted, cover sheets and plagiarism declarations signed, and all the final essays are handed in, I am absolutely free to do whatever I want. I could get a job, start a career, stay in school to do a PhD, be a bum and live off my parents’ kindness for a little while longer, hold off on growing old for as long as I possibly can.

I walk the cobbled stones of the University of Melbourne these days wondering where I’ll be in a few months’ time. Will I stay and tread these uneven steps again? Or will I be somewhere else in the world, trying something new, something different?

The Old Arts corridor that I’ve walked (almost) every day these past four years.

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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!

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My Brother, the (accidental) Taoist

July 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

On rare occasions, my brother makes a good point. In this case, a damned good point at that. Who knew that what he’d been telling me all along was so incredibly enlightened as to have its own ancient tradition?

I’m talking about the Taoist principle Wu-Wei.

I came across a list of book recommendations on optimism, positive psychology and the like, the other day. Since I had heard of the title before, I got my hands on a copy of a book called The Tao of Pooh (just so you know, I considered calling this post The Tao of Pao). It’s a short book that explains the principles of Taoism through Winnie The Pooh and vice versa. Pooh, as anyone who’s ever read/watched him, is a self-confessed Bear of Little Brain, from whom there are a million lessons to be learned.

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The halfway point.

June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am now officially halfway through this year we call Honours. This blog was born out of the confusion and chaos of this thing called ‘having to decide’ at the start of this year. Smack dab in the middle of 2012, I find myself in the same position – with the ticking of the clock loud in my ear, the weight of decisions starting to bear heavy on my shoulders, the future breathing down my neck. But. It’s not all bad.

Since deciding to come back to uni, here are some of the things I’ve been up to so far….

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On living in the present.

April 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

“For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”

Lev Grossman, The Magicians

Sometimes I wonder if all I’m ever meant to do is wait for the next big thing to come. Okay, I don’t wonder about it or wish it upon myself so much as fear that this might be the recurring pattern in my life, the groove in the wheel that I’ll forever be stuck on. All this web-surfing, this blog-reading is making my miserable ethics essay seem even more and more miserable. Of course these beautiful sunshiney days we’re having doesn’t help one bit either.

What's in here. Compared to...

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Making New Year’s resolutions in March

March 4, 2012 § 5 Comments

2011 had no year-end realisations, no year-to-come resolutions, nothing deep and thoughtful. I was tired, fed up about thinking and feeling too much, definitely lazy. I’ve been avoiding writing since I got back home because I’ve been avoiding examining my life now that I’m finally in the here-and-now, with no laters and tomorrows on the horizon.

Maybe this is the healthier alternative, after all. Sure, some famous guy once said that an unexamined life is no life at all, but surely he wasn’t talking about girls and how the female psyche works. When one of your bigger problems is to overthink your way into melancholic introspection, then surely to stop thinking and dwelling on one’s feelings is a step in the right direction?

This year, there aren’t any specific resolutions. (Don’t start asking why this is a New Year entry in March. It’s because I’m finally back from my staycation and have to face the real life.) I only have a very general one – it’s to say YES to anything and everything that comes my way. Maybe it’s partly inspired by Jim Carrey’s film, maybe it’s partly due to this apparent quarter-life crisis I seem to be having. Or maybe it’s me finally getting sick and tired of getting in the own way of my happiness. I’m tired of complaining that I’m not getting the most of out life when a vast majority of hours are whiled away in front of my computer watching movies. I’m sick of being bored with Melbourne and unhappy in it when there are perfectly decent (and maybe) lovely things to do out there that I don’t know about when I spend the majority of nights staying inside.

The freedom of saying YES: this year, I promise to be my own Jim Carrey.

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