alandrea: (sad)
We did taste phenotype testing in seminar today.

There were communal spittoons.

I saw a girl get splashback.

It was disgusting.

So, so disgusting.
alandrea: (Default)
Today I submitted my last exam. School is officially out for summer. Nature decided to celebrate by snowing on me.
alandrea: (Default)
I've passed computer data analysis. I've passed health and forensic psychology well enough that computer data analysis hasn't brought down my average.

I'm thinking of dropping trauma this semester. Perhaps I'll take it in the summer. It looks interesting, but I've been pushing myself really hard, and while I do think I can keep it up, I don't know if it would be best for me. I'm a lazy ass is what I'm really saying. Also, my full year courses are going to get a lot more intense, and I should focus on them more than I have been.

Yeah, I don't talk about things that aren't school any more. I should probably get on that.


Aug. 1st, 2010 07:46 pm
alandrea: (BATMAN)
So, I am a third year who still doesn’t have one of the required second year courses. If I don’t get it in fourth year, I don’t graduate and will have to take a fifth year, which, depending on how my life decides to roll, may be necessary anyway.

This year I’m having Abnormal Psych and Psychological Research all year; computer data analysis (oh god), health psychology, and intro to forensic psychology first semester; and psychology of interpersonal behaviour, psychological trauma, and gender and society second term.

I’m glad that I got abnormal and forensic, but I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t get the psychology of sexuality. It may be offered during the summer though, so if it is, I’ll take it then.

First semester, Wednesdays, I have an eight-hour day. I get a one-hour break in the middle. The day after that is six hours with two breaks. They both begin at 8:00.


Jul. 26th, 2010 10:55 pm
alandrea: (BATMAN)
I actually did well in Stats. All of my expectations have been exceeded.

All of them, ever.


Mar. 13th, 2010 09:40 pm
alandrea: (penguin hate)
alandrea: (Prevail)
My birthday was great. We went to Toronto to see the Dead Sea Scrolls, and I saw the Ten Commandments Scroll on its last day. On one of the scrolls, the scribe had left a word out, so he’d just gone in and written it above the line. I think that, for me, was one of the most moving things; it just made everything seem so much more accessible. I mean, who hasn’t done that?

On Monday I did my Criminology midterm, and I think I did well. On Tuesday I had my Biological Psychology presentation to do, as well as my Social Psychology midterm. I note this because on Monday, at about 8:00 PM, I came down with severe stomach sickness. I did not go to either the presentation or the midterm, and in fact did not leave my house for several days, and then it was only to get my doctor’s note. It turns out I have viral labyrinthitis, and it’s probably going to be sticking around for a while. I’m not as sick as I was, but I’m so, so tired all the time, and reading (which I kinda have to do for school) makes me sick. I would describe this thing as like being on a roller-coaster you can’t get off of. I’ve been taking motion-sickness medication, but it’s still not great.

I’ve been given the chance to do the presentation tomorrow, and then I’ll have a week to write a ten page paper on it. Yay. The midterm however I will not get to do. They’ll calculate my marks from my other marks, so I guess I’d better just kick ass at everything else in this course.


Oct. 11th, 2009 07:53 pm
alandrea: (penguin hate)
Last year I started university. I had no friends there, and, with my social skills, I couldn’t reasonably expect to make any.

In place of any actual human attachment, I decided that I’d spend my time with a certain tree. It was lovely and huge. It reached out of a little courtyard and up so that its branches hung over the roof that I’d run across to get from class to class. It was so thick and tall that I thought the university had been built around it, and perhaps it was.

This summer it was cut down to make way for an organic farmers’ market.

That pretty much describes my year so far.
alandrea: (Prevail)
I spent hours planning my schedule for this year. I began months early. I outlined the courses I would take not just for this year, but for all that follow. The week this year’s class times were announced, I organised everything. My schedule was optimal.

On the day that registration for my year opened, I stayed up all night. It began at midnight, and although I attempted to log in at five minute intervals, the server was too overloaded for me to get on until half an hour had passed. Even with this setback, I knew I was ahead. How many others would be neurotic enough to start registering the moment they could? Well, enough to shut the servers down, I guess, obviously… but still, they must have been as delayed as I was. I was one of the forerunners.

And yet… the most important course… full. The others I’d wanted… scattered. Some were full; those that weren’t were full on the times that I’d planned to take. All of my carefully laid plans had to be cast aside. I grasped at anything I could, but came up short. I have only four full credits, rather than the five I was aiming for, and my schedule is awkward, with painfully long gaps. I managed to get into Lifespan Development, Personality and Individual Differences, Perception, Fundamentals of Social Psychology, Introduction to Criminology, and Law and Societal Justice, which I wanted, as well as The Social Psychology of Social Issues which I was not planning on. The only other thing I could get into was Introduction to Brain and Behaviour, which is technically a neurobiology course, and not really my bag, baby – though it does look interesting, I’m afraid it may be a bit much for me.

I believe that the courses were filled by third years. They get to choose courses before we do, and some of them chose ours because when they had needed them, the third years of that time had filled them. I’d heard a lot of people from higher years in a variety of majors and departments complaining about it last year. It’s a problem with the system, but I’m not going to revolutionise it.

That’s fine. I’ve got enough courses to be a full time student and just enough to get the scholarship renewed. I’ll be taking the main course during the summer – that’s cool, because it keeps me from doing nothing but Warcraft (I hit 80, by the way) for four months like I did this year. It also means that I’ll have to spend an extra year in school, because one of the courses that I couldn’t get into is a prerequisite for another course, which is a prerequisite for another course and so on. I’m down with that actually. It’ll cost a lot more, but I’ll be able to take some interesting courses that I wouldn’t have had time for otherwise. Also, it’s another year in the warm embrace of Academia before I’m cast out into the cold wilderness of The Real World. Maybe “warm embrace” isn’t quite accurate, but it’s what I need to hear right now.

The main thing now, is that when I went to school to scout out my classrooms, I noticed that I have a class on one side of the school fifteen minutes after a course on the other side of the school. That’s fine; I can make it. I’ll buy running shoes, and a jet pack. It’s all good. Problems arised however when I noticed that I also have a class on one side of the school that is fifteen minutes apart from a class that is not simply on the other side of school, but also across a parking lot, a busy street with lights that I would have to walk down to, another parking lot, and in a plaza. I don’t think I can make that one, even with a jetpack.

I phoned the school, to see what to do about this, and what I’ll have to do is ask the professor for the class in which I have a seminar if I can transfer to another seminar. As it stands now, they’re all full. I can only comfort myself with the fact that I only took that specific seminar because it was the only one available, and I really needed the course so that I could get the tuition paid. The tuition is now paid, and the way it works is that if a student drops out, even if they drop out before school begins, they don’t get any money back. The cash game is done. So, if worst comes to worst, a replacement seminar can’t be found, and I have to drop one course, I won’t lose the part of the tuition that the scholarship paid for. I might not be able to renew it, but we’ll deal with that when it comes to that. In such a case, I would have to drop either Brain and Behaviour, or Criminology. The former looks fascinating and would probably be very useful, but the latter is better as far as moving ahead with courses is concerned. Of course, if I get really torn about it, that extra year raises its head.

I guess the best thing to do at this point is to just go with the flow. The bookstore doesn’t even have the neurobiology textbook in yet. I’ll attend all the lectures for the first week, and I’m sure whatever happens will be for the best.


Jul. 29th, 2009 10:42 am
alandrea: (The most crappy icon ever made)
My plans have been THWARTED!
alandrea: (Default)
Well, my minor came through, so that's great.
alandrea: (BATMAN)
One week ago, at this time, (since I was plagued with the same insomnia that I am now) I decided that if I was going to be awake and alert all night, I was going to do something productive with my time. So, I organised the next three years of my life, or at least, the scholastic portion of them. I’m really not a ‘plan ahead’ person, but this is one of those things that you have to plan, seeing as pre-requisites exist and all. I’ve picked out every single course that I’m going to take, and I’ve determined that instead of sociology, I’m going to minor in criminology.

Due to the courses I took last year – if I want to complete my undergraduate degree in four years – I have no option except minoring in some branch of sociology. I had planned on this, but then found that I really can’t stand it, and the future courses offered do not look like they fit my interests.

Luckily, criminology is a subsection of our sociology department, so I can go into that. The courses still don’t seem fascinating, but to tell the truth, not much that’s not in my major looks both interesting and useful. If I hadn’t eliminated linguistics from my options last year, I may have gone with that, and the drama and film courses look wonderful, but I’d likely never have a practical use for them.

Criminology is especially good for me though, because not only are there very few (I think it has the least of any minor) requirements, (which leaves me open to have more fascinating courses in psychology) but it may be useful for me if I go into criminal psychology and profiling (which I likely won’t, but it’s good to keep your options open, and it does sound somewhat interesting, though I imagine it’d have an extremely high burnout rate).

My psych mark was high enough to continue into honours, though only just barely, but I’m beginning to get the impression that that’s actually a pretty rare achievement. I’ve heard people say that the first year course gives the lowest marks, and that most people improve drastically as the years progress, so I hope that applies to me. I’m worried about how I’ll do in the statistics course, but I did take MDM 4U, so maybe I’ll survive.

I’m actually really glad that I planned my courses out this early in the summer, because (and I don’t think they actually say this anywhere, you have to sort of figure it out for yourself) you can’t apply for courses in your minor if you haven’t applied for that minor first, and that’s not something you can do before first year. So people who want to get into a course for their minor have to – at some point either during the school year or the summer – apply in person for a minor. There’s a roundabout way of doing it too: you have to go in to the registrar’s office and get a form to declare your major again, (you can print the form off if you want, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just mail it in, you have to submit it in person) and there’s a little, easy to miss, spot where you write in by hand what you want for your minor. I don’t know if that’s how they do it everywhere, but I know that you have to have a minor to graduate here, and if I hadn’t noticed that the courses I wanted required a minor to sign up for, then I wouldn’t have gone to search for how to apply for a minor, and I would have simply assumed that you take whatever courses you want to make up your minor and then somehow everything magically gets sorted out.

So I applied for my minor on Monday, and apparently it’ll be put through whenever. The woman I spoke to wouldn’t give me an estimate; she said that they’d get to it when they’d get to it, and that when it went through depended on how many people there were waiting before me.

I’m pretty sure that that’s fine for me, because there’s more than a month before registration begins and I expect it won’t take that long to get through the paperwork, but I feel really bad for the people who aren’t going to notice and are going to find out that they can’t register for the courses they want after registration has opened and people are already sniping each other to get in, or the ones who aren’t going to notice until the last minute, and are going to have to wait for their application to be put through, at which point the courses they want are going to be full.

So, I mean, unless there’s some huge, obvious sign that I missed, that probably causes some problems.

In other news, I went to see Star Trek with my parents that Friday night. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in the ways of Star Trek, seeing as it was one of my favourite shows when I was a kid, and even F mocked me a little for talking about how awesome TNG was in first or second grade. (See my street geek cred, that’s totally my geek cred, it may not be much, but you’ve gotta admit it’s there.)

Overall, I liked it. Actually, I thought it was pretty awesome, and I loved how they came right out and pretty much said, “This is an alternate universe, and what happened in the original version is still legit, but we’re playing in this realm now,” right in the movie. I hope that assuaged a lot of purist!fan hate.

I thought that there was a lot of great acting going on, and everybody had “aww, you’re so adorable!” moments which I didn’t think went into overkill. I also thought that there were enough little details similar to TOS to keep people happy and make it clear that this really was a Star Trek movie in spirit.

This thing happened though, because I went with my family and we took my dad. There’s this scene that I guess everybody has heard about by now, where Uhura and Spock kiss, and I think that as far as such scenes go, it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. The thing is, during that scene, my dad, really loudly, he said “Oh no!”

Now, I’m thinking that this is just because he’s really old, and kind of bashful, and he gets uncomfortable when any affection is shown onscreen. But, wow, it was awkward. And loud, very loud. I wonder what people thought.
alandrea: (Prevail)
On Thursday, I did my Linguistics and Writing exams.

I’m glad Writing is over, and I hope I did well. It has persuaded me to avoid online courses at all costs if given the chance.

Linguistics I’ll miss a little. The exam was pretty good; I think I did well. One question however was completely out of the blue, and I did not prepare for it at all. That question? Give three Latin phrases used in the Harry Potter books, and explain what they mean in English.

I am pretty glad that I am such a geek, because it was one of those “Only fandom can save you now!” moments. I called upon the fangirl within, and she was more than willing to supply the answers that I know are correct. Yeah, all that time spent searching for the deeper meanings of the spells that Rowling wrote so that I could better understand the world and feel more competent writing fanfiction paid off.

In short, spending countless hours obsessing over a fantasy world has helped me succeed in University. Fuck yes!

Then, yesterday, I did biology. I am not best pleased.

The exam was 100 multiple choice questions. That is reasonable; it’s a course for people who are not into biology, and there were over 900 of us in it (Though there had been something like 1800 at the midterm exam).

Now, this biology course, well, I think I’ve expressed my feelings about it before. Suffice it to say that it wouldn't convince anyone who took it that they actually like biology and should take further science courses. I don’t think the professor really wanted to teach us, and I don’t think the students really wanted to be there (I’ll be frank, I came almost every day, and sometimes there were only about 30 of us at lecture). I don’t think the effort was really there on anyone’s side.

Still, I expect a University poofessor (that spelling mistake is staying in because it made me giggle like a small child) to put forth a bit more effort than:

78. What does HPV stand for?
a) one
b) human papillomavirus
c) three
d) four
e) five

For a final exam, that seems a bit off. Now, I wouldn’t complain, because damn, that’s an easy mark, and ya need all the marks ya can get, but that was… only one of many problems with the exam.

We were, for example, given 500 review questions, 100 of which we were led to believe would be on the exam. About 20 of them were.

Now, maybe I’m spoiled, but I think that if you’re going to be nice enough to give people a few hours worth of questions, and tell them that the exam will consist of those questions, you should make sure that the questions do appear on the exam. You also should not tell your students that the material will only be from this semester if you’re going to ask questions about the material from last semester. That’s kind of a dick move.

I have reason to believe that the exam was, in fact, the exam from last semester with some (only some!) questions changed. The easy questions had one answer that was in any way reasonable, and four other answers that were vaguely familiar and would have made sense for questions that I can almost remember from the last exam. Some of the questions were, I am almost certain, verbatim, and in the same place that they were in the last exam. A very few were from the review, and a very, very few were extremely what the fuck you never mentioned this let alone taught it and it has nothing to do with the subjects we covered in this course and is this even a real question or did you just throw a bunch of scientific words that someone without a biology degree could have no hope of understanding together and call it a day?

So yeah, my personal theory is that he got smashed, and wrote the exam in a matter of minutes, taking last semester’s exam and copy-pasting a few new questions and answers onto it.

I think I passed? I mean, I remembered the questions from the last exam, and I’m sure I got the ones that were on the review right, but I don’t know if I answered last semester’s questions correctly, or if I guessed the right answers for the others.

I actually handed my test to the professor as I was walking out. He said to have a nice summer, and instead of the verbal violence I wanted to commit, I smiled, tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, and said “you too.”

Logically, I’m proud of myself, I’m the student here, and student entitlement is such a problem, and I must be in the wrong, but there’s this primal creature raging inside and screaming that leaping at someone while calling them a douchewaffle is sometimes for the best. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

I mean, it cost a hell of a lot of money to take this course, some effort from the teacher is to be expected.

I think it was a shitty course, with a shitty professor, and an extremely shitty exam, and I like biology.

Hopefully, as the years progress, the courses I take will get more specialised, and teachers will care about the content more, and I will never again have to deal with a professor who just doesn't give a damn.

Hopefully, hope is eternal.
alandrea: (Default)
Although I am sure they're all serious, I can't help but feel dubious about any exam hints professors give us on April Fool's.
alandrea: (Default)
So, I was in my psych lecture. The professor had just finished talking about how certain groups are defamed and negatively stereotyped so that people will try to avoid them and not take them seriously. He then asked how many of us are feminists. I was one of about five people who raised their hands. I expected there would be more of us.

Also, this past Thursday, I skipped my first class. This is probably some sort of right-of-passage, adulthood thing, but I just feel rather uncomfortable. It was just the bio lecture, with the professor who simply reads his slides aloud then puts them online, but I can’t shake the suspicion that the one day I didn’t come will have been the day when the unexpected will have happened. That is, he will have worn a mariachi hat, and danced around the lecture hall, giving exam hints and free passing grades to all who attended.

If only I had been there. It is not completely my fault though. I skipped because the road was blocked off – I think someone had been in an accident on the escarpment – and the only way around involved the highway, which, since it was snowing heavily, was too icy to bother with. While heading back home, the snow got to the point where you couldn't even see where you were going, so I think the choice to return was a good one.
alandrea: (Thoroughbred of SIN)
I’m alive! I find it hard to believe too.

It’s been a while since my last actual entry, and a lot has happened.

F did end up taking me to the casino, which was an experience. She told me that I wouldn’t have to bring anything, because she’d give me gambling money as a birthday present. I’m glad that I did not listen to her because she apparently thinks that twenty-five dollars is enough to finance a wild life.

She has a fondness for those insipid slot machines, and bets as low as they’ll let her. I had to stand idly by while she lost five dollars on a machine that cost two cents per play. Never again. She calls it being cautious, and I call it being boring. She is an accountant down to her heart.

I found myself drawn to the roulette wheel, which, by the by, had a minimum bet of twenty-five dollars a spin. I lost a bit this way, but I feel it was worth it. F, for reasons that I do understand, feels that I am insane.

We bought alcoholic drinks, and that was very novel. We drank them while listening to a live band doing “Drops of Jupiter” which was actually better than the original. That man had an amazing voice. Amazing. I seriously hope he gets a deal somewhere, because more people need to hear that voice.

A few weeks ago I had another adventure with F. I believe she calls this adventure “The one where Alandrea insisted we pull over so that the soaking wet drunk girl falling into the street could flirt with barfing in my car.” It was pretty funny, and also the first time I’ve been seriously propositioned for lesbian sex. I hope that girl’s okay though; she was pretty out of it. We dropped her off at her house, which was apparently where the party was moving, so at least we know she was looked after.

In other news, my father has been very ill. He went in for an operation recently though, and he’s starting to get better. He honestly thought that he was going to die on the table. I found it a ridiculous fear. I’m very angry though because, thinking that there was a very good chance that he was going to die, he left for the operation, with my mother, without saying goodbye to me. That I understand why he... why they would do that does make me less furious, but only a very, very little.

Exams are over, for now. I think I did generally okay, though there were some moments of less-than-brilliance. I distinctly remember writing that one of Erikson’s stages was ice cream vs. cake, and I think that probably wasn’t in my study notes. Overall... well, I doubt I’ll be winning any awards, but I’m pretty sure I’ve passed everything.

My fingers are getting tired, so that’s all for now. Most of the rest of what I have to talk about is angst, the return of angst, the bride of angst, the return of the bride of angst with the son of angst, and Angst: it’s really angsty now: Special Edition. So I’ll try keeping that to myself for a bit.
alandrea: (The most crappy icon ever made)
I haven’t been online in a long time, at least not properly. There’s a lot that I want to say, just to type it out and have it here, but I don’t have time for that right now. What I need to do now is work something out, and explaining it to dear diary seems to be the method of choice.

There’s this project. It’s worth a lot and it’s due on Monday and I couldn’t lie for anything if I said it was anywhere near done.

The reason for this (besides procrastination) is that I’ve been stuck on the second hypothesis. The professor said it’s unsupported, the TAs have said it’s unsupported, and the other students have said it’s unsupported. I don’t see that. I see that it’s supported perfectly, just in a way that was unexpected. It seems to me that everyone’s looking at the meaning of the hypothesis, rather than the wording of it. What (I’m pretty sure) the professor meant when he came up with the hypothesis (I think, “Understanding the benefits of semantic processing will result in students relying more on deeper processing when studying) is completely unsupported. What the hypothesis said, (literally, “Understanding the benefits of semantic processing will result in changes in the student’s intended study strategies.”) of course it’s supported. Just look at the results, how could it not be? There were changes.

I don’t know though. I must be misunderstanding something because there’s no way I’m seeing something that a professor, several TAs, and 1400 other students are missing. I must be wrong, but I can’t explain why I am, and I can explain why I’m right.

That’s what it’s about, right? Even if I’m wrong, even if I do what everyone else is doing, I can’t explain why I’ll be doing it. At least if I’m wrong, I’ll have an understandable reason for being wrong.

I think I’m going to say the hypothesis was supported. The marking scheme says a lot. It says that I need proper APA style, that I need to be concise (having trouble with that), that I need good grammar and spelling and orderly idea development and proper paragraph structure. It doesn’t say that I need to be right.
alandrea: (Default)
It was pretty nifty, especially the part when I registered and couldn’t pronounce my own middle name. The lady registering me got a little suspicious, and I didn’t do myself any favours when, right after that, I got my birthday wrong. Since I didn’t get kicked out, or arrested for identity fraud or anything, I can look back on it and laugh.

I haven’t been on LJ in a while; I’ve been absurdly busy. I have three essays to do before next Thursday, and they had better be damn good. I’m feeling pretty competent right now though. There was a test in psycholinguistics last week, and my mark was noticeably above the average. I’m struck by that mainly because everyone I talked to said it was an incredibly easy test, and I felt bad at first because I thought it wasn’t. Then they started freaking out over their mark, and I did not.

My biology class switches teachers this Thursday. I can’t believe how much time has passed since the year started; it feels like nothing.

My sociology lecture, I’ve noticed, contains two young men who appear to be the frat-boy editions of Mario and Luigi. I haven’t seen them since the second lecture. Maybe they, like many others, stopped attending, or maybe it’s just that they’ve changed their outfits and I can’t recognise them anymore. Either way, I think they had no idea that they resembled video game characters, which makes it that much better.

For my swiftly impending birthday, F wants to take me to a casino so that we can get smashed and gamble away what little cash we have. I’m not so much up for this. The closest casino we have is in Niagara Falls, and I hear it’s a bit crap. Maybe I’ll be a little bit less of a killjoy on my birthday, but there are various reasons why I do not really want to go out and I was wishing that I could count on her to remember them. In the end, I’ll probably end up going out for a bit, then calling it an early night.

Class starts soon, so I’d better get ready to go. I think we have a guest lecturer for sociology, so that should be interesting.

Also, also

Sep. 16th, 2008 09:33 pm
alandrea: (Default)
When I was wandering around campus today I found myself in the biology department. One of the doors was labeled biohazard, and there was a sign on it saying that they were studying the West Nile virus. That is pretty cool. In fact, in biology today the teacher told us that there is animal testing going on at the university. I suppose this may have been part of what she was referring to.
alandrea: (Default)
Today has been... interesting. It started with nightmares, the really, really bad kind. Then, just before leaving for school, there was an issue and I had to call an ambulance for a family member. He’s fine, for now at least.

Surprisingly I wasn’t late for class, but only because the entire class had been held up for some reason. I was sprayed by some wet construction dust as I entered the building for my first lecture (Why couldn’t they have done the construction during the summer? They started two weeks ago.) Then I ran across campus to get to my next class in time, and the Teaching Assistant never showed up, so everyone left after fifteen minutes. I went down to the pond inlet, and that was actually nice. It made my day bearable and gave me a chance to recover a bit from my nightmares, etc.

My psych lecture was interesting. We started collecting data for our project, which is on the best systems of learning. So far it looks like semantic associations help one remember better than anything else.

After that I went to a special course for learning how to use the campus library. I’m glad it was a one-time thing; it was informative, but very boring. Also, in biology we were assigned something that I don’t understand the directions to. It looks like that’s going to end well.

Tomorrow things will be better.

Words, words, words

Led here by Lady Macbeth's advice.
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