Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What a Long Day

The day started off as usual, I usually get up with my roommate Jagdeep even though her class is an hour before mine. She's really cool and I think we get along very well. After getting ready, I decided to do some extra reading on my project on the topic, Just how are you intelligent? I find it very interesting, and I like the thought that not everything has to be based off of SAT scores or testing; different people are smart in their own unique ways. Anyways, right after I went to meet Courtney and Meuy up by their dorms, where we proceeded out of the dorms to the quad to meet Cynthia and Karen. Unfortunately Cynthia woke up late, and really rushed down the stairs, but she was right on time. We continued our walk to the cafeteria and had a delightful breakfast.

In class we talked more about the disease that we were assigned reading on. The book is called "The Quiet Room" and it's about a young woman who developed schizophrenia in her late teens. It's intriguing to see how the illness affects her and her family. I especially see that she isn't improving much because no cares enough to help her cope with the disease, they all just pressure her to get rid of the voices. Not only did we learn about schizophrenia, we also touched on research methods and learning. For example most people are motivated to do good in school for the grade, praise, parent's approval etc. But other do it out of the pure motivation and determination they have inside.

After class, we had lunch with our friends and immediately started working on our homework. After homework we went to CVS and the gym. Time flew by really quick and next thing we knew, we were off to dinner. After dinner we did the usual which is more homework and blogging. You can really see the continuing cycles starting to take place. That's all for today!

College Q&A

As Meuy mentioned in her post, she and I (along with Mercedes!) went to a College Q & A held for the girls in our hall. We were all given a chance to ask any questions we had about Brown or college in general and our RAs (Sophia, Michelle, and Mayte) tried their best to answer them.

I found this extremely helpful and informative! The questions varied from What are the sororities / fraternities like? to Why did they choose Brown? I thought it was cool that we actually got answers from college students who currently go to Brown. And I liked how their perspectives were all a bit different since they were different ages (1 sophomore and 2 seniors) and came from different backgrounds.

Out of the different topics they talked about I really liked the advice they gave on the application process and why they chose Brown. All said we should only apply for early decision only if we have researched everything about the college and are 100 percent sure that we will be happy going there. They also gave us tips about when to start applications and what readers look for.

The three RAs said we should start the common application this summer since we're going to need a lot of time to write the essays (although they're pretty short, one said she rewrote her essay more than 8 times!). They advised us to be open and honest in what we write. I loved that all of them said they ultimately chose Brown for its open curriculum and diversity because I like the academic freedom and I doubt I could ever go to a school with little or no diversity.

They also gave extremely helpful advice for college. One student asked about the transition from high school to college. For them, the transition wasn't too tough it's just all about balancing time for studying and socializing. Sophia mentioned that in high school we're able to join several clubs or be in leadership, but in college, although 4 classes may not seem like a lot, the work is time consuming. So she told us to find one passion (like Michelle's for ballroom dancing) and focus on it rather than try to join every club on campus.

I felt the event was very educational and I'm glad the three of us were able to go! It was great to hear from a college student's point of view and know I will be able to use every piece of advice in the future.

The Middle of the Week

Wednesday. Which means its almost Friday! Today was an uneventful day. I woke up at about 11. Ha Ha! I chilled in my room for a while. Got up to get some lunch on Thayer St. I hung out with Cynthia, Mercedes, Gina, Meuy, Courtney, and this other girl. I went back to my room to chill before I had to go to class.

During class my teacher talked for a while about McCarthyism and we watched Monsieur Verdoux (i think that's the correct spelling). The movie was written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, who was suspected of being a communist. The movie was very humorous and the central message tied in well with the ideas we have been talking about in class.

I have a mini-essay assignment due on friday. I have to take a quote from the readings this week and elaborate on what it means. Hopefully I do well on it.

After class I went to dinner and then went back to my room to start on my homework.

What a relaxing day.

My Day to the T.

Good evening, kind parents, students, sponsors and all. I am brimming with excitement, so much that I cannot contain. I MUST share my day with you.

I woke up today at a cool 9:04, to a loud text from Gina Saechao. I realized that I had forgotten to set my alarm the previous night, having woken up on top of a book that I was suppose to read. Disheveled and disoriented, I ran from my room to the bathroom in a quick 7 seconds. I brushed my teeth and I sprinted down a total of 45 steps to the Keeney Quad to meet my fellow classmates. However, when I arrived, I realized that another girl that was also suppose to meet us had not gotten there either and I did not feel as bad for waking up late. We walked slowly but surely towards the Verney-Wolley. We walked up, heaving our tired bodies, turning right on Cushing Street. We finally arrived at the Verney-Wolley, and we "tail-gated" some students into the building because we did not want to pull our ID cards out of our purses. We walked through the second set of doors and walked past the kind ID-checker. He slid our IDs through the card-reader and admitted us into the buffet area.

This morning, I was torn between making a waffle which is right next to the sodas or making a bagel, which was on the other side of the building. I settled for a raisin bagel, lightly toasted. I picked up a container of cream cheese and found a seat. The conversation this morning was all about the class we were about to go to and the homework we were suppose to do the previous night. It was all very interesting. After eating my bagel, we gathered all of our belongings and walked slowly towards the Smith building. The weather was beautifully grey today and while we walked, we wondered if the weather would be better tomorrow or the next day.

We finally arrived in room 201 and walked into a room full of intelligent students. The teacher looked at us expectantly and nodded for us to take our seats. We were on time, but everyone else had been 10 minutes early, which encouraged us to decide to wake up earlier tomorrow. We took our seats; I sat next to Courtney and a girl named Karen. She was really nice. The teacher started to lecture about schizophrenia which is the disease that the girl Lori has in the book that we're reading.

Schizophrenia literally means "split mind." The symptoms of schizophrenia are psychosis, hallucinations and hearing voices. The "positive" symptoms (symptoms that ADD things to the patient) are delusions, heightened sensations, neologisms, disorganization, inappropriate feelings, repetitiveness, paranoia, rambling and rhyming of words. The "negative" symptoms (symptoms that TAKE AWAY from the patient) are the loss of feelings, hygiene, motivation, and fluid movement. There is a prodromal phase, which is the beginning phase of schizophrenia. This involves withdrawal from the real world, not showing real feelings, and saying weird things. The next phase is the active phase. This involves the schizophrenic symptoms that I discussed above. Schizophrenia is both inherited and biological, stimulated by environment. It is caused by too much dopamine in the brain, and medication is used to reduce it. However, when too much medication is used and dopamine levels drop too low, Parkinson's disease may be contracted. Treatment to schizophrenia involve major tranquilizers that does not make people feel good; they cause muscle tremors and dystonia in addition to making you feel super groggy. Newer medication has been found to be effective but one of the major side effects is weight-gain.

This discussion was very interesting to me. As I glanced around, I saw that everyone was taking notes. Normally, this would not be the case. In the classroom environments that I am use to, I see people with disinterested faces. However, today, I saw that everyone was interested and actively participating. It made me feel as if this is the way it is suppose to be.

After the lecture about schizophrenia, we broke into our discussion groups. I walked down 17 stairs to the floor that was one below the one we were on and walked into the discussion room. We talked mainly about the book we were reading and we tried to relate the book to the lecture we had just listened to. It was all very interesting, my TA had passed back the papers that we had written to her last night with her comments. She says that we are improving, which makes me feel like I am improving.

At 12:08, we walked back up the stairs (another 17 steps) to room 201. We talked about the way certain people learn. It was interesting because it helped me identify the way I really learn and the way I can help myself learn better.

At 12:46, we walked back out of the Smith building and we hung around deciding what to do. We ate lunch at the Verney-Wolley. Today, I had a salad, along with a little macaroni and cheese. It was some good food and I'm glad we didn't have to pay for it. We walked towards the dorms, and decided to read more. We ran upstairs to the Poland lounge which was a total of 45 steps. It was a workout, in itself. We each chose our seats like we usually did and we sat around. We read more about Lori and her schizophrenic mind.

Schizophrenia scares me because it is very much like Lori is two people. One moment, she would be calm and subdued but the next moment, she can be crazy and uncalled for. I don’t understand how someone’s mood can swing so easily and sporadically. Trying to imagine myself in her shoes was scary; she has no control. She doesn’t even know that she doesn’t have control and she thinks that she has to follow what the voices tell her to do. She doesn’t think that anything is wrong, she doesn’t believe that she has an illness until the very end. She doesn’t feel like she doesn’t have any choice; she feels like she HAS to mutilate herself, she feels like she HAS to insult other people, she feels like she HAS to commit suicide. This scares me because she’s in denial. Everybody is in denial, once in a while. Does that mean that reality is subjective? What is reality? If reality is subjective, what makes it REAL? Because there is no doubt that the Voices are real to Lori but at the same time, there is no doubt that the Voices are not real. If reality is subjective, who makes the standards for normal? And real?

We were suppose to finish the book today. We all sat around discussing Lori and her life. What would happen if we were like that? What would that be like? It was interesting conversation. After a while, we decided to go to the gym again. The Olney-Margolies Athletic Center was a far walk but we worked out hard. We went into the facility and some of the girls settled on the bikes while some of us ran around the indoor track. After running for 26 minutes, I made my way up 9 steps, into the weight room. I began lifting weights to workout my triceps.

We left at 5:13 and we made our way to the Verney-Wolley. After eating chips and dip, which they had served before, we walked back to the dorms to shower and to continue studying. We arrived in the Poland lounge again and read for a couple of hours before deciding to call it quits.

Here I am now, blogging to you devoted readers. I truly hope to receive feedback and comments. It's amazing to know that you all are amazed by the days that we have, and it is only our duty to give back to you who have devoted so much time to our success. I hope tomorrow will be as eventful as today was. More to come later.

Wednesday in Providence

Still not a ray of sun but I think we are all getting used to it and will be shocked when there is an actual patch of blue sky.

Today I went to Johnson and Wales University and took the tour and spoke to several admissions officers. I was very impressed with JandW. It is a career focused, industry driven university where students begin taking classes in their major from day 1.

The schools are Technology, Hospitality and Culinary Arts. There are two other campuses in Miani and Charlotte NC. The Providence campus is spread pretty much all over town and ranges from the modern cinder block to the old old brick. I was especially impressed that 98% of their graduates have jobs in their chosen field within 60 days of graduation. J and W was rated as one of the top 'Learn by Doing" colleges in the last issue of Newsweek's Best Colleges issue. It reminds me very much of our own Cal Poly in SLO. Oh, and a number of the restaurants in Providence are either owned by a graduate or a graduate works there. It was a fun day.

Providence is a very alive town! When I returned to the hotel there was a live jazz band playing in the hotel courtyard and on the corner an outdoor movie theatre was setting up. I am in the middle of lots of fun restaurants and shops and right next to the Grace Church which reminds me of every hour and half hour.

Looking forward to Mr Ramsey and Ms Kronenberg being here this weekend and I will remind the students to have ALL their work done for the weekend because they will have no down time, so thats all for now, will keep in touch--ps- the photos are 1)entrance to JandW 2)Library 3) Take note- the SMALLEST National Park in the US!! it is about half the size of a football field-

Schizo- what? Schizophrenia.

My morning was like the past two mornings. I woke up at 8:15 and got ready by 8:50. Then we (the four females taking the Intro to Psychology class and a friend we met) met up by the quad at 9. After that we walked all the way to the V-Dub where we act our daily breakfast. By 9:45, we were already in class - 15 minutes early. That should put a smile on our professor's face, right?

Then Dr.J started his lecture about schizophrenia. You may be thinking schizo-what? Schizophrenia. It is a mental illness that usually attacks those in their late adolescence or early adulthood. The signs and symptoms vary from one to another because there are various levels of schizophrenia. However, psychologists have narrowed the category of symptoms and signs down to five major ones: delusions, hallucinations, bizarre speech, disorganized speech, and negative symptoms.

So in the book we are reading, "The Quiet Room," the author, Lori was diagnosed with schizophrenia. It shows her life as a schizophrenic and gives the readers a glimpse into the life of a schizophrenic. She hears voices all the time that seem to take full control over her actions. Lori believes that the voices are real but it is not. People tried to throw logic at her and inform her that the voices are imaginary and that she should not listen to them. Then she started hallucinating about stuff that never happened, but according to Lori, it seems real. Finally, through clorazine, Lori is able to rehabilitate her life but never fully back to her old life.

Our professor then told us about his experiences working in a psychiatric hospital. He have met people like Lori and he told us how certain they were that they were not ill. He told us he helped a guy who believed he was Jesus Christ, reborn. That is crazy! But that made me realize the true meaning of the reason I took this class. Of course I decided upon this class because I want to know about human behavior, but I want to put my knowledge of it to good use. Maybe I might major in psychology after all and help people like Lori. Obviously I was taken aback by her life when I first started reading it, but then I tried to put myself in her shoe. How might I have reacted? Would I have listened to the voices? My views have changed.

Now, I am left with a ton of questions. I want to find out more about schizophrenia such as the biological theories and neurology to it. When and how was it first discovered? Since schizophrenic experience the illness differently, is it possible that schizophrenia can be short term? If so, then how many of our population may have it? Since there are so many questions, I should do some research. Who knows, I may become a psychiatrist one day.

Well that is all for now while Courtney, Mercedes, and I prepare to go to the "College Q&A" meeting we have scheduled for the girls on our floor. I am sure we will gain a lot of useful information from it. So long for now.

Day three...

Today I a great day!
In the morning session we took a tour of the life science building...which is great because Dean Thompson said that is something that no one gets to do. We got introduced to three microscopes that are used to look at electrons.
In the afternoon we got a lecture about connective tissues.
Connective tissues:
-consist of cells, fibers, and extracellular matrix
-derived mostly from mesoderm (fromembryonic layer that surrounds coelom)
-functions in support, as a mediu, for exchange between blood and tissue, for starage, for protection and repair, for nutrition, ect.
-three types: loose, dense and specialized
-loose connective tissues-fewer fibers, more cells, more extracellular matrix
-dense connective tissue-two main categories: regular (ex. tendon and ligament) and Irregular (ex. in areas of dermis)
-specialized connective tissue-mucous, elastic, reticular, adipose & neurovascular

Night Activities!
So at 8pm the girls from my floor and the girls from a different quad got together and we made door stoppers!
It was really fun to socialize with the other girls...even though my door stop was too short for my door, I know what a bummer, I still had so much fun!

Work load

Well I have had a real look into what a real college class is actually like. My introduction to psychology and human behavior class has been reading a book called the quiet room which is a memoir about a girl who grew up with schizophrenia. we have had to read it for homework (about 100 pages a day) and have had to email our teacher's assistants our feedback on what we think about the book so far.

As for me I find the book to be so interesting because the book gives the reader an inside look into what it is like to live with this illness. The character in this book goes through life here voices whom command her to kill her self and she hallucinates as well. We have class discussions in class about what we thought on the reading we did which is really fun an interesting because we hear what everyone thinks about the book and everyone is on the same page.

So far I have enjoyed my class and when i am not in class or doing my work I am having meetings with my floor mates and my RA (ROOM ASSISTANT).Also tomorrow in class we will watching the movie A Beautiful Mind and then discussing the psychological aspect of it on Friday.


Psychology, a possible major?

I walked to class ready for what Dr.J had to throw at me. I found the lectures interesting. I really like Dr.J's way of teaching. Today, we learned about how to structure an experiment. I actually did not know how much work and thought was needed to construct a good case study but now I know. I really appreciate how he really listens to all our opinions which may revolutionize the original idea.

Then we split into our groups to discuss a research topic and my group, the "Sexy Pandas," decided to do our research on the various types of intelligence. We figured that the IQ tests are not necessarily relative to measuring the intelligence of a person. People are smart at different subjects. For example, a person may have a high IQ but may not be doing so well in school or horrible in music. One test should not determine the limit of a person's intelligence. I am really excited to research more on my own and as a group because this is exactly what I believe. I believe there are more than one definition for intelligence. It just so happens that people ultimately associate the intelligence of someone through certain tests. I think that tests are not very accurate.

I am now done with my talk about class. Now it is time to talk about homework. We are reading a book called "The Quiet Room" by Lori Schiller. It is about this female who suffers from schizophrenia. The book is very eccentric but interesting because I am reading from different perspectives. I found out that it not only affect the person diagnosed with it but it is affecting her family as well. After reading a major part of the book, I now have a different view. It made me feel grateful for the life I have even though it may not be perfect but then again, what is perfect? No one can be perfect. The imperfections is what makes a person unique and not banal.

The main character's younger brother, Steven, decided to study psychology in college because he wanted to find a cure for his sister. He is an inspiration to me even though later on, he did drop the subject. He really reached out to me because he cared so much for her that he had decided to devote his life trying to help his sister. After that, I wanted to major in psychology but that desire only lasted a while. It is still in the back of my mind because I really enjoy this book. I want to help people who have mental illnesses. Maybe it is because I knew people who had fell into the spectrum of mental disorders and I witness their life. Therefore, I am considering psychology as a potential major.

I will see how the class goes and then finally decide if psychology is the subject for me. So far, I really enjoy and I hope to learn more.

Day 2.

Well, I can't believe I finished my second day here at Brown! I just wanted to elaborate more on what we did in class since I finally finished my homework.

For the first hour, Dr. Johnston (Dr. J) lectured the class about how to make an experiment. His procedure was:
1. start with an observation
2. decide what you want to manipulate
3. choose your subjects
4. decide what you are going to measure
5. design a standardized procedure
I felt this was definitely a helpful lecture since it is necessary to fully understand what is needed to make a successful experiment. I learned there are so many factors to consider when making an experiment that it is often impossible to prove a certain hypothesis.

We then split into our discussion groups where we talked about our reading of Lori Schiller's The Quiet Room. Although the book took me a couple hours to read, I actually enjoyed it. It's about the changes in the lives of Schiller and of her friends and family after she began hearing the Voices, which constantly tormented her. It was great to hear the comments of my peers about how they felt about the reaction of Schiller's family (especially her mother and father) to her schizophrenia.

After discussing the memoir, we split into our smaller group (mine is the Crazy Lions) to pick our influential study topic. With this topic, we must create a Power Point presentation for the class. My group picked The Power of Conformity because it's about social pressures and we felt most people in class could relate to this topic since we are all in high school and probably feeling the same pressures. I'll be meeting with my group on Friday and I will definitely tell you how our presentation next Wednesday goes.

Once we finished picking our topics, we read an article of the effect of texting on teenagers and were asked to create an experiment using what we learned from lecture. My group decided to see if there was a connection between texting parents and independence. Our hypothesis was that students who don't text their parents (as they would text friends) are likely to be more independent than those who do.

Besides the academic part, I just wanted to touch on my living situation at Brown. This was the first time I've ever had to live with a roommate and I'm actually loving it! I admit I was scared about what my roommate would be like and all these questions would come up like Will we get along? Will she like me? Will we hate each other? Thankfully, I have a wonderful roommate, Kim, from LA. I think we get along and it's nice to hear what it's like at home and compare.

Well, I have to get going since I want to get a head start on the reading tomorrow. Until next time!