adventures in academia, university life and other mischief

Category — UBC classes

Do you know what the rhombencephalon is?

Neither do I. But I would, if I were up to date with my readings.

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. Despite the best laid plans of being up-to-date with my readings, I’m already behind in every class besides calculus and my chem lab. By my estimations, I have about roughly 80-120 pages of psychology to catch up on this weekend.

By the way, If you need to contact me in the next three days, I’ve moved. This is my new address:

Chanel Wood
Floor 2, 1961 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC
V6T 1Z1, Canada

If someone can periodically check in on me, maybe bring by some fresh pens and cookies, I’d highly appreciate that.

But enough about my new residence. What happened to Chanel today at UBC? Why, I’m so glad you asked!

6:30 AM: Woke up while it was still dark out.
This is a sick and twisted activity and I do not recommend anyone attempt it unless absolutely necessary.

6:40 AM: Almost went back to sleep, but was finally lured out of bed with the promise of meeting awesome people and getting free food.
And indeed, the food was free (and yummy!) and the people were awesome. The UBC blogsquad had its first meetup this morning and despite the ungodly hour, it was a lot of fun. The people were hilarious and charming and all very nice. An awesome group. Probably the wittiest, prettiest, funnies group of UBC Blogsquadders ever, in my totally unbiased opinion.

11:30 PM: We found the upside down tree.
After hanging out in the CST, A couple of us left together in search of the infamous upsidedown tree. Conclusion: It really does look like an upside down tree. BUT HOW DOES IT GROW?? We took pictures and probably got mistaken for tourists by fellow students.

1:10 PM: Didn’t eat lunch. Time since last meal: 4 hours.
Instead of eating, I spent my lunch hours agonizing over my upcoming organic chem lab.

3:10 PM: The exact moment I realized my TA probably thinks I’m an idiot for asking if you put the pipet bulb in water, and also the exact moment I was sure this chem lab would be the death of me.
In my defense, he misunderstood my question, but in his defense, I was making a bunch of stupid mistakes on the most basic things, so he had every right to assume i’d be stupid enough to think you could pipet water without using a pipet.

4:50 PM: The moment I realized I might be OK, and that this semester might not be a disaster after all.
Also, the end of my chem lab. Coincidence? Hardly. All disasters successfully avoided.

4:59 PM: Scurried like a man woman across campus because it only just occurred to me that chem labs do not account for the 10 minutes it takes to get to your next class.
Bumped into a friend from Langara, but couldn’t stop because I was late for class. Time since last meal: 8 hours.

5:05 PM: Made five new people hate my guts by being “that person” who comes into lecture late and squeezes their way past a row full of people attempting to take notes on their itty-bitty sized tables.
One guy even had to put his notes on his lap and pull up his table so I could get by. Meanwhile, I was the picture of grace and finesse with my sweaty forehead, messy hair and lack of breath as I unobtrusively squeezed through the tiny row with my bulging backpack.

6:30 PM: It finally occurs to me that maybe I need something more than just intellectual nourishment. Time since last meal: 9.5 hours.
The food at Buchanan B is overpriced and mediocre at best, by the way.

7:30 PM: Finally leave campus.
The sun is setting. I am exhausted.

7:40 PM: Dead asleep on the bus.

12:04 AM: Finally done writing this post, but there is a bee trapped in my room (?!) so I probably will spend the next hour devising non-confrontational techniques to get him out.
There goes all hopes of going to bed ‘earlier’.

First class tomorrow: 3pm. Here’s to sleeping in!

September 21, 2012   2 Comments

02/13: Expectation v.s. Reality

Two weeks into school already! Seriously, where does the time go?

As a nod to research methods, I am going to do a self-report measure and create a baseline for my first year at UBC—a pre-survey of sorts. It’s a bit long (clearly I talk too much, even when I’m not, err, talking) but I’m going presume that at some point to some person, this will become useful when trying to figure out what to expect from these courses—even if that person is me, at the end of this semester, crying into a carton of ice cream, mumbling “If only I knew!!”.

Just kidding. That’s horribly negative.

So, without further ado, first edition of Expectation vs Reality:

Let’s start with the event that kicked it all off…

Imagine Day

Expectations: I’d heard a lot of things about imagine day before actually going to imagine day—mostly from my jaded, twenty-something 3rd and 4th year friends who claimed it was pretty much the last place they wanted to be at 10AM on September the 4th. I was forewarned: lots of naive 17 year olds, cheesy UBC optimism, school pride and rampant consumerism.

Reality: Unlike those downers, I actually love the cheesy UBC optimism and school pride. And yes, there was lots of that. If I had to choose a word to describe imagine day, it would be “surreal”. There was a lot of naive 17 years olds and rampant consumerism, yes (although I never gave the latter any thought until it was brought to my attention later), but the one thing I loved the most was the school and faculty pride. The pep rally was so much fun (nothing like yelling your faculty cheer while wearing war paint in your faculty’s colors and waving your faculty’s towel! – see here if that last part totally lost you.) The speeches could have had a bit more depth. The whole experience was just fascinating, really. Pep rallies? Sororities? Fraternities? Sports Mascots? Cheerleaders? These things actually exist at a Canadian university? Indeed they do.

Some photos from Imagine Day:

My purple Arts nails for Imagine Day!

Me and my friend Sandra (also a 3rd yr transfer) with our faculty war paint. I met her in FREN 1115 on my first day of college – 2 years later we’re still friends!

Our MUG group – Squad 22 – for transfer students.

Me and Sandra at the pep rally.

MATH 184: Differential Calculus for Social Science and Commerce

Expectations: I was definitely most worried for this class, and by ‘worried’ I mean DOWNRIGHT TERRIFIED. There is one degree of separation between me and four other smart people who actually failed this class. You have to do math without a calculator and I don’t even know my multiplication tables by heart! There is a workshop where you have to WORK OUT PROBLEMS on the BLACKBOARD and get graded on your PARTICIPATION! Panic mode!!!1!

Reality: Surprise, surprise: It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be—so far. I won’t go as far as to say that it’s been easy, because it hasn’t been, but I think after the stressfully overwhelming experience that was the first week of CHEM 233 this past summer, I was actually underwhelmed by the amount of information I was expected to know in the first two weeks of calculus. Thank God. On the other hand, I feel like I’m being lulled into a fall sense of security because everything makes sense and I’m actually able to do the problems…

PSYC 319: Applied Developmental Psychology

Expectations: I’ll be honest: This was my “filler” class this semester. It wasn’t my first choice, mostly because it’s outside the area of psychology that I am generally interested in. I didn’t really have any great expectations for this class—mostly, I hadn’t really given it much thought at all.

Reality: It was a slow start, but we’re finally getting into the “meat” of the textbook (instead of all the preliminary stuff) and this is where it is starting to get interesting for me. The prof is funny and relatable, which is a huge bonus. All in all, an optimistic start!

PSYC 304: Brain and Behaviour (Biopsychology)

Expectations: I didn’t really know what to expect from this class, other than knowing that it was a subject I would be interested in (the more biology-based psychology classes usually are to me).

Reality: The first couple classes have totally blown me away. The prof seems well-balanced, very approachable and understanding to students, as well as conscientious and a critical thinker. As we went through the subjects that would be covered in this course, I was pretty much on the edge of my seat. All of the subjects were ones I’d read about in my own spare time, just for kicks. The first “real” class used multimedia (video clips, including one TED talk and other relevant images) in way that really enhanced the learning experience.

PSYC 300A: Behaviour Disorders

Expectations: I have always been fascinated by deviations from the norm (good or bad, and most especially concerning areas of personality) so I knew beforehand I’d automatically find this class interesting. I also vividly remember being fascinating by this area when it was covered in intro psych, way back when.

Reality: So far, my expectations have been right on. It is definitely very, very interesting. The prof is actually not a faculty professor, but an actual clinical psychologist, which is a huge plus for me. (I really like the idea of learning from someone is isn’t just taught to teach this stuff, but works with it on a daily basis!) She’s very clear about what will be on exams v.s. what won’t be when she presents her lectures and has me captivated for the entire 2.5 hours! Also, the textbook is actually a Canadian edition which, surprisingly, makes a difference in terms of how relevant the info is to Canadians (like mental health care approaches in Canada, for example.)

CHEM 235: Laboratory Techniques in Organic Chemistry

Expectations: Labs always make me nervous, even when they’re really easy. That, and CHEM 233 (The course this lab is for) was a killer. On the flip side, I’ve had many people tell me this was a fun and (comparatively) easy lab course.

Reality: We haven’t had our first lab yet, so there isn’t much to say yet. We did have our orientation, however, where I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how a combination lock worked. (Thank god there were directions in the lab manual…) The TAs seem cool, which is important since they’ll be grading us every lab. Dana (the lab instructor) seems rather strict, but I’m not really phased by this because my last two lab instructors also had the persona of being downright terrifying, and both were actually quite helpful and friendly if you weren’t that dumbass who never came prepared and almost set yourself on fire every lab. So here’s to hoping she’s something like that!

Well, that’s a wrap. Now onto Week 3!

September 18, 2012   No Comments