I just spend the last two hours grading synopses and organizing ALL THE THINGS for section. Like, literally, ALL THE THINGS. It was kind of ridiculous, but I am no longer absurdly behind on section. It is no longer hanging over my head like a ginormous Cloud of Synopses of Doom. That is one less thing to worry about—though I have to remember to send out grades to everyone in section over Thanksgiving, which is going to be annoying.

Ugh. Today I was supposed to do lab work, but my thesis supervisor (can't remember what I called her, just now) apparently had a meeting today she'd forgotten about, so I didn't have to do lab work today.

I feel so much more in control of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For my evolutionary bio sections, I've been a little disappointed at how little people talk—I try to ask what I think is an interesting question, but then no one responds; or if they do, they think there is a right answer and that they'll get the question "wrong". Most of the time, I just want them to think through the question with evolutionary logic.

So today, I decided that it was stupid to ask questions that everyone was too intimidated to answer, so we broke up in to groups and had people talk individually. It wasn't exactly brilliant, in the sense that if I'd been a little more on top of things I would have tried this earlier; but, it worked so much better. The same people talked who always talked, but there were a couple of people new people, too. We didn't exactly stay on target the whole time, but that's okay—and everyone was actually talking and thinking about evolution. So yay!!!! We're definitely going to this next week, too.

In other news, I am proceeding along with my pollen. Given how often we get set back, I think I might not actually finish before Thanksgiving is over; but I'm still going to try. This weekend is going to be hellish because I want to finish making my character matrix for my plants project on the Santalales, I need to study for my plants midterm coming up next Tuesday, I need to catch up on my NaNo (25,000 by the end of the weekend, I think ...), I need to plan my class with the Roommate for Splash next weekend, I need to read an entire book for anthro because I have a paper to write for it that's due shortly after Splash ... is that it? It's also our model UN conference this weekend, which means that a whole bunch of New Hampshirites that I know will be coming in to town, and on top of having games night with the gang tomorrow and movie night on Saturday, I am going to try to get lunch or dinner with my old social studies teacher.

Goodness. I'm getting tired just thinking about it. I need to stop playing Dominion and read about Santalales.
This week was absurdly long. I spent a lot of time in the lab learning more pollen processing, and got to look at sediment cores (!) on Wednesday. Wednesday night was the second Evolutionary Bio exam, so I spent a lot of time on Tuesday and Wednesday tutoring/TAing (or whatever it should be called). I spent at least three hours on Thursday evening working with one student who completely bombed the first exam, so hopefully she did better on the second one. She got to take it late because, on top of doing horribly the first time, she also had pneumonia for the past two weeks. Talk about a tough time!

On Thursday during Human Evolution section, we got to look at bones. BONES!!!!!!!! Okay, bones are really really cool. It's amazing how it's possible to look at a bone and figure things out about its history—not just in the evolutionary sense (is it a tetrapod? a synapsid?), but also in the forensic anthropology and taphonomic sense. I LOVE BONES. I tried to go to my professor's office hours on Thursday to ask about bones we didn't talk about in class, but he wasn't there; so, I'm going to go back on Monday.

I confess that my enthusiasm for bones makes me think that vertebrate paleontology might actually be something I'd want to study—after all, you pretty much get to spend a lot of time looking at bones. Unfortunately, you might have to spend a lot of time dissecting things too, which is not exactly something I want in my future. Alternatively, human evolution would be cool, but I do NOT want to go to grad school in an anthropology department, so I think human evolution is off the table. Finally, forensic anthropology would be SO COOL, but unfortunately I would have to 1) go to grad school in an anthropology department, and 2) probably have to dissect humans, which is even worse than other things.

Yesterday (Friday) I graded exams in the morning, then went for a meeting with Dimetrodon which she couldn't make because she was stuck in traffic, then went back to grade some more exams, then went to a TA meeting for Evolutionary Bio (whose exams I was grading), then went to class where we started to learn officially how to use Praat (which I already know how to use), then went to a meeting with someone who had worked at the Smithsonian as an intern five summers ago, then met with Dimetrodon about my thesis, then lost my keys and went traipsing around campus to find them before realizing I'd just left them in the lab, then saw a hawk outside of House and spent fifteen minutes staring at it, then went to dinner where I consumed copious amounts of ice cream, then went to the Juggler's a capella concert (she joined Disney a capella), then talked to the Tower for a little while about Merlin, then went to the Roommate's a capella concert, then went to bed.

It was a long day, as that extremely long run-on sentence demonstrates.

Anyway ... I finally this morning sent off an email to someone at the Smithsonian, so hopefully he will get back to me and I will have a job for next year! Of course, hopefully he will actually be able to pay me, but. The Roommate is going to talk to someone one Tuesday about what she would do at the Smithsonian. Hopefully everything will work out, and I will actually be able to call her my roommate without sort of kind of maybe lying.

And now, as a reward for finally finishing that email, I am going to work on my NaNo outline. I should do something important, but alas, I am not going to.
The Roommate and I actually had lunch with the Emperor today; it was the first time all semester, and maybe the third or fourth time I've even seen her (walking down the sidewalk, mostly!). It was exceedingly awkward; she actually asked me what I did over the summer and what my major was. Oh yeah, and whether I was doing a thesis. (She generally has a very low opinion of me, I think—not in the sense that she thinks I'm stupid, it's more that she seems to think I've got a misguided approach to the world, and am that friend who had so much potential and never amounted to much. At least, that's the kind of attitude I think she has; it might just be me projecting, or some other such thing.)

At any rate, I'm a little insulted—she got into her post bacc program, and didn't even tell us. There was a time when she would have sent me her essays for editing, but no longer. She is also TAing Brain Damage and the Mind, which at least makes a little more sense than me TAing. Speaking of TAing, I should really be grading synopses right now ... :P

Well, it's kind of weird how much our lives have diverged since we were new students. She's remained on the pre-med path, on the music and psychology path, and on the path towards a Big Professional Career where she has to Make Important Decisions and Save Lives. Not that any of that is bad, but it's a far more structured and driven approach to life than I have. I am more than willing to experiment; she's afraid of doing anything that deviates from her chosen path. Hopefully she will be successful and all that, but I doubt we'll ever really understand each other. It's a little sad, but oh well. If she can't even remember what I'm majoring in, we've clearly not been on the same wavelength for a long, long time.

What really bothers me about her is her alleged "curiosity", or at least what she calls curiosity. (She generally has an attitude about what she thinks she "should" be like, but to my eyes, at least, what she is actually like is extremely different from what she thinks she's like.) She could not find any classes to take outside of music. She is literally taking two classes (Musical Youth Cultures and some other music class that I can't remember), doing chorus and orchestra (which both technically give a half credit), and her thesis (on music and psychology). Now, it's not that she really likes music that bothers me; it's that she claims that she's so curious, so engaged in the world, that she loves to learn, that she loves to experiment with new fields. ... And here she is, finding herself incapable of finding a third class out of the 1000 classes that are offered each term. Really, there isn't a single class? There isn't even a single psychology class that she's interested in? Nothing? No? I am admittedly finding myself a little less intrigued by courses outside my majors, such that next term I might be taking a lot of geo classes; but at least I could easily find a lot of classes to take, they just aren't as interesting to me as they used to be. Perhaps, she has also reached the point where she knows what is interesting to her and no longer feels the urge to take every class she possibly can that sounds even a little interesting, but ... she's taking two classes, she's not going to be working very hard on her thesis, and she couldn't even find a single psychology class to take? I've taken more than my fair share of environmental science classes, and I intend to take more, because I love it, not because it's a requirement.
I have been wanting to be a TA for several semesters now, and have been a little bummed that I thought I wasn't going to get to before I graduate. And, I confess, I was a little jealous when my brother got to TA a class after his third semester in college, and one of my friends is now TAing her third different class (Intro astronomy, vertebrate embryology, and now genetics). And I haven't gotten to TA anything? :'( But, I told myself, 1) I was asked to TA evolutionary bio last fall but couldn't because I was studying away at SES, and 2) I have switched majors so many times that no one in their right mind would actually want me as a TA, despite the fact that I think I'd make a good TA.

But now I get to TA evolutionary bio! Which is triply good, of course, because I will get a new perspective on evolutionary bio from the regular professor; I will get practice teaching (or at least explaining evolutionary concepts); and it will hopefully help me decide if I actually do want to go to grad school to study evolution and/or the fossil record.

So basically, YAY!!!!!!!



July 2012

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