This week I woke up Wednesday morning to an email from the Psychology Student Association announcing that it was time to get graduation photos. And it hit me. Wait I’m graduating this year? I mean I’ve learned a lot, but in the next 7 months you guys are going to finish teaching me everything I need to know and send me out in the world?! I have been so caught up in the future lately, planning for graduate school applications, that I forgot to slow down and finish with this degree first.
Immediately I went into planning mode again. Oh crap. Photos are in a month? Ok I have to get my hair cut, maybe coloured, I need to book a facial, I should book a manicure, do I need to figure out what I’m going to wear? Wait is that only a high school grad thing? Are we all supposed to look like perfectly groomed sheep this time around? That’s what they spent the last four years doing right? Teaching us how to all think alike. I think there’s a cross-cultural psychology term for that. Psychic unity. But I think that really wasn’t meant to be applied to the education business.
So I went into full planning mode. And then I just stopped for a minute, snuggled a little deeper under my warm duvet, and thought – wow. Here we are. First year I couldn’t wait to be done. I hated first year. Second year I finished and thought “good Lord, halfway there.” Third year I finished bubbling with excitement – my hard work has almost earned me a piece of paper! (Yay! After all those late nights writing papers, the university is finally going to give one back!) And then I spent the summer researching, and studying for the GRE, and all sorts of other stuff. Somewhere in that four month period, I stopped counting down, and thinking of the end game. Now that I’m in fourth year, I continue to look to the future, and the end date just got a lot farther ahead. It feels like I am just beginning. I still feel like I’ve got so much to learn, and my attitude has shifted from “Please just let this be over!” to “Wait, I’m not done yet, what do you mean it’s over?”
Kind of like when you start to read a book, and the beginning kind of sucks and you contemplate not even finishing it, but if you’re stubborn like me, you keep at it, and then at the end the author leaves you on a cliff. And you are so disoriented and confused and annoyed because there was more that you want to know. You weren’t ready for the book to be over.
Is this what growing up means?
Funny thing is that as slow and painful as the entire experience seemed at times, I have no idea where the time went, or where the scared little first year went. I have changed so much, from the wide eyed girl who didn’t even know what shawarma was and thought that the accordion buses were the coolest thing since sliced bread. That’s right, I am now the coffee chugging, sushi addicted, long-distance running, fourth year psych major. In that four years I have had some of the most amazing experiences of my life, though I will admit that probably 85% of them happened outside the classroom. In that four years I supposedly learned a lot. I present to you the top fifteen things my university education has taught me in the last 3.09 years.
- There are taste buds for sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sourness (and according to some, umami, invented by the Japanese. It basically translates to savory, commonly associated with soy sauce, and apparently cheese, though it has been more strongly linked to MSG), but there is no taste receptor for spiciness because it is a pain signal.
- You can train a cat to do just about anything and you can train bees to detect bombs, but forget about the pigeons. They’re too stupid.
- Cornflakes were invented to “provide a balanced diet that would not arouse sexual appetites”
- In South America there is a duck with a half meter long corkscrew shaped penis (This was somehow related to organic chemistry but I forget how)
- People will be more likely to comply with a request if you give them a reason. Even if it is a completely insignificant reason. For the Wiki version check it out here
- In Africa, there is a country where males are named for the day of the week they are born on. This supposedly says something about their personality. They have backed this with the fact that more people born on Wednesdays(the day associated with criminal behaviour) actually DO appear in court more than those born on other days of the week. Which raises the question of whether they just created a self-fulfilling prophecy or if this is actually true.
- There have been some pretty unethical studies done in the past, but they revealed some pretty important stuff on compliance and role fulfillment. (If you’re not up to date on psych literature check out the Milgram Studies and the Zimbardo Prison Experiments, pretty cool stuff)
- Psychology basically has nothing figured out for sure, but we have come up with some pretty convincing arguments and ideas.
- Academics are very patient people. When one discredits another academically, they will work months or years on a paper to disprove the transgressor. When academics fight things get wordy.
The university doesn’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. Simply mentioning that I was drinking the worst cup of coffee, my friend actually knew that I was talking about the Crème Caramel coffee from the campus cafes. That tells you how bad it was if saying it was the worst meant that someone knew exactly what I was talking about
- Sometimes you just have to buckle up for safety. When life hands you a course that you thoroughly hate and may potentially flunk – study harder so you never have to deal with it again. No giving up after the Saturday midterm. Which yes, they can make you write a Saturday exam. Only the science profs do it though.
- Never change your multiple choice answer unless you are 1002% sure that you just had a brain fart the first time. If you circled it the first time and now are doubting, leave it. I cannot even count the number of times I have changed my mind only to find out I had it right the first time. It is painful going to a professor’s office only to realize that you would have gotten an extra ten percent if you had left it alone.
- Writing a 20 page essay is easy. It’s the 8 pagers that are the worst.
- If you leave your laptop plugged in 24/7, the battery will cave. And then your laptop becomes a desktop.
- Drinking coffee doesn’t sober you up. It just makes you a perkier drunk.
I am quite sure I was supposed to learn more, and I’m sure if you ask me direct questions, I will know most of what I was taught given enough time to
google it think about it.