26 January 2021

What are TAships like?

This semester I'm doing something new and learning a lot! One of the professors in the Psychology department offered me a position as a Teaching Assistant for a class I took with her last year, Psychology Methodology. I've only had a TA for one class I took, so I was excited and a bit nervous to take this opportunity. Taking this TAship means that I attend classes along with other students, support in-class activities and answer questions, hold office hours for students to come and chat, and help the professor with grading. 


So far, we've mostly been setting up for the semester and have worked on a few in-class activities. I usually pop into different breakout rooms to see if people have questions (I know this can be kinda weird on the student end, since I've had those awkward moments when professors pop up in our discussions!). It's also been fun to revisit some of the content I learned in that class, since psych methods are very relevant for my other practicum right now!

As a part of the TAship, I'll also be giving a mini-lecture later on in the semester. This mini-lecture is supposed to align with the course content for that day. I will most likely talk about the research I'm doing about pro-environmental behavior and COVID-19. It can feel scary to approach professors about working with them on research, so I hope I can offer some ideas and support for students to accomplish their goals in college if those involve research! 

Being a TA is new to me and makes me a bit nervous about showing the skills I've developed and sharing knowledge with peers, but I hope I'm able to be a resource and support students learning about psych methods! This is such a cool opportunity and I'm so grateful that my professor thought of me to do this.

My Classes and Schedule

Hi everyone, it's been a little bit! I've been a bit bogged down with finalizing my schedule for the semester and getting all of the details worked out. This has been particularly confusing this semester, since I'm taking four practicum credits. Two of these are for the research study I'm working on with one of my professors, which will expand my capstone study on pro-environmental behavior and COVID-19 behavior. The other two are for a psychology TAship I was offered, which I'll tell you more about later! 

Getting these credits registered with the registrar was kind of an in-depth process, which I knew nothing about until this semester. If you ever decide to register for practicum credits, you'll probably go through a similar learning process! Because the practicum credits are for classes that don't exist yet, I have to develop a course description, learning goals, and grading criteria with my faculty sponsor. When we both sign these documents, they get submitted to the undergraduate registrar, who manually adds them to my class schedule. This is what they look like once they're added! 


Besides the two practicum courses, I'm taking MATH105: Perspectives in Statistics and GEND200: Genders/Sexualities in the US. So far, math has been a review of what I learned in PSY200: Statistics for Psychology, and a refresher for using the program R to analyze data (I first learned about this in BIO141!). I've been really enjoying my gender studies class so far, too. The readings have been really interesting already, and I've really appreciated the professor's efforts to set community agreements to make the classroom a supportive learning environment. 

All of my classes are online except for GEND200, which is hybrid. I'll have my first in-person class this Thursday! I have somewhat mixed feelings about this given my general anxiety about COVID-19, but I know that LC is doing its best to test students and protect the campus community from the virus. 

But related to COVID-19, I've decided to move out of the house I live in with other LC students. It's inconvenient to have to move right at the beginning of the semester, but I feel more comfortable getting my own place so that I can be more careful about what I'm exposed to. This way, I'll only have to worry about the COVID exposure I bring to myself through classes and work, and can decide about my own level of comfort, since I tend to be on the cautious side. I'll be moving into my new apartment in SE Portland next week on Tuesday, and I'm hopeful that this process will go smoothly! My commute will be longer, but I'm happy to make that trade off to feel safer from COVID and to be living in a really cool area of Portland. 

So that's what's on my mind starting the semester! I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. 

24 January 2021

Creating the Work Space that Works for You

One of my goals for the new semester is to create times and environments where I am in the right physical and mental space to be productive and studios. I am a person who tends to get distracted easily or to procrastinate what I need to be doing, but I find that I'm a lot better about getting down to work, and staying focused when I am in the right space. So I thought I would share with all of you some of the organizing and focus tools that have been most helpful to me, particularly when we are all spending even more time than usual doing work online instead of in person.


Make the desk that works for you 

I know this might not be the case for everyone, but I have decided I must be seated at a desk or table to do most of my work. If I find myself trying to reply to email while curled up on the couch, it's just too easy to click over to youtube or twitter and relax a little (or doomscroll the news and pretend to relax). Sitting at a desk doesn't take away all urges to procrastinate, but it feels more professional, and I know when I'm sitting down at my desk it's for a purpose. So, find the environment that is most conducive to your focus. 

Once you know where works best for you, make sure it's set up to minimize distractions and help your workflow. For me, this means keeping a very clean desk with only the essentials and a few small pieces of decor. For you that might mean photos of family and lots of sticky notes and books sitting at your finger tips, just find what works for you! 

If you can, invest in whatever material or tech that will help you. I recently got a new monitor that is very large and good resolution because I wear contacts and I tend to strain my eyes on a smaller screen. To go with the monitor, I got a free standing keyboard and track pad. These were definitely investments, but with spending so much time online, it felt very worth it. 



 Organize your digital environment too

Once you have a physical space that's set up to best suit your needs, don't forgot to organize your digital environment too! For me, this means organizing the following places: Google calendar, google drive, bookmarks, google keep, and my computer desktop with all my tabs and windows. 


On google calendar I make sure to have all of my classes and recurring meetings, and I also add weekly reminders to myself like "do laundry" every sunday, and "turn in reading reflection" at the beginning of one of my classes that requires a daily assignment. 






For my google drive, I make a folder for each of my classes, one for work related stuff, and folders for archived work and miscellaneous stuff. The only documents not put away in folders are those that I am currently working on like an upcoming essay or a powerpoint. This makes it so that the only thing I see when I log in is what I need to be working on. 


I also make sure to update my bookmarked websites at the beginning of each semester with the class websites I will need to visit regularly. This makes it very simple to find all the information I need quickly. I recommend using the google chrome extension Tab for A Cause because it runs small adds and donates money to charity, and is a great way to visualize bookmarks. 



Google keep has been great for creating and organizing to do lists in various categories. I try to keep this updates to that I don't forgot anything or get overwhelmed by my workload. It's also great because you can share lists with people, and open google keep as a side bar in google drive, email, and calendar, so your to do list is in the applications you use on chrome. 


The other important thing for me to organize is all of my tabs and windows. I have 3 different emails and google drives that I need to check and use regularly, and I like to keep them all open so I can switch between them. I've recently started using tab groups so that I can keep open the tabs I want, but I can easily hide the tabs I'm not using at that moment. I also keep open all of my class websites, and open my readings under that class tab group. This might not work for everyone, but if you spend a lot of time on chrome, this has been very helpful to me.  




Learn what study tools help you

There are a lot of study tools out there and it would take ages to test them all out, so I'm just going to recommend one that has worked well for me: Pomofocus that sets a 30 minute timer for work time, followed by a 5 minute timer for a break, and you can label what task you're working on and say how many sessions of 30 you want to accomplish the task in. 








Hopefully these tips help you! But also remember not to be too hard on yourself when you procrastinate or have a hard time doing work, it's totally normal, especially when making the transition to college. It's definitely taken me a few years of college to figure out what works for me, and I'm still not always perfect at it.  






















Weather

If you’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest and are considering Lewis and Clark as your college you may be wondering what the weather is like here, what you should bring, and how it is different from the place you live now. After returning home to Indiana for winter break, I’ve become more acutely aware of the weather here in Portland. 


I flew into Portland late at night. There was a thick fog covering everything as my uber finally pulled into Lewis and Clark. I had to stand outside while waiting to check in with security. There was no bite to the cold air, and it was altogether pleasant. 


The next mourning it was clear blue skies. In Indiana, it had been snowing for three days straight, and I hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. My friend and I took a walk in Tryon, the small urban wilderness next to campus. It was beautiful. I only needed one small coat, there was a nice breeze, but not one that penetrated the skin, just subtly pushing past us as we walked. 


The weather here overall tends to be chilly but mild, even in the summer I’d get cold at night. Because portland is less humid than I’m used to, I had to adjust to the drastic temperature changes. Usually, it can be quite hot during the day and will get very cold at night. Now I always keep an extra jacket tied around my waist for when the temperature drops. 


You may have seen pictures of LC covered in snow, but don’t let this deceive you. They donnot have cold winters here. Sometimes it will dip below freezing, yes but it is nothing like the long sustained bone-chilling cold in some parts of this country. I was a fool by those pictures too and there were a few things I brought with me that I really didn’t need; long underwear, mittens, wool socks, a thick winter coat. I’m used to at least a few days of soul gripping cold so that’s what I prepared for, but I doubt that’s something I’ll experience here. 


That being said there are some things that you should definitely bring if you come to Lewis and Clark. A good raincoat and waterproof shoes are essential. Now, there was really not as much rain as I thought there would be. People really hype the rain here. There have rarely been thunderstorms and the rain is light enough that if you’re just going to get food or rushing to class you’d probably be fine. But I like to not be held back by the rain so a raincoat is still good to have. I also like dry feet. Oftentimes, if it’s been raining, the parking lot outside of Howard turns into a river, and the cobblestone streets are big mud puddles so shoes are important. 


I hope this was helpful, if you have any questions you can email me at tdmaclaughlin@lclark.edu


23 January 2021

LET'S TALK: remote college, new year, and more

 hello lovely peoples :) from wherever you are, thanks for tuning in and taking the time today to read this blog.

life’s been absolutely wild in all possible ways, I’m sure we can all recognize that. But we’re still here and in more ways than others and at the end of the day, I think we’re all just trying. yay us.

during the winter break I got the chance to constantly call my roommate and neighbor living in Hawai’i and Oregon, we spent hours upon hours talking about the strangest things, and we also wished my roommate a happy 19th birthday, so that was exciting and fun. 


let’s talk about winter break, wow. It really was a much needed break not only from the academia environment but from studies in general. winter break was so nice, being able to do me, to sleep without guilt of not being productive or “working”. It is understandable that people (always) have work to do or get done, but I made myself step away from that mindset and literally engage in the whole purpose of the break, in some ways I feel that’s a privilege. that’s intense, but that’s just my mind, constant powerful thoughts roaming my mind as if there’s something to find or search for. 


friendships are relationships and therefore hold space for growth, love, memories and more. I feel privileged to say that I stayed on campus for my fall semester and met some awesome people, formed some positive relationships with all of three some people. now that I’m in a different state, continuing friendships can be challenging, but I can confidently say that (for now) my friends and I are making the necessary efforts to keep it existing. it’s a whole different challenging dynamic because these friendships were so impactful and meaningful to me, so we make efforts to check in on one another. i think that’s the one of the most important things, and it’s nice to know that people care as much as you do.


this semester I decided to stay arizona and complete all my classes online. sometimes when I think about my decision I lowkey don’t like it, but I also remember why I chose what I chose. 

the semester has just begun so I’m enrolled in two sociology and anthropology classes: reproductive justice and research theory & design, an introduction to spanish course (eu falo um pouco de português, então isso ajuda), (I absolutely love and enjoy learning languages), and lastly my first year seminar course called words: horror, suspense, and paranoia. I already love my reproductive justice class and spanish is entertaining, but I think it’ll take some time for me to come around for my other two courses. other than that I always find myself just trying to get through the day, which expands to the week and to the semester. this semester is going to be interesting and as much as I’m looking forward to it, I’m excited to write, make videos and share things and experiences (virtually ofc) through the LC blogging page.


tchau, until next time.




RO


& GILL


09 January 2021

Adopting Pets in College

I recently adopted a dog this semester! Her name is Winnie, and she’s a 5-7 year old chihuahua mix that I adopted from a rescue. I did this after much consideration and discussion with my housemates, and decided it was time for me to bring a new companion into the family. I’ve had her for about three months now, and she’s really settling in and becoming a central part of my daily routine. Shortly before I adopted Winnie, one of my roommates adopted a kitten named Reuben. We planned to get a cat and a dog that would get along, and they do! More recently, my other roommate adopted an older kitten named Remy, and he and Reuben became BFFs. Now we’ve got a full house with five human roommates and three animal companions.



Adopting pets has been a big change, a huge commitment, and something we’ve only been able to do now that we live off-campus. Some students do have animals in the dorms, but they’re required to be emotional support animals. So, this is definitely a perk of being off-campus. While having pets can be amazing and fun, I wanted to note a few things worth considering about adopting pets in college.


1. Expect the unexpected.


Last week, Winnie developed an eye infection and I had to take her to the emergency vet. They were very helpful, but it was so hard to see her in pain! She’s doing a lot better now, but I ended up having to rearrange my work schedule a bit so I could keep an eye on her. Stuff like this can come up unexpectedly with animals, and I’m glad that it happened at a time that I could get her right to the vet to get the care she needed.



2. How will pets influence your schedule?


This isn’t as much of an issue with cats (since you can leave them pretty much all day), but it can be tricker with dogs. When I first got Winnie, I wasn’t sure how long I could leave her alone before she needed to go out. While I still don’t like leaving her alone for long periods of time, she’s done well about not having accidents and letting me know when she needs to go out! But if you adopt a pet that needs more supervision (like a puppy!), will you have the time to come home between classes? Do you spend enough time at home? Good things to consider!


3. The long-term commitment.


Adopting any pet is a many-year commitment. As a small dog, Winnie will likely live for another 10+ years, meaning I’ll have her when I’m 30! I’m glad she’ll be with me for so long, and at the same time, I have to consider that this will impact my life and especially housing for a long time. Luckily, many pet-friendly apartments/houses allow cats and small dogs, so it won’t be impossible to find somewhere to live. This would be harder with big dogs! Having Winnie will also factor into my future life plans, like traveling, moving, and working. 


Those are some things that I considered that helped me decide to adopt Winnie. Ultimately, all of these things felt like challenges during college, but things that I could manage when they came up. Pandemic pets can bring a lot of joy to our lives, AND we should remember that they’ll be around after the pandemic is over!


02 January 2021

New Year, New Semester

It's 2021! That means that we're starting a new year and a new semester. This fall has been a bit more difficult than past semesters for me, especially because of online and hybrid learning. This semester, I'm sure, will pose similar challenges. However, I feel much more prepared to manage my time and get as much as possible out of my classes! 

For spring semester, I'll be taking GEND200: Genders and Sexualities in the US, which I'm excited about! Even though I'm a Psychology major, I've wanted to take a gender studies class since starting college. I'm curious to see what it will be like. I'm also taking MATH105: Perspectives in Statistics. I took PSY200 (Statistics for Psychology) last year, so I'm hopeful that this math class will mostly be review. It might also help me with my practicum! 

I will be taking a practicum with one of my psych professors, Jolina Ruckert. I took my capstone with her last semester and loved it! This semester I'll be working (mostly independently) on a research study about common predictors of behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social distancing and mask-wearing, and pro-environmental behavior. This is similar to the topic for my capstone, but I'll likely be looking at more complex predictors, like locus of control and working memory capacity. It feels a bit daunting to get started on this project since it'll be mostly self-directed, but luckily I've checked out several books about survey research and statistics, since this project will go beyond the statistics knowledge I have from previous classes. I plan on doing some initial reading over these last two weeks of break! 

Over break, I've been watching a lot of Survivor, learning to play chess with my roommates, working on puzzles, learning to use Garageband, and doing some journaling. I have way more books on my shelf than I can realistically read, but I'm hoping to at least start some of them!