Saturday, November 04, 2006

Synchronisity is a very cool thing

So I worked really hard and I think, I pray, it paid off on the Social Psych test I took yesterday. If nothing else I'm really happy with the essay I wrote. Not that I found this test any easier than Dr. M.'s first one but a small part of why I think did better with this sections material is that I could really relate to it in a personal way. I had a much easier time of finding the words to explain the mental pictures I had of each of the concepts.

Speaking of finding words to go with mental pictures, I found some words that I love love love. I was listening to a new group, new to me any way, Burning Bush and their song Imagine. One of the lyrics is "Imagine the view from the top of your dreams..." I am in love with the images that lyric brings to mind for me.

Speaking of dreams, I have been a little depressed lately. Some of the things contributing to this round are the fact that I feel like I'm just barley keeping my head above water with my grades in both Social Psych and Art Therapy, the fact that I don't seem to be able to connect with the teacher that has taken over for Dr. M while she's recovering from her cancer treatments, and other usual stuff like not enough time for myself, the hubby and work. I've had trouble keeping my perspective on why exactly I'm doing this and where I'm going to end up. This past week I've finally started to come out of this round of depression. Some of the things that have helped are finding the cool song lyric, knowing I did well on my test, the fact that I may get my first professional photography credit in one of Arcadia's publications, being able to bring together some really wonderful women for a really fun dinner and studying with them for this test, there is a lot to be said for being in community with like minded people and I had forgotten about that.
The other thing that has helped so much to bring me out of my funk is that I went to a lecture sponsored by the Association of Women in Psychology last night and I'm so glad I did. Three women who spoke were just so inspirational. The first person to speak was Lynn Brown who is a private psychotherapist, the second was Lisa Bowleg who is an associate professor at Drexel, and the last was Ana Maria Garcia who is the chair of the Sociology/Anthro/Criminal Justice dept at Arcadia. Lynn got me excited when she talked about how she encourages her patients to journal, how she helped one of her patients find parts of herself thru photography, how she uses yoga and meditation as self-therapy. I had asked her a question about how she incorporates Art Therapy into her practice and while I can't quote her she basically told me that is was a valuable tool that she uses with her patients. During a break I asked told her why I had asked my question and she said that she could tell from the way I was engaged with her lecture and by the questions that I had asked that I was a born counselor. Wow!! What a compliment. Lisa, spoke about issues relating to minority women and how difficult it is for them to follow recommendations on how to achieve optimum health. One example was the advice to eat right, and how hard that is because there are few grocery stores that offer fewer healthy choices of food in low income neighborhoods. She also talked about challenges to the mental health of disabled women. This got me to thinking about weather or not there's any research on mental health as it relates to less obvious disabilities like dyslexia. Ana Maria talked about how she views her roll as a feminist teacher. I was a bit tired by then so again I can't really quote her but what I came away with from her lecture was that she feels it's important for the process of learning to take place rather than just filling her students up with facts for them to spit it back out. I got the impression that when she walks into a class room she takes it as a given that everyone will be successful rather than the expectation that some of the students will fail.

I think this is precisely why I feel it's a struggle to connect with Dr. M.'s replacement. Dr. M. expects us all to rise to level of the material, is confident that we are all capable of doing so and act accordingly. As opposed to the replacement who may have the expectation that we rise to level of the material but doesn't think that we all are capable of doing so. That expectation, that belief, that all the students will be successful in their class is the common thread that runs thru all the classes where I have really connected with the teacher. These teachers are passionate about their subjects, want to inspire their students to have that same kind of passion and will go the extra mile to help all their students get there, not just their personal pet's. Dr. M. is certainly like that and so is Dr. Robbins and Dr. Blustein. I've had to work my butt off in all their classes but they inspire(d) me to want to do it. This is why, even though I only received B's in Dr. B's classes and a C from Dr. R I still value their classes more than some of the ones where the A came easy.

At one point in this round of depression I felt that some how Dr. M. didn't like me. After my dismal performance on her first test I took her up on her offer to go over the test to figure out where I had gone wrong. I did this in spite of the fact that I thought she didn't like me. Something that I have figured out, thanks to Ana Maria, is the that whether or not Dr. M. likes me she is committed to my success. Perhaps I was intimidated by her, perhaps my self doubt was getting in the way. I may just be a total fool but if I hang on to the belief that Dr. M believes in me, believes in all of us who are struggling with the material, then I know I can survive and get a good grade in the class. Now I just have to make it thru the rest of the semester with the replacement who doesn't have that kind of faith in me/us.

I also really wish that the lecture had taken place before Dr. M's test. I learned more in those couple of hours about The Fundamental Attirbution Error and it's application, and about other concepts in Social Psychology, than I have in the all the time I've spent in class since Dr.M left.

All in all, this week as helped me climb back up to see the view from the top of my dreams.

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