Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No more psych

I dropped the psych major for good yesterday. I figure I've taken just about all the psych I want to, and it's not worth taking the last three to finish the major. The three more I'd need include the senior seminar, which would mean a whole class of only psych majors, and I've come to realize that I don't really enjoy classes with all psych majors. So I'm not going to take it.

Please don't take this to mean that I am no longer an authority on all things psychological -- naturally, I remain so. If you want to know anything about social, educational, statistical, cognitive, decision-based, or clinical psychology, you just ask, becuase I know all about those.

This leaves me with some space in my schedule next year. I was thinking about doing the maritime studies concentration instead, but that would require three courses, chosen from just a few, and if I did that I would have the same problem of having to take three courses. So I'm not going to.

My schedule for next fall is as follows:
Thesis
400-level math course
200-level economics course with an asterisk
another course
I have currently signed up for a senior seminar called math modeling, an econ course called Economics of Developing Countries (the one in which I considered two pitchers of Gatorade) and intro to geosciences / environmental studies. I am not sure about that last one. For one thing, the lab is on Monday, which means I wouldn't be able to go to half of the colloquia. For another, I did a lot of geosciences at the Mountain School and Williams-Mystic, so I don't know how many new things I'd learn. But the professor sounds good. We shall see; I still have a few more days of preregistration.

I have opened comments again. Please comment away.* Perhaps you can tell me what courses to take.

* Please comment away with discretion, i.e., if there is a rule against your commenting, please refrain from commenting, so that I can keep comments open for everyone else. You know, all those people who like to comment. Yeah, them.

1 comment:

Ken Thomas '93 said...

Dear Diana,

I can't find a statement of the 'rules' here, so I can't tell if I'm violating them. Similarly, as an only occasional visitor, I had some problems finding the 2006 course catalog on Williams' site. So I hope...

I'm also inbound from the discussion of this on ephBlog. Not knowing you well, and not having the whole series of courses you've taken in front of me, and not knowing the faculty at Williams very well anymore...

Nor in fact not knowing you and your interests well enough, I am unsure of the value of my advise. Perhaps the lesson is rather that Williams gives you the opportunity to know people and community that well, but that will not answer your immediate question.

Following the path of discussion over on ephBlog, when I look at offered ANSO courses, I don't even recognize the names of the people teaching in ANSO. That's a frightening thought to me, as the ANSO program was long a home-away-from-home for me, for many years after I left Williams. I need to go home again a little more often.

So I have to apologize again for not being able to give real and concrete advice, the kind of suggestions I received when I got to Williams. If Cara Schlesinger had never convinced me to take SOC 205(F) with Bob Friedrichs as a fifth course...

How such little events, change the course of our lives...

Looking over the catalog descriptions, I can't help returning to the model of being a frosh who took five courses a semester. There's just so much out there to be learned.

So I'll resort to telling you what I'm interested in, as poor a response as that is.

SOC 327(F) Violence, "Militancy," and Collective Recovery* is simply to tantalizing to ignore. It begins: "Is anyone capable of an act of violence?..." Are we?

SOC 324(F) Memory and Identity: "Th[e] sense of origins,...is far from natural; it itself has its origins in the debates and politics of the time, and evolves under an array of influences."

That last is a poor paraphrase of Perry Anderson's The Invention of Tradition, and as I've said, I can't speak for Shevchenko's ability to represent these thoughts and traditions. But engaging these issues, which are being replayed throughout our community and world, is vitally important. And Bob Jackall would certainly argue that you can't complete Kai Lee's current work on the construction of cities, without understanding these parallel fields.

Which reminds me that I have a paper to finish for An van Dienderen for her and Didier's symposium on Making Sense in/of the City. I've gotten far too little done today, and I'm feeling very guilty for choosing planning committee meetings on Monday over flying to Mexico City to make food for Vanessa and put cold cloths on her very sick little tummy.

Haven't finished white papers for those meetings, either, but that will get done tomorrow. Mexico City will have to be Wednesday or Thursday.

Congrats on your race, and good luck on filling your schedule for the fall. I hope that the tradition of course shopping is still alive and well; my strategy was always to start off going to eight or nine, and narrow down to the courses what I was so in enchanted with that I couldn't give them up.

That strategy can get you in a lot of trouble, of course...

(Footnote to myself: Charles Toomaijian and I once had a few sparing contests on the length of catalog descriptions and the cost of printing the multi-paragraph course descriptions that used be the norm at Williams. You don't get those kind of descriptions at Berkeley, and we don't need to be heading in that direction. Mea culpa for letting Charles have his way and save $5K a year while sacrificing community. Time to revisit that dusty discussion.)