Wednesday, March 16, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Looking Ahead 

I just realised that it's that time in the semester again when everything seems to be due and that classes end in 3 weeks and that you're still not too clear on what's going to be on the final. So in response to the relative chaos is this post. An attempt at some kind of structure that I will most likely fail to impose on the next month or so.

File my Tax Return
This seems simple until you consider that I worked at 6 different jobs last year, took out student loans, paid my own tuition, contributed to an RRSP (fixed retirement fund) and don't want to pay some accountant to do my taxes for me. I filed my 2003 taxes (3 jobs) last year no problem and so I don't think there will be too many more problems this year. I mean how hard can it be right? I've been avoiding it a little, so honestly, I don't know how hard it can be.

Jim's tax return, on the other hand is easy. One job. That's it. A few medical contributions but that's just one more sheet of paper, that dropped into a puddle and had to be carefully dried out. The writing on it is still very legible though, so no worries.

Project Declination
If I were to call it anything else it would just be confusing. This project takes the place of the final exam for this course that I'm in (and require to graduate). So far we have collected the data for one of two experiments that we are running in order to test a hypothesis. The first experiment is very analysis heavy and the start of the second is dependent on making sure that our data for the first is neatly parsed and organized. We have about 30-40MB (.mp3 format) of raw data to sift through to come up with an estimated 3 minutes of final, usable stimuli. Don't even get me started on experiment 2...

But this is largely under control. I'm going to get my portion of the raw data tonight and while this work will be tedious, it would be simple enough if I am listening to something entertaining in the background. Like the abridged Da Vinci Code on Audible Audiobooks. They didn't have the unabridged one, unfortunately. Even so, it's not like Lisa didn't already tell me how the book ends before I had a chance to listen to the audiobook. Bah humbug.

Carden's Final Project
Carden. Any of you regulars out there in internet land should know that any section that beings with "Carden" and involves actual academic work (you should know that as a person he's a really nice guy) is a good predictor of a pretty long rant.

So sometime last week Carden says that a project worth 25% of the overall course grade will be due by the end of term-ish. No real specifics. He said that we will have a few options to choose from but that we can propose our own ideas. No real specifics. He said that he will talk about it a little more in subsequent lectures. At those lectures he has yet to offer up an real specifics. Given that there are about three weeks of classes left (and steadily counting) and no specifics I am starting to contemplate the purchase of a firearm. However, because of my permanent resident status, I'm sure my application will not be approved.

Seeing as how I have no real specifics for this project, there isn't really anything I can do about it but sit here and ruminate on ways to incapacitate Carden such that no real harm is done to him (I like the guy on many other dimensions) but that he is no longer able to teach.

Psych 100 Stress Management project
This one is due on Monday. Basically it's not that bad. It's a 5 page write up on one aspect of your life that is causing stress and a program, based on psychological principles that we studied in class, that will help alleviate the stressor. It will be graded on clarity, use of relevant psychological principles and how pratical the solution is. This project, I am happy to say, I have under control.

The Graduate Record Examination is like the SATs for graduate school. I'm not too worried about it, but am completely freaked out about it at the same time. Some time last year I qualified for Mensa. The only things a high score on IQ tests is a good predictor of are (1) My ability to do well on standardized tests and (2) My overall academic ability. It doesn't mean I'm smarter than most people. In fact, apart from academic success, it doesn't predict any other forms of intelligence very well at all. I mean, I still can't open childproof bottles....

So I'm not all that worried about my performance on this test, but taking it requires me to prove that I am indeed Johanna Tan Si-en and the only forms of ID they will accept are currently in my parent's safety deposit box at the bank. Not exactly accessible to me at this time. I'm considering asking my brother if he can ask my parents if they will pass him my documents so that he can ferry them to me, but apart from that, I don't really have a very good plan.

Not to mention that I have to book the test pretty soon and start buying material with which to prepare for the test. I don't even know what I should get to study with. They say all those GRE guides out there are not bad but that the test changes slightly from year to year and that those guides are not on the "cutting edge" so to speak. I want to frigging kick ass at this test because I know I can. That's added pressure to perform.

Various Final Exams
Oh, like this one really needs an explanation...

Summer '05
I finally (after two hours of battling an overtaxed system) registered for my summer courses. I am taking two third year Psych courses both which look really interesting (and both of which I require to graduate). I am also hoping that a spot will open up in this other course that will allow me to get my lit requirement to graduate. Otherwise I would just have to take it next year, but I really don't want to.

Also in the Summer, Carden hasn't made the call for it yet, but I'm hoping to land a summer position with the folks from the National Science and Engineering Research Commission (NSERC). These are the people I'm hoping to get a scholarship to do my master's from. More on this at a later date.

So my plate's rather full, but there's still room for plenty of quality programming: GO ROB AND AMBER!

posted by Joie! at 12:29 p.m.


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