Psychology Laboratory

I have made it through the first week, homework and all, I think… I hope. I may check one more time in the various places. Now, I have met four of my professors, I also visited the school weight room and though complete and thorough, it was on par with the Y or Planet Fitness, with way fewer cardio machines than either in fact. I met John there, yet he explained he was the third down on the totem pole of nametags on the window frame.

I went to sleep late, close to 2 a.m. I set the ocean playing and set it to turn off thirty minutes before the alarm and that seemed to work. I had woken up while the ocean was off and rolled back over, then got up quicker when the alarm did go off. Quicker yet not instantly. The routine went on. When I got downstairs I did not have (and/or prioritize,) the time to eat breakfast. I boiled my water and brewed my tea, yet by the time I had to leave it had barely cooled down enough to sip. On the plus side, I did leave 30 minutes before class, and for my earliest class of the week, 9:30 a.m.

Arriving punctually, I noticed the class was in the same lecture hall as my Humanities class and was able to take a most direct route through the building. On my way up the steps (yes, there are elevators… yet, more PT is better,) I passed another student coming down and heard them both mention psychology class while the second turned and they both began to descend. Interjecting myself, I inquired loudly if they were referring to PSY-140, section H3 I specified. Affirmative was a reply and slight nod, I continued that I was on my way to the class and knew where it was. Leading them there, I thought I’d found a nice way to repay the navigator for ensuring I’d made it to my first class.

I took a similar seat in the room, another row or two higher I think as the distribution required. This teacher will place me in a slightly new situation. Already a Master in his field, he is nearly a Ph.D. It is clear he belongs at the head of the class, yet from my own perspective, there may be some difficulties. He is from Egypt, and I presume a native speaker there. His English is more than fluent, yet the arrangement of some words, the use of repetitive phrases, and adherence to the text on the slides indicated to me that giving clear, multi-faceted explanations of some topics may be difficult for him, again, from my perspective.

In compensation, he draws out student discussion as a way to rephrase himself, keeps a close on on the class to ensure everyone is following along, and repeatedly asks if everyone “is clear, following along, or has any questions? On this or anything?” With no response, he goes quickly with “Moving on.” as he turns his attention to load the next slide. Time management was on par. Orientation skipped what most teachers emphasize and many fewer students care about I think: the metrics of the grading scales and assignment weights. Rather, he allowed the class to choose our weekly due dates for forum discussions and quizzes (Monday, Friday,) as he said to him it makes no difference at all. He did emphasize the due dates we chose would be set it stone.

“If you ever have any problems, email me. If you have a problem, you forgot to do a quiz before the deadline, I will tell you I’m sorry. However, I will not unlock it for you. Except if you are seriously sick and have been injured, then bring proof.” Assignments had some grace, seven days late for 50% credit. Mostly though, he was quick, explained each slide, checked for questions, moved on, and ended up releasing the class thirty minutes early (for a two-hour class.) That, on one last group decision. With that one bit of mercy granted, he sternly added the lab assignment for the first week was due today- college policy- or else we’d be dropped.

He paused while the class groaned.

He looked at the clock behind us and then slowly built up a crescendo in his sentences. “This should only take us about 20 or 30 minutes” as he glanced at his watch. “However, it’s pretty simple and you could do it at home if the class wants to.” Another brief popular vote was had, and wouldn’t you know- everyone wanted to go home. One last call for presenters for the first student-led module next week. Five students to pre-study and prepare a presentation on the material at the beginning of each class. I think this may be another way he overcomes any communication barrier while also adding a valuable component to the class. Not one to delay, I quickly volunteered and was asked to stand and he called for four more tributes.

Without much more delay, the class was released and he gathered my four partners and me in front of his desk for some brief instructions. We’re free to create any form of media, video, slideshows, powerpoints, etc., as he motioned to the tech resources on the desk. He also availed himself to critique our presentations in whatever form prior to the class. In essence, he chooses a team each week to create the opening twenty minutes of content for the class each week- so that we can explain to ourselves, in our own words and understanding with a week’s reading on the material, so that he can stick to the slides he has prepared and hopefully not get pulled off with as many questions in the rest of the lecture.

I did find one error in his presentation today, having my approximation of a language issue, I contributed it more of a grammar or copy/paste error on the slide and raised my hand to point it out during our discussion. He read quickly his slide to himself, repeated the slide again and moved on. The error (in my opinion,) was the omission of the word “no” in a sentence, which inverted the meaning of the sentence and made it false. Knowing many languages have various means of negating the meaning of a phrase or sentence, I reason it is not a clear error for a multilingual person to correct. I’ve also observed this in the speech of non-first-language speakers.

In any case, I let the issue go until the end of class, after our small group and met, been instructed by him, and then made our plans to meet next Tuesday to work on our presentation, and they had left as well. Then, one on one, I asked him for additional corrections as there was I slide I could not understand. I explained my issue and my understanding of the concepts it referred to, as well as explained the omission of the word “no” and that in this case, its omission was a negation, rendering the statement false. Using his laptop, he slide back to re-read the slide himself.

“I’m sure that line was copy/pasted from the textbook.”

Thank you, could you help me find that section? I’ll read more on it tonight, I replied. His eyes were firmly locked on his laptop, flickering back and forth across the screen. I let him have a few moments.

“Perhaps there is an error. It could happen, I am human” he finally said.

With a full bright smile, I replied, You too?

His smile mimicked my own and he told me he’d look into it and email me sometime before the next class, two or three days maybe. I thanked him for his consideration and quickly moved into my brief appreciation of psychology (and my collection of two previous, now expired textbooks for the class,) and we ended with some friendly chatter and well wishes for the holiday weekend.

After a long walk back out to my car, I drove around campus to the other side and I went and paid my book fee for the year. $420 will be the total cost of my education for the semester. With the Michigan Reconnect program and my payment today, I am paid in full, and this semester is all set. Paying the room and board bills here at home might be a problem… yet, I should find out tomorrow if my appeal was granted. If so, there will be no financial issues for the remainder of the year (I hope.)

After another long walk back out to my car, I drove around another quarter of the campus to arrive at the field house and meet John. I took a good look at the place to size it up. Forty minutes, twice per week. I can do this.

Back home and spent the rest of my day doing my first lab assignment. I’ve always heard the phrase “labs”, yet I’ve not taken a college science course yet so I am unfamiliar. In the last vote, I would have stayed and finished the assignment with the class.

No point in saying what I’ve already said… did you know that 2.23 groups of people per minute walk by Five Below?

After that, I’ve been home and sitting, and smoking. Way too much walking this week, my ankle is killing me. Oh, and forum posts, and another introduction post, another assignment to do, a brief reflection paper that wasn’t even mentioned in class, yet I’ve now completed and uploaded it. I plan to stay caught up this year. I finished the day reading ahead in the government book and with enough Stouffer’s lasagna for a family of four.

Time to rest.

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