Sunday, November 1, 2009

Time sure flies...

Clearly school has started. My sheer lack of real posts (the book review doesn't count) since my aunts' visit the week before school is evidence enough of the life I have been living for the past few months. It has been crazy! Gloria and Donna left town the Monday after the Emmy's (see earlier posts) and school started that week. This quarter has been my most intense by far, since starting at UCLA. The quarter seems to be flying along and I am just barely keeping up. But tonight I'm committed to taking a few minutes to giving you a run down of the highlights of the last 5 weeks.

School started up with a bang. I am taking a "cognate" this quarter, which is any class that is outside of the school of education. The cognate requirement (I must take 3 before I can take my doctoral qualifying exams) is designed to be an individualized component to each student's educational program. In theory, these courses should inform the student's dissertation (or at least the refining of a dissertation topic). In reality, there are very few courses being offered at times that I can take them (when they don't conflict with a required course) that speak to the issues of: religion and spirituality, moral or ethical formation, history of religion or ethics, etc.

All of this to say that I'm taking this great (but exhausting) Psychology course: Psychology of Intimate Relationships. We read a LOT, and write a 2-3 pg paper every week related to the reading. Because the material is completely new to me, it has been a really challenging addition to my schedule. And though I don't know that its particularly related to my dissertation thoughts at this point, but I'm learning a lot in general.

I'm also taking a research methods course in qualitative methods, and a research practicum course - for both of these I will have a research proposal completed by the end of the semester or before. Finally, I'm taking a "research apprenticeship course" - we only meet 5 times per quarter, but this is a great opportunity for me and the other 5 peeps in my class to make progress on our own research projects.

So these projects are mostly cumulative - for the research proposals we work on a little bit of it each week - which is nice, but they all require research and writing and rewriting, etc. Which means that I have felt swamped since the start of school.

My final addition to that was wrapping up my summer job. When the summer ended and the quarter began, I still had a little bit of work left for my final evaluation of the summer program. It was hard to get the time set aside to get that work finished - though now I FINALLY have done it. I'm proud to have turned in what I hope is a helpful report to the CENS office and I am glad to have had the experience of program evaluation. To go along with the finalization of the project, my co-evaluator and I (she did the high school program and I did the undergraduate program) presented a poster with some key findings at a recent reearch conference on campus.

So there you have it friends. My school-life in a nutshell. If I lived life in a vacuum, then that would be all there is to tell you, but in reality, there has been so much more going on, as well. I'll elaborate in a few other posts, but I traveled to Seattle in the beginning of October to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday, my friends Bethany and Ryan were down for a day a few weeks later, and my parents came into town for 24 hours to visit their daughter. And finally, this week I head to Vancouver for the ASHE conference - where I am (praise God) not presenting anything, but will enjoy hearing about current higher ed research, and making connections with other higher ed peeps.

Visit recaps in other posts. Stay tuned!