Diary Post: My Explanation (Part 2) // End of Semester Reflections

9:53 AM

What up guys? I'm back! *throws confetti*

As you all know from the previous blogpost, I took a bit about a month hiatus from my social media platforms. I just got so overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. (Haha I make it sound like I have a lot going on!) Now that winter break is on the horizon, there will be more time to do creative things! I plan on dedicating the month of January just to do creative things. I really need to recharge my creativity. 

Also, I plan on doing a full recap of all the events that happened this semester! Things such as my travels to Japan and what I did over Thanksgiving. I just need a place to memorialize my favorite moments, and this blog is the best place to do it! 

As a student, I try my best to put my studies first. I barely had time to do anything fun this semester. (I bought Gears of War 4 like two months and I haven't been able to touch it because there was just waaay too much work to do!) Everything just felt so overwhelming. So let me tell you what happened. 

Sounds like an angsty teenager title, but it's true! For those of you who don't know, I'm a psychology major. (If you didn't know this by now, you must be a new reader! Welcome to the blog haha!) There were two classes in particular that really began to drain my creativity. I took a course in Advance Research Methods and a "Group Therapy" type course. 

Basically, the research course was a bit of a joke. The professor didn't really teach us much, and I'm not too big on research. Yes, there are some topics that I feel strongly connected to (like Alzheimer's disease), but for the most part, research isn't really my thing. I honestly don't feel like I learned too much, but I did get to conduct some cool research with some of my group mates! Our research centered around the attractiveness bias and how it can cause biased sentencing on criminals. Long story short: if you are an attractive criminal, you are likely to be sentence less harshly than your unattractive peers.

We did this research project over the course of the entire semester. I wouldn't say that the research project was particularly stressful, but there was no structure to the class. Deadlines would randomly change and the instructions were so unclear sometimes. Luckily, all of my group mates were super cool and pulled us through! I felt so unmotivated to do anything in this class because I felt so lost. I would feel a spark of inspiration to write something on this blog, and then suddenly, I'd remember I had some kind of deadline due. There was just no time for anything anymore.

Of course the class isn't really called group therapy, but it sure felt like it. I actually really enjoyed this class! Basically, every week everyone in the class would read research articles on positive psychology (provided by the professor) and write a two page paper about it. 

[Two-second lesson on positive psychology]: Positive psychology focuses on how individuals can live the best possible life. It doesn't focus heavily pathologizing mental illness. Instead, you apply positive principles into your life to reduce psychological stressors. Here's a wiki page link if you are interested in a brief overview of positive psychology.

Sometimes the article would be followed by an activity. Some of the activities included: writing down positive things that happened during the day, participate in 20 minutes of mindful meditation, and doing acts of kindness for people. Yes, these activities sound cheesy! However, all the articles are research based and data was collected adhering to the scientific method. Psychologist actually studied how these activities can help improve people's lives. (They sampled people and tracked improvements in overall mental health. Sometimes there were great improvements, and sometimes only minimal changes occurred.) Positive psychology isn't really my thing either. I didn't really "get it" until the end of course. 

What I did like was the group aspect of the class! I got to really know my classmates because we would all sit in a gigantic group circle and talk about our experiences with the activities. I got to hear so many different stories from people with different perspectives on life. I think the activity that really sold me on the class was the activity on forgiveness. Basically, we had to think about a time someone wronged us and write about how we went about forgiving the person. At the end, everyone shared a story of a deep trauma that happened in their life. Not everyone forgave their aggressor, but tried to find a way to cope with the event. It was very moving and it brought everyone in the class closer together. A group of 20+ strangers entered the class without much expectation, but we all left feeling a deeper human connection. 

In a way, I have to say that I did become a more "positive" person after taking this group therapy class. I wouldn't say that my psychological theoretical orientation has changed (I still consider myself to be studying under a mostly behavioristic mindset), but I feel like there might be some principles in positive psychology that works! So now that I've said all these great things about this class, how did it kill my creativity?

Reading articles, participating in the activities, and then writing a two page paper on the experience was very emotionally exhausting! I put my full attention into this class because I really enjoyed it, but it ate away a large chunk of my time. (Keep in mind, this wasn't the only class I had to write papers for!) I think the writing part really killed me. In total, there were 10 assignments with a two page minimum. I basically wrote 20 pages just for this class! At the end there was a 10 page paper due. I only wrote 8 pages, so at the end of this class I wrote around 28+ pages just for this class. I just couldn't keep up writing on this blog with all the writing that took place this semester. It just killed all the creativity I had in my head. It just wasn't fun to write anymore. 

I didn't really do much in life outside of school this semester. Yes, I did go on a couple of vacations and experienced some cool things! (Those posts will be coming out in my "winter comeback" haha!) However, in the amount of time I could've spend writing or filming, I spent most of the time trying to catch up on school work. I didn't want to write + vlog about my experiences because I felt like those vacation times really allowed me to escape. I know it might sound like I'm complaining, but writing + filming things is hard work for me. It's like creating art. I don't want to put in half the effort and not be happy with it. When I do something, I want to put 100% of my effort into it. Honestly, it really killed me to see all of creativity fall apart. I couldn't write about the research or the activities on this blog because honestly, who wants to read it? (Haha unless you're as into psychology as I am!)

Looking back through my entire college career, I have done the most writing and exploration of research this semester. I just feel like doing a quick calculation towards all my essays in this semester. I wrote roughly 28 pages for Group Therapy class, 10 pages for my Philosophy class. The total page count for Advanced Research (24 pages) and Clinical Psychology (6 pages). Just trust me when I say that I've done a lot of writing this semester! It was challenging but also rewarding. I love to write, but in no way do I think that I am the best writer!

Let me just end this blogpost by saying that there are new things coming :)! I can't wait for winter break to stroll along! Then I can finally work on all the creative projects that I missed out on this semester. Stay tuned for more updates!

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