So, here’s my lineup of fall classes, cut for those who care:
- Cognitive Development. This is a required course for the doctoral program … but if I can do my final research project on the development of play and/or narrative then it’ll also be awesome. It’s been enlivened so far by the guy who introduced himself as “being from Oklahoma, glory be to God” and the woman who informed us that she won’t be in class next week since she plans to induce labor on Monday.
- Psychological Measurement. Another required class. This one has no direct application to my research, but which will give me a much-needed methodological background for designing and proposing my dissertation. The professor is charming and funny, which helps a lot, and it looks like it’s going to be super-easy which is also not bad. My favorite quote from today? “Giving a politician access to test results is like giving a baby a loaded gun.”
- Psychology of Media. This one looks fantastic: we’re reviewing the psychological research on how people understand and respond to media, from books all the way to virtual reality. My only concern is that it might be a little bit of a scattershot overview, since we’re not focusing on any particular medium, but I’ll be putting together a rocking reading list so I can get started on my (eek!) literature review.
- Statistics. Is, well, statistics. Fortunately I don’t mind the math.
- Development of Creativity. Really I shouldn’t be taking this, since four classes is a full load and I’m already looking at a busy semester of writing, editing, designing games, and, oh yeah, taking my other courses. But it’s so close to my dissertation interests that I really can’t say no, and is offered on a pretty irregular schedule. I’m going on Thursday to see if I can audit, which would be ideal. If not I may show up anyhow and dare them to kick me out!
Overall the semester doesn’t look too bad; I’m only taking 1.5 classes that I’m thrilled about (Psychology of Media and maybe Cognitive Development) but the others don’t seem particularly hard and the application to things I care about are obvious enough to keep me motivated. I do miss the carefree days of my first semester when I got to take things like Writing for Film - I swear, it was relevant! These days I’m pretty heavily focused on getting my coursework done so that I can certify for my dissertation already.
The intense focus comes from my feeling that I’m way behind, because I hear about people in other programs certifying for the PhD after one or two years. In my department, I’m expected to have my literature review finished and a pilot study completed before I can officially certify and propose, so once I certify I’m probably eighteen months from done. It doesn’t help that none of my courses from my masters count for any of the course requirements. Nonetheless, it’s still a little hard to feel like I’m riding a squeaky bicycle in the right lane while everyone else is zooming along on Harleys.
Note to self: Jessica, you have a Harley too … somewhere.