Tag Archives: Xavier’s

Change

I never imagined walking in through the same gates, past the same two men (who asked us a different question today than his usual), and through the same arches, the same overcrowded stairways, and towards the same photocopy-place we had for the past five years would feel so different. Their cold What work do you have instead of a strict, yet playful Put your ID around your neck seemed strangely wrong. The repainted arches, and the redone Multimedia Room made you feel like a lifetime had passed, when in reality it had been hardly four months.

Standing in the heat, waiting for the photocopy guy to listen to you, and then explaining the nuances (3 copies of 2 sheets, 4 copies of 1 sheet, and 5 of 4 sheets) and him laughing, felt like nothing had changed. I look out the window and see a girl, probably late for her classes, help a visually challenged person get to the Resource Centre at the other end of the campus like a thousand others before her. I see a group of friends, probably First Years, clicking pictures in the first quadrangle, just like every fresher in the history of the  college has done before them, and I see the various organizers of the college fest with dozens of colourful papers strutting around- the full load of stress, frustration, and nervous breakdowns not hitting them yet, like every batch before them.

There are so many things that have changed- I can never be seated in the first bench of the corner row of the Psych Lab and be slightly irritated if someone else occupied it; I can never go for the Seminars in Khandala, and sing along at the bonfire with the professors, and other classmates, juniors, and seniors; I can never sit in the foyer or the canteen and eat Special Maggi, or Paneer Kathi Roll, and gulp 3 cups of coffee in 5 hours because I slept for 45 minutes last night; I can never pull off eating a red velvet cake at 10.30 in the morning, or take a cab because there were only 5 minutes left for the lecture and it’ll take exactly 8 minutes to the campus and half to the staircase 3 to run up 3 floors; I can never miss a lecture for which I got up at 5.30 in the morning, by 3 minutes and decide to have a quiet breakfast by myself only to end up meeting a friend, and together decide to bunk yet another lecture just to bitch about an annoying classmate that we both hate. I can never enjoy the light breeze in the terrace classroom while studying Lord of the Flies or reading a sonnet or arguing about Foreign Direct Investment in Retail. I can never pretend to listen to a professor rant on about Environmental Psychology while listening to Singing in the Rain or Citizen Kane that the students in the class next to us are studying for Understanding Cinema. I can never write 10 pages of colour-coded notes in a 40 minute lecture with closed eyes because I was too sleepy to keep them open; or actually dream because I ended up dozing off while writing an important assignment. I can never sit in a corner with friends and taste every sandwich in the menu at 5 in the evening when we have yet another submission the next day. I can never call up another friend at 3 in the morning to ask her why on earth are we using this particular statistic and 15 minutes later ask her how to state the result APA style, but end up bitching about everything under the sun for a good 50 minutes. I can never crush on someone two years above me and join every club he’s a part of, or stand outside his class at the opposite end of the campus just to catch a glimpse of him. I can never wait in line for a professor to approve our hypothesis till 9 PM, to get home at 1 in the morning because all the public transport systems were blocked due to heavy rains.

No, I can never do these things- because things change, and people change, and priorities change. I know I’m only moving forward, but no matter how horrible some days in college felt, and no matter how much of a struggle it was to get to the end, and even if they told us that now we’re Alumni, I know Xavier’s will always be there to welcome us home.

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The Place Where The Sun Never Sets.

They said college would be the ultimate test. It has the power to make or break your life. They said college was a way of life. You’d make the best of friends, meet the best of experts at each respective subjects, and find muses to inspire you for life.

When I was a child, I dreamt of going away to a far off college, and meet people I’ve never met in my life. The green hills, and the lake nearby. The archaic, Victorian or Mughal structure creating a secluded, peaceful ambiance perfect for learning.

I remember walking into college the very day of admissions. Walking through the gates, with a bloated smile, smiling at the Watchman, entering the reception, and finally making it to the legendary first quad, the smell of rain-wet quad hitting me.

As I looked around, I suddenly felt a twitch. School was over, yes. But I was soon going to be a mature, responsible adult, at fifteen, traveling an hour and a half to get to college. It didn’t bother me too much, I remember. It made me wonder why I was so excited and nervous. I wondered if everyone felt it, or if I were the only one not ready for college.

As I look back upon that version of me, I laugh at my naivete. I laugh at those dreams, and those nerves, but then that naivete opened up horizons, and made me who I am. That same dreams acted as visions, and those nerves turned into pride, and the feeling of earning it.

As I look back, I look at the clean board that school had moulded me into, but was perfected by college. I see amazing, supportive people who aren’t afraid of expressing themselves. I see the beautiful building which makes me feel at home.

It’s the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. The spark-lit heart of each of us who know we belong there, and embrace the others to feel amazed at being unique. Because we all started off the journey in the same way: Happy, Content, and Hopeful.

 

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Demystifying an Undergrad Psychology course

images (11)The Secret Life of a Psychology Undergrad

  1. You might think we read your mind. But no, we don’t. (Turns out you don’t have that many thoughts, eh?)
  2. Psychology is all about Freud. Oh, how I wish! But, sadly it is not. We spend years getting introduced to Freud, yes. But is that all we study? No way!
  3. We can read your future. Actually, we don’t even know if we will get to major in Psychology, or if we want to.
  4. We don’t have much to study. Not as much as the natural sciences, anyway. Have you ever said, ‘Women! Noone can ever understand them?’ Well, yeah. Turns out, neither can we understand men, or even cockroaches for that matter.
  5. It’s all fluke, anyway.  There are shocking experiments and results about the human behaviour, making you wonder about humans and their sanity. Ever heard of the Lucifer Effect?
  6. It’s not real. Well, hard luck! It is all real. (Or as real as human thoughts, emotions and behaviour are, anyway.) The methods may not be accurate, but they are the best there is in any behavioural or social science. You can even choose statistics as a tool. Foolproof enough?
  7. It’s just arm chair philosophy. You’ll be surprised to know that most of us don’t realize where it turns from philosophy to biology and back. We study the brain, the hormones, evolution, as much as we study existentialism.  Cognitive Neuroscience? Evolutionary basis of love? We know all about it!
  8. What? Behavioural Economics? I thought economics was a quantitative subject? Clearly you haven’t studied Econ either. Ever heard of Keynes? We borrow and lend to many different subjects, including Economics, Linguistics, Biology, Life Sciences, and of course, Sociology, Anthropology and all those subjects you haven’t even probably heard of.tumblr_mloesj1eg91qg9t3eo1_1280
  9. So emotions is surely all you study? Did you not hear me? We study behaviour, as a response to emotive, cognitive, cultural, social, and biological process. If I had to study aggression, I’d say it is a function of anger, frustration, socialization, what the culture thinks is acceptable, and the underlying  neural, hormonal and genetic influences.
  10. Abnormal behaviour? Oh, yes! We all love abnormal psychology. We hear the sympotoms of schizophrenia and think, Hey! I am schizophrenic! We love categorizing people disorder-wise. Helps us memorize them.  It’s called chunking. (Yes, we have a word for it.) But we also study normal behaviour.download (6)
  11. Is it just therapy? Is biology only medicine?tumblr_msxsg6VNkL1qjywvlo1_1280
  12. So it is fun and easy? Sadly, not always. We work for years and years and years, but sometimes, you can’t even tell the difference between Erikson and Freud. And then there are those people, you have it so easy! Have you ever tried to memorize a hundred different research studies? A hundred different names? A hundred different years? It’s as much fun as staying up all night and still not knowing if you’d pass or no. Just about the same as other subjects, you think?

How to recognize a psychology undergrad:stress-cartoon

  • Uses words like disposition, cognition, traits, attribution, aggression, etc. in daily speech.
  •  Loves analyzing people and intimidating them with rhetorics  like You know what Freud would have to say about it, right?
  •   Inferring attributions to everything you say or do.
  •   What if she actually does have depression? Is something you hear us say, if someone behaves oddly for more than two months.
  •   Crack DSM-V related jokes. Every day.
  •  Makes references to Freud, Pavlov or Skinner. Alternately, refers to their theories.
  •  Debates actively (either with others or internally) whether certain behaviours are inborn or learnt.
  •   Uses statistics to explain why you are wrong and how you are wrong. Also, gives explanations as to why you must have inferred it that way.
  • Checks every piece of literature, music and art for its psychological soundness, and gets annoyed when they don’t match.
  • Divides every behaviour in terms of its cognition, emotion and possible biological factors.
  • Backs every statement with a theory, and a consequent research.
  • May say ‘I think I am stuck at security needs. My dad should give me more pocket money so that I can reach self actualization faster.’tumblr_msn8pdYPAs1ql2603o1_500 d