I think this is one of my longest absence from blogging since the beginning of this little writing space.
Many things happened over the last two weeks, it is as if the entire semester has banded up to knock me dead. I realized I am doing much worse in biopsychology compared to the average psychology course, which is frustrating to me as this will be the only paper where there can be no monkeys in an assignment team to pull my grades down, but I am somehow struggling to keep up. The study load is somewhat overwhelming using my current study style (Dr Choy, the lecturer’s reassurance of “don’t worry you are not medical students” still echoes through the now hollow chambers where my ego used to reside), which actually brings me to my next breakthrough: the completion of my first actually practical Coursera course: Learning How To Learn. I somehow managed to juggle this extra work along with my coursework (thanks to inspiration about time management from several friends and Dr. Goh in particular), and managed to finish with full marks while having a lot of practical takeaways, such as how to not procrastinate, two different states of mind, importance of sleep, chunking, and remembering better. I initially expected this to be a waste of time, but thus far it has been tremendously helpful and mindblowing.
Then, I guess I have to talk about my mixed method report. I started off the semester with a rather positive attitude towards the subject (even read up the materials before the semester began), much more than any other research subject I have taken thus far, but ended with the feeling that is quite the opposite of satisfaction. Until now I am still contemplating all the things that went wrong without really finger pointing too much. First, I lost interest in the topic (Muslim youths and their perceptions of ISIL) halfway through the literature review as from a perspective of academic inquiry and psychology the study had little to no purpose. Our findings are exactly similar to what you can find on Islamist sensationalist news-sites and there is very little value talking about it from a psychological perspective, let alone doing a mixed method approach for it. Second, I felt that we have been not entirely honest about our hypothesis. Won’t go deep into why and how, but pretending that our hypotheses was met and writing from that perspective really limited the content I was able to write for our discussions and implications. Thirdly, the research process was plagued with a certain amount of bias and intellectual cowardice, especially during the process of data collection…
I think I just have to stop here as I am not able to be objective about this situation that is now history. But note to self to always check on the research and work attitudes of group-mates. I am not exactly sure what the final product looked like, but this is the first time ever that I did not bother to take a final look at my work before submission (there are actually many other reasons that have nothing to do with the team and the work, mostly family matters and confusions interfering with my commitment), and I will have to promise to myself it won’t happen again. I am now anticipating my worst ever performance in a psychology paper, but still doing my best to salvage it.
On top of that, I actually have ex-Muslims who currently identifies as closet atheists approaching me for help with issues like suicide ideations. This made me realize that problems cannot be easily handled by just advising them to speak to therapists. There are much more factors in the way of these people and professionals, and being a closet atheist as an ex-Muslim in Malaysia is one of the stickiest situations I have heard of due to to the influence of the Islamic religion over Malaysia political sphere. Why am I involved? I don’t want to see them lose the fight. If I am on my way to be a champion for the irreligious, I may not be able to look myself in the mirror every day by leaving them be.
Then, I downed two bottles of wine (the sweet mild type) over three days. Don’t think I have ever ingested this much alcohol in my life. Still failed to uncork properly.
Finally, I am now on my last week of the semester. Have entire textbooks to digest, have a room to look out for (I finally got the green light to move out!), have a nomination speech to give, have research interests to discover, and many more things coming.
I have nothing to die for, and everything to live for, so not to worry. End of story.
ps: this post is essentially my poured out thoughts over the last few weeks and processed in only one hour.