Sol G. Writes: It’s time! Let’s get started!

I’m so excited. We’re back! It’s the end of August, we’re all scrambling to get into classes and trying to remember how we ever had time last spring. I’m signed up for the psychology of creativity class highlighted this semester on the main page. (My computer’s acting up as I try to place links, so here’s the URL: http://www.extension.harvard.edu/spotlight/psychology-creativity)

 

I’ve taken a class by Ms. Carson before. I have one very wonderful thing to say about her approach, which I feel has been characteristic of my Harvard experience studying psychology. The teachers here have a very humanistic approach. Even in the Intro to Psychology (and if you get the chance to study under Dodge Fernald, take it, because his stories about Skinner are not to be missed) there was a strong, beautiful sense that people do what they do for reasons. In Abnormal psychology, we studied at length the things that can go wrong.

 

One thing which we were taught, and it’s a difficult thing to teach people, is that we had to look at why people did things; to embrace that everyone does things for a reason. Our job is to find out those reasons, and help people find other, healthier ways to get by. That was a beautiful lesson in the dignity of being human, and one that I feel is pervasive in the teaching here. It was certainly the undertone of the entire class, and the other psychology courses I’ve taken here at the Extension School. It’s about compassion, and respect, and so I’m really looking forward to this semester’s class.

 

When you take a class online, there’s a few resources to be aware of. One which I found incredibly educational was the discussion board, where we were able to talk about the course, our perspectives, and how it all related to our lives. I learned as much from other students as I did from the course; we had a wonderful mix of people. So when you sign up for these courses, use all the resources available. They radically inprove the class experience, and I’d love to hear your voice on the boards if you’re in class with me this semester!

 

Prepping for classes- you know I have to touch on this. I always come round to this. It’s a hot button for me, I’m disorganised by nature, so I work very hard to get myself prepared for classes. It’s worth it, and a little time now can save a lot of time later. For example, you have a spot in your home just for classwork, right? So you have everything in one place? Oh, it’s been summer, so it’s full of things you put there, meaning to move them later. Go move them now. I’ll wait. (Mine had been filled with sewing materials, so I know how it is…) 

Now. You have a place for classwork, where your projects can go undisturbed and you won’t accidentally leave your textbook under the bed or in the living room. Do you have folders, so there’s a place for your finished work?

I recommend this every year, and I see no reason to stop. Those multipocket folders are one of the best things for class. Put the syllabus in one, and other class materials. All in one pocket. Get a magic marker, and write on it, “class materials” The next pocket is “homework requirements,” and that’s where you’ll put the assignments: papers, essay subjects, the math homework if it’s a math class.

 

The last pocket is “finished homework.” There’s nothing worse than losing something and having to try to print it again at the last minute before class! I’ve done it. It’s a pain. However, one way to save yourself trouble in advance, in case you ever have to try this, is to email yourself the document every time.  IF you somehow have lost it,  eaten it, zombies took it on the way up from the Red line, you can go to the computer center, open the document in your email, and print it out right on the spot. It only works if you remember to send yourself the work, so do it every time and you’ll have it where you can find it easily in a hurry.

Another thing to do in preparation, which I always do in advance: make time. Clear blocks on your calendar just for homework. I do mine on google calendar. My friends have access and can see the blocks of homework time; we plan around them. It makes it easier if everyone knows I’m busy that night in advance.

 

I’m so glad to be back to school. I really am; I missed it over the summer. I can’t wait to see you in the halls.

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