HPA, tutoring, pumpkins, post-structuralism, and Who’s Life is it Anyway?   4 comments

On Sunday 16 (the Sunday after my last post) I attended a meeting at the Panera at Dupont Circle that I thought would be a huge gathering of a ton of people from the Capital Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance. Instead I was one of seven people, which was actually cooler. The others were the girl who has been running the Capital Chapter since the birth of HPA (because the Capital Chapter was one of the first chapters), the two girls who will be gradually taking leadership now, the two leaders of a chapter in Pennsylvania or something, and one more girl. We talked about a ton of stuff (for a more detailed description, hack Dan’s facebook and read my messages to her), but the most important thing is that I am now working on starting and American University chapter, which will function kind of like a subset and home base of the Capital Chapter. One of the main fetters on the Capital Chapter has been a lack of funds and facilities. They’ve done a lot of cool stuff, but there’s no denying that being a recognized student group will be a big advantage to the AU chapter, and by extension, the Capital Chapter : ) right now I’m collecting interested people. There’s a lot of process stuff to do to become a recognized student group, and I don’t think we’ll even have the chance to get funding until next semester.

One day I was sitting in math class, marveling at how strange it was to be the one understanding things while other people floundered. I thought to myself– “Now that I can, maybe I should help other people. Considering how other people have always helped me with math, it would be like Karma.” Then the girl behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I would meet with her and another girl to go over the test corrections, because she had seen that I’d done pretty well. I was like, WELL TOTALLY. That evolved, and to make a long story short, I now tutor three girls in a group, and one other girl separately.  I was hesitant at first, because the point of the class is kind of to be able to see these patterns and come up with the answers on your own. But I realized, if I don’t tutor them, they will either 1. Not understand the math and do badly on assignments, or 2. Not understand the math and cheat and do well on assignments.
But now that I think about, there really is no way to cheat.
So even though it’s not ideal, these tutoring sessions are letting them get a lot more out of the class than they would otherwise. Explaining the concepts to them even helps me understand them better (and catch my mistakes). I’m especially glad that I have this opportunity to help them, because two of the girls have been having health things that have kept them out of class a few times, so they really do need someone to fill them in. So I’m glad I can help with that.
Also, one of the girls is Saudi and we realized we know some of the same people. How weird is it that I don’t even find that very weird?

Last Saturday was the UMSA fall outing! We went to this farm orchard things, and got pumpkins and apples. See fb album!

Today my psych of education professor got distracted and started telling some students about how he thinks that the ideas of  temperament and introverted/extroverted, and “right-brained” and “left-brained,” and the idea of different people being being naturally inclined to different strengths and preferences etc. is garbage. I help trying to interject (they were talking about two feet away from my face), but being an introvert, I often have a hard time interjecting into conversations loudly enough, or at the right moment. I yelled a bit, but he didn’t notice, so instead I just went up an asked him about it when class was over. I asked why he rejected the idea of temperaments, and whether he just believed that all personality is the result of nature, and how he could reconcile that with the fact that newborns often have obvious temperaments. He was a little bit stumped by the baby personality thing, but he explained that his philosophy of all this stuff is besides the nature vs. nurture argument. I was a bit taken aback, because I’d been taught that some big psychologists believed that everything was nurture, and some believed that everything was nature, and that nowadays we see them as two forces that work together, and while some people are on different places on the continuum, everyone agrees that both are important. But the prof said that some people actually reject the nature vs. nature dichotomy altogether. I had never even considered that, so it’s taking some thinking to wrap my mind around it. He said that some people (including himself) believe that nature vs. nurture is not a universal or eternal idea. He thinks that simplifying it in that way is a product of our culture, and just a tool that we use to understand stuff right now. Like, in different circumstances, we might have come up with something totally different. Then he started talking about post-structuralism, which I guess is related, but I got lost. And I had to go to French. So I told him I would look up post-structuralism, and I did, and it’s crazy talk. I want to sleep walk. Look, I’m growing a mowhawk! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-structuralism Anyway, it was really interesting. My prof can get annoying (like blood boiling annoying), but when he’s talking about something that he seriously cares about, and isn’t being facetious, and isn’t trying to be cool for the class, he’s a ton less annoying. They always say, “Go to office hours! Have conversations with your profs about things they are interested in! They will love you!” And they were not kidding! He really went off on this post-structuralism stuff, and I hope I can talk to him again and have him explain it better.
So I’m glad to have kind of done the “talk to your prof” thing, and that it was fun.
Also, during the class, he said something about everyone in the class being between 19 and 25ish, and then realized maybe he was wrong and asked if there were any 18-year-olds in the class. I was the only one who raised my hand and he thought it was funny.
Then, when we were talking, he said something like “You’re pretty smart for an 18-year-old lol you’re pretty smart for your first year in college. ” lol thnx i no!
ALSO, I was happy to have gotten the opportunity to mention something that I’ve been thinking about, cuz it was related: a long time ago I started wondering how the 9 months in the womb figure into the nurture vs. nature thing.  Like, we say that nurture begins when a baby is born, so if there is any personality at that point, it must be from nature. But the baby was being nurtured for nine months before that! I was very intrigued by this idea, but I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone because 1. Who? and 2. If the time in the womb is nurture, then maybe “temperaments” are a result of that nurture. And that wouldn’t be cool because I like the idea of temperaments, and they are based on the idea that people have intrinsic temperaments before any nurturing gets to them. So it would mess that up.
Anyway, the prof thought that was a really good point. He did that thing where he makes his eyeballs all big and points his finger in the air and gestures with it dangerously. (For more insight into this crazy person, see my fb notes.)

YAWN the last bit will have to wait till tomorrow, because it is long and important.
Actually it is already tomorrow sigh



Posted October 25, 2011 by rachelternes in Uncategorized

4 responses to “HPA, tutoring, pumpkins, post-structuralism, and Who’s Life is it Anyway?

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  1. Great Post! I have a question. Is there any downside to having the HPA be an official group? Are non students able to participate in that case such as the Capital Chapter people?

    Re: Nature an Nurture in the womb. It seems both are at work in this environment. Nature through the genetic inheritance from the parents and nurture through the influences in the mothers environment such as her nutrition and circulating stress hormones etc. for example.

    • We hope that the AU chapter will be able to have events and activities on campus that the Capital Chapter members will also be able to attend, and I don’t think that there would be any rules that would prevent that. Campus is really open– like anyone can walk off the street and eat TDR or go to a service at Kay if they want to. If we wanted to use a facility for some event, I don’t think that they would prevent us from inviting non-AU students. But that is something that I will clarify as I do all those workshops and fill out all those forms : P

      Yeah, when you think about it that way, doesn’t it seem weird to say, “My goodness! This baby just got borned and it is already showing specific unique behaviors! They must be innate!” When you know that it HAD an environment for 9 months, and it HAD stimuli and different experiences from other babies.

  2. Rachel – I am enjoying your blogs and how you are creating “awesome” in a world that propagates “suck” in the media. You are creating space in your life for awesome to show up. You are having so many experiences that seem to be amazing coincidences. The truth is that you are creating cool stuff in your life by your thoughts and choices. Inspiring! This is a great life skill.

    A funny/odd thing happened yesterday. I was in a training class at work yesterday, and I was puzzled about something while doing an exercise. I was getting ready to ask the instructor a question, and in that instant, she got up from her desk and said, “yes David can I help you?” She walked up to me as though I had just asked her a question, but I did not say anything. I said to her whoaa that was weird. She did not know why she did that.

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