Studying psychology, week 8: whirlwind of a week

First things first:

I do spend too much time (and money) at the stationery shop. Not just because of that, the week goes by in an instant. So instead of a deep-dive, I thought I’d write up all the different topics we cover in each lecture & seminar:

The week in review

  • Clinical psychology:
    • Lecture: Epidemiology: central terms, epidemiological study designs, and findings of key studies in Germany on mental health in children and adults (DEGS, BELLA)
    • Seminar: Repeating some lecture contents and reviewing the studies in more detail.
  • Developmental psychology:
    • Lecture: Development of language & communication: Theories of language acquisition, learning of communication, from language comprehension to -production, emotional development & temperament
    • Seminar: Development of parent-child-interactions and how to measure them, plus impacting factors. We try rating (in a clinical sense) parental behaviour based on (re-enacted) video recordings and discuss the difficulties of consistent assessments.
  • Statistics, theory of science & scientific method
    • Statistics lecture: Correlation! And how to calculate it. And always remember, correlation says nothing about causation 🙂 Oh, and how to test for significance. I’m increasingly enjoying this subject overall, and it’s really helpful for being able to more critically review all the studies we read every week.
    • Statistics tutorial: We review the lecture contents again and discuss the last test that we submitted the week before.
    • Theory of science lecture: non-experimental research methods such as observation and case study, and their respective challenges and advantages.
  • Introduction to & history of psychology:
    • Introduction to psychoanalysis: “Actual neuroses”, how they’re developed and what their purpose is
    • Psychoanalysis in the present (focus: climate change): A psychoanalytical perspective on human-made climate change. The psychoanalys Sally Weintrobe has some interesting thoughts on this, listen to her in this podcast episode: Repairing the Other – Our Planet
  • Introduction to scientific work, presentation, communication:
    • In this seminar, we focus on presentations this week, and our lecturer shares Amy Cuddy’s famous TED talk. As part of our grade, we all have to do a presentation this semester in small groups. My group’s is due next week, we’re almost done with the slides by the time the seminar ends.

Whoa, that’s a lot

Obviously, my schedule isn’t as neat as the list above, so there’s lots of context-switching between those topics. As I just wrote this out, I only now realise how varied each week’s topics are. I’m curious how all of this, eventually, ideally, is going to turn into a well-rounded understanding of psychology overall.

Through some discussions, I also learn about the field of critical psychology. As someone who enjoys deep thinking about systems and questions of social influence on individuals (and vice versa), I’m intrigued. By the weekend, I have found several books I want to read to get started. (Uhm, in case you’d want to gift me one, or another book: I have a wishlist.)

Uni life

Making friends! I’m an introvert and don’t typically find it easy to make friends. But turns out when you spend so much time with people every week, it’s almost inevitable, in all the best ways. It also helps that I have a lot of really cool people in class. Including at least one fellow weightlifter!

Covid is coming closer. In my contact tracing app, got an exposure notification on the weekend. A rapid test that I take immediately in a test centre around the corner is negative. It later turns out the exposure was at uni. We’re still required to go to classes in person.

I feel very ambivalent about the whole thing. We already have one day of 4 online lectures, and even after many years working remotely, it is one of the most draining experiences I’ve ever had in front of a computer. Many of my classmates don’t have a proper work environment at home. But at this point, Covid numbers in Germany are beyond belief. And everyone should limit contacts as much as possible. There’s so much more to it, but at this point it’s just a matter of time until uni life moves online. In some ways, that step is long overdue.

I’ll miss spending time with my friends and fellow students.

By Lena

Engineering executive turned leadership coach & consultant, public speaker, and psychology student. Fast walker, avid reader, poetry fan, violinist, pianist in the making, and intersectional feminist. Writes about all the above (and, occasionally, trees).

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