Tag Archives: classes

Some updates! (It’s been awhile…)

24 Apr

First off, as a continuation of my last post a long time back… My finished abstract:

Recent studies at the regional and national levels show how the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, also known as Paleoindians, were spread across the land by looking at the distribution of projectile points and other associated artifacts dating to between 11,500 and 9000 years BP (before present).  However, there is still much to understand about Paleoindian and subsequent Early Archaic site distributions because the existing data is insufficient to truly understand the lifeways of these first inhabitants.  Several reasons partly account for the paucity of the data base.  First, early sites are few in number and difficult to find because they are frequently represented by single finds of distinctive projectile points.   In addition, many regions have poor documentation of most sites in existing databases.  Finally, few systematic research efforts have been undertaken in many areas with the intention of locating sites from this time period.  Thus, a wider range of sites needs to be identified before we can truly understand the lifeways of our earliest inhabitants.  This project proposes to develop the existing database of Paleoindian/Early Archaic sites with the objective of generating a predictive model of Paleoindian/Early Archaic settlement in a portion of west central Michigan.  The study area will include Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa counties, a region where few sites have been recorded.  Paleoindian and Early Archaic site distributions will be compiled by utilizing publications on artifacts (primarily projectile points) from these two periods and State of Michigan Archaeological Site File records.  These existing sources will be supplemented with information from landowners, artifact collectors, and historical societies which constitute a relatively untapped resource and will be the most important in discovering the patterns of Paleoindian/Early Archaic land use for the study area.  Through these methods, it will be possible to establish a comprehensive database of known locations of sites in these three counties which will become the basis of a predictive model that can be tested by systematic survey. Maps of the site locations will be created and compared to environmental and other features to develop a testable predictive model. This model will be a valuable resource for future inquiries into early settlement and adaptive strategies in the region and also can be used to identify new sites in the future.

Yup!  That’s what I’m doing starting in May.  It’s pretty exciting now that it is getting closer.  I recall being ready to strangle the nearest person while writing that whole proposal out.  All I have left for this semester is two take-home finals and one in-class final to do.  Then, I have a week of a break that my SO and I will be off to visit our families on the other side of the state (and maybe some friends). 

Monday, May 9th there is a kick-off luncheon for McNair Scholars students and mentors.  Pictures taken for the journal and website and all that fun stuff.  I am already setting up appointments to look at artifacts, have finalized my list of museums to contact for setting up the artifact identification days, and started making my lithic recording forms.  Now, as this all draws nearer, I’m getting that much more excited.

My typical McNair week:
Monday —  GRE (Verbal) study class: 9:00am-10:30am; Wellness seminar 10:45am-12:00pm
Tuesday —  Graduate School Research and Application Preparation(GS-RAP) class: 9:00am-11:15am; Toastmasters meeting 11:30am- 1:00pm
Wednesday — GRE (Math) study class: 9:00am-10:30am; Yoga: 10:45-12:00pm
Thursday — GS-RAP class: 9:00am-10:45am; McNair Meeting: 11:00-1:00pm

… Every week save for practice GRE exams, 5-,10-,15-minute presentations, and the McNair conference in Buffalo.  Check out the links if you want to know more about what each one of those things is.

Perfectionism, the source of all (my) evil!

7 Feb

As part of the McNair Scholars career seminar at Grand Valley, we were to read a short article on procrastination.  I found it really to be quite a good blog posting on the issue and can be found here.  And as I won’t be talking much about it since I feel that that covers it, I implore you to read it.

Perfectionism doesn’t only lead to procrastination however… It can lead to so many more terrible things.  Pessimism, depression, academic nihilism, self-destruction, lethargy among many others. And when they’re all mixed together, it makes for some bitter soup.

For me, these are especially true.  Let me tell you a little story.

Not all that long ago, and for the better part of my life I sought to be acknowledged for the intelligence that I possess — I felt that it’s what made me stand out.  I didn’t get good grades, mostly due to that nasty thing called perfectionism.  I procrastinated, I didn’t get work done.  Work I did do, I didn’t turn in because it wasn’t good enough and I thought I’d be judged.  My grades started their gradual downfall during 6th grade for me.  I didn’t even care that I got a detention for every 2nd assignment I didn’t turn in.  But then I started hearing “I’m disappointed in you” and “I know you’re smarter than these grades” and “Why can’t you do better?” at the parent-teacher conference (on both sides).  Thus began my fears that I would never be good enough to please those that I sought the praise and acknowledgement from.

And I didn’t do the work except which interested me.  So, I got A’s in a few classes per semester in Jr. High and High School… and that pulled me along.  There was a school I had really wanted to go to for college — because all along this I still valued knowledge as the most important trait one could have — but my high school grades were nowhere near good enough for Grand Valley.  I pulled up my GPA just a little and managed to send out some applications to other places.

And I got accepted to Wayne State.  But the classes didn’t interest me or they were too hard.  I withdrew from all but on by the end of the semester and managed a C in that last one.  Then I didn’t both signing up for the classes for the next semester.  I went to community college.  And it was easy, and I took classes that interested me and got As.  I worked at a couple and were surprised that I could do well.  After a couple of years dilly dallying with nothing to really show for it except some new random knowledge about all sorts of things, I finally got enough credits and a high enough GPA to apply as a transfer student to Grand Valley.

There I was… first year transfer.  Shy, roommate from a foreign country who liked to hang out with other SE Asians, and without my family or friends that I had been hanging out with for the past four years. Alone. Depressed.  The worst depression that I had felt since a little stint I had in a hospital.  I would like to blame outside sources of turmoil for my failings there, but it really was me and my attitudes that caused it.

Then, I missed a few days of classes because I didn’t want to leave my room, much less my bed. I fell behind.  I couldn’t find the will in me to catch up, but I talked to people and I tried.  I was given a second chance and I made the effort to make up past work.  But then time came again when I just didn’t want to get out of bed again… different this time.  I just couldn’t see how I could possibly get an A now, and for me an A was all that mattered.

Over Winter break between semesters, I got some supporting words.  I was told that hey, if Grand Valley didn’t work out I could always try for Oakland University which would be closer to everyone.  I contemplated it for a bit.

I can’t remember if it was over time or right away I realized my splitting path.  I also remembered one of my favorite poems — Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It’s always held some significance for me.  Being independent, creative, a treader of new or less travelled paths.  I take that to heart.   In this moment that I’ve been describing however… it was clear that one was the easier of the two to navigate, safer.  I could stay with one of my parents, be close to home, attempt to get the degree from somewhere else where it was just easier to do.

But no, I told myself, slapped myself really.  No.  This is the school you have been wanting to go to since you were 15.  This is the school that you dreamed about.  This is what you want.  You will always wonder what could have been. You will always wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t given up.  You will never ever be satisfied with yourself if you take that safer path.  This would be something that you’d regret for the rest of your life.

So prove yourself, I yelled at me. Prove that you’re worth something.  And who gives a damn if others will never give you their approval. Just freaking do it!

And I did. Two years after that first semester, I’m taking my last make-up class finally.  I learned that I do have what it takes to be an archaeologist (but that’s another story all together — maybe next time).  I learned that I can.  I can.  From a first semester with two W’s and two E’s -> two semesters later, Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honor’s Society -> two years after that first semester, three A’s and an A- and the Dean’s List.

As cheesy as it may sound, I learned that anything is possible as long as the willpower and understanding that the path won’t be easy. 

And maybe a little more importantly,  a ‘B’ is good enough.

Short summary of the rest of the week…

22 Jan

Car broke down.  Got it towed.  Missed classes because walking 3 miles in -2F didn’t sound so safe to my health. Especially when I don’t know where my ear covers are and my coat doesn’t close.  I also missed my McNair seminar because of the situation, but I have plans to get caught up on that.  And, I’m getting a new (for me) car tomorrow, courtesy of SO’s parents and my dad.  It is quite exciting.  My dad is coming to do a minor fix on the old car that I was driving while bringing the new one, then taking that one home. 

I’ve been busy doing a lot of reading and playing with statistics and graphs for many of my classes.  I ordered two books on amazon, using gift cards I earned through things like internet surveys and Swagbucks.com.  The Early Mesoamerican Village by Kent Flannery and Ungendering Civilization by K. Anne Pyburn.  The first is for ARC 400, the latter for ANT 405.  Both seem pretty interesting, we’ll see.

I’m feeling… down.  In general, stress of everything and missing classes and bad things happening.  Plus SO not having a job at the moment.  Its all very tiresome to me.  I’ve lost myself in not doing schoolwork these past few days.  I need to make a list.  Lists make me feel better for some reason… just knowing exactly what to do and what needs to be done, then ordering it, and checking it off as they are accomplished.  In and of itself its stress relieving.  I’m going to go do that.

And its only the first week!?

15 Jan

That is folks.  Only the end of the first week and I already wanted to drop at least one of the classes, if not more.  Which ones?  I barely remember, it was probably all of them at some point.  After all, I have 16 seperate class sessions to attend per week plus independent study and McNair.

Okay, all this talk of McNair!  What is it? McNair Scholars Program “is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.”

Yeah, I pretty much took the whole paragraph… but there’s a lot more to it.  I have to go to career seminars, public speaking meetings, yoga and stress management sessions, GRE prep, writing workshops for Cirriculum Vitae, personal statements, etc, and oh… I forgot to mention the 20+ hours per week of independent research, publishing findings, and presenting said findings in multiple venues including at a national conference.  The yoga makes sense now.  Hey, at least I get a stipend and research budget.

My research topic is due soon, and a complete research proposal for all of this is due in March.  I’ve started to compile, what Jan wants to be, a nearly complete bibliography of all research done with Paleoindians in Michigan.  On top of my previously mentioned work load of classes.

Today was my first McNair career seminar.  In which we were handed a lot of papers, told to take some personality/interest tests at home and bring the results to next weeks session.  We did do one in the meeting – Myers-Briggs.   Hey, guess what!  I’m an INTJ, just like I already knew.  Hmm…

As for now… I’m either going to go do some Anthro Theory reading and perhaps take some notes for the weekly journal assignment for that… or go play Harvest Moon: Animal Parade.  (And I wish I knew I needed to save a carrot for the Winter and Rob Frost.) 

On that note, I’ll leave you reflecting upon this image:

I didn't make it... but I like it. 🙂

And they’re off the starting line!

11 Jan

So there we have it.  The first day of classes began today, which included all four of the ones I am taking this semester.  Yup, long day.  As an overview:

– Archaeological Methods sounds like its going to be loads of fun.  We’ll be analyzing artifacts from Blendon Landing, a mid 19th century logging town that I excavated as part of field school last summer and already helped to present at Michigan Archaeology Day in Lansing, MI.  Continuation looks nice on CVs and applications for Grad School, I hear. 🙂  We’ll also be creating our own research proposals, looking into statistics used, and reading The Early Mesoamerican Village by Kent Flannery. Woohoo!  Oh, and bonus, taught by Jan.

– Environments and Cultures of the Great Lakes is a lot of reading and quite interesting.  Some nice information on environment, geology, and prehistoric cultures of information seems to be where the class is head.  Kind of my specific interests all rolled into one.  Jan teaches this one, too.

– Anthropological Theory, well, the professor leaves a lot to be desired and therefore makes it a bit easier grade in the class overall (because really, who finds videos for theory?).   Seems like pretty light reading, though fairly fast-paced.  I guess discussion is going to be important but most of the work is turned in online.  The class is being divided into 6 groups for a book-reading project:  Ethnology/Ethnography, Archaeology, Non-human Primates, Paleoanthropology, Linguistics, and Biological Anthropology.  Guess which one I chose?  There is a book list online already, but I still need to look through that.

– Now Chemistry, this is a re-take for me, mainly due to 5crs worth of a D not sitting well for me.   However, the grading system seems a little easier this time around as well as a much more forgiving and helpful professor.  I took the Structure Learning Assisstance (SLA) section, meaning I meet an extra two day for one hour each with a glorified tutor in a class setting with other to go over in more detail and really drill it in.  It didn’t work last time I took it, but we’ll see this time around – maybe someone different can help more.  I did well in the lab last time, so I think I can pull that off again.  I’m confident in getting a higher grade, but that’s really just because I know I’ll work harder.

I’m also doing ANT 399 – Independent Reading.  I’m basically doing a lit review for the summer project, now if I can just get that whole McNair thing figured out…  Jan let me borrow some books (which I almost lost today – eek!) to look over, then realized that it might not be so much a lithics project that I’m doing nor in my main area of interest (Northwest Coast).

Also more pertaining to McNair, talked to Jan (my mentor, advisor, and professor) today about McNair Scholars Program things.  I just wanted to start brainstorming about things but wanted to get a feel of how much work is too much and how much is too little… turned into more talking about areas of interest rather than how big to dream.   Now I have to compose a list of things that interest me, and we can decide on things from there.  Guess we’re talking more about that Wednesday… Friday is my first career seminar for McNair.

My Brainstorming? Well…

Coastal Archaeology
– site preservation issues, wet site preservation vs erosion/rising water levels
– subsistence strategies in coastal regions
– tool technology

Glacial Changes
– refugia
– coastal migration
– changes in settlement/subsistence strategies
– paleoenvironment reconstructions, changes over time
– adaptations to environmental changes at Pleistocene/Holocene boundary

Tools/Technology
– lithics
– fishing implements / emergence of marine-based subsistence
– bone tools:  terrestrial vs marine, uses and types; fishing tools; large sea mammal bones

Coastal Migration
– tools: lithics, etc
– site location, refugia, recognizing potential coastal sites
– marine-based subsistence key in coastal migration?
– glacial changes: ice retreating; isostatic rebound; effects on site location and subsistence availability
– Archaic populations on Pacific Coast in relation to Paleoindians/Potentional Pre-Clovis populations

I suppose for now, these are my areas of interest.  Now, developing a research project based around something up there.  Oh, and working around the fact that my favorite professor/advisor/mentor for this project is wholly Processual… and well I’m on Modernity Leave.  Hmm…  Well, I suppose my research questions aren’t that specifically postmodern.  My anthropological theory is certainly postmodern, but my archaeological? – I guess I’ve just been influenced by Jan a bit. Maybe. 😛

Preparation

9 Jan

So what I have been doing to prepare for classes starting tomorrow?

Normally, I would reset my sleep schedule to match my classes.  I tend to be a night owl, but because I rarely take night classes it just doesn’t work out.  Resetting usually involved staying up all night and allowing myself to go to bed when is appropriate or using some aid to go to sleep earlier.  I’m with someone now… who doesn’t like to sleep at all apparently yet sleeps in extremely late. (2pm now and I predict he’ll be in bed for another hour or so…)  And we have this thing about going to bed together.  And after all this time, I now find it quite hard to fall asleep without him – plus the bed is cold!

Luckily for me, my classes don’t start until 11am.  Mind, I’m used to waking up at noon-1pm now.  I’ll be a little tired tomorrow, but overall a little coffee will help me get through.  I’m also dieting to keep my energy up…

More on that diet.  First:  SparkPeople.com is an amazing site.  Now, not everything is accurate.  For example, it lists certain specifications for something like creamy peanut butter, while my particular brand has slightly more calories and protein but less fat.  It is a good way to see what you need to balance, and to be fair they give you a range of cals, carbs, fats, etc that you should be eating probably to correct for those variabilities.  If you are hardcore, you can enter the foods yourself so you know exactly whats what in your daily nutrition.    Second: I really want to be a healthy weight.  I want to be able to be active without needing a break or trailing far behind.  I want to be able to be in the field as long as my body lets me, because archaeology truly is my passion and motivating force for life.  And I want to look damn good in a wedding dress and not slow down a honeymoon in Belize.   Third:  I’m a snacker and a late-night muncher.  Especially when I am stressed, and ooh boy will I be stressed these next 8 months or so.  I want to gain some control over myself, like reaching for carrots instead of cookies, pita and hummus rather than chips.

In turn, this blog is directly related to knowing I’m going to be under lots of stress.  I can talk about these things and stay on track by putting these words out here.  And who knows, maybe I’ll connect with someone in a similar situation as me.  🙂

It’s closing in…

8 Jan

January 10, 2011 begins the new semester for me here at Grand Valley.  Its packed full of classes and extra work.  Am I prepared for it? Probably not.  But, hey, at least I only have 3 books and a lab manual for this semester – opposed to the 17 from Fall ’10.  🙂

Here’s the sched.:
ANT 347 – Cultures and Environments of the Great Lakes (3cr)
ANT 405 – Anthropological Theory (3cr)
ANT 499 – Independent Study (3cr)
ARC 400 – Archaeological Methods (3cr)
CHM 115 – College Chemistry (5cr)

Thats 5 days a week guys, from 11am to 5pm most days, plus a couple late nights.  Wish me luck?

On top of this, first five weeks require a career seminar for the McNair Scholar’s Program – I research two different career paths and write up a paper, I guess.  Then due the second week of March is my complete research proposal for the summer.  Can I balance this with a life and gaming – because really, really addicted to World of Warcraft here.  [My Main Character, Korosu]

This is going to be an interesting few months.