Tea, Movies, Drafts

This is my teapot. My friend (and beloved roommate at HWS) has a matching one. I brought it down to Norfolk with me when I came back from fall break and today I made a lovely pot of Earl Grey in it. I am happy, and I feel like it is too (if teapots could be happy). I think they like to be in use.

I learned an important lesson yesterday that I didn’t know how to put into words appropriately until today. My stats test didn’t go as well as I had thought. Disappointingly, the mistakes I made could have easily been avoided if I had trusted my gut while I was studying. I lost my head in the calculation sections but did quite well with the theoretical stuff. I have learned that when the stakes are this high I need to tap into my academic self-efficacy and believe that I can get myself to the right answer.

I also learned that I have a lot more to learn when it comes to writing papers in the human factors discipline. I brought the draft of my introduction section to my adviser today so that he could give me feedback on it before I turn it in to my research fundamentals professor on Monday. I was pretty confident that my draft was good, but by the time I left we’d changed most of what I’d written and noted places that needed more information. In an hour he and I changed my draft from something an undergraduate might have written for a term paper into something that could be publishable (with a little more work). It felt great to practice writing in a concise, clear, and informative way. Human factors employs a harder science than I’m used to dealing with, and people who study it don’t tolerate fur-fru language. I don’t get to elaborate with my own examples, describe hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate a point, or speak to a reader conversationally. And that’s fine. I’m enjoying learning how to communicate in a new way and how to write very scientifically. I can save my creative writing for this blog.

I also learned something about the building in which I spend most of my time (Mills-Goodwin Building, or MGB). I noticed this sign for the first time as I walked out today after my mind-blowing meeting:

IMG_4490Ironically, I was texting my brother Jasper while I walked out of the building. Perhaps my noticing the sign wasn’t coincidental. I’ve walked past it without notice every other day when I haven’t been texting my brother, so maybe the fact that I was texting him made the similar name on the sign more apparent and lead me to stop and look at it. Who knows!

I noticed something puzzling today on my walk home. It’s funny that I can walk down the same street more than once a day and still be noticing new things:


Why is this house built like this? If it were a two-layer cake I would say someone put the icing between the layers on while the cake was still too hot. It looks like the top story of this house is sliding off the bottom story. What’s the point of that little tiny roof to the left above the first floor? Really though, why didn’t they just build the floors directly on top of each other? Did someone have a hard time deciding where to put the staircase? I was confused. I hope no one noticed me stop to take a picture. I bet I looked a little creepy just standing in the middle of the sidewalk photographing someone’s (albeit confusing) house.

Despite having been invited out tonight, I’m enjoying being comfortable on my couch and watching movies on Netflix. I have plans to go out with the girls tomorrow night, so I’m going to get some things done around the house tonight and enjoy some time to myself. Today has been a good day!

Happy #100LearnedDays!

2 thoughts on “Tea, Movies, Drafts

  1. I am a little bit sorry to read that you are learning to write like a scientist. All the stuff that it sounds like you are being invited to remove (elaborating with your own examples, describing hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate a point, and speaking to a reader conversationally) is what I love about the written language. I am glad you are continuing to write this blog so that you can have an outlet for your less “scientific” writing. And maybe you can be one of the people (such as Lewis Thomas) who are able to translate jargon-laden, somewhat inaccessible scientific ideas into words and examples and metaphors which all of us can understand….


  2. I would call that academic writing, and science writing is much more about bridging the gap between scientists and the lay person. Good to remember how to do both.


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