Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Memoir Project

Grad school has generally been miserable, painful, and tedious lately. I think this is largely due to my overemphasis on memorizing criteria and stats, both of which are highly detached from real people. The detail-oriented studying serves its purpose, but is not enjoyable, and ultimately not as memorable (which doesn't help come finals and comprehensive exams).

So, I have a new plan, and we'll see how it goes. I'm trying to compile memoirs and other kinds of supplementary texts associated with my courses. I have a little bedtime reading and tea drinking ritual, and these books are going to become a part of it. This week, for example, as I'm reading and memorizing the minutia of schizophrenia, I will also read a memoir (The Center Cannot Hold). I should have DSM-IV Made Easy by Morrison soon, as well, which is supposed to be helpful for remembering criteria and looking at case studies. Hopefully this will all help me paint a more conceptual, memorable picture, remind me that there are real people involved in this stuff, and perhaps more importantly, remind me why I loved psych in the first place--before the massive stress overload.

The downside of more reading is of course that I already have a shitload of required reading and homework, and not enough time for that. But I think if I want to maintain my sanity and not have a total crisis of faith in what I'm doing, this is a pretty necessary initiative. And it is highly school-related, so should not feel too guilty while doing the reading.

If anybody has suggestions of psych-related books, I'm very open to them!

P.S. I also have two undergrad classes of papers to grade this week. Yuck. There is some magical force that makes it so the two classes I TA for both have papers due at the same time. One of the profs has the unfortunate habit of not telling me about the papers until after he already has them turned in, so that I can't plan for this. Makes me rather grumpy, but have to put up with it. That is why I get the stipend, after all.