rivka: (her majesty)
Elsewhere on LJ, [livejournal.com profile] marycatelli asked me to provide references for a claim I made. When I went to provide them, I found that my comments to her journal were suddenly being screened. (My initial comments hadn't been.) Gosh. Somehow I begin to question the sincerity of her request for citations.

I understand why someone wouldn't want to risk being proven wrong in their own journal, but dude. Don't ask me to go to the trouble of doing a literature search for you if you don't ever intend to let the results see the light of day.

I guess I may as well share the information here, instead. )
rivka: (Rivka P.I.)
I need some digital images that I can use in presentations about my research. We have a medical graphics department that could probably do them for me, but if possible I'd rather hire someone from my friends list.

Here's what I need )

If you might be interested in doing this for me, leave a comment with a price quote. Or ask any questions you'd need answers to before you could bid. Comments are screened.

Time frame on turning this around is about ten days. If you can help, that would be awesome.

Edited to add: I found someone, thanks!
rivka: (psych help)
I did something dumb.

I missed my Prozac a couple of days in a row. That was careless. This is the dumb part: then I decided that since I hadn't had a bad reaction to missing a couple of days, maybe I could just come off it.

Yes, I can sense the look you're all giving your computer screens right now. Michael delivered the same look in person, trust me.

Today I finally realized that, um, being off the Prozac might have something to do with how short my fuse is these days, and how much current life events are filling me with dread.

Yeah, that ol' Ph.D. in clinical psychology is serving me really well.

I wasn't going to say anything in my LJ about it, but I am trying to be publicly honest about this whole process in case it can help someone else.
rivka: (panda pile)
[livejournal.com profile] boxofdelights' 16-year-old daughter, who goes by Nixie in [livejournal.com profile] boxofdelights' LJ and should probably do the same here, has been staying with us since July 28. She wanted to go to science camp this summer and it didn't work out, so instead she's attending Camp Rivka. She goes to work with me to observe a behavioral scientist in her natural habitat. On the days I'm home with the kids, I've arranged various field trips for her: she went to NASA Goddard and the National Wildlife Visitor Center with [livejournal.com profile] wcg, she visited the developmental psychology lab at Johns Hopkins because Colin was in a study there, and she's going to visit a lab that works on developing and testing new HIV tests. Today she has taken the train into DC to visit the Smithsonian.

On top of those things, we've crammed in extra science-related opportunities where we can. She and Michael went to a public lecture at the Space Telescope Science Institute. We all went to the Maryland Science Center. And during a brief flyby visit by my grad school friend David, who is a developmental psychologist, we put Alex through some of the classic Piagetian tasks and demonstrated that she hasn't managed to work out the details of conservation yet.

It will not shock anyone who knows [livejournal.com profile] boxofdelights to hear that Nixie is very, very smart. I'm enjoying her sharp analytical mind, and I'm impressed that in such a short visit I've been able to give her work on my study that calls for thought and judgment. In addition to being smart, she's also charming, poised, and easygoing. She's been great company. The kids adore her. I do worry that she's not having as good a time being here as we are having her here, although she certainly seems to be happy.

In a fun coincidence, she told me her first day here that she hopes to go to Reed. [livejournal.com profile] boxofdelights either didn't tell her or didn't know that I went to Reed myself. I think Nixie is exactly what Reed is looking for, and I've offered to write a recommendation letter telling them so. (I don't think our contact will be long enough to make me a useful recommender to other colleges, but I think that Reed will value an alumna opinion.)

Nixie will be here until Wednesday. After that my normal life should more-or-less resume, and you'll probably see more of me on LJ. In the meantime, I am reading your posts, but not doing much else.
rivka: (alex age 3.5)
One of my favorite developmental psych concepts is "theory of mind." It's a complicated idea, but essentially, if you have a well-developed theory of mind, you understand that people have mental states (beliefs, ideas, desires, perspectives) which differ from person to person and affect how people behave.

For example, here's one of the common experimental tasks for assessing theory of mind: There are two dolls, Sally and Anne. Sally hides a marble in a box and then goes away. While she is gone, Anne moves the marble from the box to a basket. Then Sally comes back. Where will she look for the marble? It seems to be a trivially easy question, but before the age of three or four children universally predict that Sally will look for the marble in the basket. Why? Because that's where it is. Around three or four years old, children start to have the ability to understand that even though they know where the marble really is, Sally will act on a false belief about where the marble is.

I've never run Alex through the Sally-Anne task, but I think she's had the basics of a theory of mind for a while. (A lot of fiction doesn't make sense without it.) It's clear, though, that lately she's really been developing a more elaborate sense of other people's mental representations. She's playing with these ideas a lot, figuring out what you can do with them.

Deception, for example. She's figured out the basic concept, but right now she's hilariously bad at it. She'll get a crafty look on her face and announce, "Mom, don't look at what I'm about to do." Then she'll take some cookies out of the package and run away. She's almost got it! She's figured out that if I don't see her do it, I won't know... but now she has to work out the part about not notifying me beforehand.

Or secrets. She's developed a fascination with keeping pointless secrets, I think just because she enjoys the idea of one person knowing something another person doesn't know. She's always asking Michael and I to keep something secret from each other - "don't tell Dad how far we went on the scooter!" "Don't tell Mom what we got at the store!"

Once I went in to tell him about something she'd done wrong, and she asked me (in front of him) not to tell him. When I said "I certainly am going to tell him," she broke in anxiously with "Don't listen, Dad! It's all nonsense!" Heh. Only four years old, and she's already poisoning the well!

I tremble to think about what it will be like around here when she actually masters this stuff.

She's also doing some neat stuff with perspective taking. At the museum, as we left one room to go into another, she commented: "If someone was out here, they'd think we were coming into the room." At the O's game we went to, which the O's predictably lost: "If someone was from Detroit, they would say 'Hooray, the Tigers won!'" It always comes out of nowhere - she's just doing it for practice, I guess.
rivka: (colin)
Every skill can be broken down into two parts. There are the things you need to do, and the things you need to not do. The ability to not do the things you're not supposed to do is called behavioral inhibition, and in many contexts it's an invisible, hard-to-identify component of learning.

Not so when you're four or five months old. When Colin first started to be interested in reaching and grabbing, he spent a lot of time with his hands clasped in front of him. Why? Because when he reached out, pretty often the first thing his hand would encounter would be the other hand. He didn't know how not to grab it, even if he'd initially been reaching for something else.

He's since mastered the ability to inhibit himself from grabbing that other hand, but he's still working on a couple of other inhibition issues. When he tries to put a toy into his mouth, sometimes he'll aim it wrong and get the hand holding the toy into his mouth instead. Someday soon he'll be able to take that as a sign that he should turn the toy so he can chew on his real target. Right now he just gnaws on his hand, the toy hanging in front of his mouth out of reach. If he gets the toy angled right, great! If not, he can't inhibit the chewing response and redirect himself.

Also, he really wants to spend a lot of time these days holding his feet. But his thighs are in the way. He winds up holding his thighs or gripping behind his knees, even when he was clearly aiming for the feet. He just can't stop himself from grabbing on, even if holding his thighs prevents him from what he really wants to do.

I learned about behavioral inhibition in developmental psychology classes, but it has become so much more real through observation.
rivka: (phrenological head)
Alex participated in another study at the Johns Hopkins Laboratory for Child Development this week. She's done this from time to time, and it's always a lot of fun. This time they were interested in the relationship between preschoolers' counting ability and their ability to compare quantities.

First they had Alex do some straight-up counting of animals on cards. Next they gave her cards with pictures of two kinds of animals interspersed. They asked her (for example) to count the giraffes, count the elephants, and then say whether most of the animals were giraffes or elephants.

If you'd asked me to predict the results before we entered the room, I would've said that Alex would do a decent job of counting but that she would have trouble making a relative comparison of quantities when the numbers were close. When I saw that the animals were scattered randomly across the card instead of being neatly lined up, I figured that she'd have trouble counting them accurately, too. (It's hard for a little kid to remember which ones they've already counted.) I was surprised to see that her ability to count a random array has significantly improved - she made two or three errors, but was only ever one off. And she didn't make any mistakes on the comparisons.

Afterward, the experimenter told me that so far (Alex was the 250-somethingth subject) they haven't found any relationship between counting ability and comparative estimation. Some kids are great counters but can't figure out which one has the most. Some kids can't really count very well at this age, but unfailingly say which are the most animals - even when it's a question of 8 versus 7. So it seems that these two number skills are completely separate developmental processes. Isn't that fascinating?

(Also fascinating, if you are a big old cognitive development geek: this paper (warning: PDF) reporting the results of the last study Alex was in, which shows how ridiculously good two-year-olds are at learning new words, even in challenging contexts.)

Last, but not least, there's been a new development this week that may have implications for this journal. Alex was hanging out by my side while I read LJ. I started to leave a comment in [livejournal.com profile] wiredferret's journal, and suddenly a little voice piped up, "Why did you write my name?" Oops. She's been able to recognize her name for a long time, but apparently now she's following along with my typing and picking out her name from a block of text. So that's a little... constraining.
rivka: (Rivka P.I.)
Anyone want to read one of my academic papers?

It's co-authored with Lydia, but has a relatively high me:her ratio, and I'm pretty proud of the content.
rivka: (books)
I kept thinking that I must've forgotten some of my May books, but the truth is that I think I hardly read anything in May. A lot of magazines - I got caught up (sort of) on the New Yorker. May was pretty angsty, and I think I just wasn't up to doing much. I did read a few new-to-me books, though. Andrews, Ginott, Burau, White )
Total for May: 4.
Total for the year: 35.
rivka: (phrenological head)
Elsewhere, someone presented a dilemma: her mother-in-law enjoyed taking her son to church and he enjoyed going, "the problem I'm having though, is my husband and I are really against some of the things they teach (I won't go into specifics, but for example, I eavesdropped and heard one sermon where they were blasting homosexuals). Now that my son is nearly 2.5 I'm worried he's actually listening and picking up on this stuff." She went on in a later post to explain that she is an atheist, but has always intended to expose her child to different beliefs. She wound up concluding that the best thing to do would be to ask her husband to find a liberal church "so he can take our son too and show him another side."

I replied to her: Read more... )
rivka: (phrenological head)
Every time I start work on grantwriting, I think about how interesting it would be to document the steps of the process in my LJ, so that people can see how a vague research idea turns into a fully-formed proposal. Every time, it quickly becomes clear that just writing the grant is enough of a monumental energy drain, without adding writing about the grant to the mix. So nothing gets posted because the task just seems to large.

I'm in the middle of preparing an application to the National Institutes of Health, in response to a call for research on how people make decisions about treating a life-threatening illness. I'm proposing to study how people with HIV make decisions about starting anti-retroviral therapy. In particular, I want to combat the ridiculous tendency that medical decision-making research typically has of assuming that it's a purely logical process of weighing risks and threats against benefits. I think that irrational factors often play a critical role in medical decision-making.

One factor I want to examine is the extent to which people have a cynical, suspicious, mistrustful attitude towards HIV research and treatment, and the extent to which they buy into AIDS conspiracy theories. This morning, I've been working on developing a questionnaire to measure those attitudes. I thought I'd go ahead and post my working version of it, to give people a glimpse of what I'm doing. Comments and suggestions are very much welcome. Read more... )
rivka: (talk about me)
My recent sparse, spasmodic posting style has left a ridiculous number of narrative threads dangling, hasn't it? My apologies to those of you who are reading for anything other than the cute Alex stories... such as, say, a sense of how my life is going.

Attempting to tie up loose ends in one big unmanageable knot:

My research assistants, Alex, Michael's job hunt, my work, SUUSI, forthcoming LJ posts, the adorable YouTube video with otters swimming around holding hands, me being Brenchley. )
Well, that was fun! If nothing else, it gave me a chance to use this icon, which I like but rarely have occasion to use.
rivka: (phrenological head)
I never got around to presenting my dissertation data at the primary conference in my field - mostly because by the time I finished the damn thing, the research I was doing was completely separate from my dissertation topic. I always had HIV stuff to present at the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Besides, it's not a conference that tends to bring in many people with either child/developmental interests, or disability interests, so my dissertation topic was off the beaten track for the meeting.

But this year I thought, what the hell. I submitted an abstract based on my dissertation research, and it was accepted for presentation as a poster. (I knew I wasn't going to be offered an oral presentation, given the off-the-beaten-trackness.) Now I'm putting the poster together, which means, among other things, that I pulled out the photos of misbehaving children which I used for our analog measure of abuse potential.

There's a lot more information about the analog task at that link, but essentially, we showed parents slides of various child behaviors and asked them how they would respond. Some of the photos are normal kid stuff, and some of them are really not. There's a mix of normal behaviors, rule violations, destructive behaviors, and dangerous behaviors.

[photos removed]

I thought people might be interested in seeing the photos, so I uploaded about a dozen of them to my Flickr account. You can see the whole set here. (Photos have been taken down.)

Because they're research items, I'm only going to leave them up for a few days - so look now, if you're curious.
rivka: (books)
Books I read in February: Westerfeld, Quindlen, Tyler, Menzel et al, Asaro, Trelease, Aidan, O'Neill, Bechdel. )

Two books I emphatically did not read in February: Handler, Colfer )
Edited to add:
I also read The Fourth Bear, by Jasper Fforde, and then, apparently, promptly forgot about it. This isn't a Thursday Next book - it's another series, about the "Nursery Crimes Division" of the Reading Police Department. It's vintage Fforde: puns, literary allusions, self-referentiality, and a mystery plot, sprinkled with lots of little clever bits. But it just didn't add up to very much, for me. It felt recycled.

Total for February: 9 10
Total for the year: 18 19
rivka: (books)
Last year I intended to do the 50-book challenge. (50 books that are new to me - re-reads don't count.) I posted about my books for January and February. Then in March I read a couple of Lauren Slater books that I couldn't bring myself to write up, and didn't post my March list. Or my April list, jotted down on scratch paper which I promptly lost. It all went to hell after that.

So I'm trying again this year, but from the outset I am giving myself permission to just note the title and author of a book, if I want, without any additional commentary.

Stevens, Best, Johnson, Harris, Kagan, Menzel & D'Aluisio, Westerfeld. )

Total for January: 9
Total for the year: 9
rivka: (Default)
Alex got a nasty cold over Thanksgiving. She had a persistent, dry, hacking cough afterward, which, as often happens following a cold, lasted for weeks. A couple of days ago, the cough started to get ugly, and ramped up with tremendous ferocity. This morning she coughed so hard that she vomited.

So this afternoon we saw one of our pediatrician's partners. She diagnosed Alex with a sinus infection that has been, in the doctor's very words, "seething" since Thanksgiving. It is now causing the dreadful cough, and has also backed up her Eustachian tubes and started an ear infection. Although the AAP now recommends that most ear infections not be treated with antibiotics, it seems not to apply in our case. Alex now has a big bottle of bright pink, bubblegum-scented, sludgy, but apparently tasty Amoxicillin. We also bought her a bottle of combination antihistamine and cough syrup to help her sleep. (The sinus infection drains when she lies down, so she feels much worse at night. Plus, as a special bonus, antihistamine = sedation.)

The doctor's visit went surprisingly well. Alex's 15- and 18-month checkups were utter nightmares. She started crying and clinging the moment we stepped into the exam room, and graduated to hysterical sobbing when the nurse tried to measure her or the doctor tried to examine her. Developmentally normal, our ped was quick to assure us, but still a wrenching battle that left all three of us unhappy and drained.

A couple of weeks ago, coming home from our last trip to Elmira, Alex suddenly initiated a game of "doctor." She had her nail clippers, which have a magnifying glass at the business end, and announced that she was going to use them to peek in her doggy's ears. We spent about 45 minutes on that car trip examining each other and her doggy. Several times since then she has initiated doctor play, as well - always a monotonous (to me; it's endlessly fascinating to her) rehearsal of a well-child visit. One of the children's librarians found us two picture books about going to the doctor, and she's been demanding them up to five times a day.

We started to prepare her yesterday for the likelihood of a doctor's visit today. She was excited to leave for the appointment: "Go to doctor! Go to doctor!" While we were in the car, we talked about things the doctor might do. (Peek in ears, peek in mouth, listen to chest and back.) We also brought her favorite of the two doctor books with her, and re-read it in the waiting room. When they brought us back to the exam room, although she didn't cry, she clung to Michael pretty tightly and rested her head on his chest. We walked around and around the room looking for things that were the same as in her book, talking about what Thomas (the main character) did with the scale, the blood pressure cuff, the tongue depressor, and so on. It seemed to help so much. Alex was calm when the doctor came in. She let her listen to her chest and back without protest, and accepted the ear exam. She only cried when the doctor wanted to look in her throat. Throughout the exam, we kept talking about what Thomas did in the book, and how Alex was being just like Thomas.

The doctor responded very well to what we were trying to do. She let me hold the tongue depressor, for example, instead of insisting on putting it Alex's mouth herself. She even engaged Alex with the book - she flipped through to find out what happens at the end (Thomas gets stickers from his doctor), and told Alex that she could have stickers at the end too. But really, I think most of the work was done by Alex, through play and through hearing and talking about the stories.

You know, they say that "children work out their issues through play," and it always seemed a reasonable enough idea. But it's something else to see how amazingly well it can work in practice.

Oh, and additional good news: we weighed her, and she's gained almost two pounds since the first week of November. That takes her up to the 25th percentile for weight. Yay!
rivka: (alex 3/4)
Alex was in another research study yesterday. This one was apparently tons of fun.

They're studying short-term memory. Previous studies have found that babies Alex's age have a short-term memory of about three items. So if you hide three items in a box and let them retrieve two, they'll keep searching for the third - but if you hide four items and only let them retrieve two, they may not realize that there are more in there. Adults' short-term memories can be assisted by "chunking" - grouping the information to be remembered in larger units. For example, it would be hard for most people to reproduce the letters

NYCFBILSDFDR

after only being exposed to them for a couple of seconds, but it would be relatively easy if the letters were presented as

NYC FBI LSD FDR

Babies are the same way. If they're presented with four identical toy cats which are then hidden in a box, they're more likely to keep searching until they find all of them than if they're given four totally different toys. The similarity of the items lets them chunk them together so there's less to remember.

This study was looking at the middle ground, where items are similar (four different toy cats, four different toy cars, or two cats and two cars) but not identical. The experimenter had a black box with an opening at one end shielded by two strips of Spandex. Alex could reach between the Spandex strips, but couldn't see in (although she certainly tried, by pulling one strip of Spandex way out and then peering in). The experimenter showed her the toy cats or cars, put them in the box, and then pushed the box forward to let Alex retrieve them. Unbeknownst to Alex, the experimenter was secretly holding two of the toys at the back of the box so that they were unretrievable. So she'd get the first two out, no problem, and then there would be a little pause to see if she kept searching.

Alex found the whole thing very exciting. She bounced and pointed when the toys were shown, reaching eagerly for the apparatus. After enough repetitions of the experimenter's rigid script ("Alex, look! Look! See this? See this?") she started pointing and saying "Look! Look!" herself. She also tried her best to re-hide the toys after she took them out of the box. (Hey, the experimenter kept putting them in the box, so obviously that was how you played with them!) I couldn't really tell how diligently she was searching for the unretrievable ones, and how the different experimental conditions affected her searching - that will be a matter for videotape coders.

She got a T-shirt and a fancy award certificate for participating. I was sorry to hear that they won't have any more studies for her until she's 28 months. Apparently they've found that research participants in the early toddler years are more trouble than they're worth.



New books she asks for by name: Where's my cow? ("Cow cow!"; a current obsession which may be demanded ten times a day), Splash! ("Spass!")

New words: cereal, bottle, truck, tree, squirrel, grapes, strawberries ("s'raw"), go, jeans (seems to apply to any pants or shorts with a fly front), shirt, down, yes, dark, yogurt, cracker, water, head, barrette, house, food, Cheerios, night (for "good night" or going to sleep), Zoe, neck (seems to specifically mean "necklace," applied both to my flaming chalice pendant and my parents' dog's collar), hot, thank you ("daysoo"), clap, Bill, pen. "Cow" and "splash" are also new words, but I don't know if she realizes they have any meaning beyond book titles. Mostly multisyllabic words are expressed as a single syllable, so yogurt becomes "yo" and barrette is "b'reh.".

New word for which I am probably going to hell: Tie-tie (meaning "tired"), courtesy of Cute Overload. I did not intend to deliberately teach Alex baby talk, I swear, but one day after her nap I couldn't resist saying, "Poor Alex, she's still so tie-tie." She immediately grinned at me and said "Tie-tie" - I think she's heard enough English that she could kind of tell that it wasn't a real word, just silliness. (The ability to recognize whether something is likely to be a word in your native language develops before actual understanding does.) And then she remembered it. A couple of days later she got me up very early in the morning, and I told her, "Mama's tired." "Tie-tie," she said, and grinned like a fool. Oops.

Edited to add: Here's the picture that forever added "tie-tie" to my vocabulary.
rivka: (Rosie the riveter)
A peaceful afternoon in San Francisco. Alex is napping hard, and Michael has gone off to investigate the hotel's hot tub.

We just spent a few relaxed hours with my aunts Debbie and Brooke, their 10- and 12-year-old sons, and my brother and sister-in-law. I think it must have been... seven years, I guess, since I saw Brooke. (Debbie's more likely to travel to family weddings.) It was great to catch up. I am a little ashamed to be surprised that the boys immediately took Alex under their wings, playing with her and supervising her for most of our visit. Not something I expect from boys of that age, but apparently the older one is already babysitting. It was nice to have extra leisure for grownup conversation.

The conference has been fascinating. This morning I went to a panel discussion on manmade and natural distasters, and what behavioral medicine can contribute. One of the speakers was the first person ever to systematically study how children respond to natural disasters... and that wasn't until Hurricane Andrew hit, in 1992. Apparently, at the time she did her research, some people actually thought that children wouldn't really react to something like, oh, fearing for their lives and having their homes destroyed.

I've also been to some excellent HIV programming, including a couple of talks in which big names in the field made reccommendations that we've been battling about locally. That was great and affirming, although probably not much practical help in getting them implemented.

Yesterday I played hooky for a few hours. We went to a sushi boat place in Japantown, which was a lot of fun. Alex frolicked with a bowl of sticky sushi rice, eating big handfuls and getting rice everywhere in the process. She loved waving at the boats as they went by. I had something I'd never seen before - shark fin and jellyfish nigiri. It was (a) delicious, and (b) fun to look at and eat. (I took a picture, which I'll upload when I get home.) Then we went to Golden Gate Park and walked along Stow Lake, feeding the ducks. In the evening, [livejournal.com profile] patgreene and [livejournal.com profile] brian1789 came over and we had a great picnic dinner in our hotel room. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them.

My brother and sister-in-law took me out after my talk, for an amazing dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant called The Slanted Door. Their menu was... oh my God. We had spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce, cellophane noodles with Dungeness crab, claypot chicken with a chili-caramel-ginger sauce that made me want to roll around in my plate, scallops with spinach and spicy black bean sauce, and sauteed asparagus with black trumpet mushrooms. The restaurant is in the old Ferry Building, and it had enormous plate glass walls overlooking the Bay Bridge. It was a transcendent evening.

...Oh yeah, my talk. It went well. There was some Lydia drama which I will not go into here, but my actual talk went very smoothly and seemed to be well-received. I threw out some results that baffled us, and someone in the audience said she'd seen something lke that before - not in a "you ignoramus, that happens all the time" way, but in a "yeah, I saw that and now we're doing a big study trying to figure out what caused it, here's my contact info" way. And the chair of my session, who is kind of a big deal, had very nice things to say to me, before and afterward. That was nice.
rivka: (Default)
The latest edition of my college alumni magazine mentioned that one of last year's graduates is now in her first year of graduate school in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa. Reed is a small enough college - about 1,200 students - that having another Reedie follow my exact educational path seems like quite a coincidence.

The transition from Reed to Iowa was a terrible culture shock for me. At Reed people always used the line that it was "like a graduate school for undergraduates" - the curriculum included a qualifying exam in one's major and a required senior thesis involving original research; the classes were based on rigorous (if not to say vicious) discussion and deconstruction of primary texts, rather than textbooks; and students tended to take themselves very seriously as scholars and as adults who were solely responsible for their own private lives.

If Reed was like a graduate school for undergraduates, the psychology department at Iowa - at least for first-year clinical students - felt a lot more like an undergraduate college for graduate students. Our schedules were dictated to us, with no choice of courses. Our courses tended to be lecture-based and heavy on memorization; in the rare class that had a strong discussion component, students tended to address their comments to the professor rather than to each other. (That ethos was so strong that I once had a student stop me after class and ask me to stop responding to her comments. I wasn't being harsh, or anything, she just felt that I was putting myself above her by taking the professor's role of evaluating what students said.) At my first psych department party, someone tried to pressure me into drinking more beer than I wanted to. And I was the only person in the department who was openly not straight, as well as the only person with a disability. I was also one of only a very few people who were... outside of the very center of the midwestern American cultural mainstream. Things got much better as time went on, especially the classes - but let's just say that my adjustment was rough.

I don't know if this other Reedie is feeling any of the same things that I did. But just in case, I dropped her an e-mail telling her who I was, mentioning that I had struggled with the transition, and offering to be a friendly ear if she wants to talk to someone who's been there. I hope it's some help to her.
rivka: (smite)
Ninety-nine percent of the time, when I'm offensive, (a) I know that I'm being offensive, (b) I'm doing it on purpose, and (c) I'm willing to acknowledge it. This may not be much of a virtue, but sometimes it's all I've got. Read more... )

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