The past week was full of activities. And there are plenty of stories to tell.
First off, I finished writing my application for review for my upcoming experiments. I basically wrote a very detailed experiment design ensuring the review board that I will never ever hurt my participants. I requested for an expedited review because my study is qualified for it due to two reasons: that the study concerns human individual or group behavior pertaining to language and/or cognition; and that the data will be primarily gathered by means of surveys and questionnaires. So no, I am not injecting human beings with serums and watching how they will speak, nor will I put a microchip in their heads and observe the speech differences.
Next was the department's open house. Quite some prospective graduate students came and sat in a couple of lectures, and they got to meet the faculty and the graduate students. We took them out to the city, hoping to make a good impression. It is quite ironic for some continuing graduate students, because the fact that these prospective graduate students are here somehow diminishes their chance of getting some funding. This all relates to the inner workings of the department and the university as a whole. The department is required to use the funding opportunities to recruit new blood: thus, incoming fellows are basically guaranteed of their money, if they present a very good dossier. On the other hand, there are students that are already in the department who were not funded, but then are hoping they would be, and so if the new students take all the slots, then there would not be anything remaining for the continuing students. This process of applying every year is especially nerve-wracking to those that are just funded every year, those that are not guaranteed for the whole four years. Well, unfortunately, we have to deal with these problems and headaches. Again, an example of social Darwinism.
Finally, I had a realization of how I construct my social world. Apparently, the people around me fall into three tiers of varying closeness to me.
The first tier is the closest group. All the people that are in here basically are the people in my inner circle. I can be myself whenever I am with these people. I can crack rather uncivil jokes and still they would understand. I can send telepathic messages to these people and they would understand without me even opening my mouth. Just simple looks can mean plenty of things with the people in this group. Of course, membership in this group is very selective.
The second group should I say is the neutral group. These are the people who I am not estranged from, nor too close to. There is a need to remain civil and polite to these people. I treat the people in this group as someone who I meet for the first time, with the tact and politeness that society requires to keep peace. Most of the other people are in here.
The third group is the danger group. These are people who have a rather abrasive reaction to me or people that cause me to have an allergic reaction. Volatile territory in a sense. These contain the people that I really have a hard time analyzing. The people here are very unpredictable that I do not know how to act in front of them, because a wrong step may lead to serious consequences. I guess the best way for me to deal with these people is to simply stay away from their path. It probably stems from the basic psychology of reward and punishment. I do something and I get rewarded, so I do it again. On the other hand, my interactions with these people sometimes brings punishment, so I refrain from interacting with them in the future.
Ah, the world is an interesting one. Many types of peoples, many types of relationships.
Speaking of relationships, sometimes there is a moment, when a single smile means everything. When a single bit of utterance carries a huge weight with it, when a mere 15 inches of separation produces the best social distance, when one can pretend that everyone else has disappeared except for you and another entity.
Again, as usual, before I end, here are a couple of lampposts for my South Campus Series. These two lampposts are found in old buildings in the campus, made of wrought iron perhaps, and they are still used to this day.