Making Tough Decisions
March 13, 2020
Last Saturday my mentor held a pizza poster party at her apartment for our lab. It was really fun and also very productive since we spent the day working on our project abstracts for an upcoming research conference. I think it’s really a cool thing to do because we got to just hang out but also do our work and get things done in a few hours. Sometimes I forget that I can have fun while doing my work, and the poster party made me realize that research doesn’t always have to be so isolating. I worked on writing my abstract for the social anxiety components project. I also tried some statistical analyses to get my results with the help of Dr. Law. It was a little frustrating at first because things didn’t work out right away, but we figured it out and I got some interesting findings. Basically, in the relationship between various social anxiety components (rejection sensitivity, reassurance seeking, avoidance, negative evaluation, and shame) and acquired capability of suicide (see past posts for definition), shame seems to be more related to acquired capability than any of the other features of social anxiety. This means that the more one feels shame, the more likely they are to endorse higher potentials for attempting suicide. Finding interesting results is always a fulfilling thing especially within a large project. You see all the work that you’ve done in the past and it all leads up to good findings. That’s what makes it worthwhile.
Me and Janelle are continuing to work on our HRV analyses for our other project. This week we tried a new method of cleaning HRV data in order to be more consistent. I even reached out to my mentor at home for her guidance, but we ended up going with another ECG manual from a different lab. So, with the conference abstract deadline approaching we got to work right away. After doing our independent analyses for several files and getting our own HRV results, we compared them hoping that this new method would allow us to be more consistent. Unfortunately, the 10 files we each cleaned and trimmed on our own were not each 99.95% consistent. This was very surprising to both of us because most of the files did not even have any noise to clean out within the files. At this point I’m not exactly sure what’s going on but me and Janelle are going to meet and walk through our own steps to see how we adjusted the files. At this point, we’re just trying to get preliminary results so we can finish our abstract that we will submit to the research conference very soon.
Really the only other thing I focused on this week was thinking about my future grad school plans. It feels so strange to be accepted into a PhD program out of undergrad. I mean I still am a senior in college so it just feels like everything happened so fast. I remember this past fall when I was searching for potential programs and thinking about my own research interests in order to prepare my applications for grad school. It never felt truly real until I had my interview at Oklahoma State where I learned so much about what grad school is all about. I remember one of the faculty members there told every applicant that enrolling into a PhD program is like getting married. And after being accepted into SPU’s clinical program, that’s when it really hit me. 5+ years is quite a long time and a huge commitment. I want to be very sure that I’m making the right decision for myself before I choose to enroll at SPU. Although, there are plenty of other factors that I need to consider, such as finances, location, funding opportunities, being away from home, career outlook, and of course the research and clinical training within the program itself. So, I have until April 15th to make a formal decision and I’ve been talking things through with many people. I’m hoping to be in a position where I am very confident in whatever decision I decide to make.
John is a psychology major and philosophy minor from Fridley, Minnesota.