Friday, July 18, 2014

Dinner with Chicago Alumni

I am now somewhat getting used to my early morning schedule. I woke up a little later this morning since now I know how long it takes me to do everything. I headed down for breakfast, which I ate with Catherine, Eugenia, and Cookie, all girls from my psychology class. We all walked together psychology class together and prepared our materials for the class. Yesterday, Cassie had told us that today’s class would be a little easier than previous classes because we would be looking at many videos instead of just lectures.

Today for the first half of class extensively reviewing the textbook readings we had done the night before. The chapter focused on the physical and cognitive development in infancy. Babies learn in all different ways. Sometimes they learn by watching what adults and caregivers around them do actions, which they then try to copy. This is called imitation, and it does not always happen immediately. An infant or child can keep an observed action in their brains for days or weeks before they actually even try and do it for themselves. Another kind of learning babies do is called conditioning. This is where every time a baby does something there is a reaction. Eventually the baby comes to expect this reaction, or conditioned to expect it. An example of this would be if every time a baby drops a spoon off of its feeding table, it hears a clatter. Eventually these two will associate in the child’s mind and the child will expect a clatter the next time it drops a spoon. We went over concepts like this for the first half of class to really make sure these ideas were set in our minds.

We broke for lunch, which unfortunately, was not as long as our lunch yesterday. I ate lunch with the same people I ate breakfast with, but I also met up with Victoria, who sat with us. We didn’t get to stay long before having to head back to class. To start out the second half of class, Cassie started out with a difficult question to discuss. Do young infants think? At first I thought, “Yes, of course”, and apparently so did every one of my peers. When we took a poll, all sixteen of the students said that babies did think. The professor and TA both said no. We had very different definitions of thinking. It was described as conscious and rational judgment. This really changed how I thought about the question, because if it made me question if babies thought consciously. Eventually my arguments ended up supporting the idea that babies do not judge consciously and rationally until much, much later in their development. I thought about the fact that all the information that we have about babies thinking and learning is coming from an outside stimuli. This then made me wonder, if no information was being shown to them or processed, would they be able to form a conscious though on their own? I thought no. Cassie then told us that this question is not one that can be or has been answered. We then watched multiple videos on how babies learn and the different methods they use. After the videos we did some more group planning for our final project.

After class, I thought I would have to hurry to the dorms and change for the dinner, but it turned out that we planned to go a little later than expected. At first I was going to take a nap, but Victoria asked me if I wanted to go to the gym with her and I was up for it. When we got to the gym she wanted to play some pick-up basketball games, and I wanted to do some cardio, so we agreed to meet up at the entrance at a certain time and then leave. The gym is really nice, and hopefully over the weekend I will be able to go a couple more times before the new week starts and I am busy again.
On our way to dinner, we saw a tap dancer with an onlooker. The kid was also trying to tap dance, an example of imitation

The dinner we had was at Capitol Grille in Downtown Chicago. The students and admissions officers arrived shortly after us. Peter and Troy were the admissions officers and I talked mostly to them since I was sitting near them. The students were Eric, Lily, Leilani, and Teddy. Troy, one of the admissions officers who traveled out to California said he remembered that one person from ECHS was going to U Chicago, who I quickly figured out was Simon Cohen. He also talked about his experience at U Chicago and how he first thought he was interested in history, but was then later inspired by his professors to take an interest in economics. This dinner was different than the others since we already had much more of an idea of what U Chicago is like before the dinner.
The food was delicious out. Since the grille specialized in steaks, I decided to order the filet mignon with wild mushrooms and onions. It was absolutely delicious, but also extremely filling. For desert I chose a flourless espresso cake. It definitely kept me awake to finish my homework when we got back to the dorms from the restaurant. 

Tomorrow is Friday and I cannot wait to start my first weekend here at U Chicago.

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