August 17th, 2016

Research Methods–The First Time

On a hot night in August, I attended my second grad class in the psychology building at UGA. I minored in psychology in the 70s and if you’ve been to UGA’s campus, that building is the last bastion of 60s pop architecture on campus. I can’t wait.

I can’t help thinking, “I need a study group.” And I can’t get over the invitation I get for after hours functions.  This might be more fun that I thought it would be.

I’ve written on a regular basis for more than 20 years. I’m a columnist, news writer and I’ve gotten better at it as time has gone on. I wrote a book in 2005 that sold a roughly 6000 copies retail. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, and it’s no “Killing Kennedy,” but it is what it is. Then I bought the last 500 and sold them myself. I’m told that’s pretty good for a first time writer in non-fiction but way short of my goal of being the next big selling author of any genre.

I’m really enjoying the drive back and forth to school. I’ve always said you get younger and better looking the closer you get to Athens/UGA, but maybe it’s just my love of learning that keeps me young. I still get excited every time I got to Athens.

I arrived about an hour early (that’s from years of doing live radio—they start without you if your late) and the first person I saw was a young woman I encountered on Doug Collin’s most recent campaign. She was surprised to see me but it was one of those seeing someone in a setting you didn’t expect. In both of my classes there’s a guy who I crossed paths with on campaigns also.

I’m in with the in crowd!

I will have to say, I wasn’t the first person there. There’s a guy in both my classes who was first to arrive. I’ll have to work on that. I’ll be traveling with my boss next Monday and will miss class and when he heard that, he said, “I’ll have to study up more and participate if you’re not going to be there.” I smiled at that. I like to be prepared.

When I was in college the first time, there were guys coming back from Viet Nam. After you’ve been shot at, college studying is a breeze. They were always prepared and ready for class and always screwing up the curve. Am I that person?

I really enjoyed the first research methods class. The professor clearly loves his subject matter. And he was excited to be talking about it. I didn’t give the kind of introduction I should have, I was a little nervous and I didn’t have the heart to tell him until after class that I live with a bunch of “real scientists” (their words, not mine) who don’t think much of social scientists. I think we may have a show down on that one.

What’s my biggest fear—maybe not the biggest but the one that’s at the forefront right now? That I will love this so much that I want to quit my job and do this full time—be a student. It would be fun, but not possible right now. Deadlines and commitments…Bob Seger, “Against the Wind”

And the best part of the day? I asked a question about using dollars to quantify relationships in a research model my professor was talking about, and he said, “good question!” Maybe not with an exclamation point, but it felt that way to me.

I’ve always thought I was a fraud and someone was going to find out one day that I really wasn’t that smart. No one told me that. My parents always told me I was the smartest, the prettiest—maybe not the most athletic. But I was always told by my parents I could be anything I wanted to be. Maybe that’s what drives me. It’s what I call the “little fat girl” voice in my head. That’s what pushes me to be better—maybe not faster or stronger, but I’m working on that, too.

It’s never too late.