Welcome All!

Posted in Announcements with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2010 by Danielle M

We are happy to bring you Albinism Up Close as a small group project. It is a collaborated work-in-progress.

Thank you guys for checking us out!

Follow us here, and follow each of our writers. Their information can be found on their separate About pages. Feel free to share any topics, pictures, links, or opinions you may have for us, but please be considerate of this site’s creators and readers. We appreciate your interest.

If you have Albinism or are a parent or family member to someone who has it and you would like to contribute to our project, please email us at: albinismupclose@gmail.com

Danielle M

The Beginning of Self-Reflection

Posted in Encouragement, Everyday Life, Student Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2015 by Danielle M

So, I’ve been having a great deal of trouble dealing with what must happen in the future in order for me to be successful in the field of psychology. While I was in school for my Bachelor’s degree, I was certain what would happen next. I was sure things would work out for me in the end, and in the way that I had envisioned it. After graduating, though, things changed. I graduated last December, and it is now August. Two attempts at internships fell through, though out of my control, three or four jobs including two interviews ended up going nowhere, and two graduate school applications also disintegrated as I watched helplessly. I pretty much felt as though I was some stolid observer to this life as each and every one of the possible plans I had made fell through. It was fairly disheartening, though I didn’t want to admit that to anyone. Now, as I wait for another internship that also may not pan out, I am left to do some serious thinking on my future. Could I settle for some obscure job or even with a Master’s degree and some lower level counseling job? At first, I gave the latter idea some though, but the idea never really felt right. I began reading a book on forensic psychology as the beginning in what I hoped would be a fair collection of books that I would read as I did some soul searching. While reading this first book, I was also searching for some more graduate schools near me to apply to in a month or two when applications open. The book had me interested, as forensics and murder and violence and the reasons behind them often draw out the curiosity in all of us. I stumbled upon a Joseph Stalin quote within the book, “One death is a tragedy; 20 million deaths is a statistic.” That probably sounds insensitive to many, but the point made in the book was that we may be able to empathize with why one person is driven to murder or torture; we are inherently incapable of incurring the empathy and emotion of millions of those people who were murdered, tortured, and otherwise harmed during genocides and wars of the past. It is simply impossible. That idea lead me on a trail of thoughts toward my future. I though, if I were to teach a psychology 101 class one day, this quote would make a stunning introduction. Psychology is about empathy yes, but it is more about an understanding or logical interpretation of why someone does a thing rather than an empathetic and emotional understanding. We are not necessarily to place ourselves in the shoes of the murderers and criminals of this world, we are to use our education and understanding to understand the psychology behind what a person chooses to do and why they choose to do it. We are not meant to become emotionally wrapped up in what the psychiatrically ill or those lacking in empathy do. We are only meant to understand it. With that understanding we can go in many directions of course, but first and foremost, the understanding is step numero uno. Consequently, thinking about how I would introduce the topic of psychology in a classroom of undergraduates made me see the obvious: I would like to be present in such a situation. So, today I have been faced with the obvious realization that I am still headed in the same direction, and I do want to head in that direction.

This all sounds silly to me now, but I have worried myself in excess about what I’ll end up doing with myself in the future. I’ve felt guilty for lying around, playing video games, and reading non-education related books in my time off. That is just ridiculous honestly. I shouldn’t feel guilt after I’ve accomplished so much and still have so much left to accomplish. I graduated at the top of my class with a 4.0 GPA, and I did it while dealing with my own unique set of small challenges. I’m legally blind, sometimes severely light-sensitive, and have even been diagnosed with gastroparesis in the last few years. The latter isn’t nearly as serious as I first believed it might be. I’m very thankful to have a less severe case than many of those I read about when first diagnosed. That aside, the vision issues are sometimes challenging to work around, but I know I’m not alone there. I’m just saying that I have earned a small intermission in my mission-driven life. It’s okay to relax for a bit. I’m not sure why I always feel so guilty about doing that. Type A personality maybe? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m sure of the course my life will inevitably take, though I’m not sure when and how, or even where. I can be alright with that unknown though. I will just have to keep reminding myself so. Tonight I’ll go photograph some children at my local church as sort of a before-school celebration. I’ll keep reminding myself to enjoy the break that I’ve been given, because once grad school begins, there will be little time for simple pleasures.

Stay curious and never stop searching for yourself.

Danielle

Beautiful Subtleties

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by Danielle M

There is something incredibly beautiful about the subtleties of acoustic instruments: piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo, everything. The mistakes, echos, creative moments, and all of these things we don’t often give thought to are beyond incredible. How great it is to hear. Just to hear. I imagine deafness to be quite lonesome. I believe I would feel beyond lonely without my hearing. 

During Biological Psychology, we recently discussed the miracle of hearing. No matter your definition of “miracle” the mind is one mystery we may never fully understand. It’s incredible how each of the small ear structures combine with fluids, hairs, tiny reverberations, and electrical signals to make noise in all of its beautiful mystery. It truly is a mystery in my mind, though I am no auditory expert of course. Sound is waves. That is all that it is, though it has many complex physics-related properties that I would not dare claim to understand. What happens in our minds is incredible and complex, but these events are what we “hear.” And what we hear relates to our own perspectives right? Surely that is true; it is true for vision and thought. 

Possibly, it is those subtle perception differences that make the difference in our musical preferences. One person may hear a jumble of sounds and some lyrics where another hears a beautiful journey through someone’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  Not that either, or anyone in between, would be wrong or right. Everything in this world is a matter of perception. If you truly give that a thought, you can learn to see things so very differently. Your entire world may even shift. I have always considered myself perceptive and empathetic, but the deeper I delve into areas like perception and individual experience, my world grows immensely. I’m not sure one person can truly hold all of these perceptions in one mind. I will continue to test that idea as my life progresses.

Give something new a chance, and give the next person you meet a perceptive thought. Let yourself wrap that amazing mind around all of the things a person can experience and feel.

Stay curious and thanks for reading, as always.

Danielle M

Words. And that is all that they are.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2014 by Danielle M

What are words? And language? Does it firmly represent tangible objects and abstract ideas? When we say apple, is that apple instantly made real? The same is true for a picture, especially this one below.

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This is a picture of a pipe, but does that make it a pipe? Language represents our idea of a thing or idea, but that does not make language a finite lingual representation of an object or idea. We’ve been learning some interesting language concepts or non-language concepts. Reading from my textbook Texts and Concepts: Writing about Literature with Critical Theory (6th Edition) by Steven Lynn has been very interesting this semester. I have learned so many new perspectives from which to view literature of all types, and now we have moved into deconstruction of literature with our current chapter, which focuses on the dividing and breaking down of literature into its structural parts and seeking out contradictions of the visible point being made by the work. It could get quite complex and seems to go on for an infinite amount of time. 

Back to language and its non-meaning. If language does not represent our objects and ideas then what does? Well, the object itself I suppose. Language is one tool that we use to work with objects and ideas, but it is not fixed or naturally occurring. Another note about language, how many languages are there throughout the world? Including those languages labeled as “dead”? An example used in my textbook is the word fog. In your native language you may have one word for fog, but another language has eleven words for fog, does that make either language or set of words wrong? No. Each language is a tool, and one culture may have multiple meanings for a term that another culture has only one word for. This concept is similar for many “tools.” One person might use a framing hammer to drive a nail, and another may only have a standard claw hammer around for the very same job. Using a different took does not make one person wrong and another right, rather, it demonstrates the versatile and individual nature of the human experience.

Language specific tools vary widely even within one single language. We could contrast education level, geographical location, cultural heritage, and many other background schema when doing this analysis, but this fact holds true: even though we each use different tools to get the “job” done, none of us are either wrong or right. Effectiveness and timeliness would be another discussion of this individuality. 

I find all of this very fascinating, and this is a new perspective that we can all use to view language and any other sort of “tool” and “job.”

Hope you’ve learned just a fraction of what I have from this post. As always, thanks for reading. Stay curious.

Danielle M.

Skepticism in Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2014 by Danielle M

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Comments like “No one can know what it’s like to spend a day in my life,” are what that last post was all about, and of course we’ve all been guilty. I just heard this said in one of my classes, and yes, it makes me curious what that person is going through, but I also feel a twinge of something… resentment? skepticism? Possibly just disbelief, but I’ll go with skepticism since it is at least healthy. 

I recently took a midterm in my Experimental Psychology class during which skepticism was very important. In that class we are learning to think like scientists, which we have all been taught here and there throughout our entire school careers; ask questions, be aware of what is around you and why, the scientific method, logical thinking, etc. All of these things beginning at birth (curiosity) are a natural part of us that we should continue to grow throughout our lives 

How many times has someone told you an interesting fact? Do you simply believe them? You say it depends on who has told you, right? Well, who of us is not human and exempt from imperfection? That is a very fair question. We can all be wrong, though we may be correct quite often. I’m not suggesting that we all vehemently question our friends, teachers, parents, and coworkers on their every statement, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask for their sources. Another medium we should question is our news; yes our news is our news, surely we can trust reporters! Well, yes we can for the most part, but a healthy amount of skepticism is a good thing. If a particular story is important to you, rather than simply watching a story on the television and relaying the message to everyone you meet throughout your day we should be willing to read other takes on that same story. Fox, CNN, ABC, Yahoo, Al Jazeer, and so many other news sources are at our disposal. The amount of information provided by these sources about just one day’s events could keep us reading for months. There’s no need to spend hours reading news and checking sources. Leave that to the news providers who do take a great amount of time checking their sources so that we don’t have to. 

My point really is simply that we shouldn’t always take everything that we hear at face value. On the other end of that spectrum, I’m not suggesting that we all run around questioning everyone’s every statement, because that is truly annoying for both you and the people you question.  Give skepticism a thought next time you watch the news or listen to someone giving a lecture or seminar. You’ll notice that many of those who have been taught to think like scientists will provide their sources systematically (especially noticeable during seminars). 

Do not confuse skepticism with disbelief or confusion. Skepticism tells us to ask questions, but doubt does not. Doubt says that we may already disbelieve something. Do not make up your mind too quickly; ask questions first.

Stay curious, and thanks for reading. 

Danielle M.

Secrets of Life Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2014 by Danielle M

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So, one again while attempting to unravel life’s many curious secrets, I was giving thought to the human experience. That is, what we go through or experience, how we handle these things, and what characteristics shape our reactions. Most of us feel our situation or experience is unique and that only we could possibly experience these sequences of events. In reality, someone has most likely been through similar if not the same situation, and someone will most likely undergo the same situation long after you’re gone. What makes our situations and human experiences unique is not the sequence of events that take place in our lives, rather, the unique factor is how we perceive, react, and cope with that sequence of events.

Each of us is made up of unique combinations of experiences and those combinations shape our perceptions and our coping methods as well as many other aspects of our personality. This unique personality is what makes our perceptions unique and this is also what makes the human experience so very different for each of us. Give that some thought next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself or feeling all alone in this world, try to remember that you ARE NOT completely alone.

Though you are very unique, your situation may not be completely unique. This post is not only for those of you reading it; it is also a reminder for myself. We all need to step back from our own situation every now and then to gain a new perspective.

Hope this has encouraged someone out there. As always, thank you for reading.

Danielle M.

Updates, Research, and Glasses

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2014 by Danielle M

So, still waiting to hear about the DHS research internship. I should know something sometime in March. Still quite a bit nervous about doing something so big, but it would be an amazing opportunity. On the subject of research, I have decided to work on my own Experiment. I don’t want to share just yet, but this project is within cognitive psychology and perception. I’m very excited. I’m still working on the research for this experiment, and probably will be for at least a few more weeks. Reading has been slow. I’ve had several assignments to work on. 

School has been wonderful. All of my classes are wonderful, including my Critical Writing. I actually have enjoyed that class much more than I thought I would. I’ve written a critique on a song by Panic! At The Disco. The real downside of all this work and all of these fluorescent lights are the headaches, including migraines. Wasn’t sure what I would do about this until I went to the eye doctor. 

At the eye doctor I learned something that I should’ve been told years and years ago. I could have my regular prescription glasses tinted within about 3 minutes. As it turns out any optical shop can tint glasses. All they do is dip them in some form of tinting solution. Its amazing really. I’m shocked that no one every told me: doctors, teachers, counselors, family, and even Vocational rehab. I also finally ordered some prescription sunglasses. All $340 worth. Before insurance discounts, the price was around $475. I’m just happy to have received some help at least. I’ll update after I’ve received them. My newly tinted prescription glasses have been absolutely wonderful for both indoor and outdoor use. They help eliminate some of the eye pain caused by fluorescent lighting and the glare of an overcast day. I honestly feel as though this is a huge deal and will be a huge turning point for me. 

More updates soon. If anyone has suggestions about what they would like me to write about, I would be glad to read them. Thanks for reading.

Danielle M.

Big Research Internship and Health Issues

Posted in Announcements, Everyday Life, Health, Student Life with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2013 by Danielle M

So, I’ve been told that I would be an awesome candidate for this awesome research internship during the summer. Travel opportunities, learning awesome stuffs, meeting new people, and an included stipend and housing costs. I was pretty nervous at first, but now I’m thinking I need the experience both in research and in independence. Could be very beneficial for me.

Other issues…. I may have a bad galbladder. I have had a couple tests so far and have one more Friday. I am so not looking forward to this one. An upper GI scope just doesn’t sound fun… I won’t even have anyone who can spend all day taking care of me. Phooey.

Oh well. Any opinions on a GI scope or galbladder issues and possible galbladder removal (cholecystectomy)?