Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the scientific method.

so. as many of you know, i was hoping to go to med school. and to be fair, i'm not completely dismissing the idea. however, this last semester has taught me something invaluable--i hate the "hard" sciences. just to clarify, that doesn't mean the challenging sciences, that means things that don't involve people, essentially. psychology, for instance, is often considered a "soft" science. well soften me up, folks, for if soft be psychologists, soft i hope to be. and while the idea of being a medical doctor does still has it's appeal... well, read on.

here's the thing. this semester was an experiment of sorts. the scientific method basically states that to test something, you should make a hypothesis and run the test to see how it goes. simple enough. this semester, i hypothesized that i'd be able to not only learn to beat my science courses, but that i'd learn to enjoy them. my hypothesis was based in my success, my results are based in defeat.

now, another important part of interpreting results that most people (including myself) don't learn until a bit after elementary school science is the idea of the null hypothesis. here's the example, compliments of nassim nicholas taleb. if you do a study to prove there are only white swans in the world, you can never be sure, really. the reason is there may always be a little black swan hidden away in an old man's basement somewhere, completely defying your theory (side note, there are black swans). therefore, certain phraseology is used to ensure that honesty and operational definitions are present. to assume there is no difference or your variable of choice is present(ie, there is no black swan, i don't want to be a doctor) is called 'the null hypothesis.' therefore, if we find a black swan (or find that through my classes i want to be a doctor), we would reject the null hypothesis, as it is not the case (in cases with numbers, this is done statistically, of course). however, if we do not find this to be the case, we cannot simply accept the null. you'll remember the old man with the black swan. you never really know. so instead of saying, "yes, we embrace the null. it's true." we fail to reject the null hypothesis. thus saying that as far as we can tell, the null holds true.

this semester, as pertaining to my wanting to go to med school, i found no black swans. i failed to reject the null. that means that as far as the time being is concerned, i don't especially want to be a doctor. that being said, there are errors that can play into things, of course. but i can honestly say that after this semester of dealing with chemistry again, hating biology, and finding the only bright spot in my week being my psychological testing class, that the null was pretty heavily enforced.

so next semester i'll be taking a sabbatical from all classes outside of psychology, and i'm quite excited. i'll be doing nothing but psych all day as far as academics is concerned, and i'm thrilled about it. the way i see it, next semester's null will be that i don't want to go into psychology as a professional field. i'm sincerely hoping to find a black swan.

and on a sidenote, over thanksgiving break i got to paint my nephews' and one of my niece's faces in the likeness of kiss. it's not really associated at all with the rest of my post, but still cool enough that i'm sharing it.


1 comment:

  1. They are so cute. I'm still unsure of how you managed to get them all in facepaint though.

    I'm glad you're getting close to figuring out what you would like to do. I can relate to that experience.