Friday, August 5, 2011

2nd year orientation over

I just got home from the 2nd day of 2nd year orientation.  Yesterday, we had an Evelyn Woods reading dynamics class.  It wasn't particularly helpful, but it wasn't too painful to sit through, either.  Today, we had one announcement after the next about changes in our classes, and updates on university policy.  It wasn't bad at all, until the end.  We were scheduled to get out at 4:30, and around 3:30, it was looking like we had very little to go over, and we could wrap things up and get out early. 

Pretty much all we had to cover was a quickie reminder on plagiarism and copywrite issues. Those were partly due to a small chunk of our class that got in trouble last school year, because apparently you can be well on your way to becoming a doctor, and not have figured out that it's a bad idea to copy and paste an assignment you have to turn in. Those were to be followed by an overview of how to put together a CV.  Should have been pretty quick and straightforward. 

But nooo!  It's the anti-grey area part of the class to the rescue!  I'd forgotten about that particular subset of people over the summer.  Instead of using common sense, or realizing that there's not an exact answer to every question, they have to spend as much time as they can coming up with every potential hypothetical situation to see what catagory it falls in. They then proceed to beat whatever subject it is into the ground. 

An example of this group from last year - we were discussing disease onset in a pathology Q&A session.  So they spent about an hour on questions like "so if you hit your shin, and it takes a hour to swell, is that acute, or peracute?" "What if it took 35 minutes?" "What about 26.14728 minutes?" "What if it took an hour and three minutes?"  Aagh! We were held captive by an hour-long stream of questions along those lines. 

So they were back in full form today.  "What if you copy and paste some information for your own notes, is that plagiarism?" "Let me understand this.  It falls under fair use if I share a .pdf I got from the library with my PBL group.  What if I share it with my PBL group and ONE OTHER PERSON?" "What if I put together an outline of my notes to study off of.  Do I have to put a citation under any pictures I use?"  "You said to put any and all previous research on our CV.  Does that include undergrad?" 

After about 45 minutes of sitting through questions like that, your jaw starts to hurt from grinding your teeth.  It's baffling how people get so worked up over things.  Of course, nobody's going to look at your notes and cite you for plagiarism. If you're not turning it in, nobody's going to care. If you are turning it in, don't be stupid and copy/paste from a paper the instructor wrote (yes, somebody did this.) There's no legal definition of the exact amount of people who can utilize a resource before it stops being "fair use." It's like Potter Stewart's view of obscenity - "I'll know it when I see it."  And apparently, it's hard to grasp that the word "all" in regards to previous research encompasses undergrad, as the modifier "since undergrad" was not in that sentence. 

Umm... I guess the point of that, is that we didn't get out until about 5 minutes before we were scheduled to get out.  Thanks, askers of a million useless questions. 

Anyway, minor rant aside, orientation was good.  I got to have lunch with my awesome little sib, got to talk to my mentor for a bit this morning, bumped into my favorite 2013er.  And best of all, I didn't have to sit through any motivational speakers, nor was I coerced into dancing, or having group "fun" activities. 

I'm so excited for monday to start.  I'm pathetically giddy, considering the pile of stress that begins next week.  But it's the good kind, where you're doing what you love.  Last year, I was excited, but so overwhelmed with everything, so I ended up getting off to a rocky start, and not ever fully recovering.  This year, I'm pretty optimistic that things will go much more smoothly, and I can't wait to get started.  Come on, Monday!

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