not read seems like the theme for the day. 

1. internship is officially more than half-over. so not ready to leave. i’m actually really learning a lot and enjoy (most of) what i’m doing. really glad i had this opportunity. 

2. got the first email of the semester from a professor. so not ready for classes to start. i’m not going to be in school mode at all when i get back. and this is going to be a tough, crazy semester. 

3. grad school apps. people started talking about it again, i still have to schedule and take the psych gre, and i’m also (you guessed it) not ready for this to start. 

things i am ready for?

1. new zealand this weekend. going to auckland from thursday to sunday and really excited about it!

2. my own bed. and my entire wardrobe. and not cold, rainy weather. and my roommates. and my teddy and fefe. 

nothing else exciting happening - we’re actually getting results from the meta-analysis so i’m looking forward to that tomorrow to see what we get from it!

So that was a fail. I’m over it thought. OBVIOUSLY WASN’T IMPORTANT ANYWAY. 

Working backwards, since that seems easier. Today was the first day of the third week of my internship (that was a bit more of a mouthful than intended). I continued working on the meta-analysis (have I mentioned the details yet?). It’s essentially looking at the effects of antidepressants on emotional processing, as measured by fMRI. We’re limiting it down  a single dose of the AD and in healthy controls (rather than patients with MDD). I’ve been working, the last week or so, on extracting all the relevant data/information/stats out of a bunch of articles and imputing into a spreadsheet (oh how i truly love you excel), so now that we’ve got that mostly done and figured out, we’re moving onto the next stage, which is determining the right meta-analytic approach to use and beginning on the actual writing of the paper. Started both of those today and I think we’ve pretty much decided on doing an MKDA (Multilevel Kernel Density Analysis, which I’m sure really fascinates you) on the data, so I’ve been researching that a bit and trying to figure out what I need to do next. Also started outlining an introduction for the paper, so that meant reading more papers and trying to figure out how in the world I’m supposed to organize everything. Also, writing is hard. WHATEVER. (ALSO MEREDITH, WE’RE DOING STUFF ON MATLAB TOMORROW AND IT REMINDED ME OF YOU SO HARD. Wish me luck!)

Yesterday (Sunday) was just spend wandering Sydney a little. An intern from Melbourne was visiting this weekend, so we showed her around the city and harbour area. We also visited Paddy’s Markets in the morning, and I got a bagful of tourist-y souvenirs for y’all. GET EXCITED. 

Saturday was spent at the Blue Mountains, a small “range” a two-hour train ride from Sydney. It was cold. And windy. And wet. And muddy. BUT, it was beautiful and nice to walk around and actually get some exercise. I feel like all I’ve done since coming to Sydney is EAT. I’ve tried so many different types of foods - Indian, Thai, Turkish, etc, and the more I try, the more I love it all. I’ve fallen in love with Indian, I think - I could live off rice and spices are amazing, so what’s not to love? Thai is playing hard to get, but I feel like I’ll come around to it by the end of my trip. Turkish is amazing…their “thing” is the pide, which is like a pizza and/or calzone-type thing, but with different flavors/breading. It was delicious. 

We went out Thursday night and all I have to say about that: how is it that a taxi ride there is $9 and the ride back is $16 - THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. That’s all. 

I don’t think much happened during the week…lots of wandering the city, the beaches, more fMRI meta-analysis, etc. OH. Me (and 7 other people apparently, last I heard) booked our flight to New Zealand for the weekend of July 26. We’re flying into Auckland that Thursday night and coming back Sunday afternoon. Definitely looking forward to that - I’ve always wanted to go to NZ. 

Next update will be within a week this time! Promise-ish. 

So I pretty much wrote this whole post, and then I accidentally refreshed and it got erased. I QUIT. 

since we only work 4 days/week, we get a long weekend to explore or travel every week. thursday, my supervisor was still sick so i caught up on things i needed to read about and stayed in my pjs in bed all day. it was definitely nice!

learning more about fmri research - it’s all kind of over my head still but i do find it really interesting. i love how much it can be used to show you and how much you get can from it. i could totally see myself doing research involving it in the future. 

we all went out friday night to a couple of different bars around sydney. we had to take taxis to get from bar to bar and to get home, and that made me miss auburn where everything is within walking distance/a bus ride! but there was an awesome live band at one of the bars we went to that did this disco medley - i thought it was actually a lot of fun to dance to!

this morning we all kind of leisurely got up and did our own thing - me and 3 others went and got sushi at sushi train place, and i think i really am starting to like them. i wish they had them on the east coast - i was saying i feel like this would be perfect on a college campus for students because you pay by the plate and get to just grab whatever catches your eye. 

this will probably just be a chill day - i found a buddy who loves doctor who as much as me (omg yay) so this is completely awesome and i know who i’ll be hanging out with a lot more now, since he has all the episodes i haven’t seen yet! 

got an assignment to do before going back into work  next week. have to read a couple of papers and make a 2 page report on the pros and cons of different fmri meta analysis methods - likely won’t be super exciting but i do think it’ll help me learn about it and understand it better. 

definitely looking forward to getting back onto campus next week and actually meeting with and discussing future plans with my supervisor! i really think i’m going to enjoy what i’m doing and i think this will be an amazing experience (and a plus for my CV) come graduate school applications/decisions/etc. 

supervisor is still sick so i had yesterday off and now am not going in to meet him today, either. 

shannon (another intern here) and i spent the day yesterday around the bondi junction area, exploring and wandering the markets and malls. i really liked the area - it makes me wish i could afford to spend money buying some of the clothes here. the fashion is crazy. 

we got “happy 4th of july’d” by a man on a bus in the morning - i guess he heard our accents, but it was a fun surprise hearing that out of the blue!

also learned that when going up or down an escalator, unless you’re walking, you have to stay on the left side or you’ll get griped at. oops. I’M STILL LEARNING OKAY. 

tried a sushi train restaraunt for the first time…it was fun and i liked being able to try anything i wanted. it was all really good too, and definitely reasonably priced. a++. 

later than night, a huge group of us (like 20 i think, it ended up being?) went out to a couple of bars to celebrate independence day. we got free entry and a free beer at the first and they were also serving $3 hot dogs, so that was definitely a fun treat. 

it was kind of weird celebrating 4th of july without fireworks and in the middle of a rainy winter, but it was a fun experience and i feel like the usa chants might have been even stronger because we were away from the states. either way, i definitely a good night!

spending today reading over some stuff for the fmri research and hopefully a few of us will go out to dinner somewhere tonight - i really want to experience sydney’s food, and my dad made a good point about not being cheap with my money while here with stuff like that because it’s not like i’ll be back here again soon barring something miraculous haha

still loving the city, however and i think i really will be sad to leave. will definitely have to come back during summer i think some day. 

Bam. 

Yeah, it happened. I had to take 2 buses and while that sounds simple (and it was) I obviously made it way more complicated than it should have been. I think what ended up happening was that I did get on the right bus, but I thought it was the wrong bus, so I got off. And then got on another, which took me in the opposite direction…idek, I ended up just walking 15 min or so towards campus and it all worked out. 

Again, have yet to meet my supervisor (who apparently got sick from his daughter) and since he’s sick and Tim’s on holiday, I have tomorrow off! I think I’ll spend it exploring the city (during daylight wut) and running a few errands I’ve been putting off. 

What I did at work today was basically sit in front of Photoshop for hours upon hours and create various poster templates that they (their lab/research group?) can use for upcoming conferences. It took a while to get started but once I figured it out, it worked out. (And he seemed impressed!) 

Apparently everyone’s going out tomorrow for the 4th of July and the bar we’re going to has a thing going that if you show your American ID, you can get in free or get a drink - something like that! Sounds like it’ll be interesting!

Today was the first day of my 6 week internship doing research in Sydney. I was told to meet Tim, one of my supervisor’s grad students, at 7:30 outside of a train station. I spent all day yesterday figuring out trains and buses and routes, ensuring that there’s no way I’d have issues today. FAMOUS LAST WORDS. My alarm - set for 5:45 ON TWO SEPARATE DEVICES - failed to wake me up. Either I turned it off while still asleep or it was too quiet to wake me, but no matter, I obviously didn’t get up at 5:45. Luckily, I rolled out of bed and looked at my phone at around 6:30 so managed to spend a adrenaline-filled 20 min doing my hair, makeup, clothes, contacts, backpack, etc and rushing out to make a bus at 6:53. I got to the stop at 6:54. JUST MY LUCK. I obviously missed the bus but managed to take the next one and got to the train station about 10 min late. Then of course, as luck would have it, the train I finally board announces they’re running 3 minutes late, too. On top of everything else, this kind of stressed me out. Just a tad, maybe. NO WORRIES, though, because I got there only 5 minutes past when I was supposed to meet Tim, managed to call him and have him come get me and no harm done. Btw, it was like…windy and freezing and I think I died. 

I met up with Tim and a participant for the study they were about to start and headed to his office at the Royal North Shore hospital. I got settled in a bit as everyone made their introductions, blah blah. She filled out some questionnaires, took the medicine (either an antidepressant or placebo) and we waited a few hours, just discussing plans, research, etc. 

After a couple of hours of waiting, we went down to set up for her EEG. I met with Camilla, an honours student doing research with Tim and Andrew (my supervisor) and I helped her get the equipment ready. I got to help put the electrodes on the cap and get it fitted onto the participant’s head. I also squished some gel onto her scalp between the electrode and her skin haha. After we got it all fit properly, we took a resting state measurement and a measurement of her while she was performing a mental arithmetic task (counting backwards by 13 from a random number, like 2456 or something haha). After that, we cleaned up the equipment and eventually headed up to the fMRI machine. I got to watch as she got set up and talked with Tim and the woman doing the scan…it’s really interesting to get a Australian’s perspective of the States (which continued throughout the day…there are a lot of subtle differences between here and back home that you don’t really notice right away but become apparent with time). 

We finished up with the participant and the last few questionnaires (she was the final one for the entire study!) and went to lunch at this little cafe down from the hospital. It was amazing - makes me wish I could afford to eat out all the time in Australia. 

We headed back to the hospital after lunch and the rest of the afternoon was a lot more laid-back. One exciting thing that happened was them getting feedback about a grant they applied for. The proposed project is a huge 400 participant fMRI study on depression, anxiety, avoidant PD, and social anxiety disorder and it’s mostly about comparing the disorders (since they are often comorbid) and looking at them on a more dimensional scale rather than categorically (a lot like what the changes in the upcoming edition of the DSM will reflect, if I’m not mistaken!). I then read over some papers about fMRI research methods and ALE, etc and while it’s definitely a bit over my head and overwhelming, it’s interesting and I think this next 6 weeks will teach me a lot than I would never have really gotten the opportunity to learn back in Auburn. I’m meeting with Andrew tomorrow morning (didn’t get the chance to today) on campus, and we’re going to go over everything for the next month and a half then, I think. I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited to meet him - everyone I’ve met here in Australia has seemed really nice and friendly!

I’ve been paying attention to what our resident directors mentioned at orientation about how Australians tend to view us Americans and how the workplace mentality is supposedly different from the States in that it’s more “work to live” than “live to work.” I did notice that Aussies seem to see us Americans as violent, religious, kind of dangerous haha. One women I talked to also mentioned tornadoes, which made me laugh because that’s one of the things Todd (our director) talked about as one of the things Australians are afraid of relating to America (also guns was another, I think). But I don’t think that the attitude or work atmosphere was too different than what I’m used to in America. Maybe because it’s academia or maybe I’ve just been lucky and am used to being around really chill and laid back people at school, but it’s not very different from what I’ve seen. 

Will update again (hopefully) tomorrow! 

Cheers! 

Sunny Sydney = squinty Brittany. 

  1. Camera: iPhone 4
  2. Aperture: f/2.8
  3. Exposure: 1/1257th
  4. Focal Length: 3mm

If I tried to write about everything I’ve done these last few days, this post would be ridiculously unreadably long. Also, this may possibly be incoherent because I am totally beyond exhausted. 

I’ll highlight the main points. Got into Cairns Wednesday morning local time. Went straight from the airport to the hostel - Gilligan’s, which is completely insane - just to drop off our luggage before meeting again to start our first orientation session. We spent the first day going over the basic health, safety, blah blah blah stuff before going out to dinner at the Pier. After a meal of fish and chips (I HAD TO OKAY), me and a couple of others took a long walk along the boardwalk (Esplanade) before heading back to our rooms. I utterly passed out after the flight, the jet lag, the stress and excitement, etc. 

On Thursday, we headed to Rainforestation, a wildlife/Aboriginal park where we got to hold a koala, pet and walk around with roaming kangaroos, watch some traditional Aboriginal dancing, paint some art, and take a DUKW tour around the park. It was a crazy day, but lots of fun. A few of us went to dinner at a Greek restaurant a few spots down from the hostel. Food was good, but most memorable was being ~forced to get up and dance to some Greek song in a chain, while the workers threw plates at our feet. Was definitely interesting. 

Friday was an early start (6:15 for breakfast!) but it was probably my favorite day in Cairns. We headed out on a boat all day on the Great Barrier Reef (what is my life) and had the opportunity to go snorkeling and scuba diving. I did both (for the first time!) and they were both awesome. Saw amazing coral and fishes and a sting ray and some whales…one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. We got back, ate some dinner and went out to celebrate our last night in Cairns. Music was good, drinks were good, and everyone had a lot of fun just hanging out and dancing. 

Saturday, I flew into Sydney and got settled into the lodge. After some sketchy drama with the shuttle driver, we made it safely to the house tried to unpack as much as we could. Rooms are nice but since it’s “renovated” it’s kind of old. Not a bad location either. Easy to get to everything!

Sunday (today) was spent exploring Sydney. We took a train, a tram, a ferry, and a bus. We went to Darling Harbor, saw the bridge and Opera House, and ended up near Chinatown and Paddy’s Markets. We ate some asian food in some sketch food court, but the food was decent and the prices were really good for Australia. (Things are ridiculously expensive here…it makes sense why, but I’m too tired to go into it right now haha). 

First day of internship is tomorrow (at 7:30 ahhh) so I’ll reupdate after that. Wish me luck! (And sleep!)

New section for every post: Australian lingo I’ve learned (I’ll add more as I go along!):

  • No worries =  your welcome/response to anything ever. For real. 
  • Cheers = not sure exactly what it translates to but everyone ends their emails this way haha. It’s cute.
  • Ranga = redhead (Taken from “orangutan” apparently and something everyone will call me haha) Super clever. 
  • Sunnies = sunglasses
  • Pokies = Slot/poker Machines 
  • Cuppa = cup of coffee/tea
  • Capsicum = bell peppers
  • Rockmelon = cantaloupe