First impression post 13 option 2

--Original published at Matt's College Blog

While I can’t speak on whether the Mozart effect has any real impact on the intelligence of infants, I do think that the Governer, Zell Miller, tried to do the right thing. He believed there was a cheap, easy way to improve the future lives of thousands of people, something we look for every day, and he executed on his idea. I do not, however, think his decision was a good one. The decision to spend over $100,000 in taxpayers money based on a belief in some shaky theory which needs more thorough testing, is not one which should be taken lightly. The better option would have been to fund a major study into the Mozart effect to see if there was any real, measurable influence on the intelligence of children who had listened to Mozart as an infant as opposed to those who did not. This would have enabled the state to both save money and make an informed decision about the proposed budget.

Another option, rather than funding the study, could have been to allocate those funds to schools directly, providing new materials and other things students, especially those of low income families, needed to grow and learn. Instead of spending $105K on Mozart CD’s and cassettes, spend those funds on textbooks, meal programs, playgrounds, transportation, and classroom supplies. The funds could have been allocated to teacher’s paychecks, or to hiring new teachers with more experience to add to the classrooms. Funding the arts programs, music classes, etc. If he though listening to Mozart would make kids smarter, he could have funded schools to teach people to play Mozart!

First Impression Post Week 11

--Original published at Matt's College Blog

As a Computer Science major, I am required to take Calculus II and Algorithms, both of which are very mathematically dense classes. Given that I’m not particularly quick with math, this causes quite a bit of stress on a regular basis when doing the homework or taking exams for these classes.

My current strategies for managing this stress involve not doing so and attempting to focus on something else until I have no choice but to power through the assignment as best I can. This, obviously, is a terrible strategy and serves only to increase the overall stress level. In the Algorithms class in particular I often find myself putting off homework assignments for an entire week until the night they’re due. The assignments get done but they are far below the level of what I could be producing in terms of quality.

In terms of exams, I’m often stressed in those classes because I know the problems take a significant amount of time to complete and I’m often left worried that I won’t be able to finish within the time limit as a result. I’ve been told in the past by counselors in high school and here at Etown that I may have moderate ADD which certainly doesn’t help with the time limit.

A couple of strategies I could try incorporating would be starting assignments way before they’re due rather than at the last minute, requesting extra time on exams, and probably studying significantly more in preparation of the exams such that my ability to recall information would be increased.

Introduction Post

--Original published at Matt's College Blog

My name is Matthew Kowalski. I am 19 years old and I grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I’m a computer science major whose ultimate dream/goal is to be a part of the first generation to be able to live on in simulation long after our bodies have withered away.

I’ve got a slight tendency to wax poetic when writing about things I find interesting and become terse if I find something actively boring.

My approach to this course is with mild optimism that I may learn more than I did in my high school psych 101 course, though mostly with the knowledge that I am fulfilling a core requirement along the way.

When it comes to writing in response to prompts, I’ve been told that I write like a programmer, short, concise, but still as readable as possible. I believe that is the reason the following is formatted in the way it is.



  1. Why you chose to take this class? (It is okay to be honest)
  2. What background, if any, do you have in psychology?
  3. What do you think of when you hear the word “psychology”?
  4. Look at the course schedule on the syllabus.
    • Which three topics look the most interesting to you?
      • Why?
    • Which three topics look the least interesting to you?
      • Why?
  5. What question about psychology do you want to answer by the end of this class?


  1. I needed to fulfill a core requirement and this class seemed like it would be more interesting than the other courses available to meet that requirement this semester.
  2. I took a psych class in high school though it focused heavily on the developmental stages and things of the like. (IE Piaget)
  3. “Why do people do the things that they do?”
  4. The following seem the most interesting:
    1. The Brain: Micro-level
      1. I am a CS major and most of my planned research in the future revolves around neural networks in computing and whether or not it’s possible to simulate a human mind to a high enough fidelity that we can “store” a person’s “consciousness” (or something close enough to call the same) for indefinite periods of time.
    2. The Brain: Macro-level
      1. See reasoning above
    3. Mechanics of Sleep
      1. The most compelling reason I’ve heard as to why we sleep is “Because we get tired” and for some reason that answer just rubs me the wrong way.
  5. The following seem the least interesting:
    1. What is “Addiction”?
      1. My mom worked in a hospital for 13 years, all of her sisters are heavy smokers. Regardless of the mechanics of addiction, I’ve seen the outcomes. I find it difficult to make myself care about the deep mechanical reasons for people ruining their lives by picking up smoking in high school after seeing the horrible things it does to their bodies.
    2. Personality theory
      1. I’ve taken the “reputable” personality tests being as honest as possible and the answers they put out just don’t feel like they fit quite right. They’re close but there’s always something fatally wrong with some part of the “personality type” they put out.
    3. Personality Assessment
      1. See reasoning above
  6. I would like to know why people are so vehemently opposed to factual information if it goes against what they believe to be true, even if they’ve been proven categorically to be wrong.