Monday, 9 October 2017

Centre For Talented Youth - TY Course

Every year the CTYI (Centre for Talented Youth Ireland) run a College level course for Transition Years. People participating this year, applied in March or April and went through a long and tedious application process which included things like writing a 'Letter of Motivation' and getting Teacher Recommendations. Four girls from our school actually made it through this year and got accepted in late May. We pretty much spent the summer googling what we had actually signed up for while trying to stay cautiously optimistic.

The Early University Entrance programme is just a chance for Transition Year students to pick a subject that people study in college and get to cover the same syllabus somebody in their first year of college would. Every Friday, four girls from our school go to DCU at 10am for our lectures. There were many courses available, I picked Psychology. This particular interest, was sparked by a modern day TV show called Pretty Little Liars which explores elements of psychology. Some of the other girls chose to do Law and Politics and Mathematical Sciences.

We don't actually just attend lectures with a bunch of college students, we do get to go to our own lectures specifically for Transition Years. It's really just a chance for Transition Years to see what college life is like. There are about twenty people in my Psychology class and we have two lectures and one tutorial each week. Our day finishes at 4pm each Friday. For those of you wondering what a Tutorial is, I'm still not quite certain. My psychology class spent our first tutorial playing Pictionary with an old chalkboard. They supposedly allow students to get a better understanding of what the material they're studying in lectures is about, but I'm still working out how Pictionary achieved that.

I've already established how college is different from secondary school. Our lecturers laugh when we call them 'Miss' and insist on us calling them by their first names, a concept which is still too weird for me to fathom. Also we don't have to do our homework. On the first week we were told that doing our homework is our own business and if we do it, they'll correct it but if we don't, they don't really care. Despite this, the Psychology groupchat still blows up every Thursday night as people freak out about this week's homework. They usually decide that "if nobody has it done then they can't be mad, so even if you have it done don't tell them and they'll forget." 

This amazing theory never worked in Secondary School, and it still doesn't work much in college. You can eat and drink in your lectures, which lets me enjoy my tall Mocha from the Starbucks on campus in class each week. You can also go on your phone during lectures which sounds fun but loses its novelty when you keep getting "what's she on about?" snaps in the groupchat during a lecture. Furthermore there's a lot more class discussions in our classes. Although this arguably isn't always a great idea with groups of 16 year olds. Once, one guy asked a lecturer what her favourite type of hallucinogenic drug was during a class discussion and another was insistent that linguistic was not a type of intelligence but a type of pasta. Generally, however, our class discussions help to keep us engaged and learning in different ways.

The two modules we do in Psychology are Cognitive Psychology and Child Development. Psychology isn't really what I expected it to be at all. It's not what most people expect. The Psychology we see on TV is very different to Psychology in real life.
In Cognitive Psychology we learn about things like attention and memory while in Child Development we learn about different types of intelligence and stages in the brain's development. 

Eventually we'll have to write a paper which is just a huge essay for our modules and do the same end of term exams a college student studying our module will. I find the course really intriguing but the hard part about Psychology is that nothing can be proven in it. Everything we learn is just theories and none can ever be said for definite. This was pretty hard for me to wrap my head around but I'm starting to understand it more.  

Our course ends in December and until then we have plenty more strange but interesting lectures to look forward to. Above all, we hope that we can get some really good experience for college out of this course.

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