This upcoming Sunday I am flying to California, where I will be attending the Summer Institute in Political Psychology (SIPP) at Stanford University. I was very lucky to get accepted to this exceptional event, and I am very anxious to head out to the San Francisco area and attend SIPP. Recently I have been given the a schedule, list of lecturers, and required readings for the event, and I am more excited than ever. The schedule looks very intense. The event goes for three weeks, and while we have weekends free, every weekday has 6 hours of lecture and group discussion! Not to mention the readings for everyday, which ranged from 60-120 pages a night! Truthfully I was expecting this level of work; SIPP is designed for graduate students, and I’m glad to be getting a taste of graduate level work.
I also have a list of all the lecturers, and they come from all over the country, including: UMass, Harvard, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSB, Stanford, Princeton, Brown, UCSC, UMinnesota, and others! After looking over the topics they will be teaching, and skimming the required readings (which thankfully are all in PDF form), I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge of political psychology!
One thing that I have experience as I prepare for SIPP is the reactions of my friends and family. I have received universal praise from friends and family for being accepted to SIPP, but all of them seem to view this as a perfect chance to network. This really bothers me for some reason; I am not attending this to network. Now don’t get me wrong, I know this is a wonderful chance to network, and I’m not going to ignore that. But I want to network so I can become part of the community of intellectuals pursuing research in political psychology, not just to try to get into a good graduate programs. Everyone seems to think I’m doing this just as a stepping stone to getting into a grad program I want, and while to a certain extent it is, I am doing to because I want to learn! I want to be engaged in this community of intellectuals. I am going to SIPP not because I want to network so I can get into a good grad school, I am doing to because in 10 year I want to be teaching at SIPP.
Regardless, I’m not one to clearly express my intensions and feelings in any of my endeavors, let alone this one, so I’m not wholly surprised that no one seems to really appreciate my motivation for attending SIPP. Not that the thoughts of others matter really; I am attending, I am grateful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait!