Thursday, February 01, 2007

Circles n Curls

Headache day.

I'm watching CSI. It's amazing how little DNA they need these days for an ID.

I used to want to work in a crime lab. I even took a criminal justice class to start a minor in it and searched for post-grad programs, but then CSI swept onto the scene, and I could just see the wave of wannabe forensic scientists flooding the market. And then my psych degree came to completion so I didn't need to stay enrolled, and I eventually came back to London to start the art history studies.

Odd, that I started in biology AND worked in a lab - should have stayed in it, since halfway through my psych degree I knew it wasn't for me. But unlike someone I knew who changed major 9 times, I wanted to save time and stick with it. By the way, that guy who switched nine times was my admissions counselor when I started uni, and is now the associate director of admissions.

My dad kept suggesting I be a profiler. This was after my degree when I was looking at jobs in DC. One of my friends and I were going to join the CIA and he used to call me Q. Another friend and I actually took the State Department security services test. It lasted all afternoon - I got to the last stage and was disqualified - and found her waiting for me in the lobby coz she hadn't got past the first test! Go me!

After working at the Houston school district psych services department, I started looking at jobs in NYC, discovered I wanted to own all the art history books in publishing, and then it slapped me in the face.

Since high school I had owned The Art Book, spending hours poring over it on the floor until my legs went numb from sitting on them, lying on my elbows until they got carpet burn, then sitting up again. Even at university, I remember envying my friends who took art history as one of their art electives. (I didn't have to, as I had transferred in my Humanities course from college.)

Art History. Why hadn't I thought of it before?


Probably because I considered myself to be a scientist all the way through. But then a few years in biology and the right side of my brain started feeling neglected (talk about thinking like a psychologist). Psych was a nice balance between right and left hemispheres, but I hated, I mean really hated, statistics. Give me chemistry any day...

Finally in art history I found my balance. It is not all right brained. Paired with aesthetics and visual immersion is a heck of a lot of analysis and methodology and technique and science (qualitative, rather than quantitative, fortunately).

I have no idea why I thought you would be interested in that. When I started this blog, I was going to say I had nothing to talk about today.


Oh wow. The suspect in CSI tonight is a chimera. A twin within a twin - one person made of two, with two conflicting sets of DNA from when, in the womb, the second twin is absorbed by the first.


Well, that's me shutting up for today.

Guess who?


tooners said...

i would say the pic is you... the eyes are big and that's what gives it away. beautiful curls in the hair!! it's quite an adorable picture.

aaaahhhh, psychology. interesting you say that you wanted to go into forensics... me too.

i'd love to know about art history... and looking back, i really, really wish i had gone into fine arts. i really love it and only wish i had taken the time to do what i really wanted... altho, at the time, i thought i was doing that.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I guess I don't feel bad about changing my major three times and then winding up with a career that has nothing whatever to do with any of them (except that the last one was a foreign language).


The Moody Minstrel said...


Okay, I feel better now.

If that's you, you were an adorable little girl.
(Notes head is no longer protected)
Okay, that's all the comments for now...

ML said...

What a beautiful picture!

I really liked your post! I'm so glad you found your calling!

Olivia said...

My mum used to make those curls after washing my hair. I can still remember the criiii sound the tines of the comb made as she twirled it around...

Ah, you like art history - well, Tooners, why do I ever think I have nothing to blog about? I shall try to talk about it more.


Minstrel - hehe. Three times isn't bad. What were your majors?

Boo! Chemistry! Muahahahaah!

Yes, that is me, thanks :)


i have a rather awful story to tell. When I was about that age, I went shopping with my Mum one day. Again and again, random ladies would compliment me and my mum would thank them, etc.
Finally, at the end of the day, a group of ladies said it again, and I was fed up with the attention and I said, "I know."

Mum never let me live that one down!


ML - thank you :)
I have indeed found my calling, though for someone who has tried so many things, the past always calls me back, especially as I can't find a job in my field.

beenzzz said...

That's such a cute photo! I am really into art and art history. I'm into history and anthropology as well. Talk about confused!

Katja said...

Oh yes - cute as a button! Those ringlets are amazing - worth the time spent on them, I'd say.

I think changing your mind about what you want to do has probably stood you in good stead. I've been very single-minded but that does mean that I only really have one string to my bow and if it all falls through then I'm a bit scuppered. Yikes. *tries not to think about that possibility*

CSI - ooooh. Now that would be interesting.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Olivia, when I first started college I was a chemical engineering major (the horribly misguided result of listening to my high school guidance counselor instead of my better judgment). That lasted only one term, after which I switched to just plain chemistry.

Actually, I started out at a community college because:
a. I got a music award that allowed me to go there for two years free even without using my NDSL or the special grant I got from the government because of my unusually high SAT score,
b. That particular community college's chemistry program was designed to be perfectly compatible with that of the university I planned to attend later, even to the point of using the same texts and the same tests!

I graduated from the community college with honors and received an Associate of Science degree in chemistry. I then transferred to the university, found out their program was NOT compatible, wound up on academic probation after two terms, was told I'd probably have to go back and start over again, developed an intense hatred of the tenured professors there, and changed my major to German.

I chose German because, since it was required for chemistry, I was already taking it and loving it. In fact, I went crazy and took 1st and 2nd year German at the same time. (The professors told me I really was crazy...and doomed to fail, but I got straight As.) However, though my official major was German, and I was recommended for a student exchange program because of my success in the program, most of my effort was actually going into music.

Thanks to budget problems (read "tax problems") there weren't enough profs available to teach my 400-level classes, so they more or less invented a course for me which stretched my "last" year out for three years. I spent that time studying things I was interested in, like psychology and music. I also completed a minor in Japanese, which earned me a Bachelor of Arts in German and a Bachelor of Science in General Studies.

After a grand total of seven years, I graduated with honors (despite the c-c-chemistry blight). I then ran away screaming from the university all the way to Japan, and I've been here ever since.

Just don't bring up chemistry, please.

That really is a lovely picture of you as a little girl. It's the eyes. Definitely the eyes.

Olivia said...

Beenzzz - no, I think that is a perfect combination of interests. Do you see how they are so interrelated?
Art and anthropology are both integral parts of history.

In fact, one of the masters presentations I had to do in my art history studies was on anthropology - Aby Warburg and the Indians of the SW USA and their snake rituals. Weird, huh? Not something I wuold have chosen (we picked topics out of a hat, see) but it is one project that really stands out because I enjoyed it so much. In fact, I blogged about it here:
Ritual Connections and Stream of Consciousness


Katja - just as you predicted ;)

About my subjects, I always said I was pretty good at a little bit of everything, not so good at one thing.

Now, what your drama training gives you is a presence and level of confidence that I do not possess, and probably an ability to hit the ground running.


Minstrel - Cool - you've gone from science to the arts too :)
Very versatile of us.

(Why was German required for Chemistry???)

Your academic odyssey is very interesting. I went to a community college also. It opened the fall after I graduated from high school, and it has turned out to be one of the best in the state. I went there because a) it was new and exciting; b) I wasn't ready to leave home for 4 years away; c) their biochem department was designed to feed into the local industry - you see, where we lived in The Woodlands there is a giant scientific community tucked away there called Research Forest. They make all kinds of breakthroughs using grants and private funding, including the US Navy which sponsored the breakthrough in the artificial generation of human skin tissue for transplants.

So, anyway, I wanted to work in one of the many biochem research facilities in my own town. I became a charter member of the Phi Theta Kappa, the comm. college honor society, and even my job there at the lab, which was my first job, was actually thrown in my lap (if only it could be that easy now). They didn't advertise; rather, one day after lecture my tutor ran down the hall after me and asked if I wanted to work in the lab. Just like that. So I said yes.

I can't even remember why I bothered to transfer to uni, but that is what led me astray. Probably because I started to wonder if I would be happy stuck in a lab for the rest of my life - it is easy for me to be that concentrated, but I know I respond well when I have to deal with people and exercise my social skills.

At uni, I lasted in my science degree for one semester before I felt the yearning for more creativity, and went into psych, and now you know the rest.

I remember my next to last year in psych I felt totally guilty that I was a member of the honour society whilst knowing I didn't want to be a psychologist after all, and then like a total impostor when I got voted in as president! But those expansive/expensive years at St Thomas were the best developmental years of my life. (I say expensive because it has surpassed Rice as the most costly uni in Houston.)

They have been great years, really. I miss enjoying that level of success.

AmitL said...

Hi,Olivia...working in a crime lab?Whew..that'd be quite scary,at least for me,especially in India(though I'm in Dubai at present)..testing mutilated/murdered bodies for the cause of death..urghh.I'd say Art History is better anyday.:)Incidentally,I never saw CSI,for some reason.After reading your review,I think I will watch one of the episodes,to begin with.BTW,what is a profiler?The person who makes suspects' photos,based on eyewitness descriptions?

Big Eyes Guy said...

Lovely big eyes baby gal, you looked like a mini-Princess.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Beautiful pic. Olivia.
Art history sounds interesting ... I also like forensics though

Ricercar said...

awesome awesome awesome pic! you know what girl? you still look JUST THE SAME! Except for the hair ;)

Olivia said...

Amit - no, haha, the bodies go to the coroner. The labs test the evidence.
Anyway, you're right - i am now of the opinion that art history is better.

I hope you like CSI if you watch it. I enjoy the methods and development.

Also, a profiler is able to compile a psychological profile of, say, a serial killer before anyone has met him - usually from their MO and behavioral pattern.
Psychology has been around so long that they can usually predict what sort of person he is, what habits he has, who he targets, what sort of childhood he had and therefore what compensation he must make, and even how he might evolve...

ah, enough of this ;)


Big eyes guy - well thank you and welcome. :)


Kirsten - it look to me as if an art historical post is in order soon.


Ricercar can I still call you Prerona?
Haha - I should hope so - I'm still me. I get what you mean though, some people change loads.

Selba said...

Hi.. it's my first time being in here :)

I like watching CSI and biology used to be my favourite subject.

Nabeel said...

hmm @ guess who .. a beautiful little princess? you're just adorableeeeeeeee !!