Peeples' Research 🏫 | 63

In this edition I talk about a significant misunderstanding that could have led to serious academic malpractice. I describe how my pursuit of expectations resulted in a rather unique collegiate experience


music by Dyalla Swain


hello and welcome to parking thought
this show where we highlight that good
in the world from the extraordinary to
the everyday you’re gonna want to like
and subscribe wherever you happen to
find us curiosity meet gratitude
my name is Jacob and I’m glad you’re
here today in this edition we’re gonna
be talking a little bit about my
experience of college why because I’ve
got a fun story to tell and actually is
a little self-deprecating I miss a lot
of things that are obvious and this is
one of those stories so again in our
previous episode we talked about Utah
State University and the great
experiences I had there and how I just
left Iraq to go to Utah State University
so literally weapons strapped on my
shoulder days later on a college
campus right so weapons dropped on my
soldier in Iraq we had people shooting
missiles at us all kinds of fun things
or at least things that you know are not
normal in a society and then all of a
sudden I’m up on a college campus and I
never been on a college campus before
literally outside of like a sports camp
when I was in high school never set foot
on a college campus I am that big of a
non-traditional student in fact I
honestly think during my master’s
program once again a non-traditional
student didn’t step on a college campus
that doesn’t mean they’re unfamiliar to
me but going to Utah State University at
the time I did was definitely new it was
definitely a change of experience from
going from plus degree days and you
know the potential for people to want to
kill you and then going up to a college
campus where you had to figure out what
your coursework was and there’s a couple
little fun things in that transition or
fun stories at least they weren’t fun at
the time one of them was because I’d
applied for school from Iraq
I actually didn’t pick my major I
literally called up and I said hey I
need a major the Army’s gonna let me be
a part of this program for you know
months two years I need something I can
get done in months two years I love
computer networking I love to build in
computer networks I still do
I love computer networking I want to get
a degree in computer networking and the
folks at Utah State were like okay well
great we have this computer science
class but based upon what you’ve done
for your associates you really don’t
have the class you’re we’re gonna have
to take a significant amount of courses
in order to be able to pass
not practical for you to get a computer
science screen and I was like dang it
alright so I’m stuck there so then I
didn’t know what else to pick and these
are this this whole conversation is
happening over emails and phone calls
while I’m in Iraq and it’s long time
zones and all kinds of other stuff and
not the cleanest phone system either and
so finally I just I got not frustrated
but I just I I just gave turned my life
over to the nice ladies or the nice lady
who was helping me I just look so I
don’t care what it is
pick something right pick something for
me and now major in that and we’ll be
good I just need to get a degree in
something and she did she picked the
communication studies right or what were
you called today communication studies
it was actually speech communication
because of the the heritage that it came
out of visit got built at Utah State
University so my bachelor’s degrees in
speech communication but really it was
more of that Communication Studies how
we communicate in business settings I
was a TA on for one of the the
professors on the business department
and have learned a lot of neat and
interesting things but when I got there
like because I didn’t even really pick
my major I kind of knew what the course
load should be but I never signed up for
classes I didn’t even know what the
process was to sign up for classes so
Here I am
I land like two weeks maybe days
before school actually starts we’ve got
a move into a house we’ve got you know
my wife’s pregnant at the time we’re not
trying to coordinate our stuff getting
moved from Germany back to the States
where you know we had luggage that was
lost all of these things and I show up
on campus and I’m like oh hey I I need
to take these classes but where do I
sign up and they’re like well you should
have signed up months ago these are all
full oh crap right and it’s like okay so
now they they I was advised that I
needed to go and talk to the each of the
teachers and their professors and be
able to ask them to be able to join
their classes and they said yes getting
the story about becoming from Iraq Volvo
and they were very very good at working
with me so I’m here first time on a
campus in a setting where I’m like aha
this is college this is where research
happens right I’m done with my
associates I don’t have to just look up
something somebody else said in a book
you know I can go out and we can
actually like research firsthand what’s
going on
it’s what I envisioned the academic
setting was that’s what my expectation
was of the academic setting you know you
learn from the book you find an
opportunity to apply it and you apply it
you learn from it you go back and do it
again right awesome awesome stuff and
this is before I knew anything about the
Theory of Constraints anything about
flow feedback and continuous learning
this is before I knew any of that stuff
so I walk into campus I’m taking one of
the classes that I had to really talk to
the professor about letting me join and
it was on conflict and communication I
loved it and the professor’s name was
Jennifer people’s right she is so
still consider her a great friend for
dealing with me and helping me
transition from that military
environment to the environment at school
but that was a very hard transition and
so we’re taking this class on conflict
and communication and I had all kinds of
things that I could say in class she’s
like really and I’m like yeah you know
one of them one of those oh oh yeah
moments was you know when she was
talking about how yelling really doesn’t
solve a problem and I looked at her and
I said yes it absolutely does I mean if
my dudes aren’t doing what I need him to
do then I yell at them and then they go
do it and she’s like okay that’s not
normal and I’m like I’ve been in the
this is what life was like and then I
remember other days where the transition
was really hard and I was working with a
different professor her name was Nancy
Tobler or probably still is Nancy Tober
great wonderful enthusiasm if you think
I have a lot of energy wait till you
meet Nancy oh my goodness this lady had
all kinds of energy
I never classed towards the end of the
day and one of those days I was just
tired and things weren’t clicking in the
previous classes what I was trying to
learn learning was hard we didn’t have
the hashtag it’s okay to be new right we
barely even had Twitter at that point so
I was struggling and I just having a
rough day and Nancy you know was keen
enough on people that know when things
like that were happening and she looks
over at me she says Jacob are you doing
okay and I just honestly looked at her
and said yeah but I guess nobody’s
shooting at me today so I think I should
be okay and and she’s like that’s real
and yeah I was it was real I had to tell
myself that you know hey Jacob you may
not be getting your academic stuff
together but nobody’s gonna shoot you on
the way home so you should be okay
and so things like that happen so I
never signed up for classes because I
didn’t know and then I’m taking this
class and I’m thinking oh yes we’d get
to do research like awesome make a
difference in the world type of research
and so this conflict and communication
class run by jennifer peoples was
awesome and we you know at one point in
the semester she breaks us off into
groups right and so there were groups of
four or whatever and she started
circling around the groups during the
rest of that class period to make sure
that we were prepared and moving stuff
forward and gonna be able to do some
research she never made it back to our
group and with the type of personality
that I am I am NOT like dominating but I
do have a very vocal personality I said
hey guys let’s do this
I know a friend of mine who is here on
campus and she’s an employee and and
he’s a student and they’re married and
they’re having conflict in their
marriage he was an engineering student
right and and they were at that stage of
life before they had kids and so both of
them had mentioned to me hell you know
they’d be you know driving down the road
and she’d be talking about how isn’t it
so nice that so-and-so is doing blah
blah blah blah in their life you know
the sort of stuff you read on Facebook
nowadays right I mean this is kind of
like as Facebook was emerging so isn’t
it so cool that so once I was doing such
and such in her life and then he’d be
like I don’t know why this matters you
know and and then she would talk about
well what do you think we’re gonna do if
we have kids and edited that and she’d
be wanting to talk about those you know
kind of social sort of things and he’d
be like huh
I wonder how the guy calculated the
lamppost to have the arc of the light be
over the road and how the angle of that
arc has to be able to withstand
hurricane forces and then what type of
bolts and what is the grade of the steel
that’s used in the bolts to anchor that
to the concrete on the ground right and
so I knew that these two are having
these different conversations and so
what we did is we decided in our our
four-person group that we were going to
interview them evaluate their conflict
using the methods that we had learned up
to that point in class then they’ll be
able to give them feedback based upon
what we learned from their interviews
and that’s what we started working on
and so like
we were making progress we were all very
like excited about this it was a great
opportunity we were all really great on
learning and so you know that was like
on a Thursday that we made the decision
we had class to get on Tuesday it was
more lecture format by Thursday again
you know we had made more progress and
started arranging with this couple to do
the interviews and what time they were
and mapping it out and how this is going
to look and whatnot and then at that
point our the professor comes around and
checks in on us he said hey we’ve got
this lined up we’ve got our you know or
subjects that we’re going to be
interviewing we’re gonna apply the stuff
we were learning in the book and and I
just I didn’t understand what I had done
but her jaw like oh my goodness I can
still remember to this day Jennifer
people’s job just drops like to the
floor and she looks at me like I’d
committed some sort of a cardinal sin
and I had because I had no idea that an
academic setting you actually have to
have a certification in order to do
research on life subjects now you know
they didn’t want to slow our momentum
down and the university was so good
working with us and Jennifer or
professor people’s was so good working
with us that we were able to continue
the research again because she was an
employee and because he was a student
and so it didn’t violate any of the
ethics stuff that we needed to have done
prior to doing those interviews and
things like that and we were able to
learn a lot from the experience I
learned not only just from the research
and having a practical application but
also how the entire academic industry
has these rules and gates in place to
make sure that they can conduct ethical
research practices and that would have
never come up if we had followed what we
with the professor thought were clear
instructions to look up stuff in books
and be able to digest it and talk about
it and present it to the class later on
the semester that wouldn’t have happened
and so being wrong in this sense was
actually one of the best experiences
that I’ve had at college now I will tell
you at some other point because I do
like to tease that I’ve got some other
stories at some other point I have gone
back to Utah State because because my my
parents live in that Valley right and
I’ve I’ve run into to Professor people’s
a couple of times and she and I have
maintained our relationship maybe
after this episode but we’ve maintained
our relationship since then and what’s
been really neat is being able to talk
with her about some of the things I did
and I can now look at her students and
say that hey because of the the type of
student that Jacob was your course
material and your syllabus is are
significantly different than they used
to be because we’ve we had a few more
run-ins during the course of time that
she was my professor for other classes
very similar to this well intentioned
you know wanting to move things forward
and yet missing the mark and
misunderstanding and I bring that up not
because I bring that up because I want
to remind everybody who’s listening this
you’re not perfect and it’s okay to like
misunderstand things I think can turn
out pretty well when you do not every
misunderstanding is something that you
should hide away like it’s not a mistake
that you have to shy away from it’s it’s
something where you know in that setting
with professor people’s and I we both
learned right she learned that there are
students that come to class and expect
that you’re going to do live research
and and I learned that there are you
know things in place to help make sure
that that research is ethical and she
learned updater syllabuses as well to
make sure that you know her instructions
are more clear you know going forward in
the future because while she did let us
do that it was a significant increase to
cost to her time to coach us on that gap
that wasn’t a part of the syllabus on
how to do research with live subjects
and to make sure it was ethical she
invested a lot in me and so I hope that
if she does hear this episode and she
might be feeling a little bit
embarrassed it is out of the greatest
expression of love and respect for the
time that she invested in me again at a
point where I didn’t know I was dealing
with PTSD as I was transitioning at
school and I was dang stubborn you know
and she took the time to help take care
of a student who is enthusiastic but
undisciplined and I really appreciated
that and I am very grateful for that
this show we always talk about the
good in the world you know there are
great professors and great instructors
and great students having those
exchanges learning from one another
growing and developing exactly the way
that academia wants to function and that
is something that is worth being
grateful for so let’s wrap this episode
up this is the part where I tell you
that the best way to say thank you for
this episode is to share it with
somebody that you know you don’t have to
stick around for the long haul right you
can just share this episode if you do
want to stick around for the long haul
then take a look wherever you’re at if
you’re on Spotify part pocket cast or
twit and not Twitter excuse me YouTube
right you’re welcome or Apple podcasts
you’re welcome to go ahead and hit the
subscribe link and if you want to write
if you can’t find it there you just need
the RSS feed head on over to parking
thaad and there will be a subscribe link
right there for you guys to go ahead and
grab ahold of and use it and at the end
of every episode we always love to
finish with this we always love to
finish with the challenge to remember
the new world where you can choose to be
anything why not choose to be grateful

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