Back To School – The Second Time Around

I have been back to study for 2 weeks now, and this time back feels a lot different to when I first arrived to the University of Wollongong as an 18 year old.

In an introductory course of psychology, so far I’ve learned about sports and exercise psychology. Sport psychology may include things like; performance, mental stamina, leadership, flow states, stress management, coaching, team cohesion and even grief, in the case of career transitions – all athletes will experience these transitions at some point.

Exercise psychology differs, as it involves the psychology behind; exercise, motivation, mental health benefits of exercise and mental health issues as a result of a lack of exercise.

My second subject is all around statistics and research. Statistics can be found anywhere from the amount of likes you get for a Facebook post to the NRL scoreboard on your tv screen.

This subject is all about gathering data and then learning how to organise it, measure it with things like; averages or medians – does ‘median wage’ sound familiar to you? These are the tools we use to find patterns in the numbers, so we can measure them, gather information from them and use them to make predictions about things.

One thing I thoroughly enjoy doing is learning something new and then applying that new knowledge to a real life context.

I have been tracking many things from my; resting heart rate, heart rates during times of high activity, sleep cycles, steps walked, calories burned, BMI, body weight, muscle mass, water mass, body fat, mood and on occasions my heart rate variability (HRV).

I have spent months collecting this data, not knowing what the hell to do with it.

I’ve flooded myself with all of these statistics, now it’s time to learn how to do something practical with them.

Being able to apply the concepts learned in this course to some of the statistics on myself has been a fun endeavour, thus far. It’s probably going to make me want to track way more than what I do already. I’ve considered making a personal investment into brain tracking devices, but I think I will leave those ones for a later date. For now, I like to focus on tracking my moods as a priority. I am finding the data from that really useful and I love the process of making entries, multiple times a day.

I get a huge enjoyment out of collecting data on myself. We are the most sophisticated organism on the planet. Our abilities to not only see things but to also control them is uncanny, and so I want to learn more about this impressive biological mechanism we call the “human being”.