Reflection of Self

The following words and realizations were based upon a class at Drake University called Honors Practicum. In said class, I was required to do weekly readings and journal writings exploring the idea of “self.” At the end of the class, my class was given the challenge to create a visual way to express themselves and to write a paper exploring the different theories learned in the class.

Coming to Terms With Loving Hailey

As I’ve entered the realm of college and being responsible for myself, many perceptions that I possessed have been accentuated. When I created Part One of this project, I focused upon the thoughts I had about myself at that particular moment in time. Though, when I reflected back to past journals, I realized that a lot of those values that I wrote about ended up being things that I tacked as my personality traits. With the help of my friends and family, I’ve been able to expand on these ideas that I value so highly and truly act upon them, rather than romanticize the idea (of being a free spirit or a feminist).

In the next four years, I hope that this same process of loneliness, confusion, then understanding through reflection and actions can help point me in the right direction. Instead of drifting through life, wondering why I feel/act a certain way, then having a midlife crisis, I can simply expand upon my process of comprehension to appreciate myself. It’s easy for me to get caught up in school, and neglect myself. Forgetting to eat, or wash my face, or change socks. Not getting out of my room to workout or take care of my body. Lose sight of the power of meditation and relaxation, in order to soothe my mind. Not setting aside time to act upon the hobbies that I cherish.

After realizing what I value and who I am, I have a core to build upon. When I’m in a rut, and don’t know how to do anything but furiously read and bang out a paper, I hope that somewhere, in the back of my mind, I can remember that I’m a photographer, a dreamer, a singer, and a friend. I’m a music lover, and a free-spirit. I’m a thinker, and a lover. My hope in my college years, aside from gaining as much knowledge as I can to become a professor, is that I can learn to find a balance within myself and my schedule. It’s much easier to forget values, in order to be objective and punctual in terms of studying and life in general, but that isn’t a way that I would like to live for the rest of my existence. Each individual reading helped contribute to these realizations that I’ve been able to extract. This class came at the right time for me, as I’ve been struggling with this question for as long as I can remember, and was even harped upon in my first, scared journal.

At the beginning of class, I wrote about some of my essential qualities. I appreciate my “adequate sense of humor, ability to retort/defend myself (strong-willed), also able to listen and truly ponder another person’s ideas (open-minded), dedication to loved ones (friends or family), passion for education and women’s rights. Each and every one of these concepts help define how I feel and what I value (Journal 2).” Funnily enough, as aforementioned, I had no clue that this was precisely how I felt about myself. This was due to the suppression of self in order to please the expectations I have for myself. From this journal, I can trace back to my three core values that relate to the readings done for Practicum.

My rock is my family. While this may seem cheesy, it’s something that I can’t go a day without. Although Gregor Samsa also had a deep love for his family, they did not return the favor, leading him to his own demise. I share a similar essence, or essential quality, that Gregor does, without the toxicity of manipulation. In my house, we thank each other, always say I love you, apologize when we’re wrong, make time each day/week to communicate in a healthy manner, and value each other’s sacrifices. Mutual respect of family also ties back to my free-spirited, open-minded aspect of myself. These ideals were inflicted upon me by my parents and their sense of self, as well.

My siblings and I grew up with a strong sense of “home,” and learned to truly understand the importance of our own family of five, but our extended police family as well. Mark, my father, made it very clear that I could always trust in my love for family and reading to find solitude and sanctity in my own mind. This concept of having an essence lead me to understand why I value my family’s opinions (as they are solely to support me), and helps heighten what I equate as my “grounding qualities.”

Growing up, when I became stressed or confused, I always turned my attention to my bed. Not to just cuddle up and drift away, but to indulge in another world of literature. Though, by the time that I hit my senior year, I was still scared about what I would do when I got to college. Careful consideration and my love of speaking and writing/english brought me to my major.

My ache to learn is also fueled by the misconception that “an old dog can’t learn new tricks.” After growing up with parents that put such value into schooling, this ideal of static after a certain point of learning doesn’t seem valid. The “Role Theory – It’s Never too Late to Change” article spoke of a middle-aged man that was content in being the lowest person in his dojo, and learning about MMA fighting. College exemplifies this concept by portraying the idea to students that “you will not be the smartest person in the classroom.” While intimidating, this is when true growth occurs. Just like practicing sprints with someone that is much faster than you, learning with individuals that challenge your knowledge and ways of thinking are the best sources to increase intellect.

This prevents hitting a tableau of “this is as smart as I’m ever going to get, because I’m the most knowledgeable scholar in the room.” With my upbringings, acting conceited or rejecting someone’s opinion after first thought is not acceptable. In relation to my learning styles and my personality, the article stood exactly with my opinions on real life. Nobody should go into a conversation or classroom not expecting to take something, whether that is a new perspective or completely refurbished stance on an argument.

Carrying over to my last point, my outspokenness and refusal to accept defeat ties into the passion I aim towards the feminism movement. In the “A Lefthanded Commencement Address,” a beautiful point was raised. “What if I said what I hope for you is first, if — only if — you want kids, I hope you have them. Not hordes of them. A couple, enough. I hope they’re beautiful. I hope you and they have enough to eat, and a place to be warm and clean in, and friends, and work you like doing.” Each woman, and man, have different hopes and aspirations. Some aspire to be dependent upon themselves and have economic success, while others hope to devote their life to their lord, and others want to be a stay at home dad.

Feminism is about respecting the rights, choices, actions, and giving equal opportunities to women. In correlation with this idea, individuality or understanding what “self” means does not only include personal reflection. But, the strength in a heart to know that if everyone was a clone, life would be a monotonous, catastrophic waste of time. We all inhabit this planet, and must support our fellow creatures learn to love themselves, and further, love one another.

Overall, Honors Practicum helped me harp on, realize, and find truths in my core values. This course pushed me in ways that, at the time, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to succeed, understand, or take something from. It was overwhelming to have all of these philosophical explanations and interpretations on my plate, but in the long run, it didn’t need to be. I was able to track my feelings over the course of the semester, then go through multiple reflectionary periods, in order to come to the realization that my identity matters to me, respectively. But, in order to make a difference with this information, I must appreciate the fact that people are at different stages of comprehension or acceptance with their identity. Everyone deserves to put this amount of time and reflection into themselves, in order to emulate a loving and peaceful world of compassion towards each person’s values, even if they don’t reflect our own.


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