December 3, 2007

How is Effort Optimism a Part of My Worldview?

I am a big fan of effort optimism. I don't use it all the time, but I definitely employ it for long periods of time. I usually get to a point that I feel like everything is either going wrong or it at least isn't going right before I start using effort optimism. Once I start though, it is a great feeling that I usually like to keep around for a while. I usually end up getting some time to be alone and really think about life, it's almost like I'm taking a break from everything, and then I realize all the stupid misinterpreting I've been doing. I start realizing what has actually been happening in my life and how I should be feeling. I really like when I get into these moods because I get to realize how great my life really is, which always makes me happy. I generally keep it going long enough to get out of my slump and then good things start happening again. However, when I get to that point I stop worrying about being optimistic and I will eventually slide back into a slump. These slumps are never terrible, it's usually just a week of being slightly below happy that can be pretty draining, but I always come up with a way to fix it again.

Self-fulfilling Failures

I used to have a lot of self-fulfilling failures in my life. I used to think that a lot of my problems had to do with the people I was around, not me. I didn't think I was any different from anyone else so I really didn't understand when I had to deal with things that other people didn't have to deal with. As I've gotten older, however, I have been much better about realizing what I have control over. I know now that I teach people how to treat me and if I don't like something that is happening I need to stand up and change it. I can't expect different reactions from people until I change the way I'm behaving towards them. This example works in other aspects of my life as well. I have to take responsibility for my actions and how I perceive the situations I come in contact with. If I believe that I have control I can make possibly negative situations into positive ones and not feel that very stressful sense of hopelessness that many people feel when they believe that life is happening to them rather than feeling like they have some control over what happens.

Physical Self-Care

Of all the self-care topics, this is the one that I always think of first, but rarely do I actually act on those thoughts. It isn't that I am in bad shape, physically, it's just that I don't think about it very often. I eat decently and I am in pretty good shape, but it isn't because I try to be. The food I like just happens to be generally good for me and I am just active enough to keep myself in shape. I don't seek out exercise (I don't go to the gym or do anything like jogging or anything else) and what I eat is not always the best for me. I think that I am just active enough in getting around campus and what I do when I'm hanging out that I don't need to exercise anymore than that and I also know when I'm full so I don't over eat even when I'm eating junk food. I think if I focused on it more I would have less stress in my life and feel better all around. I think that I will get more into that as I get older, but right now I am comfortable with what I do now.

December 2, 2007

Spiritual Self-Care

Self-care is important in every way, but spiritual self care is one that I think most of us forget about. Every time a discussion of self-care the physical and emotional are the ones we think of first. Spiritual self-care usually makes people uncomfortable to talk about, although I know I think about it more than I might admit. It is the kind of topic that makes me uncomfortable to think about, especially since we are at that stage of life where we are starting to shed the beliefs that our parents gave us and are creating our own. It's really hard to realize that you don't have a solid set of beliefs like you had when you were a kid, but you still don't feel like you can keep those without questioning the reasoning behind them first. I know that many people actually keep their parents beliefs, but I know that I am going through a major transition period with my own beliefs and trying to figure out if what my parents brought me up to believe is what I'm going to hold on to for the rest of my life. I do believe, however, that as long as you are thinking about it, even if you aren't sure what you believe yet, it is taking care of yourself to keep thinking about it rather than pushing the thoughts away and pretending like that part of your life doesn't exist.

One Way to Control Emotionally Well-Being

I am generally a balanced individual, emotionally/mentally speaking. I do have some stress, but nothing that is ever overboard. I have gone through some things in my life that have helped me reach this place of equilibrium. I have learned that a lot of what causes mental or emotional problems are simply the way in which we perceive the situations around us. I have learned that it is very important to feel like we have control over our emotions and what happens in our lives. One thing that can make life very difficult for us is if we see everything as happening to us instead of taking ownership or having some control over it. This view on life makes us the victim and makes us believe that everyone is out to hurt us. If you realize that you have control and that you have a say in what happens in your life you will have much healthier mental/emotional reactions to stressful situations. It is a well known fact that everyone wants to have control of their life and one of the easiest ways to do it is to take control of your emotions and how you perceive the world.

November 14, 2007

Financial Planning

I think I'm going to have the worst time with financial planning, not to say that I can't budget and all that, actually I think I will be good with those sorts of things, but the idea of planning for retirement seems a lot more difficult. I don't actually plan on making very much money in my career, enough to live and whatnot, but no more than that, so I think it is going to be difficult for me to realize when I need to put money away for retirement. I've always had something against choosing a career just to make money, just so you can buy that house and this car and whatever else you want. Not to say that people who think that way are wrong, I just always knew that I couldn't. I have a pretty good life right now, but I know that I could get by with a whole lot less and be just fine. I'm actually excited for the challenge of not being able to have a lot of frivolous things and having to make my own fun and entertainment through free things. I guess this attitude goes along with my craziness for career choice and being positive that I want to travel the world. I know I am not the typical American college student, but I think that's what makes my decisions even more fun to make, although I still am not sure how I'm going to be able to retire.....maybe I'll just marry

Cultural Diversity

I always think it's really interesting to see how some people react to cultural diversity. Most people think it's for the best, at least in principle, and there are always those who are against it completely, but they are easier to figure out. I've never had a problem with cultural diversity simply because of the way I was brought up. I always had different cultures in my schools, especially in high school, and my parents never taught me to look differently at anyone because of our cultural differences. My high school was really good for opening eyes because there were a lot of different cultures with a lot of people belonging to each one. You could probably hear 5 different languages walking down the hallway if you paid attention, but I still know that there are people out there who get uncomfortable with it. I won't lie either, there are still times that I get uncomfortable with some cultural diversity when I feel outnumbered and unsure of the situation, but it is much easier for me to get over those feelings by talking to the people around me and realizing that we have a lot more in common than we thought. I think it will be very important for everyone to be able to handle cultural diversity in the workplace because it is getting more and more likely that you will be working with a large group of different individuals, so you better start getting used to it now.

Goal Setting

Everyone always talks about setting goals for the future and how important it really is, but I've never been able to set those goals that would probably end up meaning the most. I have my distant goals, like when I was in high school I knew I wanted to go to college and now I know what I want to pursue as a career, but I have never been good at setting those goals that get me to where I want to be. In high school I applied to three colleges, none of which I really thought that I would get in or would want to go to. I ended up getting into the two I didn't want to go to and had to pick between them. I dropped out my second semester and went on an intense search for a better college for me. This time I was able to set the smaller goals that I was lacking in high school. I applied to 14 schools and got in to all of them so I had a big range of options. Now I know what my career is going to be, but I have no plans for my college career that will really get me there. This time I don't think I'll have a do-over and that kind of scares me. I need to focus more on planning the rest of my college career so that I can accomplish my long-term goals, but I think I'm going to need a lot of self-motivation to do it.

October 5, 2007

People’s Reaction to Developmental Crisis

The reactions I’ve seen to developmental crises have been varied. On the part of my parents, my dad generally acts like a teenage boy who can’t express emotions and so it comes out as sort of irritable anger, whereas my mom seems to handle it pretty well. My mom will talk it out and come up with a solution and go for it, not that she never gets rattled, but it generally doesn’t last very long. My brother is a lot like my dad and will get moody and irritable, they especially do it when they are about to say goodbye to someone. I think they try and pick fights so that they don’t have to admit how much they will miss whoever it is going to be, but I know it to get a little annoying. I have seen the extremes as well, friends who just can’t handle being in college and trying to make new friends who end up with some serious issues, and other friends who completely thrive in new environments and really enjoy moving from place to place. There are a lot of different ways to react and it is good to see different people’s reactions so that you can determine which you would like to do and which you will try and emulate.

Challenges I am Striving to Master

Most of the challenges I’m trying to master in my life are not yet specifically known to me. The biggest ones that I see happening are road blocks to what I want to accomplish, like monetary issues stopping me from being able to travel or timing gets to be really difficult. The most important challenge that I’m going to have to face is having to really work for what I want and not letting the fear of the unknown stop me. I haven’t yet been faced with a chance to travel on my own (without adult relatives) and I’m not sure how I will react. I know that at first I will be extremely excited, but I’m afraid that I will freak out when the time actually comes and sabotage the trip for myself. I don’t think I will really let myself do that, but I can see the struggle with myself as being one of the biggest challenges for me. Other challenges will be finding the balance between my desire to travel and see everything that I can and a more settled family life. I already know that my family life won’t be completely traditional, at least not in the settle down in the suburbs kind of way, but since I know that I want a family I am going to have to figure out how to deal with all the responsibility that comes with that and still accomplishing my dreams. I’m sure that once I come to that point I will be able to make the sacrifices necessary, but for now it seems a pretty daunting challenge.

Inner Voices When Confronted With New and Difficult Challenges

When I have a new challenge my initial reaction was that I don’t want to deal with it. I didn’t want to have to do it or think about it or anything. However, after that I would end up pulling myself up and get excited to face it. I would start telling myself all the things that I could do and how amazing I was going to be when I actually came to it. I used to have to deal with my initial reaction a lot longer than I do now, sometimes I wouldn’t even be able to get over it. Now I start to think like that to myself and then I yell at myself to stop it because every new challenge I’ve had to face has made me a better person. There is no way to avoid challenging situations in life and if you take them in the right way you can grow from them and learn something more about yourself and about your strengths. Now when I am faced with a challenge I just remind myself of all that I’ve been through and how certain challenges have shaped me in ways that I’m really happy about and then I get really revved up to take on whatever it is. I really see how facing challenges is an indicator of your strength of character, but that you can also change how you react to them. The way I used to react would have shown me as fairly weak, but as I learned a better way to deal, I realized my own inner strength that was always there, I just had to show it.

Exercise 3.2 Five Careers I’ve Daydreamed About

1. International Humanitarian Aid
2. Journalist
3. Scholar/Academic
4. Writer
5. Political Activist/Working in Politics

The occupations I have daydreamed about are in that order, but I’m not sure if they are all as plausible as I would like them to be, also, I’m not sure that I really want to do a few of them, I’ve just thought about them in passing. The occupations that my parents think I should do would be being a writer or journalist or be in politics. They support my desire to be in humanitarian aid, but my dad thinks that I write really well (which I’m not as sure about) and I think he wanted to be a writer and never was so he’s kind of pushing the dream on me. I think that others beyond my parents would think my list is crazy and that I should try and find something more realistic and something that I could either support a family on or that I could settle down and be “settled?. I think the ones that seem impossible would be being a writer or a journalist. I think it would be really great, but I just don’t see myself being able to have a career doing either. I haven’t studied writing enough or tried to write anything other than what I was required to for school and occasionally in a journal for either of those to be plausible at this point in time. I think the only one that is a fantasy would be a scholar/academic. I think it would be really interesting, but the only way I ever picture it is if I’m over in England or something and still get to travel to do all my research. I just don’t know if I could stick with it long enough to get that far and I wouldn’t know what I would want to study. I think the ones that could be hobbies are scholar/academic, writer or journalist, and being in politics. I don’t know that I would do all of those or all of those at once anyway, but I am interested in them and I just don’t think I could do any of them as my full time career.

October 4, 2007

My sense of identity after a developmental crisis

I have gone through a lot of changes in my life over the past year and most of them were caused by a developmental crisis. Last fall I was enrolled at the University of Iowa as a freshman and thought life was great. I was still the shy, unnoticed girl from high school, but they didn't know that there and I had a chance for a fresh start. Unfortunately, through a series of different reasons, it was not the school for me and I left after the first semester. I thought I had screwed up my life and that I was never going to get the things that I wanted, but then I really started working on what went wrong and who I wanted to be and I found myself changing. I faced this crisis head on and worked my butt off to get control of my life and make this situation into a positive experience. I found a college that was right for me and I found a way to become the person that I always wanted to become. If you had met me a year ago you wouldn't be able to recognize me. Sometimes I don't recognize myself because everything I'm doing is so different than what I would have ever done before. It isn't that I am being a fake version of me, I just found out who I really was and how to express it to the world. I've never been happier with myself and how my life is going than I am right now. Even when normal life problems come up (and they have come up) I know that just because I react differently towards them now I am going to be okay. I'm the same person on the inside, but now that I can finally show the world who I am, my entire identity has changed for the better.


Relationships always affect our lives, whether we want them to or not, and my life is no exception. Everyone is influenced by their parents, or whoever is in that position of authority over them, and they are always a big part of who you become. My parents have given me a lot of who I am and who I am going to be, they are the ones who taught me to always keep learning, they told me I could do whatever I wanted with my life, and they even fully support my decisions about seeing the world as my life's goal. It's not that they never try and hold me back, they aren't perfect and neither am I, but I've come to a point in my life that I can break through their barriers and be totally my own person when we disagree about certain decisions I, or they, have made. The search for relationships also really influences a persons life, and again, I am no exception. Starting school here has made me search for new relationships in terms of creating a support system of friends that I could fall back on, and as I found them, what I did with my time changed. It wasn't that I wasn't being true to myself, but that I was exploring parts of me that was more in common with the people I was choosing to be around. Even after only being here a month, I have found people that I really care about and who really care about me, but I've also found some people that I am choosing not to have a relationship with. They aren't bad people, but after spending some time with them I decided that I didn't like who I was around them. I am going to have to face challenges like that for the rest of my life and I am glad to find out that I have the strength and presence of mind to realize when I need to get away from certain people. Another way the search for relationships will affect my life is when I'm looking for The relationship, the one that will hopefully be a marriage and a family. I refuse to spend my time worrying about whether or not it will happen, or it needing to happen by a certain time in my life, but I know that when it does, it will be a pivotal time in my life that will definitely shape the rest of my life. Relationships are a necessary part of life that I personally think are awesome most of the time, but to think that they won't shape who you are would be an incredibly naive way to think about your life.

Intellectual Curiosity

How has intellectual curiosity been a part of my life and education? It's a good question that I have thought about a lot in the past couple of years. I have always been kind of a closet bookworm, even since elementary school, and have always enjoyed learning, but I have to remind myself of that sometimes. In my high school I had the option of attending a smaller, sort of experimental school at the Minnesota Zoo. It was called the School of Environmental Studies and was about 400 juniors and seniors. It sounds like a bit of a hippie school, and sometimes it was, but even more than that it was a school about learning in a different way, and learning in a way that is much more related to the real world. While I was attending I thought about how much I loved to learn all the time, of course there were times when it was just school and I didn't really care, but much more often we were learning about something that affects my life, or the entire world, in a way that made me think I could do something with this information. I think that is one of the main reasons that I continue to have intellectual curiosity in my life (even if I have to remind myself of that during midterms week) and why with all the other crazy things I want to do with my life, continuing to learn and expanding my education is an important part of my plans. I have no idea what I want to study, but I know that I am going to continue learning, reading, and expanding my ideas of the world as I continue to grow. Because of this, I know that whatever career I end up choosing, it will need to be something that keeps me learning and changes enough that I can't ever stop learning.

What is Unique About Me?

This is a hard question to answer because you can often sound arrogant or fear sounding arrogant, but it is important to realize it before you can decide what you want to do with your life. I believe that what is unique about me is my dream to be out in the world. I know a lot of people say that they want to travel and see the world, but I want to live everywhere and emmerse myself in every culture that I can. The feeling is more than just a daydream, it's so strong that even trying to imagine my life any differently makes me cringe and feel like it wouldn't be a life that I would want to live. I understand that everything may not work out as I plan it, and I have practically nothing planned out, and that life will take me to some unexpected places, but I feel like I have to try as hard as I can to get the life that I want anyway. I just know that I am unique in this respect because I haven't talked to anyone who has felt the same way that I have. Everyone tells me that they'd love to go and see the world, but then they'd settle down somewhere, or they would do it after they retire. I think about it as a way of life, like those crazy aunts/uncles in movies or tv who are the guest of the week who come and tell stories of their crazy adventures and then leave unexpectedly again. I don't want to make it sound like I don't want some of the traditional things in life, I do want to get married and have a family, but I feel like I am going to have to do it in an unconventional way for me to be happy with how my life turns out.

October 1, 2007

Myself in Terms of Adulthood

Most college freshmen like to think that they are so grown up, so mature, so ready for the independent, adult life. I am not one of those freshman. I believe that I am ready to be living on my own, in a dorm full of support systems, and I feel like I'm living an independent life, except for the bills that my parents pay for me. Basically, I see myself as ready to be a freshman in college, to experiment with my new ability to make all the decisions in my life, when to go to bed, who to hang out with, when/if to go to class, but I don't see myself as an adult in the traditional way. I define an adult as someone who is independent of others financially, can make mature and responsible decisions, and thinks about more than just what is happening the next day. Right now I am not financially independent, I can make some responsible decisions, but I still slip up all the time, and I'm lucky when I remember what is happening in a week let alone years down the road. I know this is all part of the growing up process, everyone has to go through that in between period of having the freedom but forgetting about the responsibility. I also know that part of the learning experience is having to face the consequences and learning from your mistakes. Just thinking about myself in terms of being an adult makes me uncomfortable because I know that I couldn't handle that responsibility right now. I am in the learning process and I hope to continue with it and to grow and mature so that when I need to be an adult, I really can be.

Interests and Values in my Career

When I think about my career choice, whatever it may be, I definitely want it to be rewarding and fulfilling. The difficulty with that is I then have to decide what would make my career fit those criteria. I know that I don't see myself being happy working at a desk job or working just to make money, but all I seem to be able to come up with is what I don't want. When it comes down to it, I really want to do something that will keep me busy and excited, something that will mean that I am making a positive difference in someone else's life and that I will be able to travel. I need something that will have a shared interest in making the world a better place, not being in it for the money, and that people can make a difference. It sounds very peace love and happiness, but I can't imagine doing anything that doesn't work like that.

September 10, 2007

My Dream Home

I was born in The Netherlands and I think that has always given me an itch to explore the world as soon as I could. I have done a lot of travelling around the country and a little in Europe, but I am not satisfied. I think my dream home would be anywhere in the world that I could experience new things and face my challenges head on. I don't want to stay in any one place, but I could see myself having a place that feels more like home than anywhere else and to head back there throughout my life. I am not sure where that is yet, I haven't found it, but if I knew, that's where I would look up the housing market. I don't plan on going after money in my career, I want to do something that fulfills a much more important part of me. I don't need any fancy homes or expensive views, I can find those without having to live with it. Where ever I end up and can afford to be will be just fine with me.