Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

The new principal at my internship played this video during staff development. He is really a visionary, exciting others and putting idea into action. More on that in another blog. I love the message. I am enthralled by the performance of this artist. I am constantly finding connections in my life. There were parallels between the three motivating factors and my past experiences with 4-H Youth Development. 4-H's youth development research identified 4 essential elements of positive development. We call it BIG- M. Belonging, Independence, Generosity, and Mastery. While watching this video, Dan Pink's Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose began to sound very similar. I find myself wondering why other research did not include belonging. While 4-H's BIG-M is directed towards youth development it still applies to adults and motivation. Many people are motivated by the need for belonging and a connectedness, more so than autonomy. In fact, many maladaptive behaviors are mainly driven for the need to be belong. For example, some people might exhibit behaviors such as clingliness (is that a word?) or helplessness sacrificing autonomy for a relationship with a lover, parent, or friend.

There is no question that 4-H's BIG-M and Dan Pink's philosophy on motivation are connected to school counseling or education in general. How can you incorporate these ideas into your school  counseling practice?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wright, Right, or Rite?

My blog topics are backing up because each day at my internship site brings something new and exciting. The first day I started, my supervisor had me read through the book On Writing the College Admissions Essay by Harry Bauld. It was witty, full of good information, and an entertaining read. In a past post I wrote about things coming full circle. I have found this to be especially true the past few weeks. Bauld talks about how to reflect and translate your ideas and personality succinctly, with detail, and in an engaging way for the reader. His tips reminded me of the Integrative Knowledge E-Portfolio pilot I participated in. It really helped me consider how I can continue to finesse my writing both on my portfolio and in my blog. Which brings me back to the question, "Do I want this blog to have a more professional tone, or more of a rambling tone? I think more professional or polished, yet still in my unique voice.

Speaking of polishing my writing, today I was in a conference room and there were posters of the 7 Deadly Sins of Writing, one of which is wordiness! Haha! I don't think I am too wordy in my school papers, but I definitely am on this blog. I really want to develop my writing skills and brush up on grammar and punctuation. The question is, do I have time?! My professors new blog, SCOPE, highlights the impact a short but concise piece of writing. I am trying to come up with a contribution for it so make sure you start following SCOPE. It seemed like in undergrad you are always trying to stretch the page number on papers and sound as smart as possible. I find the opposite is true in graduate school, rather they are looking for clearly communicated ideas.

Lately, the blog feels more like a dumping grounds for my thoughts. Now I need to marry the brain dump with writing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Professional Identity?

I have so many things I want to blog about. My personal life, my internship experiences, and how they overlap. My first real boss told me everything I learned in undergrad would come full circle in grad school, everything would begin to make sense.  If I am really introspective I find this is true, and it kinda creeps me out. I hate having really long blog posts but I feel like I could type for hours about things I've noticed, am excited about, wonder about, or find upsetting. So for starters...

Where does your professional persona end and your personal identity begin? Are they one in the same? On a continuum? Totally separate? I have no problem giving advice to my friends, but I wouldn't give direct advice to my students. Can I remain neutral during family conflict? How do I use these new professional skills I've paid so much for when the stakes are high in my personal life, or the life of a loved one? I feel so young at heart and fear people take my excitement and seemingly carefree attitude as careless, immature, or incompetent. I look young too, and as much as people say first impressions don't matter, they really do. Should I cut my hair?

I act a fool around my friends, especially those I've known the longest. I have crazy opinions and have no qualms about sharing them. Now I am on the brink of becoming professional counselor. Will they be judging me "the counselor" when I act this way? Should I be typing like I think and talk in my authentic Rachel voice when this blog has been shared with my graduate student colleagues?

Many of these questions I am just beginning to consider and reflect upon. I wish more people would comment and let me know what they think! Are these ideas the type of thing we will discuss in practicum? Is this part of my quarter-life crisis? Is it a crisis at all or just the natural development of a person? Help!

I was very excited one of my professors is reading my blog, which gets back to the question above. I have thought about this quite a bit and considered starting a strictly school counseling blog, using a more professional voice. I decided to continue as I have been because this voice is authentically me. My personal life directly impacts who I am as a professional and vice versa. I started the blog to help reflect, set goals, save memories, and share with others. As I look back at the posts I am amazed by its evolution. From a carefree blog, to processing grief, and now reflecting and developing a professional identity. Hopefully it will have a little bit of everything!

I wish I could talk to my mom about this stuff, but we're not even going to go there today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Working for Free, aka, Interning

I started working at my school counseling internship this week. I have been helping with school registration and shadowing counselors helping students adjust their schedules. Many students are taking 3-4 AP classes as juniors or seniors. One dilemma students are having with scheduling is dropping an AP class. Suddenly summer is coming to an end and they realize they may have taking on more than they feel ready for. Others have neglected the summer reading and feel unprepared for classes to begin. Whatever the case, students are not allowed to drop AP classes during registration. They had a fair amount of time in the spring to drop the AP courses. Of course, some will be able to drop the class with an appeal to the department head. The other dilemma students are having is wanting to take a "fun" class that may not be considered as academically rigorous on college applications. These are the same kids who are taking 4 AP classes and will probably graduate high school with enough credits to be a sophomore. My heart went out to the students as I watched them struggling to make these tough decisions. When you're 17 school is pretty much your life and your schedule is a BIG DEAL.

These observations got me thinking about a few things that may lead to future postings.
  1. What a lucky problem for these students to have. They have been raised to value education and have been given amazing resources in one of the nation's largest urban and often failing school districts. 
  2. I know a strong course load is essential and important for schools to encourage. How do we as school counselors guide students to decisions about dropping APs or taking what some would feel is too many APs?
  3. With such a strong emphasis on rigorous schedule, is there time for young people to take fun classes like families and relationships or life skills like I did? How can they explore these types of things? 
  4. ...And. these classes led me to my career, in a way, it seems as if the heavy emphasis on some of the APs sends the message that certain careers are not valued as much.
  5. It's as if the rat race begins at 14 when you enter 9th grade, or is it 7th, when students are taking the ISATS that will produce scores for high school applications? (It's not really a rat race, because education is not a meaningless pursuit, although it can be endless!)
  6. This is the opposite problem we discuss often in class. Typically we talk about how to encourage students to take harder courses and work on closing the achievement gap
  7. I  need to find a wardrobe that doesn't make me look 50, but more importantly, doesn't make me look 19. I may also need to cut my hair.
Whoa, that was a lot of thinking from 2 days of  handing out schedules! Thoughts?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

When will it get easier?

I miss my mom more than usual tonight. I miss the grandma my children will never have. I miss my friend. It doesn't get easier, at least not yet. Time for bed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'd Rather be Golfing

Golf bar crawl 2010
This Thursday I am thankful for my new golf clubs. The Mr. got me golf clubs for my birthday and we have been getting some use out of them the last few weeks. The other day's rant about our finances was just a short moment in time on that one day. Most of the time I don't feel so overwhelmed, so don't worry! Today I am thankful for the time the Mr. and I get to spend together on the golf course. When we're golfing together we are encouraging each other, cheering for each other, teaching and learning. This time is also nice because we are doing something together that doesn't involve the TV or the computer; something active. I also cherish this time because we are outside enjoying the sun, lake, trees, and nature in general. So today I am thankful for golf clubs, because they are so much more than they were ever intended to be.

Today was also my first time visiting the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago. This Chicago landmark is also listed in the National Register and is absolutely beautiful. It needs a bit more care, but it is still such a cool place in the city that many people probably have never even seen. There is a municipal golf course on its grounds and is very affordable to play. You should check it out if you ever have the chance!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're Screwed

Each time the Mr. and even begin talking about our financial situation, or should I call it our financial "investment", we quickly say to each other, "We're screwed" and leave the conversation at that. What else is there to say?  We figure after our undergrad and advanced degrees we'll owe around...$270,000 to the government and our parents. This doesn't even include the interest. Whhhhaaaaaaat!?  Yes, I am serious. And that is why we think about it for about 5 minutes, feel completely overwhelmed, and move on to another subject. I feel very goal oriented and future focused, but our future is very daunting and can feel overwhelming. Especially considering the fact that we're not that young anymore. We're pretty much full blown adults. With no savings (small retirement funds), with no investments, still renting and feeling very much screwed. Lord help this economy. Pray for us to get jobs when we're done with school. Let's not even think about the goal of owning a home. I've pretty much kissed that goodbye for the next 10-15 years. The other day I calculated the cost of renting from the time we moved in together to when the Mr. finishes law school. We're talking almost 100k here people. I keep feeling like we made a very grave mistake. Would I trade it for the amazing times I've had in California and Chicago? Would I trade it for the quality education I am getting at DePaul? Right now I say no. Ask me next year when I've graduated, looking for a job and about to enter repayment.

Which leads me to the cost of weddings. Is it irresponsible to be spending 30k on a wedding when we're going to be so far in the hole. Sometimes I feel like 30k isn't even going to make a dent on our school debt so we should have the wedding we want. Other times I feel incredibly guilty. What's a girl to do...

How can I help guide students to college knowing the debt load then will face? How can I assure them education is worth the investment when I'm scared myself? I guess it's better than no education, right?

When will the education bubble burst? Not before my time, that's for sure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Door is Locked!!!

I was at SLT the other day at 7 am to help with the truck (shipment). I was looking for the toilet brush, because I had asked the manager to buy a new one. The old one had disappeared and the bowls were looking grimy. Anyways, I tried the men's door and it was locked! My first thought was, "what if someone is sitting on the can dead and was there over night?" I kid you not, my heart skipped a beat as I was thinking this. Wide eyed (as wide as these Korean eyes can get), I shared this fear with my co-worker who looked at me like I was crazy. Why is that my first thought? Why did I get really scared to find a body? Why was that my first thought in The Case of the Mystery Wheelchair?

I am happy to report there was no one in there. The truck driver used it and locked it behind him when he left.

That still doesn't help me with my jumping to conclusions...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hmmm (Can't think of a better title)

8 months later, and I still have a moment each day where I realize my mom is no longer with us. Every damn time it stops my heart for just a moment and takes my breath away. It feels like being sucker punched, having a ton of bricks on my chest, or recovering from open heart surgery (or what I imagine it to be like after vising the Mr.'s gpa in the hospital). I wonder if this will ever end. Do I want it to? When the day comes that I don't feel this way, will I feel guilty? I suspect so.

On the other hand, I love my life and everything that is happening to and around me. Is this normal? I suspect yes.

First Cubs game of the season. They got the W.