Friday, September 30, 2016

Realization From Some Communication

On Thursday September 29, 2016 I was faced with the task of a self-analyzing myself relating to the way I communicate with those around me. Initially I was excited about the assignment because human interaction is something that I find puzzling at times and yet alluring at others. I believed I had a pretty good understanding of the way I treat people and how I let them know my thoughts or what message I convey with my body language. Through the process of self-analysis I was able to recognize patterns and become more aware of how I interact with those that are close to me and those that are not.
I was traveling to Holy Cross with my volleyball team on Thursday. The bus ride was 8 hours, we got up at 8 in the morning and then got to Boston around 4 p.m. so for the beginning of the day my interaction was with the people that I would consider to be the people that are closest to me at Loyola. I went to boulder in the morning with my best friend Puddy and because we are close the conversation was flowing and personal space between the two of us was limited. We both matched for traveling and because of our appearance I would assume people respected us. I tend to smile a lot and say hi to strangers. There was a guy on the crew team who I didn’t know and I said hi to him while we were on our way to the locker room. After breakfast my teammates and I went on the bus. I greeted most of the with a smile and a “GOODMORNING!” I noticed I am quite lively in the morning. Once my teammates and I were on the bus my interactions with others slimmed.  I plugged into my earphones and listened to music. Interestingly I stayed in contact with the people around me because I used Snap Chat a lot. Instead of talking to the people around me I was Snap Chatting them. For most of the duration of the bus ride I was in my own world. I made funny faces occasionally to my teammates but did not vocally communicate with others until we were about an hour away from our destination. I noticed that I use Snap Chat to generate a lot of laughter with those around me. Besides Snap Chat, I use Facebook but it isn’t something I use a lot. When my teammates and I got to Boston I was very talkative and was in other peoples faces and hugging them. I was pretty excited. When we got to dinner we were not allowed to use our phones so that was two hours of no technology.
The things that I learned from this exercise is that I use to Snap Chat a lot to create a comical aspect in the relationships I have with those around me. I also noticed that during the bus ride I still stayed in contact with those around me even though I wasn’t really talking to them. I have come to the conclusion that I am heavily dependent on the positive emotional connection I have with people I interact with. I tend to try to make them laugh or do my best to generate a smile. When I was walking around Boston I believe I give off the message that I am an approachable person even though I may be tall, I am smiling and sociable. During the dinner with no cell phones (no technology at all)  I realized that at first there were small conversations and at times I found myself being a little quiet but that could’ve been because I was tired. I didn’t have snap chat to make people laugh so eventually I started telling stories and the whole table was laughing. I noticed that I was even more aware of those around me at the table and even more aware of the people at other tables. Having meals without cellphones makes them so much better.

Overall I noticed I am very socially aware but I tend to rely on technology at times to create connections. At dinner it took a little warm up but after about 15 minutes there was a sort of flow and the whole table was exchanging stories and laughing without the distraction of our cell phones.

Friendliest Guy

            Throughout this past Thursday, September 29, I did my iExamen analysis and realized how much distance and caution I put between myself and others, even regardless of my intuition. I find myself only doing the minimum often with regard to my social interactions and greetings, only doing what is necessary.
            Most of my greetings and conversations seem to be in passing. For whatever reason I find myself distancing myself from people around me. Whenever I see people I know I tend to only greet them in response or not at all, and at the same time I never stop and make small talk. I glance in a different direction or make little eye contact. This is the same in regard to social media, I find myself ignoring texts and snapchats or responding the bare minimum. For the first three hours of my day, I didn’t have a conversation beyond checking if my roommate had an alarm set before I left for class. After that, I had a class with my one of my roommates so we made jokes while waiting for class to start but even then I found myself to be curt. A certain upperclassman was being sassy to my roommate and I claiming we did not know the band on her shirt, which I did (it was the Grateful Dead) and I found myself annoyed even after the class.
 The only time I find myself being kind or having and type of social charm is when I actually have to talk to people. I keep eye contact and usually I am genuinely interested in what they have to say. I found myself walking back with my roommate and a girl from our class and I was being fun and charming and she was laughing a lot but it was pretty draining and once I found myself back in my room I shut myself off again. 
The next social interaction was probably the worst of the day. A girl I’m friends with in my lab was continuously glancing at me and seemed to be upset, and she seemed to be upset about something other than the fact that I wasn’t sitting next to her. I felt like it was boyfriend related, but instead of checking in and seeing if she was ok I just played it off and decided it wasn’t really my place. A similar circumstance happened towards the end of the day when a neighbor came over, seeming eager to talk and encouraging me to be funny and charismatic but I stayed pretty silent until she made an awkward excuse to leave. Yet repeatedly my suitemates and my friends all regard me as friendly and social and are always looking for me to go out with them.
I pay a good amount of attention to clothes, and it seemed the same as normal. The preppy kids and the kids who don' care and wear athletic shorts and sweatpants seem to make up most of the population. Personally, if I wear sweats to class I feel like a bum, but a lot of my friends do it and I don't judge.
My hour without my phone seemed to go by quickly. I actually have an app on my phone that tracks my usage and my daily average is around an hour and a half. I found myself doing the same thing where I studied and took breaks my stretching or daydreaming. It wasn't very noticeable that I wasn't allowed to use technology. 

I realize how much of an effect I have on the people around me with how aloof I seem. Although it isn’t anything personal that makes me act one way or another, I feel as though I should try to force or find myself in more social interactions. Whenever I am in a social interaction I am usually socially appealing it seems, so I should stop trying to weasel out of every conversation. All the intuitions I have that tell me to do better and be more outgoing with my friends are right. There’s nothing more important than the people surrounding you, without them, there really isn’t much to life.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

iexamen 1

Communication is something that we all use on a daily basis more or less. Being a soccer player I communicate with my coaches and my teammates daily both on and off the field, both in person and through the phone. I also communicate with my friends with different methods, I communicate with my computer and my TV.

Looking back at this day I was actually very excited to see how I would act without using any electronics for an hour and how different my communication actually would be. I was also very excited to see how often I use my electronic devices on a daily basis that I thought was not used that much, due to the fact I like to be outside and sport. A normal day I’m not using the cellphone too much, compared to other people I know. However this assignment made me realize that I use it way more then my initial thought. What I mean by that is not about sitting with my cellphone for hours doing different sorts of stuff you do own a cellphone. Instead I noticed a bad habit that I would gladly be rid of, and that is that I’m checking my phone way too many times. Every minute I took it up to see if I had received any messages, snapchats or e-mails. Clicking that home button on the bottom of the phone happened probably over 200 times. It was some sort of urgency that I had to be connected all the time and being up to date with everything. Checking what is going on around you through a screen is not very healthy.
Another important thing I noticed throughout the day was the need of my cellphone while being bored. The same syndrome applied as earlier with checking it every minute came up when I was bored. Scrolling the same Facebook timeline over and over again is not very productive, and it will not make you less bored. While I was bored I was eager that I would had received a text message to make me less bored, which as earlier stated is not healthy either.
The hour without any electronic devices made me nervous before due to the fact that I was not sure how I would react. The scene that this hour was played out at was Boulder café with a couple of friends. The biggest things I learned from this exercise were by not looking at the phone all the time made me way more visual and audible. I was able to overhear what people was saying at other tables and seeing what was going on around you way more was some sort of mind blowing. While using your phone you are often in your own world and not certain about your surroundings. Talking to other people while not having the phone made me feel more engaged in the topic. Sometimes when I use my phone and communicating with someone verbally I usually do not listen that well, as I did now when the phone was put away. Talking with someone verbally and not through the phone also gives you the feeling of engagement. There are no real feelings in communicating via the phone. The last major thing I noticed was how eye contact played a part. Keeping eye contact with the person I was communicating with made me as earlier stated more active and engaged. The people I communicated with who used the phone also gave me the feeling that they did not give the same sort of eye contact and they were not as engaging because they were using their phones.

This exercise made me realize both how much I use my electronic devices and what they do to my communication. First of all I did expect that I used electronic devices as much as I did. Almost the whole day I was connected in some way, so getting that hour was really helpful. The other thing is that I did not realized either how it affected me. Becoming a zombie and living in your own world is not healthy and changing my habits to the better is something I will try to do. Seeing other people using their phone made the whole process easier too by realizing that you act in the same way as they do. However I also believe in a balance since electronic devices plays a huge part in society and in most peoples life. But it should not exceed to the fact that verbal communication is a non-factor and people are just interacting with their screens.

i Examined over communication

I decided to do my first iExamen on Thursday, September 29, and I was more surprised by the non-vocal communication that I noticed than the vocal communication. It was also very rainy so I wasn’t really able to see facial expressions of people walking but due to the rain, however, this did cause people to put their phones while they walked.
            Communication during class was average, with people raising their hands toward an authoritative figure before being called on for a prompted answer. I got to class 15 minutes early and noticed that people would sit with people who looked like them. Generally males and females separated, clothing brands seemed to be grouped and those who had previously shown their interest in the course discussion also sat together. Because it was an 8 am class, most students looked like they had just woken up except for the pair who are enrolled in the ROTC program. After class, I walked home and it began to rain heavily. I pulled my hood over my head, said a quick thank you to the student who buzzed me into my dorm, and headed upstairs. Later I attended my criminal law class where I noticed that the room was completely separated by gender. Our professor likes to call on people randomly, so no hands were raised and off the cuff answers were criticized. I walked with a friend on the way home and not to my surprise, she began ranting and venting about one thing or another. I nodded along and decided she didn’t really need to hear my opinion but rather just to talk about her issues. Times like these I choose not to speak because I feel as if my words are not necessary. I believe that the best format of communication for all generations is face to face however that is inconvenient so we have to settle for less effective methods.

            I do not consider myself to be overly attached to my devices, so taking an hour away wasn’t a big deal to me. I studied for a chemistry exam and studied in the library.  I continued my life as normal and received a good number of angry text messages about how I “really should be checking my phone more often because what I have to say is very important”. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the “very important” information was a link to a video of a hedgehog having its belly rubbed. Before and after this experiment, I concluded that the college generation feels a need to communicate and be in constant contact.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meditative comfort

Last week’s meditation at the Fava Chapel was my first try at any sort of mind body exercise. It was completely different from what I thought it would be and for the most part was a success for me for a couple of reasons. Initially, I walked into the room and sat down on this thick rug looking mat. It came with a small bag to sit on but for the most part I was sitting on the ground. From the moment I awkwardly contorted into pretzel weave leg stance, I knew I was going to be very uncomfortable.
A short time into the presentation, to my great surprise, I learned some better postures and it became much more comfortable very quickly. I was given some wisdom by my teacher for the pose and I was simultaneously given a dramatically high chance to connect with the meditation. Instead of focusing on the pain of sitting, I could focus on my recent feelings knowing that no work could be done. That artificial excuse gave me a chance to relax and purposefully recap my week, which is much more productive than my usual experience. The experience was definitely more impressive than what I expected to see.
My presentation this week was about William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. In the poem, the speaker describes memory as a beautiful and artful display of daffodils by the coast. However, it is so much more meaningful than just a fond memory. This poem is also about how we can often realize the wealth of a moment only once it has passed. Small parts of his day are things he eventually thought about for the rest of his life. After one session of meditation I quickly realized this would be something I could really benefit from. My health physically and mentally has been under a lot of question this past year with my illness and appendicitis. Knowing that meditation is an undeniably helpful exercise is inexplicably reassuring.
            In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, we see a husband lose attraction for his wife because of a habit. His fixation was his downfall, and he could never get over that, realistically small, birthmark. It can be so easy to let things marinate in our mind for too long when we do not sit down and think through the issue. He became obsessed with making her perfect and could not think about the other good qualities that she held. The goal of meditation is to move past things like this. You reflect and concentrate on something, then you move on. The husband could have meditated to appreciate that other things are important, he would have been much better off. A birthmark is something that you cannot really change. Monks can confirm that focusing and concentrating on only those things that you can control will help you lead a very purposeful and rewarding life. Worrying about the things that you cannot fix is the problem of the husband and of those who do not meditate.

The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” feels weird about sitting and not doing much. It makes her question all types of things and she is not super comfortable with this. In meditation we talked about how easy it is to become very restless when meditating, because you are not active and that lack of constant stimulation is a foreign feeling. Making you feel like you are not doing something you should be.


Communication in All Senses
            Through my self-reflection, I have found that I communicate with people in a lot of ways in many different aspects of my life. When I am on the volleyball court, I need to tell people what plays to run, so I have to communicate through hand signals, which I never thought of as weird or really even a form of full communication until this exercise. Also on the court, I use claps and pointing as ways to say that I appreciate someone or that they did something well. Outside of volleyball, when I am just with my friends, we communicate a significant amount with our eyes. If something happens around us there is just a way that we talk to each other and express and understand how we are feeling. This is very interesting to me because you can actually do this wit most people, not just your friends, and they will get what you are saying, so that universal connection that you have with people is something really strange and kind of comforting to know that it’s always there. I also realized that, since I’m a sassy person, I communicate and express myself a lot with my body movements. I flip my hair and use my hands a lot when I talk, which may also be because I’m Italian, and people understand how I am feeling through these actions. Another big way that I can express my feelings is through my body and posture. My coach always has a way of knowing when we are sulking after points because of our body language and that is something that I need to stay consciously aware of or else it just happens which is something I had never realized I was doing for such a long time. I also have noticed that when you stand or act a certain way, the person you are talking to will act or stand in a similar way. This is also psychological because subconsciously you want to mirror the person you are with in order to seem more likeable to the person.
Through this exercise I realized that I communicate in a lot more ways than I thought I did. Pretty much everything I do communicated in someway about how I am feeling or reacting to my surroundings. It is also very interesting and sort of crazy to see how other people have different ways of communicating and do different things than you do, but will still act a certain way just because they know the ways of their surroundings at that moment.
Going without a phone is not something super foreign to me. At least 2 hours before every single game, our coach takes away our phones. They do this so we have no distractions from the outside world and con focus on each other and the game. In these times, my teammates and I usually play music, dance around, and draw on the white board in the locker room. In these moments, I usually completely forget that I do not have my phone. When I did the exercise it was more on my mind that I didn’t have my phone, but when I kept myself busy, the idea was much less present in my mind. I really don’t think it is the end of the world to not have your phone or technology 24/7, however it is very nice for communication purposes with people far away. During the summer, most days I would not have my phone for 8 hours, so majority of my waken day. This was not very difficult because I was doing something the entire time. However, if I had to do that now, it would be a different story because my family and boyfriend are far away and is usually talk to them throughout my day. Overall I think there are positives and negatives to having technology but I definitely feel that everyone should take a break here and there.