For the past couple of weeks, we have discussed a wide range of topics related to personality traits and mental health. We have also taken lots of personal assessments to understand ourselves which I feel were very helpful and intriguing. Week 6 we talked about social and emotional learning and essentially we talked about how important life skills that are needed to get a job or to be a good team member are not necessarily taught in school which is an issue. And therefore there are SEL programs in place to foster these skills and data has shown them to work. I personally gained most of these skills from my parents because they were conscious about making sure that I was social and I knew the proper mannerisms needed to communicate with others. However, growing up I definitely met some kids who didn’t have those skills or did not know how to be a team member and I think a SEL program would have been beneficial for them. Something else it made me realize is that when I was going through grade school, kids did not have phones but now a lot of younger kids have access to phones and Ipads and such so the SEL program would be even more necessary for them!
Week 7 we focused on relationships. I really live by the Michealangelo phenomenon where if I feel that the people in my life are not helping me become a better person, I reevaluate their place in my life. I always try to surround myself with people who I feel are better than me in one way or another so that I can learn from them and grow. Also, throughout college I have struggled a lot with figuring out the boundary with friendships. When I first started having poor mental health I began to use my friends as crutches, which is not healthy. After going to counseling I learned that yes, friends should be there to help and support you through tough times but it is not fair of me to depend on them for anything. As one of my friends once said to me, ” friends are here to support not to be an unpaid therapist”. I really think that college has helped me understand what I want in the relationships I have with people just because I have had so many of them, both good and bad. During this week our activity was to practice mindfulness and it was surprisingly one of the best activities I feel that we have done in SOH. I have really bad anxiety which makes me very jittery and nervous and I feel like taking a second to just be present and mindful has helped me out a lot.
Week 8 we focused on disconnecting. This was definitely the hardest week for me because we were not allowed to use phones or other electronics during class. I consider myself to be addicted to my phone so I struggled a lot. However, I realized that I need to do it more often because being addicted to my phone is really unhealthy and has impacted my attention span. I feel that I also really related to this weeks reading, about the connection between phones and depression, sleep quality and anxiety within college students. Essentially the study talks about how they compared different aspects, the ones mentioned in the title, between smart phone users and nonusers and there is a higher rate of anxiety, depression and low quality sleep for those who are smart phone users. I can definitely vouch for that because I feel that when I was going through hard times and I felt that I was alone, I would go onto social media and when I saw that my friends were hanging out and I was not invited and it would make me even more depressed. It also makes me compare myself to other people all the time. If I don’t have plans for a weekend and I see people going out doing things, I feel bad about myself, which is very unnecessary. If I hadn’t seen their posts, I wouldn’t have felt bad. It also has affected my sleep, and after this week I actually started putting a timer to when I have to put my phone away when I go to bed.
Week 9 was about personality traits! I think this week I learned a lot about myself and I understood why I do certain things, or how I cope. I have always been an extrovert however I never knew that, that is why I am somewhat impulsive, or it is why I enjoy “thrill-seeking” activities. The SURPs test was also really insightful because I have very extreme scores but I guess that makes sense because my emotions tend to be somewhat extreme, as in when I’m happy, I get really happy or when I am sad, I get really sad. There is rarely an in between. Also I really liked doing the activity where we asked people in our lives to give us compliments. I realized that one of the biggest things people see in me is how I am very inclusive, and thats something I stress a lot so I am glad that it shows.
Finally the last week we have talked about impulses. I think that the college environment is the most testing place for impulsivity. Drugs, alcohol, bad decisions are all so easy to access and there is so much peer pressure that its really easy to break. I personally did not realize how strong peer pressure is until freshman year because I originally came to college as someone who was not comfortable drinking but my friends managed to put a lot of peer pressure on me which led to me giving in. I think the peer pressure we learn about in school is very different from how peer pressure really is because when your friends pressure you into doing things, they do it in a way where you dont feel like it’s forced, and you feel like you don’t want to ruin the fun. It’s only till later when you realize what was going on.
Overall, this class has really helped me understand mental health much better. Especially as someone who has struggled with it greatly, its really insightful being able to understand why I act a certain way, or how my actions connect to my personality. It also has helped me decrease my screen time usage, and be more mindful, which in turn has helped me decrease my anxiety.
This image shows how much phones dictate our lives, even when we are hanging out with friends, we are always on our phone. This is something that this class has really made me realize and my goal for the upcoming weeks is to get out of this habit!