Self-Reflect to Self Direct

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Reflection is the key to growth. I find value in reflecting on past experiences because it helps me realize how far I’ve actually come. Right now, as I wrap up my third week of my first fall semester of grad school, I am able to reflect on how much I’ve grown since last fall.

A year ago, I was in my third week of my senior year, brainstorming post grad plans. I was torn between taking a gap year, going straight into grad school, going to Denver, CO; staying in Albany, NY; or going back home, to Queens, NY. I didn’t know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. This was odd for me, as someone who loves to plan and know what my next steps are. But for some reason, when it came to post-graduate plans, I just could not figure it out. I put too much pressure on myself to make decisions on things that I needed time to think about. I knew my ultimate career goal was to become a special education teacher, but I was unsure of which path I should take to get there. I was so worried about making the “wrong” decision and choosing a path I would not be happy with.

I talked through my ideas as much as possible with friends and family, however, there is one resource on campus I wish I had taken more advantage of during my senior year. I wish I went to Career and Professional Development to talk to a Peer Career Advisor, who could have helped me narrow my choices. I think I became too overwhelmed because I had too many options. I bet you’re wondering, “How can having too many options be a bad thing?” It is when you are indecisive like myself. I am indecisive in almost every aspect of my life: when it comes to figuring out what I should eat, what to wear, what to do for post grad—you name it. I was given so many options from people I knew in the teaching profession; from Teach for America, Blue Engine Teaching Apprentice, Relay Graduate School for Education, Denver Literacy Fellow, City Year, UAlbany Special Education & Literacy II Program (ding ding ding…we have a winner), Queens College, St. John’s University, NYU, and the list goes on.

I was also torn between going straight into a job that would give me teaching experience right away, versus going into a teacher preparation, graduate school program that would teach me about things like classroom management so I would be better prepared. I was always told, “Experience is your best teacher.” I was also told, “It’s best to feel as prepared as possible before jumping into anything in life.”

I think a year ago, I had enough research done to figure out what my next steps should have been but I did not take the right steps to eliminate options that were not best fit for me. I was able to see myself in every environment that I was considering. It is important to consider getting rid of ideas and options that are not the best fit for your personality, values, needs, etc. It takes a lot of self-reflection to do this and I did not get to this point until March of my senior year. I went all those months, from September to March, not sure what environment was the best fit for me.

If there is any senior who is unsure about what they want to do, or where they want to go, first realize there is no “wrong” path when you are deciding between two or more options. Then realize what your needs and desires are, and truly look into all options to see which one is best fit for you. You just have to take it a step at a time. Process of elimination and weighing pros and cons never hurt. Don’t be afraid to be selfish with your decision. This is your life you are planning for!


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories  – their voices.
Resources:
About the Author:
kerry-debruce
Kerry D.
Class of 2017
Major: Psychology
Minors: English and Education
Blog Theme:
Pulled Back to Move Forward
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Meet our Fall 17′ @UAlbanyMyStory Bloggers Pt. 1

Through videos, blogs, posters, small group meetings, community outreach, and presentations, our UAlbany Project MyStory bloggers their experiences – the good and the  bad; the ugly and the beautiful. Check us out every Monday, after 12 pm, for MyStory Mondays, when we share the latest posts. 


Meet Kerry

Pulled Back to Move Forward

Kerry IntroMy name is Kerry DeBruce and I am a graduate student in the Special Education & Literacy II Program. I started my journey here at UAlbany in Fall 2013, as a freshmen and have grown so much throughout my time here. Each year I spent here at UAlbany, I became more involved and gained stronger leadership skills. I became a blogger for Project MyStory this past spring semester, to talk about how I’ve moved forward after each loss I’ve experienced. I’m sure that as a graduate student, I will encounter other kinds of losses and I want to bring light to the things that we sometimes don’t talk about as students, the things that affect us the most—things like mental health, asking for help, and more. I also hope to contribute helping students in their junior and senior year start thinking about their post graduate plans, especially those applying to grad schools. I want to continue being a resource and I want my readers to know that someone understands what they are going through during this pivotal time in their life.

Click here to check out Kerry’s previous posts.


Find out more about Project MyStory Here!

Final Thoughts: Move Forward

amazon-1300350_960_720On,Tuesday, April 18th, I had my first interactive tabling session and it was a success! Many students participated by taking the time to reflect on the many types of losses and by answering one of the following questions:

  • What’s one thing you told yourself to get through one of these types of losses?
  • What’s one thing you would tell someone going through one of these types of losses?
  • What is one thing you wish you could tell a loved one you lost or a person you lost as a friend?

The types of losses that the students reflected on were loss of motivation, loved one, identity/sense of self,  friendship and academic/career opportunity. I was amazed that so many students could identify with at least one of these types of losses and/or would know what to say to someone who was going through a similar situation. Something I’ve talked about a lot in my blog posts this semester was the power that words hold, and it was evident that other students are aware of that power as well. Continue reading “Final Thoughts: Move Forward”

Self-Care for A Positive Mindset

Sisyphean toilSelf-care is so important to me and I know sometimes I do not do enough of it.  I have a tendency to take on too much. When you combine this with needing time to just de-stress and reflect, it becomes nearly impossible to actually do.

Even my supervisor, Kim, is aware that I take on too much and we have talked about this in one-on-one meetings and in evaluations as well. In my most recent evaluation, as my area of improvement, Kim stated, “Kerry has dealt with a lot of loss this past year. It is important for her to take the time for self care.” We have talked about certain goals that I have for myself in relation to self-care and I appreciate her for being so supportive. Continue reading “Self-Care for A Positive Mindset”

Healing Through Poetry and Music

diary-1446082_960_720.jpgI’ve always known the power that words hold. I discovered this when I wrote my first poem at 11 years old. For me, poetry is my usual go-to when I want to express myself. It’s difficult to tell people how you feel sometimes, yet easier to just write it down. But even then, sometimes just writing how you feel gets difficult, or even daunting because writing down how you feel makes it even more real. Continue reading “Healing Through Poetry and Music”

Unexpected Grief

5b35c43f4e757d97dffe3a6ee731e34cSome people like seeing things that remind them of a loved one they lost. But if you’re anything like me, you don’t necessarily like it—not because you don’t miss that person, but because you don’t like having to acknowledge the feelings associated with that loss. It is especially hard when those feelings catch you off guard, and if you don’t have a safe space to acknowledge the impact of those feelings .

That happened to me two weeks ago. I was already in a rush because I was late for work one morning and I was at a location that reminded me of a friend who passed away last year.  It triggered many emotions that I have not felt in many months. In that moment, I felt my heart break all over again and the worst part was that I couldn’t find time to express how I was feeling since I was already in a rush. Continue reading “Unexpected Grief”

Words of Encouragement

logoWhen I first started this blog, I didn’t know how much of an impact it would have on people. As much as I had hoped for at least one person to be able to relate to my experiences and feel some comfort, I did not actually think I would get the feedback I have received.

The past few weeks have shown me that I am supported by so many people, such as co-workers, my current Res Life supervisor, other Pro-Staff members, one of my professors, my counselor at CAPS, family and friends.

My post from last week was actually inspired by a conversation my friend Felix and I had back in August. We both experienced grief the previous semester, and did not reach out to anyone, nor each other, and we had similar reasons why we didn’t. He shared my post from last week on Facebook, remembering our conversation on that topic and reminded me, “Just know you’re not alone.” Continue reading “Words of Encouragement”

You’re Not a Burden

burden-1296754_960_720.png“You’re not a burden, Kerry.”

That’s what I tell myself every time I even consider venting to a friend, family member, or even, my boyfriend. Everyone always tells me, “I’m here for you”, “Call me if you need me”, and “You can always open up to me”. But when an opportunity to vent presents itself, I have a hard doing actually doing so. It’s not that I don’t believe people when they tell me those things, it’s that when things are going great for my loved ones, I don’t want to be a buzzkill and start talking about how sad I am that my father and two friends died within two years. I don’t want to tell them how stressed I am because I have not solidified my post-graduation plans yet. I guess the psychology major in me is worried about transferring emotions onto others. That’s probably the number one reason why I hesitate with venting to friends and family. I can’t help but feel like I would be overwhelming them with my problems. Continue reading “You’re Not a Burden”

The Year of Grief

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I knew my heart would feel heavier than usual. Today, February 7th, makes a year since my father passed away. So much time has passed, but the pain still lingers.

Someone reading this might have lost a parent and can relate to the feelings associated with that. But then there were other feelings I didn’t know how to explain, considering the fact I was mourning someone I’ve never met. I have never met my father in person, at least not as an adult. In fact, I didn’t know anything about him except his name for 18 years of my life.  How I got in touch with him is a very long story, but let’s just say that the summer before I started my freshmen year, here at UAlbany, was very life-changing. Right before I left to go away to school for the first time, I finally found the other half of my family and the timing was too perfect. Moments like that always led me to believe that everything happens for a reason.  Continue reading “The Year of Grief”

It’s Your Loss and Mine

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Sometimes situations will hurt more than you would like to admit. That was the case for me in the beginning of my sophomore year of college. I was close with someone I lived with freshman year and then at the end of that school year, things just changed. We changed. That’s expected of you as you go through your first year in college. You are supposed to grow. But in this particular situation, we both just grew apart and grew closer to other people much similar to ourselves. And we never resolved any of the issues that was causing friction in our friendship. Continue reading “It’s Your Loss and Mine”