There is a period of time in your life when you figured that you have done all you can. You evaluate your plans but there is a nagging feeling that maybe there is this one item that is missing. At that point in my life, I was off to university and for certainty I knew something was missing. I think I came face-to-face with this reality a few months after leaving home, while living in the dormitory.
I was having a wonderful experience living among persons who came from different cultures at the university; exposed to various ideas, language and a genuine concern for the well-being of each other. But somehow I looked at life, looked at my plans on how to achieve my various dreams, for instance, but I begun to become somewhat distracted by problems in the world. I started to wonder what was going wrong, why try being better in a world that was getting worse. I will look on the television or daily newspapers and be bombarded by challenges and difficulties this human race experience. I also started to wonder why I had this opportunity to further my education, when persons in various countries do not have sufficient to eat. This really bothers me. At that point of time in my life I asked the question, what is the purpose of life?
At this point of time I acknowledged that I needed all the help I could get. So I turned my attention to a higher power. Based on the home that I grew up in, there were always some type of religious activity is that we engaged. And the so against this backdrop I began to pray more and study religious books. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with journaling or exploring one’s thoughts through the process of writing. But remembered thus far the plan that I had placed as journal entries did not include any direct form of religiosity. While they are some persons, and rightly so, can choose whether or not to be religious or even spiritual, because of my previous encounters with this type of life it was meaningful for me. How journaling my thoughts or seeking answers through writing worked here, was that as I obtained spiritual reading materials, I started to make notes in the various margins of the books. At the onset I must admit that I did not fully understand where this would have taken me. But because of being loyal to the process of writing and journaling my dreams, thoughts, learning, understandings or revelations, I continued. Surprisingly, but then again I should not have been overly surprised by what began to happen within a couple months of diligently studying these various religious materials, I started to have a clearer sense of what was going on the world.
Coming out from this practice I started back then, to this day continued to study religious materials as a means to have balance, as well as a deeper understanding of my position in the world, in relation to things happening around me.
I started also using a type of journaling as a means to understand my thinking through prose, musing, or poetry. This too has helped me make sense of situations which continue to present themselves each day in the form of stressors. When I engage in this type of writing for a period of time each week, it allows me to escape in a world, to mentally explore my experiences and to find creative ways of coping or finding solutions.
Kathleen Feeley and Emily Jones
Several characteristics associated with the Down syndrome behavioural phenotype as well as biological factors are likely to increase the presence of challenging behaviour in individuals with Down syndrome. The application of evidenced based strategies assessing and addressing challenging behaviours in individuals with developmental disabilities can be systematically applied to address such behaviours in individuals with Down syndrome. Additionally, evidence based strategies can be systematically implemented by caregivers of very young children with Down syndrome to address early communication skills (requesting, vocal imitation), escape behaviours, and self stimulatory behaviour thus diminishing early developing behaviours likely to lead to more significant challenges as the child with Down syndrome matures.
Feeley KM, Jones EA. Preventing challenging behaviours in children with Down syndrome: Attention to early developing repertoires. Down Syndrome Research and Practice. 2008;12(1);11-14.
At the end of the year, how many great days do you have? It is a matter of hard work, results and perspective.
In my late teens, I was able to see patterns or categories appearing in the records I kept. Suddenly, I saw clearly, there were activities needed to get done before others, hurdles to cross and much research to take place before I could recognize my goals. I think that making such observations kept me doing the journaling. It also kept me inspired and motivated to continue doing what I was expending energy behind.
By now you will be recognizing that the process of journaling, or writing down the dreams you have and the possible steps to obtain such dreams, will go hand-in-hand with your achievements. I would like to now share with you the plan writing had allowed me to formulate. At this period of time in my life, I was coming to the end of my secondary school’s experience. By this time, due to the work that I was doing, that of journaling my thoughts and my expectation for the future, I knew it was coming near to another important phase in my life. It was true that from form four and into form five, among the academics we were also coached as to the various career paths available to us students. While this was done in a group I had a feeling that at least if I had a one-on-one session with my form teacher, I may have benefited the most. And so, I arranged to have a meeting with my form teacher.
The benefit of the meeting was particularly noteworthy. I was assisted with information pertaining to choosing of a university. Owed to out meeting, I was able to gain insight as to the financial cost and length of time it will take to complete the undergraduate programme. My form teacher also assisted me in understanding that if I wanted to be a psychologist or to get into medicine I had to go through a graduate programme.
Setbacks and reevaluation in my educational pursuit.
I completed the registration form and within a few months got a call that I was accepted by the University to study at the undergraduate level. Now in my written plans I had sort the fuse together psychology and biology and the correct paths that surrounded the two. Because of the courses I had done at the secondary school level, I was easily accepted into the natural science faculty to study biology. Keep in mind that I was also passionate about the field of psychology. So I enrolled in the psychology and sociology programme, in the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences. I began studying for the double major, Biology and Behavioural Science.
Almost at the onset, the courses in the biology program proved itself to be tough. I distinctly remembered two courses that made me feel like I was swimming against the strong currents of the Atlantic Ocean. Those two courses were organic chemistry and physics. Twice I wrote the exam for organic chemistry and failed. I remember sitting in the exam for physics and feeling like I was in a foreign country with the language I did not understand but needed to get around to find my way home. Like a lost child at the bus station, I almost cried.
Upon reflecting a way forward I made discovery which I may not have seen had failure not prevailed. A matter of fact I made a number of discoveries such as failure can happen, even in the midst of hard work and that sometimes fear and disappointment can have you questioning whether or not you should continue on the path leading to your goals. The one I will share with you though, had to do with the cognitive dissonance or confusion relating to a step in the plan that no longer fit directly with a particular career I talked I wanted to pursue. That was a career in neuropsychology or cognitive psychology. I looked at the career paths of the written plan I had made, my vision and what needed to get me there and recognized that I needed to reevaluate. What I noticed as to the objectives to choosing this career path aligned the more so to educational psychology. After speaking with my academic advisor, the decision was made to drop biology and continue to completion, the degree in behavioral science. Doing a double major meant that I would have had more course credits to complete, and therefore will have had to stay an extra year—providing I had made use of all the semester summer sessions over the years. Thus far I had already completed a number of biological courses and dropping this degree now, at least two years in, would have meant I needed to stay an extra year.
If I did not take the time to diligently record all the steps or processes needed to obtain my educational goals, I may have felt overly frustrated, which in turn could have dampened my view of myself. There many persons in life who do not have these set goals, who do not have a journal of their plans to referred too and can have their self-esteem or self-concept significantly affected should the failure prevailed temporarily. You do not have to fall into this category of persons who feel lost, not knowing where to go next because they had not written down clearly defined goals, and should reevaluation be necessary they are confused as to where to begin.