Media Production

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

Researchers recently studied the effects of caffeine on the human brain, specifically looking for an increase in entropy that would make brains better able to handle this unpredictable world. Since people often rely on coffee or tea to keep them focused on a task or give them an energy boost of ideas when they feel stuck, it was originally believed that caffeine must have a lowering effect on entropy levels, creating a more ordered brain system. After performing the study, researchers instead proved the opposite effect.

Researchers began their study by recruiting participants from Hangzhou Normal University in China, as well as from the local community in Hangzhou. Sixty participants formed the sample for the study, including thirty males and thirty females. These participants were required to meet a certain criteria in order to be admitted into the study. They could not have had abnormal structural MRI, they had to be within 20-26 years of age, they could not have any neuropsychological issues or magnetic objects in their bodies, and they could not be taking medications that would affect central blood flow to the brain. Researchers used MRI scans of the brain to detect changes in brain entropy levels of each participant before and after ingesting caffeine. The study was performed over two days and participants were randomly assigned to two groups, A and B, each containing fifteen males and fifteen females. Researchers chose for participants to ingest a caffeine pill instead of having them drink a cup of coffee or tea. This allowed for more control in the experiment, as they knew the exact amount of caffeine each person was ingesting in the 200mg pill. Both groups received a brain scan each day to use as comparison images. Group A received a scan and a caffeine pill on the first day, then returned for another scan the following day so the caffeine had 24 hours to digest. Group B only received a scan on the first day, then was given the caffeine pill the next day along with another scan thirty minutes after ingestion.

What they found was not only an increase in brain entropy, but also a decrease in central blood flow after participants had caffeine within their systems. While central blood flow was reduced across the entire brain, entropy levels only experienced an increase in certain regions of the brain. These regions of increased brain entropy included the default mode network with a 16.09 percent spike, the visual cortex with a 14.48 percent jump, the motor network with an 8.13 percent rise, and the lateral prefrontal cortex with a 7.70 percent growth. Since caffeine is known to have the largest effect on cognitive functions of awareness, movement, and alertness, it made sense that the areas of the brain responsible for the operation of these functions experienced a rise in entropy levels with a little help from caffeine. Including these increased levels of entropy in terms of percentages more clearly operationalized the dependent variable of brain entropy levels, instead of simply stating whether or not they went up; however, the individual data was not provided regarding the increase each participant experienced, which may have been useful. The caffeine pill was the independent variable in the experiment, operationalized based on the amount of caffeine it contained and to some degree, the timing of when participants ingested the pill.

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between caffeine and the human brain entropy levels, not whether or not caffeine helps us write a better essay or complete tasks more efficiently. Many people look for the quick fix to a problem or challenge. After reading about a study like this, they likely jump to the conclusion that coffee allows for a higher capacity of the brain to process information. It is important to remember that this was strictly performed as a correlational study, searching for relationships between caffeine and entropy levels, while stumbling upon the effect on central blood flow levels. The increase in entropy and decrease in central blood flow had a correlation ranging from -0.5 to -0.4. Caffeine and entropy were clearly found to have a positive correlation, as participants increased caffeine levels in their bodies and, shortly after, experienced an increase in entropy levels. This correlation currently only allows for suggestions and assumptions, as this study did not specifically experiment with cognitive functions or data relating to this. Correlation does not allow for causation, so while it is acceptable to credit a rise in entropy levels to the ingestion of caffeine, it is not yet scientifically supported to state that caffeine ingestion directly leads to an increase in the brain’s capability to process more complex information.

Reflection:

I first made sure to include more information about the participants, as the news article did not mention any details aside from the number of participants the study used. When data is collected from a group of people, regardless of the study, there will be different results depending on the characteristics of each group. In this case, if the study was performed on people with previous brain injuries or people who are regular coffee or tea drinkers, the results would have likely been different. After only reading the news article at the beginning of this project, I had no idea whether I should be comparing myself and the possible personal effects I would experience as a result of caffeine with the effects and results experienced by the participants. After reading the scholarly article, which included the age, gender, health background, and previous caffeine use of the participants, I can better compare the results to myself and decide how intensely I would like to apply the findings to my own routine. I also made sure to mention the correlational aspect of this study, as it was solely looking for a relationship between the variables. News articles tend to produce more flashy and intriguing writing that sometimes alters the truth a bit. The simple proven fact that caffeine increases brain entropy levels does not also conclude that caffeine increases the information processing abilities of the brain. This was an important distinction that I felt was necessary to include. I left out diagrams of brain scans and their explanations from the scholarly article, simply because they were difficult to understand. A normal person reading this should not have to have a background in psychology or scientific brain imaging techniques in order to understand the main idea. My summary includes what I felt were the most important aspects of the five critical questions for reading research. The news article failed to mention details about the sample group, the timing of the study, and that this was strictly a correlational study. I made these aspects more clear for the reader, so the information could be more accurately applied to his or her personal circumstances. I did not feel that it was critical to include whether or not conclusions are generalized to the right population, since this is still not entirely clear. There need to be further studies done in this same manner, as well as adding the cognitive functioning aspect to collect data about this effect of caffeine before it can be applied to certain groups of people or an entire population.

With the restrictions this assignment involved in terms of word count, I can see why journalists have trouble including every aspect of a research study, especially one like this. There was also a lot of complex scientific data and information included in the scholarly article that would have been difficult to incorporate into a news article. This is likely why journalists of news articles focus more on any attention-grabbing information they can find from the research. People do not necessarily care about caffeine as an antagonist to adenosine, especially since most would not even know what that means. What people are looking for in a news article is any groundbreaking findings they can apply to their own lives, such as how the coffee they drink each day might be making them smarter. I would definitely give credit to journalists who find a way to keep the story intriguing without leaving out critical details of research that establish credibility.

Works Cited

Chang, Da, et al. “Caffeine Caused a Widespread Increase of Resting Brain Entropy.” Scientific

Reports, vol. 8, no. 1, 2018, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21008-6.

McDonald, Hal. “A Little Chaos With Your Coffee?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 2

July 2018, http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/time-travelling-apollo/201807/little-chaos-your-coffee.

News Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/time-travelling-apollo/201807/little-chaos-your-coffee

Scholarly Article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-21008-6

Chapter 14 First Impression

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I chose the first option for this post. After watching the video that stimulates the experience of a person with schizophrenia, I immediately felt bad for anyone who has to experience this all the time. The constant voice that was demonstrated in the video, either telling the schizophrenic person she was stupid or wrong, seems incredibly difficult to live with. It is like having a constant reminder about any insecurity or doubt we may feel, but it likely feels to schizophrenic people that there is no escape from this voice. It must feel very unsettling too, especially when you think the worst is going to happen at all times. Even when the pizza delivery guy was simply doing his job and not trying to raise suspicion about other motives, the schizophrenic person immediately believed he was out to get her or knew something bad she had done and was trying to get revenge. I would not like to be forced to combat this negative, doubtful voice in my head at all times, so I feel for those who have to face this challenge. The video also mentions that there is no one typical case for a schizophrenic person, which would discourage me. These people do not know the exact symptoms or reactions they are supposed to experience after being diagnosed with this disorder, so it is a gamble regarding what they will experience and the degree to which it will affect them. Personally, I have not watched a movie or seen in the media a schizophrenic person, so I am not exactly sure how they are typically portrayed. If I had to guess, I would say they are probably demonstrated as acting out of control with their thoughts and behaviors. They are likely portrayed as crazy people, and since media likes to keep things intriguing and stretch the truth, they probably do not get judged based on the challenging situation they are in. The media likely leads people to believe that schizophrenic people have more control over their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, when in reality they do not. Providing a reasonable explanation for something intriguing makes it less interesting for viewers, which is why they are likely only seen by their characteristics, not their situation.

Chapter 12 First Impression

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I chose the first option for this post, which prompted me to take two implicit association tests. The purpose of the first test I took was to determine my preference between old and young people. This test had me categorize good and bad words alongside pictures of old and young people. My results suggested that I have a slight automatic preference for young people over old people, which surprised me. Personally, I feel like I enjoy spending time with older people much more than with younger people for a few reasons. I am not an overly enthusiastic or energetic person most of the time, which is how younger people are typically characterized. Spending time with younger people is usually more draining for me, and I would rather just hang out with older people. I always had the best time just talking with my grandpa, and I think it also has to do with a different admiration. Older people have lived more of their lives, so they have more wisdom and advice to offer, not to mention a much better perspective of how everything eventually works itself out. Although my results differed from what I believe to be true about myself, they can be useful for college students. This test lets us know who we would possibly work best with in a future career setting. If you have a preference for older people, you may want to look into organizations that focus more on tradition and loyalty with older high level employees. If you have a preference for younger people, you would likely be better off joining a new organization like a startup with a young entrepreneur who is full of energy all the time.

The purpose of the second test was to determine the association I make between males and females with career and family aspects. The test had me categorize male and female names and words that were related to career and family terms. I think my results were slightly affected by the order of the questions. Since I was first required to remember an association between female names and family terms, when this was revered to relate male names and family terms, it was more difficult to reprogram my initial reaction. My results suggested that I have a strong automatic association for male with career and female with family, which was also slightly surprising based on my own family. Both of my parents have created successful careers for themselves the entire time they raised me. Perhaps the association I have created has to do with the involvement from each parent. Since my dad is in the military, he is frequently anywhere but our home. His deployments lasted over a year at a time, so my brother and I would not see him for extremely long periods of time, seeming even longer when you compare it to how long our own lives have been so far. He is out there doing amazing work, but definitely has missed out on many family occasions which is maybe why I associate my mom more with the family terms. She also has a career as a middle school teacher so she has balanced both aspects of life. This test can be useful for college students because it helps identify where their values sit regarding the importance of family and career goals. This is especially important in a relationship, as your partner should know your beliefs on the role you think you should fulfill, whether it is one with more of a career focus or more of a family focus.

Johari Window

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I initially didn’t think I was going to like this activity, just because I don’t like talking about myself very much. It took some time to decide on traits for myself, as I kept catching myself between traits that describe me and traits I wish I possessed. The process was pretty interesting and fun when I was able to see what others think of first when they think of me. My favorite part of this process was seeing the different adjectives that different people chose, because I know it’s a result of how I behave differently depending on who I am with. Many of my friends described me as being organized because they’ve only been exposed to the aspect of my life I actually do keep organized (my planner of schedules and assignments). When my brother saw that people were describing me as an organized person, he literally laughed out loud. He has lived with me and my messy room for nineteen years now, so “organized” was one of the last adjectives he would choose to describe me.

My self-description was almost spot on compared to the traits that others selected. Out of the six adjectives I chose for myself, five were also known to the other people participating. The only trait I apparently hide from other people is my self-consciousness. It’s understandable that this trait is not known to others because being self-conscious is more of an internal hurdle.

I think this is a relatively valid measure. My friends and family members who participated had a pretty broad list of adjectives to choose from. Although most people involved in my case provided their names, all participants had the option of remaining anonymous when their responses were submitted. Also, since many of the adjectives have similar meanings, it forced people to really think of the most accurate description which increased validity.

I learned that most people think I am trustworthy, which means a lot. That’s always something I’ve strived to be, especially since I prefer to listen and let others vent in confidence to me. It definitely means a lot that the people I care about have so much trust in me, and I plan to remain this person they can confide in. I also learned that many people think I am intelligent, which was surprising. I am not especially confident in my intellectual ability, and almost always defer to others for their opinions or thoughts because I believe they know more than me or know what’s best. The takeaway from this is perhaps that I should try to have more confidence in my own knowledge and learn to trust myself more. If other people see these traits, they are likely there somewhere and I need to dedicate more attention to bringing them out.

https://kevan.org/johari?view=Catherine%20E%20Hughes

 

Spotlight Post 2

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I chose the second option about stress for this post. I found three websites that provide stress management tips to various groups of people, including college students, athletes, and parents. The article from Verywell Mind, a website providing information from mental health professionals, is targeted to college students and first suggests to become more organized. When college students transition from having regular discipline from their parents to being the own sources of their discipline, these new responsibilities of keeping track of their own schedules and living spaces can add stress. If they apply a problem-focused coping strategy to the situation, perhaps by creating a more organized schedule of when assignments are due and a more organized living space that allows for better concentration, this stress may fade. Regular exercise is another suggestion, even when it is incorporated in small ways. Living on campus makes it easy for college students to walk or bike to class, and there are many opportunities to participate in fitness classes with other students. Consistent exercise will relieve the stress of college life by releasing endorphins, helping students feel physically and psychologically better. College students need to be careful about using self-indulgence as a coping strategy. Again, without parents right there to enforce healthy habits of eating clean and getting enough rest, students may fall into a pattern of eating unhealthy foods and staying up late because these are more fun and rebellious things to do. Although indulging in fast food and ice cream every night is more enjoyable and relieves stress for a moment, this habit can harm overall health and lead to more stress later on. A final tip involves social support systems offered to college students. Most schools have resources such as counseling services or support groups where students go to release their stress and seek advice on how to cope in other ways. It is also important to join clubs and branch out to meet new people who potentially will help relieve stress. Self-disclosure can be effective if the people are good listeners who are willing to offer help. These can develop into great friendships and apply to other coping strategies, like exercising regularly with the new friends these students make.

Another article I chose from Livestrong.com provides tips tailored to athletes who are trying to cope with stress. This website publishes articles for the public each day with new ways to develop a healthier lifestyle, in terms of physical and mental health improvements. The first suggestion is to apply a cognitive response to stress that restructures how to approach a similar conflict again. This method emphasizes emotion-focused coping, as the athletes are told to document the stressful situation and identify the feelings they experienced that contributed to any stressful thoughts. By writing this information out, athletes can identify which feelings and thoughts are causing stress and aim coping efforts specifically at times when they begin to experience those same feelings. Another tip is for athletes to actually picture themselves achieving their goal, whether it is scoring the winning goal in a soccer game or crossing the finish line first in an 800 meter race. This method relies on imagery to create as real of an experience as possible. Athletes should try incorporating as many senses as they can when picturing this moment of success, including sights, sounds, smells, textures, and motion. If the visualization is done effectively, it can create a sense of ease for athletes as they can finally see themselves achieving their goals without worrying about stress. The realistic nature of visualization makes these goals seem more attainable and less daunting, which will relieve the pressure and stress of actually getting there. The last recommendation for athletes is to cope with stress using guided relaxation. This method has been found to reduce the levels of cortisol in the human body, which is a hormone released in response to stress. Guided recordings relieve stress physically and psychologically, as they focus on controlled breathing and muscle relaxation to calm the body and mind when athletic pressures become too stressful.

The final article I chose from Huffington Post is specific to parents and the best ways for them to manage their stress. Being a parent is tough because kids will always scrutinize every little thing their parents do. When children see their parents handling stress in destructive ways, it makes it seem acceptable for children to react in the same manner. This article first mentions how parents need to avoid using the physical release of lashing out too often. It is true that releasing emotions is healing, whether the release is psychological by screaming at the top of your lungs or physical by punching a pillow; however, these reactions can get out of control quickly and lead to others being put in harm’s way. A better way for parents to handle stress and anger is to not take things too personally and remember to just breathe. When kids disobey their parents, the parents may feel incapable of the responsibility they have to raise them. Parents must remember that kids are supposed to go against what their parents believe sometimes, as it is part of learning and growing up. This incorporates the mindfulness-based stress reduction strategy, which emphasizes staying in the present with nonjudgemental awareness. Just as we are taught to not judge others, parents have to avoid judging themselves too harshly. As the article suggests, it is better to aim for imperfection and eliminate both external and internal pressures as much as possible. Parents are constantly told by others how they should be acting and raising their kids, whether it is their own parents telling them, their children telling them, or other parents who think they know better. Imperfection allows for mistakes and lessons learned without excessive pressure or stress. The article also advises that parents focus on one task at a time, especially if it is causing any stress. Immediately aiming constructive efforts at the problem will help identify the stressor in the future, and parents will not get overwhelmed if they deal with these one at a time. Parents should still be able to “play” too, as the article mentions. These small self-indulgences of dancing or going to see a movie are critical to maintaining a happy, balanced, low-stress life. Exercise and sleep are important for parents just as they are for everyone else dealing with stress. It can be especially difficult for new parents to find enough time to exercise regularly and get enough sleep, as they deal with the life change of having a baby. They have to stay positive and remember that this stage in their lives of sleep deprivation and limited personal time is not a chronic negative situation, and that they will eventually be able to devote more time to themselves again.

https://www.verywellmind.com/college-life-how-to-reduce-stress-3145176

https://www.livestrong.com/article/371195-stress-management-techniques-for-sports/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/nine-steps-to-stress-free-parenting_n_1403209.html

Chapter 13 First Impression

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

The Personality Test classified me as an ISFJ with a description that was pretty much spot on for how I see myself. I definitely prefer to have a source of authority, as I feel this prevents chaos and avoidable mistakes from occurring. I also am very open to what other people believe, especially when they relate it to their own life experiences. I try to avoid conflict and am usually very agreeable, so I tend not to assert myself. When rules change or are not applied to certain people, it frustrates me because it takes away credibility of the rules themselves. This test seemed relatively credible because it included a wide range of questions and even made suggestions of careers that relate to my personality type, which shows further research about the topic.

The Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test classified me as an INTJ, which means I have a preference of introversion over extroversion, a preference of intuition over sensing, a preference of thinking over feeling, and a preference of judging over perceiving. I do not agree with the description of this personality type when applying it to myself. The description claims that I am very self-confident and make critical decisions on my own without consulting others. I am a very indecisive person who needs the approval of others before I can go through with most of my decisions. The portion I agree with from this description is that I am more of a private person, especially in personal relationships. Small talk is not something I enjoy because I still feel like I am revealing a good amount about myself to others. This test was somewhat reliable because it also included a wide range of questions that can be applied to many areas of personality and life.

The Big Five Personality Test found that I am low in extroversion, moderate in agreeableness, emotional stability, and intellect/imagination, and high in conscientiousness. I agree that I am more on the introverted side and that I am relatively optimistic and friendly, but some days this does not show through as strongly. Those who score low in the conscientiousness factor are impulsive, which is the complete opposite of how I live my life, so I definitely agree. I think about almost all of my decisions and their alternatives, and always make sure to gather opinions from others about what they think is best. This test was relatively credible because it included many questions, but sometimes I could not decide and just opted to stay neutral which does not provide extremely valuable information for the survey.

The Color Test was the least accurate in describing my perception of my own personality. According to this test, I feel best in very socially stimulating situations, when in reality I feel much better after having quiet time alone with my own thoughts. This description also mentioned that I actively pursue goals and dreams, sometimes in an overbearing manner. Instead, I feel that I am more unsure of what my career goals and dreams are at this moment, so I have been the opposite of overbearing, incredibly open to hearing suggestions from others regarding what might be best for me. This test was not very credible in my opinion because of the variability with my answers. The colors I chose were based on how they made me feel in the moment, but the order changed moments later during the second round of choosing. This does not allow for an accurate measure of overall personality when the colors I choose change from turn to turn.

 

Chapter 9 First Impression

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I chose the first option for this impression post. I believe people are direct results of who they encounter in their lives, whether these interactions are brief and seemingly unimportant or prolonged and more significant. Our intelligence is affected by the environment we expose ourselves to as well, specifically regarding the educators responsible for developing this intelligence. Several of the teachers I have had throughout my school career have had lasting impacts on my personal and intellectual development. The first example that comes to mind is about a student teacher I had for an english class in high school. He taught a lesson about David Foster Wallace’s book This Is Water. There is also a video to go along with what is said in the book, but Wallace presented the same ideas in a commencement speech at a college graduation. Normal commencement speeches are overly optimistic and filled with cliches, but Wallace took a different approach and tried to reveal the truth to these college graduates. Essentially, he shared the not super exciting things about the adult life they were soon to begin, like going to the grocery store after a long day’s work when all you want to do is get home and sleep, or letting the annoyances of life build up so much so that you blame everyone else in the world for any inconvenience caused to you. Wallace wanted to adjust the mindset of these college graduates so they did not enter the adult world as self-centered people who believed the world was only happening to them. Instead of getting angry with the guy who cut in front of you while in traffic, Wallace suggested you should adjust your mindset and perspective because maybe it is that same guy who has a sick child in the car who he must rush to the hospital by cutting in front of as many cars as possible. The ideas mentioned in this book have stayed with me since I took that english class, and I have tried to follow his suggestions for living a life with more than one perspective. For me, intelligence is not just about memorizing countries on a map or how to spell the toughest vocabulary words. I believe intelligence is determined by how you handle interactions in the real world, especially when the situations are difficult to navigate and decide what is right or wrong. My student teacher had a significant impact on how I view the world, which I will always value more than being able to complete a complex math problem.

In order to improve students’ performance in the classroom, I think educators need to realize how much their opinion matters to many of their students. This is especially true when there is a close bond or quality relationship between a student and educator. If there is already a well established relationship there, students will want to make the educators proud of any assignment they turn in with their name on it, just as the educators will want to help these students succeed down the road. I was close with many of my teachers from high school, so when I would have to write an essay for english or complete a project for spanish class, I made sure it was up to my personal standards and that the teachers opinions would agree with mine since I valued their thoughts. It is much easier to accomplish this when class sizes are smaller since educators can dedicate more time and attention to each student. Perhaps there should be an initiative to promote smaller class sizes and a larger number of teachers in each school. This would also give students the chance for more exposure to different educators with various backgrounds and valuable knowledge to offer in their own ways. I think there should also be less of an emphasis placed on every student being tested on their ability to complete the same tasks. I love Einstein’s quote because it demonstrates this idea so clearly: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Although standards across the board are an easier way to evaluate students and their intelligence, we all develop intelligence differently. I think our strengths need to be appreciated more, instead of only focusing on the same few subjects for all students in the country. Overall I think intelligence needs to be viewed as more than memorization of factual information. Like my student teacher showed me, intelligence is about continuous growth in perspective.

Chapter 11 First Impression

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I chose the first option for this chapter’s impression post. Currently, there are a few methods I use to deal with stress. Something that works really well for me is listening to music whenever I feel overwhelmed. Music usually helps me relax because I can focus on songs one at a time and look for inspiration or comfort in the lyrics. For me, music is therapeutic because music artists write songs that people can relate their own experiences to, good and bad. Exercising is another way I cope with stress. I like running long distances because it gives me time to either think about whatever is stressing me out or about other things I still need to do after the run is over. Those runs dedicate time to solely think about and appreciate what I have and what I want to accomplish. Running also helps me gain a better perspective of how small some of my problems are, as I am reminded every time I go for a run that many people do not have the ability to relieve stress in this way. I also find that going for a drive helps relieve stress, especially when I play music very loudly with the windows down. Driving like this is a freeing feeling, particularly because I never have a destination in mind when I go on these drives. I usually just see where it takes me and try to let go of always worrying about where I’m going and when I’m getting there.

There are many other methods people use to cope with stress that I should incorporate into my routine. I tend to bottle up whatever is worrying me or adding stress to my life, but it would be more beneficial to talk about these things with someone. Other people may have better suggestions of how to handle the stressful situation, but even if they cannot offer good advice, it is still helpful to vent about stress out loud. Talking helps release the tension instead of letting the stress build up inside. I also need to avoid procrastinating larger assignments. If I develop a way to manage my time better, perhaps by making smaller due dates of my own for portions of a project, I may be less stressed when the final due date is approaching. I become overwhelmed when I save a big project until the last minute and this stress can be easily avoided with better planning. A final method to reduce stress in general is to prioritize rest when it is necessary. Many times I choose to push through the exhaustion, even when I am sick, and believe that running could help me sweat out the stress. Instead of ignoring obvious signs that my body needs rest, I should listen to the hints and rest so at least I won’t be stressed and tired at once.

Chapter 10 First Impression

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

I chose the fifth option for this chapter’s impression post. Elizabethtown College had pretty much everything I was looking for in a school. I wanted to continue playing soccer, be a member of an orchestra, and study business along with other interesting classes. I also wanted to belong to a small school that was not too far away from home. I attended a pretty small high school where the teachers knew most of the students, even if they never actually had them for a class. I wanted to find a college that valued relationships between faculty and students, where I was not going to be just another number. Elizabethtown College checked all these boxes, so I knew it was the place for me. What motivates me more than anything else is the opinion of others to be honest. Whether it’s with soccer or classes, I am always worried about how my playing will be judged by teammates and coaches and how my assignments will be judged by professors and classmates. Essentially, my main motivator is whether or not others will be proud of what I bring to the table. This keeps me motivated in my classes currently because I will not turn in an assignment if I am not proud of how it reflects on my character and in turn if I know others will not be proud or impressed by it. I specifically remember a professor last year telling me about a student who turned in an assignment to him that was of very poor quality. The submission did not follow any guidelines that had been previously specified and it was clear the student did not care. The professor told me he showed a few of the other professors what the student had turned in, and that student’s reputation was negatively impacted for the rest of his college career just like that. This stuck with me, as I did not want to repeat the mistake this student had made. Instead, I want to be the student whose reputation is supported by the good quality work I turn in. Another factor that motivates me to do well in class is my family. My parents have worked very hard to ensure I have this opportunity to make my own life better, and I do not want to waste this chance. My success in classes will let them know their hard work was worth it. If I had to plan an intervention for myself in order to be reminded of why it’s so important to work for my own success, I would start with those I care about most. Simply seeing all of the people I care about, whether it’s friends, family members, teachers, teammates, or coaches, would remind me who I am doing all of this for. My main motivator is to make all of these people proud in everything I do. If I was able to see them and talk to them all at once, I think I would regain more than enough motivation to begin once again working towards success. Also knowing that all of those people truly want me to succeed would give me the motivation to fulfill the potential they see in me.

Spotlight Post 1

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

The debate about divorce has become more popular in the US ever since the rise of divorce rates. Some believe children of divorce face no real consequences from their circumstances while others argue that divorce seriously harms the children involved.

According to Marripedia, an online encyclopedia of social science, divorce is incredibly harmful to the children of parents who split. Divorce affects all aspects of children’s health, beginning with their physical health. Children with divorced parents are more prone to reckless injuries and are at an increased risk of developing asthma. They are also more likely to engage in harmful tobacco use and alcohol abuse, which puts them at an increased risk for premature death. When the divorce occurs while the children are younger than 21, there is a 44 percent increase of mortality risk. Their psychological stability is also weakened as a result, as these children more commonly experience emotional and behavioral problems, negative feelings, high anxiety, and low self-esteem. Children watching their parents get divorced may regress back to behaviors of young kids they should have grown out of, such as bedwetting. Older children choose to look for intimacy elsewhere when their parents are not providing that support, which often leads to irresponsible sexual activity much too early on in their lives. A recent Finnish study found that sons of divorce especially experienced more conflict with supervisors and teachers, while daughters of divorce had interpersonal troubles later on in life.

An article from Psychology Today titled “Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones” also supports this side of the debate. Many children of divorce feel they are to blame for the conflict between their parents. This personal guilt is related to a loss of motivation for other aspects of life. Children may stop studying in an effort to rebel against the recent disruption in their family unit. They may become embarrassed about their home life and opt out of inviting friends over, which eliminates a helpful social outlet for children. With only one parent present after the divorce, a child’s ability to attend extracurricular activities will be more limited with the limited availability of the single parent. When one of their parents leaves, the relationships these children have with them are harmed and they are no longer being as carefully disciplined as before. These children also lose the relatives attached to the parent they lose contact with, which can be very upsetting. Some may argue that self actualization is a valid reason for adults to leave marriages, as they will be happier elsewhere. This article states the selfishness of parents who pursue this option because their children will grow up and go into a marriage thinking it is acceptable to eventually leave it. Children of divorce especially have trouble trusting people in the future and developing stable relationships, leading them to be more inclined to divorce as well.

An article from Scientific American titled “Is Divorce Bad for Children?” argues that children can endure divorce without any serious consequences. A 25-year study showed that only about 25 percent of children with divorced parents were still experiencing negative effects in their adult lives from the experience. This article points out that ten percent of children whose parents stayed married still grew up with emotional and behavioral problems. The short term negative effects mentioned earlier, like anger and anxiety, tend to disappear after the first couple of years. It helps when the parents are relatively open about any fighting, conflict, and unhappiness they are feeling in the time leading up to the divorce. The children may actually be relieved for themselves and even their parents that all the fighting and unhappiness is finally over. Children also respond more positively to a divorce when their parents fully answer any questions they may have about what exactly is happening to their family dynamic. Parents should, however, try to minimize the amount of exposure their children face with the divorce process, particularly the legal side that involves attending court dates and such.

Another article from Psychology Today titled “Yes, You Can Raise Happy Children After Divorce” agrees that children eventually recover from the initial shock of divorce. The article found that approximately 80 percent of children eventually move on from the divorce of their parents, supporting the argument that the majority are not facing serious consequences. This majority group of children grow up to be just as happy and successful without the traditional family setting many people once believed was an absolute requirement. Regardless of whether or not their parents get divorced, children do best when they have established solid relationships with each of their parents. Children just need this, as well as emotionally stable parents who are not distracted with relationship conflict, in order to move past the divorce. These ideals can be accomplished without parents actually being married and living together. The marriage is not necessarily what matters most to the well being of a child. Quality relationships and quality time with their parents are the most important, alongside having their basic necessities fulfilled.

I believe with this side of the debate, arguing that children are able to overcome the divorce of their parents. As nice as it may be to have parents who are happily married, I think it is just as good for a child to have two parents who are happily separated. Children are initially more worried about their immediate needs, like attention, support, food, shelter, love, and happiness. Single parents are just as capable of providing these things for their children as married parents are. Even if a child only has one of the two parents providing these things, this may benefit the relationship between that sole parent and his or her child even further. The problems associated with divorce may actually just be a result of how the parents are handling the split with their children, not the actual separation itself. Marripedia is credible as a source for this blog post because encyclopedias are known for providing factual information. Scientific American is credible because the articles reference legitimate scientific research and evidence-based studies. Psychology Today is credible for the same reason, despite the tendency to include certain biases about the topic being discussed. There is still factual information included in the articles regarding the scientific studies they reference, so readers must simply ignore the bias when trying to develop their own opinions and conclusions about the topic.

http://marripedia.org/effects_of_divorce_on_children_s_health

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-teenage-mind/201110/divorce-hurts-children-even-grown-ones

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/splitopia/201503/yes-you-can-raise-happy-children-after-divorce