Valeria: Values Exercise

DISCIPLINE

         Discipline is a quality I try to incorporate into almost every aspect of my life. I was raised on discipline, and to incorporate it into as much as I could. I use discipline as a personal practice for my mind, body, and spirit. No matter what you are doing, there is a level to where it could not be done better. Discipline is the practice of getting to that top level, striving for perfection. While it is obvious no task can be completed to an absolute perfect standard to where it could not be improved, discipline runs on a blind believe that it can be. In a physical aspect, pushing yourself to get up at 5am to lift or run is a form of discipline. It sucks, but that’s the point. Things that are easy do not require discipline. The whole reason something requires discipline is because it cannot be accomplished without effort. In a mental aspect, prioritizing your responsibilities and following them is a form of discipline. Especially with finals so near it is very tempting to push off work and act like it is not there. But it is that hunger and self inflicted competitiveness that puts a fire in your belly to give it everything. The most influential part of discipline for me however is in a spiritual state. Everything you have is God-given. Don’t take it for granted. Your body, mind, skills, everything comes from Him. I believe I was put on this Earth to use those things to their upmost potential. While yes, God wants us to rest, but rest has its time and place. True work is done when you want to do it the least. It strengthens my self confidence, work ethic, inner drive, but most of all my respect for God and the gifts He has given me.

TRUST

            To me, trust is one of the most powerful things in the world. Like love it cannot be bought or bribed. But unlike anything in the world, trust can take years to earn and seconds to lose. Having a bond of trust with someone is the most comforting feeling in the world to me. Like discipline, I was raised on trust as a form of discipline. Sometimes we are tempted to conspire in things that would break trust but it is up to our level of discipline to steer away from that. Trust is also in its own way a form of love. If you truly love someone, the value of that is worth too much to break the trust that comes with it.

            Like discipline, trust is something that can be applied to anything you do. In sports, trusting your teammates is what leads to a working unit. In your personal life, trusting your partner, friends, and family gives you a sense of purpose, knowing that you have support when you need it. While it comes in many different levels and extremities, trust is one of the biggest things I build my life around and I treat it with the utmost sacredness. The level I trust someone at usually determines how significant he or she is in my life. A spouse or partner for example, has my most sacred level of trust. However, the more sacred a form of trust, the more detrimental it is when broken. While this may seem dramatic, a high level of fragileness in trust actually makes the relationship stronger if kept by both sides. It is a special bond only the two of you share, making your relationship unique and precious.

PEACE

            This quality is very different from my first two. Trust and discipline are intense aspects of my life that take a lot of passion and effort. However, peace is very heavily incorporated into both of them, especially trust. When you have a strong bond with someone or a group of people, its puts your mind at ease. Without it I can find myself spending large amounts of time and energy into worrying about the relationship or responsibilities entailed within that relationship, simply because I am questioning the reliability of the bond of trust I have with them. Like trust and discipline, peace is not something that can be bought, but is practiced and perfected by one’s own efforts. 

            One of my bigger faults is my desperate need to be achieving. I am constantly making check lists and organizing my schedule over and over again. If I am not being productive I get very anxious and stressed out. This compulsive need to always be doing something brings me a level of security in my own self worth, but lacks mental piece. At the beginning of this semester, one of my professors asked me to choose one quality to focus on in the next 4-month and improve within myself. When she asked why I chose peace I said my need to be disciplined and my lack of trust in people cause my mind to constantly be stirring. So, for the last 18 weeks, finding mental, physical, and spiritual peace has been a goal of mine. While I have made considerable progress since January, I have found the place I find peace the most often is with God. He has showed me that peace is not something that is going to always exist in my life. At times it will leave and it is my responsibility to find it again as soon as possible. And in God I found that my biggest peace will always come from the one I will always trust the most.

Valeria: iGen Reading Reflection

I will be completely honest; I strongly dislike the overall qualities my generation represents. We are way too sensitive, intolerant, and self entitled. I see it everywhere I go, and in everything I do. If you turn on the news there is always some celebrity or politician in hot water for using the wrong word or pronoun and what is sad is we have come to a point where we can ruin someone’s life over a miniscule thing such as that. We apologize over everything, or worse yet have to carefully analyze anything we say before we do in order not to offend anyone. It is no longer a space of self-freedom of speech, but an environment where we are constantly catering to others. That does not mean we should never think of the well being of others when we are expressing ourselves, but should not always be looking for a reason to rally against someone. Looking at crime rates and violent events such as columbine or child abductions that threaten our way of life, it is understandable to see how we got to this point. Social media has not helped either. Those who live in the world of social media may feel more connected, but are actually isolating themselves more from human connection. The constant pressure to post new content that meets or exceeds previous posts cause unneeded stress and anxiety or even depression. It causes many people to be fake, desperately wanting to portray a perfect version of themselves out for the world to see, making them much more likely to be allegiant to a team or moral crusade. It is honorable to stand up for what you believe in but that does not mean your way is the only right way and cannot coexist with another viewpoint.

      Now it is easy to see how working with a generation like this can be a challenge. The new generation is more concerned with stability and structure. They do not want to take risks or try the path less taken. They do not experience independence at a young age as much as the older generation and therefore need much more recognition and positive feedback. Luckily corporations have found ways to succeed. Mentoring leadership offers both the feedback GenZ needs while not being to overbearing to Millennials. Transparency in the workplace also offers the straight cut honesty millennials appreciate while giving GenZ the value it craves. 

      I feel like I am lucky to say I was not raised “like a GenZ child”. My parents were very protective of me, but made me work for everything I have.  I know that not everyone will always agree with me and visa versa and that is just part of life. While I do not personally associate with the standards work ethic of the current young generation I accept that I am part of it and cooperate to work along side of them. 

Reading Reflection 7

After reading these articles, my view of my generation is about the same as when it started. I know even more now that my generation has some problems, but I hope that we can acknowledge them and try to change them. These characteristics do not have to define us forever. We are still young and can grow in more positive ways.

In Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, I learned about how sensitive people at universities could be. On the internet, I have heard the stories of students in universities being sensitive like the situations described in the article. But seeing how the article explained that often adult professionals thought that way as well was new to me. I appreciate the good intentions of trying to avoid hurting people, but I can see the negative effects the authors detail and even experience them myself. I am often hesitant to talk about controversial subjects in fear of being hated and scorned. As a Christian, this is especially relevant because a lot of people see Christians as bigots. But after reading this article, it makes me relieved that other people are acknowledging that this behavior can be harmful.

Jean Twenge: What Employers Need To Know About iGen by Dan Schawbel talked about how my generation is unprepared for adulthood. One of the big factors they discussed was technology. This is something I hear all the time and believe is true. Much of iGen is addicted to their phones/screens and know that they are. People do not need to keep telling us this. We have been told to take off some screen time and even tell each other that, but most of the time we never really do. Or if we do, we do not do it for long. It was nice that Twenge at least offered advice at the end to help my generation. A lot of times people just talk about how older people like them never had cell phones and while technology can be good, my generation is using technology in a way that is bad. Then they say get off your phone and socialize because you are lonely and then they exit the stage. It is not very helpful to be told your lifestyle stinks over and over again.

In Gen Z vs. Millennials: Can the Workplace Work for Both? it was interesting to see the generations from the perspective of a work environment. In comparison to the millennials, my generation seems pretty lame. We need a lot of attention and to feel valuable. We also seem to like our privacy which is interesting since my generation seems to like to post so much of our lives on social media. Still, it is nice to see people seeing the different working styles and trying to accommodate them. Rather than condemning us, this article was acknowledging our characteristics and wanted to find the best way to design an environment where people can thrive.

In the end, I was affirmed that my generation has problems. But every generation does. Plus, we are still young so I have hope that these traits can change. But I do not think that being repeatedly told about our flaws is the most helpful way to achieve change. It is nice to see many of these authors acknowledging the flaws and coming up with reasons they came about and possible solutions.

Reading Reflection 6

Having read the three articles, all of them are making me think. Grad school, networking, and inspiration have been topics circle around in my head without resolution. But having read about them, I feel more prepared.

In Is Design Grad School Worth it? by Peter Cho, it helped me see the benefits of going to grad school. Things like working on personal projects and amplifying skills are pros to going to grad school. But a part of me still wants the practical experience which Cho explains can be something that is missed during the grad school experience. I now understand why people go to grad school for design and can see how it helps.

After reading It’s Nice to Meet You by Jennifer Daniel, I realized how complex networking can be. I found it hilarious that even what drink you choose can communicate something. The visual for it was funny as well. I was also amazed by the hidden meanings in some of the things that might be said during networking. A lot of them are brutal! Overall, I think I should start trying to connect with other designers, even if it is daunting. I have been feeling like I am in a bubble lately.

Stop Looking for the Inspiration Fairy by Ross Floate was a very blunt read about inspiration. I understand his point of saying inspiration is for dabblers and is something I have never really thought about. For the past four years, I have felt like I was in a creative slump, but maybe that is because I was looking for an inspiration fairy? From now on, I will try to remember that ideas come from the work.

All three articles were an interesting and helpful read for me. They have opened my eyes and made me think about the future in a new way.

Reading Reflection – 6

The question posed, “Is design grad school worth it?”, challenged me to consider the experience of being in a design grad school. I cannot truthfully answer the question at present. However, I was most captivated by Cho’s description on Gretchen Mendoza’s grad school experience as he writes that it “helped her develop her own philosophy on the value of design work.” This excites me, as I wonder what it would be like to form your own ideology on the value of design—it’s like starting all over again. Cho writes that design grad school is not a place to gain real-world experience. But that experience is important if a designer is to view things from a different perspective and form something that is unique. So, I would like to go to design grad school to learn all the ways I can break the rules and think differently.

Yikes! The articles, It’s Nice to Meet You, was terrifying to read. From going on several job shadows for the class, I quickly learnt the importance of making connections for possible opportunities in the future. I just didn’t know the networking is a different language. From what the article discussed, the conversation between people in the design industry does not seem straightforward at all. It is also about how you carry yourself as a person (and the drink you are holding), and how you lead the dialogue. I gather that it is key to stay alert to any cues, whether negative or positive, so you may react accordingly. This entire read was really helpful and encouraging. The encouraging part was that networking works with designers from different levels…so as a beginner I shall brave this strange networking language and begin to make connections with a much appropriate drink.

Ah, the inspiration fairy! I knew she didn’t exist ever since I became accustomed to college deadlines. As a person that is naturally good at woolgathering (daydreaming), it is extremely difficult for me to not believe in that AHA! moment. Over time, I’ve learnt the importance of the process, from iterations to iterations. Sure, there is time for brewing an idea…but you’ve got to explore those spontaneous ideas first to get working. Most of the time, these ideas bloom into something better than what you thought. I find that this also applies to our spiritual life. We want that light from heaven to shine down on the right subject, or path when making decisions. It really doesn’t work out that way, if it did God wouldn’t have given us a brain and the will to discern what is right and wrong. He wants us to enjoy the process and trust Him through the journey.

The Future Reading Reflection

After reading Is design grad school worth it, I realized that grad school can be a really great experience and a great way to concentrate on the specific skills you want to develop. While asking questions at job shadows I always wondered if they had time for personal projects, but most of the time they spent their energy on client work. Grad school encourages you to build your own thesis project where you can explore new ideas.

Networking is a big part of making it in the design world. The main thing I learned from Its nice to meet youwas that you need to believe in yourself and your abilities, step out of your comfort zone, and don’t pretend to be someone else.

There is a difference between getting inspiration from something and copying it. I recently did a presentation on Milton Glaser and he was asked in an interview if he had any frustrations with the design industry and he replied, “Yes, many frustrations. Mostly there is too much plagiarism, too much repetition, too little good ideas, too many modest skills, too many people being praisedfor too little invention.” As designers we should be finding new ways to solve problems and be original in our ideas and work.

Life After College

As I get close to the end of my college career, I am very anxious and excited to start working. Being in school longer than I had hoped, I’m not looking too going to grad school anytime soon. I’m really looking forward to gaining experience in the work place, and maybe a few years down the road if I find something that I want to improve upon and learn more about I’d definitely consider going back.

Reading the differences between Gen Z and millennials was a very interesting and insightful read. I consider myself to be near the cut off of a millennial and align with more of the traits that were described in the article. I really liked that it showed the different traits of these two up and coming generations in regard to how they work and benefit in the workplace. It helps paint a picture and two better understand people’s needs, priorities, drive and where they may struggle. Being mindful of these traits can help improve and bring somewhat of an ease to the workplace.

Along with out practice budgeting scenarios, I thought it was very helpful and put into perspective all the expenses I need to consider as I start thinking about moving out on my own/ with a roommate and start paying off my student loans.

Valeria: The Future

I have actually given a lot of thought to whether or not graduate school is right for me. I see the pros and cons of both sides and I find myself flip-flopping on what to do as the weather changes. More recently I have found myself being more attracted to earning a masters, however not in design. Like Cho said, design graduate programs focus more on innovation and entrepreneurship and less on leadership and teamwork which is what I am interested in. I would love to improve my leadership and organization skills on a more professional level. In a program such as that it is obvious I would not be focusing on my design skills as much or be involved in design critiques, but I will be able to focus my organization skills to any field I like, including design. For someone that isn’t exactly sure what I would like to specifically use my design degree with, this path has recently become very attractive. It gives me the opportunity to advance my education without making any commitments on the path of my career. 

            While I was trying to be recruited for collegiate volleyball in high school I found very quickly that networking is pretty much all of it. Only the people you network to are all 30+ year old professional coaches who have been doing this for years. To a 16 year old it was pretty intimidating. But it was the only way to get what I wanted so badly. And just like in the design world, coaches obviously cared about my skills but they also wanted to know who I was as a person and see who I would be in their program other than just a player. One of the most important things I learned is that people usually like to talk about themselves and you can learn a whole chapter about somebody through simple question and attentive ears. 

            As I have continued through I college design program I find myself getting on my laptop less and less after I am given a prompt for a project. The more I design the more I don’t need outside sources for inspiration. In high school, that’s all anybody did was just copy ideas from Pinterest or Google images. I’ll admit I did it too. Rarely were anyone’s ideas original, let alone have any meaning or idea behind it. Grounding my designs on personal ideas is one of the best things that has happened to me since I began my undergraduate education. 

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