I haven’t written anything in a few weeks, thanks to my horrible insane schedule with school and work, work, work, but here we go. The following is a brief response assignment given by my Health Communication professor and mentor. Throughout the semester, we have been journaling daily about our experiences with listening, reflexivity, and other concepts. From here, we write bi-weekly responses about our experiences. Below is my second response articulating my thoughts on “listening”:
Throughout the second phase of the listening reflections, I tried to focus my utilization of active listening along with concepts discussed in class. Although I have been attempting to do this for the duration of the process, I made it a point to go back to the texts and reapply these skills and concepts more proactively. In doing this, I was able to gain a better sense of the power and depth that these intersections have.
Because I am facing giant cross-roads in my personal life, with the transition of graduation and adult life looming around the corner, I have been speaking with many people about my journey. Not only have I been receiving excellent advice for this time of my life, I have also been told personal stories and experiences from these people. Whether they were friends, family, professors, or colleagues, every individual has told something worth sharing. Therefore, it has been my mission to soak up as much as I possibly could.
Looking back at what I have written about these experiences, I am pleased to see that I have made quite a few succinct connections, which have strengthened my previous understandings. For example, the ideals and depth surrounding identity has been further engrained in my mind and way of thinking. I have been conscious of identities and how they come into play between individuals, but they are also prevalent through listening. I began to notice a bit of a trend surrounding the ways in which I listen to people; their identity and it’s correlation to my own, may impact the way in which I listen to them. It’s not necessarily a popularity contest or anything of the sort, but the more I respect an individual, the more actively I engage. Of course, there have been exceptions along the way, but overall, this pattern occurs consistently.
As I gained knowledge from the stories of others, I found myself engaging in what seemed to be mini-interviews at times. The further into the story they went, the more questions and reflexive introspection I was having. Therefore, the story would transform into a dialogue, with reflexivity exhibited on both ends. This point in my life is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, so it’s been an adventure hearing about the journey of others, as they enjoy learning about mine.
In addition to identity, I have gained more awareness to perception and how that shapes the overall health narrative of an individual. In my own experience, I have encountered a handful of health related visits over the past couple of months, which is more than I have had in quite some time. Other than dental cleanings and annual womanhood check ups, I only see a doctor under extreme circumstances. Therefore, it’s been really fun getting to experience these recent interactions with all of these concepts revolving around my mind.
It all began with my Mom. She has a similar mindset as myself when it comes to doctor visits; we are both able to tough it out most of the time, and don’t bother unless something is legitimately wrong. So, in my conversations with her about my concerns of discomfort, I paid close attention to her reception and willingness to listen to my feelings. Of course, she’s my Mom, so she showed immediate concern when I brought up the issue. From this point, she asked me an array of questions about the feelings I was experiences, and made me think of things that I hadn’t even thought of myself. Being two hours away from her and from my doctors, the process of getting an appointment had to be executed very concisely and my Mom handled that better than anyone else could. Through a string of short updates, she would relay appointment dates and times to me, after closely considering the best professional for me to see in the first place. Time was a huge factor, between my busy schedule and my ability to drive back home, but Spring break came at a perfect time. I have written about some of my experiences in the doctor’s office previously, but I never even thought to think about the communication that took place in order to get me there. The saga isn’t quite over yet, but the solution is sight and the entire journey was executed very well. A+ Mom!
My own health narrative has expanded quite a bit in the past few weeks, but I was thankful to have my Mom in the room with me a couple of times while I was being questioned about my family history. That narrative is one that I am not all too familiar with. I am well aware of the family health issues surrounding people in my lifetime, but before my existence, I am not 100% sure of everyone’s story. I see how intricately woven all of this information is and how it can impact my own situation. So while I sat there staring at the ceiling looking for answers, my Mom was able to fill in the blanks, therefore informing the professional and myself simultaneously.
Communication, dialogue, narratives, listening, and identity are just a handful of critical factors in the equation of effective progress. Without harnessing these skills and applying them on a regular basis, I don’t understand how people can cohesively survive. The concepts discussed in class are more than just concepts. They are crucial skills that must be understood and executed as efficiently as possible. I guess that’s just going to be motivation for my future career goals. No wonder I love Health Comm so much.