sophia terry ◦ saint joseph's university

REFLECTION

COLLABORATION: as a freshmen here at saint joe’s one of the most challenging collaborative projects i have experienced was while taking a drawing class. mid-semester, my professor asked us to split into groups of three and collaborate on a the recreation of a drawing. working with two other individuals with personalities and artistic styles extremely different from my own was a daunting task. through the project however i was able to not only strengthen my artistic skills but also learn how to balance my work with others while creating a cohesive image. i was able to further develop my communication skills as well as my ability to equally balance my opinions with others.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION: as a peer minister for the winter immersion program, an executive board member for alpha phi, a community partner coordinator for weekly service and a leading student ambassador for catholic relief services, i have been able to strengthen my communications skills immensely. holding these positions throughout this last year has challenged me to further develop my communication skills in both social and professional settings. exploring my roles and overall presence in these leadership positions has allowed me to grow not only as a leader but an active member of our saint joe’s community. whether my ability to effectively communicate was with a boss, participant or a fellow leader, working with so many different people has taught me so much about how to most effectively communicate with others. when striving to be successful in effectively communicating with people, it has always been a priority of mine to be friendly and approachable. whether someone is looking to connect via text message, email or at a coffee shop, being available to communicate at almost any time, is an essential part to effective communication. it is also always important to remain open and receptive to hearing and thinking about people’s opinions different from my own. this creates a space of mutual respect.

HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN: i had never considered or recognized human-centered design until studying at aaint joe’s. human-centered design is very complex. In a few words, it is when an author, designer, creator etc. considers humans as a whole when producing content. human-centered design avoids single story stereotypes but rather finds strength from person-centered photography and word choice. when focusing on a community or an environment of people to portray, human-centered design does not only highlight one aspect of the community, good or bad. it presents the community honestly from all angles. i value to ideals of human-centered design very much. i believe it also allows for creators to focus on humanizing issues, extensive storylines or large topics. when putting faces to an issue or focusing on the humans involved, it is easier to attract a wide range of supports to the design or content produced.

REFLECTION: reflections are extremely prevalent in my life. as previously mentioned, i work for campus ministry through the winter immersion program, weekly service and catholic relief services. these roles have “reflection” in their job descriptions, so it is only natural for myself to have much experience in reflecting on both myself as well as social injustice issues. being required to participate in and facilitate reflections is a blessing. my jobs provide me with specific times and spaces that allow me to take time away from school work and have check-ins with myself. i believe it is very important to regularly reflect on all aspects of people’s personal lives. reflections allow for a clear and calm mind to produce thoughts on how to make improvements from the past experiences. one of my favorite activities some of my professors have me do is have a few check-in reflections before, during and after the semester. this allows students to set goals for themselves, see how things are going mid-course and reflect upon how things went. this is extremely important to the development of students in their studies because it hold people accountable for their work and forces people to set goals for themselves in hopes of fully achieving them. i also believe a reflective space is an open, honest and comfortable space. it is a space that is not afraid to process things and in fact encourages it.

RISK-TAKING: i believe that through taking risks in life, people have opportunities to discover and hope to understand their truest self. thinking about the most risky things i have done academically, immediatly brings me to when i chose to go into college as an art major. it was not until first semester of my sophomore year, that i added my double major with communications, my minor in faith-justice studies and declared my specialization in art history. it is extremely easy for people to stereotype me as an art and communications double major. with my last year of undergraduate school quickly approaching, people tend to jump to the big question of “so what are you going to do with those majors?” with no set answer yet, this conversation with people tends to be awkward even though i have the greatest amount of confidence in myself and in my future. it is risky to focus my education on art and communications because there is no set career path from these studies. but that alone is one of the most exciting parts of these studies. art and communications are two topics i feel passionately about learning and with these as a foundation i have many different pathways to choose from post graduation.