Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Peak of Stress

I have not blogged in the longest time, and I apologize! So much to do, so little time.

I've become accustomed to the daily schedule--breakfast, lecture, lunch, lecture, lecture, dinner, lecture/Marshall Brief time--but I've also habituated to the sound of my alarm. As a result, I'm pretty much oblivious to all alarms. Over the past three days, I've slept through over 10 alarm sounds and 40 wake-up calls from Jessica and Yohanna. My roommates have to physically wake me up! Fortunately, I'm never late for lectures like others; in fact, I eat breakfast every morning.

There have been plenty of lectures/seminars since my few blogs, but I want to mention my two favorites: Psychological Maintenance and Self-Presentation with Anthony Berryhill and Rick Brundage, and Public Speaking for Women with Chelsea Goldstein.

The first seminar taught us about the importance of self-confidence--something that I'll admit I lack at times. The main step toward self-confidence is the process of reframing. Framing is essentially one's personal interpretation of a situation. Fears are usually framed in a negative way, and in order to build confidence, one must reframe this interpretation in a positive manner. Instead of thinking, "I can't do this," say "I WILL do this." This is something that has definitely helped me with my group's Marshall Brief presentation.

After this, we practiced physical confidence by reading out loud. This wasn't simply reading off a paper. We were to stand in front of the group, put on headphones, and read. Midway through our reading, Rick turned on extremely loud music, and we automatically raised our voices to speak over the music. It was amazing to see the difference between normal speaking levels and speaking levels while the music was turned on; these levels are supposed to be the levels at which we speak in front of audiences. Next, the group stood outside on a lawn, exposed to the public. We spread out and read a story as loud as we could--talk about awkward! Passersby humorously glanced at us, but at that moment I no longer cared about my image. It was an amazing feeling.

The next seminar, on public speaking for women, was hosted by Chelsea Goldstein. She went over the unfortunate truths about public speaking as women: higher voices, "ill-fitting" clothes, and two-sided qualities. For example, girls who are "cute" are accused of being weak and vulnerable, and girls who have confidence are accused of vanity. Overall I thought her session was very fun!

I almost forgot to mention Dr. Dr. Luong's excellent lecture on etiquette. He taught us about everything, from handshakes, to dining, to escape strategies. Personal experiences accompanied his lecture--it was hilarious!

Despite the stress of the Marshall Briefs, I'm sincerely enjoying my time here at Yale University. Dr. Dr. Luong, Dean Nick Coburn-Palo, and all of the other professors/speakers are so eager to teach us, making me eager to learn. This is something unseen in--or, perhaps, very well-hidden by--most of my teachers (I'm sorry!). Our instructors, too, are willing to help us with any problems we encounter. I've said this before and I'll say it again: I'm so grateful for having these people directing and helping out with the YISP.

Today I had my mock-interview with rising senior Scott Hillier. I was terrified at first, but I felt at ease as soon as I shook his hand. I had a casual conversation with him and basically gave him an outline of my life: music, Interact Club, school, etc. It was also interesting to learn a little about where he came from when it was time for me to ask him questions--particularly when I asked him "Why did you choose Yale over the other schools you were accepted into?" Scott came from Missouri and had to choose between Yale and the University of Missouri (a place where both his father [or was it mother?] and sister graduated from). I'm sure you know what he eventually chose as his school.

Marshall Brief presentations are this Friday. I have no idea if I'll be able to blog for the remainder of our trip, but I'll try!

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie,

    Don’t you just hate those alarm clocks? Just on regular days where I actually try to wake up at a specific time, I set two alarms—one with music and the other with a buzzer usually about 15 minutes apart. If I want to really be sure to get up I’ll set a third alarm using an old fashioned clock type of alarm with a couple of bells on top with a hammer oscillating between them I set this one on the other side of the room forcing me to at least get up to turn it off before returning to the comfort of my bed.

    My problem isn’t oversleeping since I rarely get a decent night’s sleep anyway. My problem is getting my lazy butt out of bed.

    I have no solutions for you, Stephanie.

    I like this concept of reframing a situation to build your confidence. Rather than going into a situation thinking that it might kill you, reframe it with the understanding that your death will send you to Paradise to drink milk and honey with 72 virgins. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    Escape strategies? You get college credits for learning how to evade an awkward situation? And I thought that getting credit for Frisbee throwing during my time at Cal was a bit off the wall (I didn’t take that class (Stat 20)—I took the tougher version of the course).

    I think that one of the main differences between the teachers in your class as opposed to back in high school is that here they’re teaching kids who have traveled from all over the world to learn what’s being offered while back in high school most of the students wouldn’t even be there fit hey weren’t being forced. It comes down to a matter of attitude on the part of the instructor. It’s a lot easier to teach when you have sponges soaking up the information.

    Keep up the good work, Stephanie. I have complete faith in you. Your Friday Marshall Brief presentation will come across just as if you knew what you were talking about—maybe because you really do.