Thursday, September 27, 2012


Michael Armstrong

The iExamen required a great deal of self-discipline. I needed to become aware one of the most habitual actions of daily life, communication. This meant I had to note any information that I received or project for an entire day! I certainly missed a few communications, but the mere act of analyzing myself brought me closer to understanding how others perceive me on a most basic level. In addition, my self-reflection of the way I communicate with others has opened my mind to the possibility of further self-sufficiency.
            Tuesday morning is the most relaxing time of the week. In fact, it is the best day of the week. My only class all day is at 4:30PM, so I generally wake up late and get work done until then. This past Tuesday my sister, who happens to be in London, woke me up. One of the most thrilling aspects of technology today is the immense medium of communication that it provides for all individuals. With a device as small as a Passport I’m able to communicate with people in different cultures, time zones, and hemispheres. This truly amazing feat has had a somewhat of constricting effect on what is communicated. As a student majoring in finance I immediately gravitate towards free communication modes like text messaging (through WiFi) or Facebook rather than a telephone. Unfortunately, those modes of communication are extremely stale. Text messaging eliminates the face-to-face contact of regular communication, and without visual cues like facial expressions or body language much can be lost in translation. At the same time, those who do not wish to partake in such verbal communication can simply take the easy way out and send a text message.
            With my new appreciation of the limitations of text messaging and other types of virtual communication I find myself enjoying human intercommunication substantially more! For example, once I finally left my room for lunch this past Tuesday I met up with a good friend from high school. During lunch I noticed that the trials of my friends day like: attending class, doing work, finishing daily chores, and studying for exams had taken its toll on her by noon. All of this was noticeable by the energy that she projected. She was slouching at the table, not very talkative, and seemed preoccupied by other thoughts. On the other hand, I seemed to be dominating the conversation. I felt that I was exuberating a greater level of energy likely due to the lack of interpersonal communication up until that point in the day. Now that my senses are more acute to the fact that I do crave a certain level of human interaction per day I will more readily initiate such communication in the future.
            Undoubtedly the hour of disconnect from all technology required the most self-discipline, but in return it yielded the best understanding of how communication effects my daily life.  I chose to spend my unplugged hour working out. At around 6:00PM I went for a run.  I ran for about two miles. My run eventually took me to the FAC where I continued to workout in the gym. During this hour of disconnection I found myself feeling satisfied without the constant bombardment of communication. I also noticed that when I disconnected myself since Tuesday, I don’t get anxious about missing a text or phone call if I’m thoroughly preoccupied by another action. This revelation coupled with my new appreciation of interpersonal communication is a refreshing new way to look at such a common action, and a new way to progress my own life. By participating in the Jesuit practice of self-reflection I have found a deeper connection with what makes me a unique individual. It allows me to differentiate the way I interact with people, and how they interact with me.


Frances Amodeo
Understanding Literature
Dr. Ellis

            When I was first presented with the iExamen, I thought, “Self-observation can’t be that hard,” but boy how soon I realized that I was very wrong!  I thought it would be something like before you go to bed you reflect upon everything that happened, what you loved about your day and what you wish might have been a little different.  Instead it was a whole day of self-analysis, and for me, throughout the day, it became a constant challenge to improve, funny enough, one of the ten Jesuit core values. 
So I decided to take this challenge on headfirst.  I chose Sunday because Sundays generally tend to be the busiest and most stressful days for me.  I decided that on this day, not only would I self-examine but I would cut myself off from electronics completely. At first I was a little skeptical as to how this would all pan out because the first thing many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phones.  But I was determined to succeed!
After only a few hours of unplugging myself from my Iphone, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and my Loyola email, I noticed that I had became so much more relaxed.  Not only did I feel less stressed mentally, I felt less stressed physically because I started to realize that my breathing was slower than its usual Monday to Friday pace.  I also noticed that I was much calmer when speaking with others.  It became so apparent to me that my speech was less frantic and that I had an easier time getting my point across to others.  Maybe it’s because I’m half Italian that I use a lot of body language to often express what I’m saying, but I noticed that even that had been subconsciously taken down a notch.  I noticed that I spoke a lot more “English,” and a lot less “teenybopper.” Using little to none “lol’s or ttyl’s” in conversation, to be quite honest, was so refreshing! Also, It didn’t hit me until much later on while I was in mass, but that my appearance reflected my mood.  I was in a very comfortable and subtle colored maxi dress, which screamed “I’M RELAXED AND CALM EVERYONE!”
At then end of the day, I couldn’t believe all the little things that took place that wound up adding to big things and really making a significant difference in my day.  As a result of such a successful day of self-observation, I’ve challenged myself to do at least one hour of self-observation a day, and so it’s been the best thing for me!

Communicative Analysis

Patrick Dobson

 My day of conversational analysis provided me with a greater understanding of interpersonal communication. Specifically, I learned how influencial clothing, facial ques, and body movement are in the communication process; and was most intrigued with the effects of technological communication on interpersonal communication. A better understanding of this process has provided me with methods of improving my own communication style which will surely lead to more fullfilling interactions and relationships.
I did my analysis Sunday the 23rd. This was the perfect day for this because I was free of any major obligations. I started the day with a potluck at the meditation center, then spent most of the day shopping for winter clothes. I noticed the people at the meditation potluck were wearing loose, yet comfortable clothing. One man was even wearing a suit which appeared at least two sizes too large for him. Many of the dress' the women wore were rather plain in design. Many of the men wore relaxed-fitting jeans and plain polo shirts. My analysis of their clothing revealed that these were people are more concerned with functionality, rather than aestetics. They wanted the ability to move more freely and weren't too ocupied with impressing others with a strong fashion sense. I believe this style to be very approachable to others. Although not entirely correct, I think many assume that people concerned with “high fashion” are arrogant and vain individuals. So by selecting plain and comfortable clothing they are attempting to create an image antithetical to the fashion seeker: I am humble and nonjudging. By noticing this I realized that personal style-not just fashion-forward style- is a choice, determined by personal beliefs, experience, and what message the person is attempting to send to others.
While exploring the Towson mall with my roomate, we encountered a myriad of styles and nonverbal messages. Here I was able to realize the power of nonverbal ques and that initial judgements of character by these ques are not allways accurate. For example, I noticed people walking upright and others slouching. Those who walked upright presented confidence and a more inviting persona, while those who walked with their head down, with a slouching posture, appeared less approachable and attractive. People who slouched also appeared less noticeable to those around them. Then I began to notice my own slouching. Being tall, keeping an upright posture throughout the day is sometimes difficult, so I began making the effort to walk with good posture. I noticed how people alter their communication, depending on who they were with. For example, employees speaking with customers were much more formal than friends talking amongst themselves. Later when waiting in line for Coffee, I took notice to the person in front of me. His arms and legs were covered in tatoos and his septum was pierced. By his physical appearance I initially imagined him hoping to cast a “keep away/wasted youth” image onto those around him and jumped to the conclusion of an equally less attractive personality. Even at the time his facial expression appeared offputting to me. However, to my surprise, after collecting his coffee he returned to his table with (who appeared to be) his family. There I noticed him lauphing with, and enjoying the company of his family, and I realized my initial interpretation was incorrect. What I took from this was the importannce of body language and clothing selection, and how these affect the worlds interpretation of me. More importantly I learned you can't allways judge a book by its cover.
What amazed me most was the effects of technological methods of communication. More specifically, how my cell phone seemed to hinder my interpersonal skills. Throughout the day I took notice of how I communicated with others face to face, versus phone, text, email, and Facebook. Face to face contact definitely offered better clarity and understanding. This was because I was able to take facial ques from the message sender. Through the phone I was lacking understanding. This doesn't mean I was completely lost in our conversation, but I realized I tend to imagine the other person's facial ques when talking over the phone-which can clearly lead to misunderstandings. Through text and Facebook, messages were much shorter and even more open to interpretation, or misjudgement. While there didn't happen to be any real issues this particular day, I can imagine times in the past where I had inproperly interepreted these messages. However, going without my cell phone for a couple hours was not a major problem for me. I walked with a friend to go grab lunch and I felt much less distracted, although a tad bit disconnected with friends and family back home. I did however find myself more engaging in conversation and even more interested in my friend than usual. This is not to say I am not interested in him, rather I felt more of a personal connection which prompted a more lively conversation. By not worrying about an expected call or text, I took more notice to my surroundings and the happenings of my friend. This lead to the realization of the paradox of cellphones: cellphones allow us to be more “connected” with others, while at the same time cause a “disconnect”. I believe this to be most significant because I can now see how cellphones can hinder communication and relationships as well.
My day of communicative self analysis was significant in many ones. It opened my eyes to the nonverbal aspects of communication, and the power they have on interpreters. It also allowed me to realize how cellphone usage can hinder interpersonal communication. Through this process I have learned that all people are constantly sending messages out to the world, so in order to create strong relationships, it is important to present yourself well, walk with good posture, don't jump to conclusions about unfamiliar personal styles, and perhaps most imporantly, keep the cellphone at home from time to time.  


Erin Soracco
English 101.21
September 25, 2012
            The Jesuit techniques of self-analysis are important in our everyday lives, and it is imperative that we keep these in mind to fulfill who we want to be as people.  Practicing self-observation is one of the techniques that are done every day for the Jesuits.  I observed myself during the day and was able to connect to the Jesuits and realize what they do is so critical for overall life evaluation.  After keeping close track of the ways I communicated for a day I learned more about myself, I realized how others act, and after unplugging all electronics I could focus more on communication in general.
            When I truly focused on communicating with others during the day I noticed the ways I communicate, which would be how I talk to others and interact with them.  I experienced face-to-face conversation when I talked to my teacher after theology class, as well as when I helped a few kids with their homework at Acts4Youth at their after school program.  With this, I could notice how the formality is different in these situations.  Talking to a teacher is a lot different than talking to a child.  I obviously knew about this beforehand, but when really focusing on it I could see that it is so critical to talk differently to different people to be successful in each of those conversations.  I also realized the body language used with the kids.  High-fiving and giving thumbs up are smart ways to express to the students at Acts4Youth that they did a great job, which leads into how people can react to communicating.  The children take these signs as a positive motivator.  Also, when closely watching teachers’ faces during classes here at Loyola, I could see that they would change when students quietly make side comments which would slightly disrupt the class.  Even though the teachers do not use words to express this it still is seen that they are annoyed by their facial expression.  Other aspects of communication that are used throughout the day are texting friends, calling home, and using the internet.  I texted my friends during the day and noticed that however my friends tended to sound over text I would unconsciously end up sounding like that, too.  For example, if one of my friends used many quotation marks and happy faces, I noticed I would end up using them, too.  However, after unplugging all electronics, which I ended up not using any of them during Acts4Youth, I noticed differences.   Even though I was not supposed to have my phone or any electronics during this program, I did not even want to because I knew I would be able to interact with the kids more if I did not have them.  I appreciated the time so since I got to help them, and not having these electronics made me focus a lot more on like the time I had as well as my day.  I also feel like I communicated better with everyone since I simply listened and talked to people instead of having my phone in my hand.
            I feel l did learn a lot from this experience of focusing on my communication during the day.  I was able to pick up on things I would not have if I was not focusing on myself and others.  I noticed more in class discussions, face-to-face with the kids at Acts4Youth, and even during texting.  After going back to electronics after the couple of hours without them I just felt a sense of normal come back, which is how to describe the current world because so many people are attached to technology.  However, this is just another way of communication, and after focusing on all forms of it throughout the day I learned about how I communicate as well as how others do.


I was convinced for a whole of thirty seconds that I should try to write this paper using song titles and song lyrics. Pop culture references or better yet, Gilmore Girls’ quotes, would have been even more fun to use, albeit slightly impractical and probably difficult. 
I had actually intended to write this paper about how self conscious my day of self-observation had made me or how I find I like to rant to anyone who talks to me. However, as I sit here at 4:39 in the morning, I feel that writing about those things wouldn’t appropriately capture the new feeling or hope that I now have.
Apparently all major self discoveries for me happen in the middle of the night whilst listening to (currently, Glee Cast covers of) songs like "Mean" by Taylor Swift, "Everytime" by Britney Spears, "Chasing Pavements" by Adele, and "Roots Before Branches" by Room For Two (They are all very good songs, if I may say so myself). 
I must admit that it isn’t just the music that is driving this new found zeal for overly enthusiastic writing. I have to credit a web series that I found (and watched all of) tonight. It is called Dating Rules from My Future Self. Personally, I would love to get dating rules from my future self; I have no doubt that they would help me with my current love life. That really isn’t the point of this paper though. There was, however, a line that resonated with me, and I would like to communicate it (You see what I did there?) to you now: “Right now is the best moment of your life.” It is a very simple idea, yet it seems so profound to me (and I don’t think it is just because I am tiptoeing on the brink of delusion from lack of sleep). 
What I noticed about my day of self observation was that not once during the day, did I appreciate the fact that I was able to communicate with other people. I did, however, notice the numerous amounts of times that I ranted to someone. 
The word ‘ranted’ just has a negative connotation. According the the lovely dictionary widget on my Mac, to rant means to “speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.” Now I am going to go through the definition and see which parts I actually accomplished: I did speak, didn’t shout though. I do wonder what ‘at length’ means. Does five minutes count? I am not sure. Next part says ‘in a wild,’ but I don’t know how wild I truly was. I do think I was impassioned though. I tend to have a lot of feeling behind my rants, and that is, in essence, why they are rants. I didn’t use the word conversation or dialogue after all (Those are all the synonyms for talking to someone that I have at this time of day); I said rant. 
Maybe, if I didn’t actually rant per say, I just did a lot of talking. 
I commentate on lots of things that are going on around me (Did you notice the parentheses throughout the paper? I rest my case). I think I am mostly sarcastic, sometimes witty, ideally not boring, and potentially informative. 
Maybe my need to talk stems from the fact that I don’t really like awkward silences (Don’t get me wrong, silence can be nice, but not for a whole ten minutes after a professor asks a question (often in various formats), trying to get some kind of response from the class). Did you ever notice how people pull out their phones to cover up awkward moments? I’ll be the first to admit it: I have definitely done that. 
In this case, not having technology for an hour did nothing to curb the fact that I just talk a lot, and I luckily avoided any awkward situations. I didn’t think going without my phone would be too difficult (though I thought the lack of music would be the end of me. Kidding. Possibly). I actually kept my phone off for the rest of the day, and I felt oddly liberated. During the summer, when I would leave the house, I wanted to leave my cell phone at home, but my parents insisted that I take it, so that if they needed to reach me, they could. It is logical and probably one of the biggest reasons that I always have my cell phone (the other is it has music on it). My question is: do the practical purposes of having a cell phone outweigh the fact that Americans seem increasingly addicted to technology? That question could be answered in a dissertation or (perhaps more realistically) a term paper. Regardless of the answer, for me personally, that idea does nothing to allay my need to comment and share my thoughts. 
As cheery as I seem right now though with all of my comments (that awkward moment where people don’t think your paper sounds cheery at all), I feel the need to re-mention that I did use the word ‘rant’. The conversations (nicer word) that I had with people were a lot of complaining and negative comments, things I was not happy about at that moment. While I do feel it is necessary to get things off of your chest, I acknowledge that I really need to be positive a lot more. 
Honestly, if right now is the best moment of my life (and I would sure hope each day is), then I want to take stock of that fact and enjoy the day for everything it has to offer. While I won’t cut out my (obnoxiously large amounts of) comments, I hope that I can start to integrate this idea into them: the fact that right now, this is the best moment of my life. 

Just think about it. Right now is the best moment of your life. How does that feel? My old response would have been something akin to (whilst scowling or rolling my eyes), “Hahaha(hahahahaha), no.” But now? I’m not 100% sure. All I can really say is that a smile is now involved. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Taking A Step Back

Jennifer Lynds

Dr. Ellis

Understanding Literature

26 September 2012

iExamen 1: Taking A Step Back


I was not quite sure on how I would go about examining my day more than I already do. I have always considered myself to be very perceptive of how I interact with people because I never wanted anyone to get the wrong idea about something I said or how I acted. By taking another step back, however, I picked apart the way I communicated and asked myself why? I also began to ask myself, am I showing the person I really am through my communication? By doing so, I was able to look at my life through another perspective.

Separating myself from my phone is not usually a hard task for me because I often lose it for a while or am distracted doing other things. I do not consider myself dependent on my phone, but I do think I sometimes check it unnecessarily throughout the day. When leaving my phone alone, in addition to all other electronic devices, I discovered something a little disturbing. By doing so, I felt that I often define my value through my phone. Although leaving my phone alone and walking away felt good, what did not feel good was seeing that I only had one text from my mom when I returned. Besides the fact that I love my mom more than the world, all these thoughts ran through my head like where is everyone, what is everyone up to, and why didn’t I get any other texts? Within that split second that I saw I had no messages, I felt as if I subconsciously questioned my worth. I realized what I thought connected me to the world also detached me from myself. From this, I came to wonder if I sometimes value myself through communication with people. After recognizing this, I am determined to no longer let my phone define me in these ways.

While away from my phone, however, I finally got to experience a calm hour of my day walking around campus. It was nice to have this hour set aside to slowly walk around campus and not be fast-walking to wherever I need to be. During this time I met up with some friends for lunch and realized that they were all on their phones. By not having my phone, I feel that I was more attentive to everyone and communicated more with the people I was with at the moment, instead of someone I was planning to see later. After lunch and after everyone went to their classes, I decided to come back to my room and just rest a little. Lying on my bed, I started to think about everything I enjoyed doing during the fall like going apple picking, raking leaves, and taking walks. Unfortunately, I find that I do not make time during the week or even during the weekend to make any of that possible. Sometimes we are so distracted and focused on the things that are important within the moment that we often miss the true beauty of the nature surrounding us. Clearing aside all the negatively influencing aspects of my day, I was able to appreciate the sensation of my favorite season. It scares me that I do not do this enough and how I let all this pass me by because I choose not to focus on it.

            After spending my day doing more thinking and listening than talking, I got to spend a relaxing night with my roommate. Growing closer to my roommate has been one of the best experiences of college so far. We have discovered that we have so much in common which is determined through our heart-to-heart talks as we attempt to fall asleep. During these conversations, we cannot tell each other’s body language or facial expressions and how they correlate to what it is that we are saying. To an extent, I think this strengthens my ability to communicate. Under these circumstances I find myself communicating honestly and with ease because I do not have to worry about how I am conducting myself otherwise. On the other hand, when I factor in who I am around when communicating, what I am doing, and how I am acting, I find my ability to communicate to be hindered. For example, while in a conversation with a good friend during the day, I suddenly realized that I was agreeing with something I would not agree with if she did not bring it up. Although I was listening to her and understood and respected what she had to say, why did I feel obligated to agree and not present my opinion? Since I was taking particular notice to this today, I wondered how often I actually do this during conversations and how many people I have insincerely been agreeing with.

This experience was beneficial is so many ways. From this, I see that I have a lot of work to do in some departments of my communicating life, I should not determine my value through my phone, and I should find more quiet time during the days. Although I admit that some of these realizations were a little embarrassing for me, I think it will do me well if start to think about these more during the day and find a way to factor changes into my life.


Breathing is good for you

Observing the way I talk to people was an interesting experience because what I noticed is that often times I do in fact listen to the way I speak to people, sometimes without even knowing it.  By paying close attention to it now I realized that the way I communicate with people is, probably how most people are, based on my comfort level around them.  I am a very outgoing, talkative, and friendly person, and I would like to believe that I am pretty easy to get along with.  All of these things never go away when I am communicating with people, but it depends on whom I am communicating with.
What I have noticed since day one is that I am WAY more comfortable speaking to people in some classes, than I am in others.  In my writing class I always voice my opinion.  I am able to counter other students thoughts and ideas in group discussions without them feeling like I am targeting them, and I am never afraid to talk to the person next to me and joke around.  My body is much more relaxed, I don’t feel as tense, and my mind is racing with thoughts and ideas to share with the class.  Body language is a HUGE thing I noticed in class.  Everyone uses their hands and their expressions to share how they felt about something we read or a paper we wrote.  A big thing I notice in that class are the smiles.  Not just me, but everybody.  We all smile, we all observe each other; we start to learn each other’s habits and even dressing patterns.  We can even tell when something is bothering someone in the class. 
My writing class meets four times a week, and my theology class meets three times a week.  But in my theology class things are much different.  My mind is constantly cluttered with thoughts like, “If I say this will that jock behind me make a rude comment?”  “Can I joke around with this person or do you think they would get weirded out?”  “If I told this person I thought they looked like a TV star do you think they would look at me like I’m crazy?”  I am not usually like this and I’m sure from just having me in class for four weeks even you know, Professor Ellis, that I am a very out spoken person!  But in this class, not so much.  The way people communicate in this class is VERY different from my writing class.  Everyone is quiet and up tight; no one tries to make connections with anyone further then the people to their left and right.  I am constantly tense in that class and most of the time just can’t wait to get out of there.  The dudes dress to impress the ladies but never give most of them the time of day, and some of the girls go to great lengths to show an air of “put togetherness” which probably took them an hour or two to do.  Me?  I get up and get ready in twenty minutes and I am out the door.
When it comes to technological communication things are a little different.  Obviously a person can’t see my expressions on a text messages which requires many of the various symbols: <3, :), :(, :O, :p, and so on and so forth.  Often times a reaction might also require a: haha, LMAO, omg, or the occasional hahahaahahahahahah, depending on the situation.  When I text I always type out words in full but I am more prone to using slang words like gettin, watcha, cya, ima, doin, things of that nature, and often when texting curse words tend to slip from time to time.  I’m still eighteen I’m working on cleaning up the mouth!  Usually when I am emailing it is to an adult and under a more formal tone, but I always add exclamation points anywhere I can to give them just a little taste of my personality and my excitement.  When I am on Facebook my communication is like my texting only less cursing because adults can see my Facebook and I don’t want to get my butt kicked! 
My hour without technology wasn’t bad at all!  In fact, I got a lot of stuff done!  I took out my trash, cleaned my entire room (which is never an easy job), and filled in my October calendar with all my up coming tests, quizzes, and events.  I have to admit that one hour was actually kind of nice.  My head was quiet for once with out hearing any buzzing from a text or jingling from a Facebook message.  I will admit, going into it I was worried that I would need my computer for an assignment or someone would call me asking for help, but I was perfectly fine.  I didn’t mind it at all and it gave me time to organize my life a little bit and breath for once.  I might try turning off my phone or laptop for an hour once or twice a day because it is obvious that I am GUARENTEED to get more work done without their distractions. 
As a result of doing this I realized just how much your face-to-face communication can vary simply by your comfort level around people.  Who would have thought that I would ever be so painfully worried to speak in a class?  I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have a lot to say.  I always have a lot to say, and if I’m not sharing it, either something is wrong or I’m not comfortable with the people around me.  I also learned that an hour without technology is NOTHING, and I could definitely do that again.  Breathing is good for me I should try it more often.


I really enjoyed participating in the iExamine. Forcing myself to take notice of my methods of daily communication really taught me a lot. In these days where the use of technology is so customary and regular, it can be easy to lose sight of the negative impact it has on us.
So much of our daily lives consists of communication through technological devices. Although technology provides us with many advantages, it lacks a certain kind of human nature. During my day of observance, I was attempting to have a rather serious, confrontational conversation with a good friend through text message. Because it is so difficult to show and interpret emotion via text, it did not go quite as well as planned. I was unable to perceive exactly how he was feeling and the full extent of the message being responded back.  If we were to have that same conversation face to face, I am almost positive that it would have been much more effective.
I also took notice of the effect that others’ use of technology has on those around them. If a person is continually texting and using his or her phone while hanging out with friends, it gives off the message that he or she does not genuinely want to be there or take interest in what is happening. It is almost customary for people to do this, but if we think about it, it is actually very rude. Also when we are busy using our phones or other devices, we lose track of what is going on around us. We are unable to share a smile with a peer, recognize someone in need, or just purely take notice of all that is going around.
When we turn off all our devices, life changes drastically. We have a more quality way of life. Instead of getting caught up in what is happening in our own texting or social network world, we can focus on the here and now. It brings about a certain kind of peace to just disconnect for a little bit. Also, the time spent with others is actually much more enjoyable. The conversations we have are more lively and meaningful.
The most important thing to take away from this experience is remembering these observances and putting them into our daily lives. We must keep in mind the message we are conveying even if it may not be through vocal words.