New Year, Improved Me

happy new year

Picture retrieved from Sally on Flickr

Since we are now into the year 2014, I thought that I should reflect on my progress with last year’s resolutions and the resolutions I’m setting up for myself this year!  If you are wondering why my title isn’t “New Year, New Me”, it’s because I don’t believe that statement to be realistic.  You will always be the same you!  New Year goals just make you an improved you!  Last year, I was getting to a point where negativity was ruling my life, which resulted in a negative view of myself. I made a goal to learn to love myself in 2013, which includes positivity and life changes.  This would be particularly difficult for me, since I’ve spent most of my life being self conscious and shy.  Here are some of the steps I took in order to lead a happier, more positive life:

  1. Accepting Compliments: Whenever someone would give me a compliment, I would say something like, “No, you’re way prettier” or “No, I gained weight”.  A thing that I needed to realize was that these people are just being kind, so you need to return the kindness by responding positively.  Once you accept these compliments, you start to believe that they are true, which leads to a way more positive outlook on your life.
  2. Smile at Yourself and Smile at Others: I noticed that people walking through the halls of the University are often grumpy looking and sad, including myself.  I now smile at people if they give me any kind of eye contact and, in turn, they usually smile back.  I always feel happier when I see others smiling!  Also, when you are meeting up with friends or classmates, greet them with a smile!  This may sound really weird, but smiling at yourself in the mirror does help.  It also sounds super vain, but it has proved to be the opposite.  Seeing myself smiling made myself happier throughout the day, especially on the days that I had morning classes.  I think I realized that I look more approachable to new friends if I look happy and confident!
  3. Surround Yourself with Positivity and Positive People: I feed off of the energy of the environments and people that I am around, so that is not particularly beneficial if I’m around negativity.  The friends I surround myself with now are mostly positive daily and that really helps with my own positivity!
  4. Stop caring about what others think: This was a big challenge for me.  I would often get very worked up over how I was portraying myself and how I was acting.  I wasn’t being myself, so I knew that had to change.  I realized that if someone doesn’t like the way that I am, then they don’t deserve to be in my life.  I’ll be eternally happy, just as long as I’m being true to myself and my beliefs.
  5. Cut out toxic people in your life that don’t fully appreciate you: This is a big one.  I think the word “cut” might be a little harsh, but it gets to the point.  I don’t fully cut people out of my life, I just become less concerned with communication if I’m not getting any recognition in return.  You need to cut out people in a positive way.  Completely ignoring these people will result in a negative and awkward interaction at one point.  Just because you aren’t the closest of friends anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t be civil with each other.

MY GOALS FOR 2014:

  1. Further my goal of learning to love myself
  2. Work out and eat healthier: Instead of thinking about being weight loss, I want to have a special focus on becoming a healthier me!
  3. Speaking out more in classroom settings
  4. Make more of an effort to visit family and friends

That’s all I can think of for now! If I think of more, I will add to the list!  What are your resolutions for 2014?

Learning ASL: Final reflections and Progress

Throughout this semester, I have taken on the challenge to learn American Sign Language for my learning project in ECMP 355.  I have learned terms mostly from a series of Youtube videos from the channel “Sign Language 101“, and “Smarthands“.  Both of these Youtube channels provide great education and resources to help you learn ASL.  Sign Language 101 is a very informal and personable instruction based learning tool, while Smarthands is geared more towards a younger audience with songs, dances and children instruction.  These are both very good for learning terminology.  I have also recently used Lifeprint, which was very beneficial to my learning.  As I mentioned in a previous post, they provide lessons for language learning, which includes videos, descriptions and pictures of hand movements.  They also recognize different ways of using signs and alternate ways of signing.

It was interesting to rewatch all of my videos to reflect upon my personal growth throughout the semester.  I liked the fact that I tried to include different ways of presenting my content.  I did tutorial videos, voice over videos, songs, a collaboration video and even a silent movie type of video.  My confidence level in front of the camera has definitely gone up, which was one of my own personal goals.

I started out my videos by doing voiceovers or signing songs because I wasn’t comfortable with speaking in front of the camera while filming myself.

In my video about pronouns, I was very nervous because this was my first video actually speaking to the camera.  Note the weird eye contact and fidgeting in the beginning!

My videos on colours and family were somewhat more confident because I had a friend with me, but I still feel like it was a step for becoming more comfortable.

This is the last video I taped myself and spoke at the same time, and I really do believe that my confidence level has gone up in it.  I think my instructional methods can improve, but I think I have more volume and confidence in my voice!

Fingerspelling has been a part of my journey in every topic that I have learned over the semester, which has improved the speed and accuracy of my fingerspelling.  You can definitely see progress from my first time signing my name in my videos.

I think another big improvement with my ASL learning was that I was able to formulate a couple of sentences in a conversation, with the help from Lifeprint!

I was going to sign a song in the end, but I found it to be very difficult because I’m not as advanced with formulating proper sentences yet and I don’t want to get confused with Signed English.  When I was looking at different tutorials for songs in ASL, the people were using signed English, which is not proper American Sign Language.  I felt like it would defeat the purpose of my learning if I learned how to sign according to English.  This journey has been exciting and educational and I plan on continuing my learning of ASL and maybe become fluent in it!