Final Project: Personal Narrative Tiffany Nicole Cooper University of Phoenix Psychology 230 Dr. Stephanie Isgitt October 05, 2010

Final Project: Personal Narrative

When talking about how life has changed over the last five years, I can look back and say that I truly did not expect to be where I am today. At this time, back in 2005, I was sitting in a prison bed, locked up, and learning a valuable lesson! While being there, I had nothing but time to think about my past and what I could do to change the direction of where I was heading. I decided when I was released that changing my environment would be the most helpful to me. With that, I left prison, moved to Leander, TX, and I started my life again. A few months later, I met Colt, and we have been together ever since. I think Colt is the reason I have had such an ability to change what I want out of life. I decided to go to college, and a year later here I am. I think that the evolution that led me to where I am now is my maturity level has gone up, and sometimes I feel like I am a whole new person. I think that some of the reason I am the way I am today is because of Bandura’s theory of “modeling therapy.” I got to see in prison (firsthand) all the women that were acting like I had been acting in the past, and to me, it was a very powerful motivation tool to change my life. Seeing other people heading the same way you are heading can be helpful to help change your life, if that is what you want. I have also had to learn more self-control to help me not be so impulsive like I used to be. I try to keep behavioral diaries for my smoking because I am trying to quit. I can see that I smoke the most when I am just waking up, and after meals. With that knowledge, when it comes time to quit, I am going to have a better chance to quit because I know when my weakest times are. I also find it very helpful to make self-contracts. When I accomplish a goal, I reward myself, and when I do not accomplish a goal, I try to punish myself

in different ways. I have found this to be very helpful. There are many reasons that I have turned out the way I have. Concerning the roles that religion, race, culture, family, and gender have all played in me becoming me, I can say these things have had major impacts on my personality outcome. Religion was not a big thing in my house growing up. My parents divorced at the age 3, and I got the chance to grow up in two different households. Neither of them held religion in high standards. I grew up with the knowledge of God, but I also grew up with an openness to experience new things. I was taught at a young age that “to each his own,” and I believe that helped me to understand that everyone in life has their own beliefs. It is okay that they believe differently because somehow we will still end up with something in common! Concerning race, I think that being a White person has had its advantages. I am a blond haired, green eyed, tall, and thin woman, which some people find to be attractive. It has helped somewhat with my self-confidence, but I cannot say exactly how it has helped. I cannot really say that growing up as a white person changed the way I am. If I had been of different ethics, then it may have been different while growing up because there were not many kids in my school that were of a different race. Culture really has not played much of a role in my life. I grew up with the normal southern American traditions. We celebrated all major holidays and events together, and as a family. My family was split, but I still got to be close with all of my family; mother, dads, uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. I did always have the love and support of a big family. Their love and support is what really helped me when I went to prison. I would not have changed my life without their help. With them showing their love and support, it has really helped to motivate me in ways I never thought possible. It seems that I feel the need to make them proud of me because I messed up so bad in the early part of my life. By living as a self-efficient woman in the modern ways of today, I

cannot say that I have to complain. I think that if I would have been a woman who lived in centuries before us, I would have a different opinion in this subject. Back even 100 years ago women had no rights, and could not posse’s things themselves, they had to have a man. Today, women are able to own things in their names, so I believe that I am thankful for the chance to live in such an independent time. Honestly, I am thankful to have had the chance to grow up the way I have, in a country that allows the freedoms we have. I am thankful for the environmental construal that I grew up with. One thing that I can say for certain; “if I could change one of the major episodes of my life, what would I change and why,” would not be a question that I doddle on too much. I would not change a single thing in my life. I think that if I sit with regrets of the past every day, then I am un-capable of living in the present, or future. I would not be the person I am today without my past being exactly the way it is. I have accepted my life, and (according to Erikson’s eight stages of life) I have crossed from sixth stage of life; young adulthood, to the seventh stage of life; mature adulthood. Five years ago, none of this self-narrative would have been like this. I was too busy being selfish, and independent to have even wanted the things in life that I realize I want. I have been through many different stages of ego since five years ago, and I have grown immensely in maturity. I do not make my goals unobtainable therefore, I reach them easier. It is amazing to see what a difference five years makes to a personality. I wonder what my life will be like in five more years.

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