Monday, October 11, 2010

My "Good Things That Happened Today" Journal

As part of my experiment in Ghana I looked not only at how different ways of seeing (through different avatars of myself) changed my experience, but also through the mediums I chose record it in.  This may be the weirdest thing you have ever heard of, but hey, this is a blog so I am allowed to be more personal than a conventional research paper.  I have been trying to work on being more optimistic and thinking positively lately, and right before I flew out my Okasan (step mom, Stacey), gave me this book and told me to write down all the good things that happen everyday.  So part of my nightly routine after field notes and my diary writing was in this little book, making it one of the ways I mediated my experience.  Call me crazy, but it was a large part of my experience, a viable medium, and I think it actually worked!

Cover: It was going to be a surfer, but I guess this was more indicative of the present me, Hawaii being over and all.

Inside Cover: Message from my parents about the purpose of this journal.

First Page: Have to start somewhere, right? This was me making sense of this book and trying to figure out how I was going to do this on top of field notes and a "normal" journal.

Bullets: Some, like the first page, I wrote in paragraph form. Others, like this, I just summed it up in one line. When I did this form I was able to capture more of the little things, but with less detail.

Dad: This one was really personal. I got a phone call this particular night that my dad was probably going to die, and I needed to figure out if I was going home for the funeral. I was still able to come up with a list of the good things that happened that day even though I was a wreck. It may have helped a little, but more than anything it made me realize that there are always good things that happen. We just have to look for them.

Success: And in this entry you can see that I am starting to get commentary on being a positive person from my group members. It worked!

So you might wonder why this was so important to my research. One limitation is that it has a pretty biased perspective on the day, but that is the point.  However, having this journal made me look at my experience in perspective. It was a more personal approach, and I think that having these positive thinking exercises helped me have a much better experience. Field studies are not always the easiest, but they can be so amazing if you look at it the right way. Obviously I was not able to capture what I would in say, my field notes, but I think this was a valuable medium in its own right.  I was able to note some of the tiny details that might have been overlooked, and got a glimpse at group relationships.

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