Personal Growth

One of the prompts that you will encounter when entering experiences into your Cocurricular Journal requires reflection upon how the experiences contributed to your personal growth.  There are a variety of ways in which personal growth can be addressed.  If you are, however, having difficulty conceptualizing your thoughts, this information might be useful to you.

In Arthur Chickering's  "Education and Identity" he identified seven vectors in which college students often see growth and development during the undergraduate years.  One way to approach the discussion of personal growth in your Cocurricular Journal is to think about your growth from the experience in terms of each of the vectors which will be briefly described below.

Vector 1: Achieving Competence.  The confidence one develops in their ability to be successful in intellectually, interpersonally and with physical and manual skills are covered in this vector.

Vector 2: Managing Emotions.  Young adults can grow in their ability to manage difficult emotions such as anger as well as in their ability to experience a broader array of emotions.

Vector 3: Developing Autonomy.  Young adults can grow in the "independence of maturity."  Growth in this vector can mean development in independence and interdependence.

Vector 4: Establishing Identity.  The experience may have helped you to clarify your personal needs, better understand your talents and characteristics, and create a more clear and solid sense of self.

Vector 5: Freeing Interpersonal Relationships.  You may have developed in your skills of getting along with and interacting with others.  You may have developed a greater sense of appreciation and understanding of those who are different from you.  You may have grown in your ability to develop close relationships with others and in your capacity to empathize.

Vector 6: Developing Purpose.  The experience may have helped you to discover passion and meaning in your life.  You may have a clearer sense of direction.  You may have discovered a career path for your future.

Vector 7: Developing Integrity.  The experience may have clarified for you a sense of personal responsibility and greater understanding of what it means to be a citizen of a certain community.  Growth may have also occurred in your development of a set of beliefs and values that guide your actions.

If you are stumped when you reflect upon how an experience has contributed to your personal growth, thinking about how you have developed in these seven vectors might guide your thinking.

Chickering, Arthur W., and Linda Reisser. Education and Identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.