As Leo Buscaglia once said, “Our talents are the gift that God gives to us. What we make of our talents is our gift back to God”. This has become a source of constant inspiration for me. It is doubtless that talents somehow are very important to people’s successes. I have always been interested in how people react to different situations, how their behavior changes, and their mental processing. The tiny bits of reaction and a change in behavior attract me the most. To understand these changes and the reasons behind these changes is why I want to major in Psychology.
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Compared to the hustle and bustle and fast pace of Taiwan, I would prefer the nice environment in US that provides me a personal area to settle my thoughts. Yet, I am glad that I was born and being raised up in Taiwan, because the relationships between people in Taiwan seem much closer due to the overcrowded population, which I love and hate. My interest in Psychology developed during my adolescence; I found myself always observing people’s behavior and listening to their conversation with one another. Not only did I observe friends or family members, but also total strangers like the street vendors or even the security guard. It is fascinating to see how people react to different situations, how their facial expression changes and how their behavior changes. I often tried to understand these behaviors, yet simply by observations without knowledge, I am not capable to fully understand them.
The Taiwan environment helped develop my interest in Psychology. However, even though Taiwan is known for its multiculturalism, Psychology is not very common in Taiwan, because there is still a part of the population that does not have the understanding nor the belief about psychology. Rather than seeking for help from psychologists, people use their superstitious way of thinking to explain the abnormal behavior. My education in the US has provided me an opportunity to acquire the knowledge in Psychology.
I have even been able to apply what I have learned in my Psychology class to my work experience in a bakery shop. Working in the service industry provides me a chance to learn how to deal with different people and provide satisfactory service for customers. Applying knowledge that I have learned in Psychology classes, I know that every behavior has a reason behind it, and by acknowledging the reason, I can provide better service for customers. For instance, when customers come, we greet them and ask if they need help. Most of the time they would say they need a few more minutes to decide or to order immediately. I keep on working, and at the same time paying attention to them, in case if they need help. Some people feel pretty good when I put my attention on them, but some would avoid eye contact, some would start calling their friends, keeping themselves busy to avoid any interactions with me. This tells me, my attention or my presence has affected their behavior. Some customers feel embarrassed when they could not find their wallet, or when they do not have enough money to pay especially when there is a long queue behind them. Even though nobody asks them to hurry, they would still feel the pressure from other customers and apologize, some of their faces would actually turn red because of that. This would not happen if there is no one behind them, their behavior changes with the presence of other customers. It is interesting to see how their thoughts, feelings and behavior change with the presence of other people.
Inspired by my Psychology professor Tom McMahon, I realized how interesting and amazing human life can be with the study of Psychology. More importantly, how the knowledge of Psychology can be applied to every aspect in life. I look forward to explore more about psychology, especially social psychology, and how it affects us day to day.
There is a saying by Epictetus, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” I believe I have fulfilled this part. I love to observe everything around me when I was small, noticing how different people react to the same situation, difference in the way people talk, and the little changes on their facial expression. I might not fully understand the meaning behind each behavior, each changes, but I just loved to look at them.
I am not sure what I have that attracts people to talk with me, but I am sure that I am a good, passionate listener and good at keeping what people tell me confidential. Some of my friends called me the “Black Hole”; it seems to them that I can carry or absorb all their personal concerns to myself. When there are things they would like to share but no one listens, or things they don’t want to share with anyone, they would look for me and share whatever they want. They say they enjoyed sharing with me because I made them feel comfortable and I seemed to enjoy our conversations.
To me, being a listener for people around me is not only an accomplishment, it represents me. It might seem weird, but that is what I enjoy being and what I like myself the most.