I chose to complete my iExamen on Sunday October 20th during the duration of fall break. I went home to my mother’s house in Connecticut to spend the extended weekend relaxing with my family. My nickname growing up was “Smiley Kylie”, and I’d like to think of myself as a genuine and cheerful person so I thought this reflection on communication was going to be a breeze. However, in practice this task was harder than I had originally anticipated.
After having been home Thursday evening, Friday, and Saturday the novelty of seeing my sister had worn off. While my sister and I get along great, we tend to bicker over small insignificant things before quickly apologizing and forgetting that we were ever mad at one another. Sunday afternoon was one of those days. My family and I had planned on going to my favorite restaurant in town, Sakura, for a Japanese-style lunch around noon before I got on the road to head back to Loyola. Having a five hour car ride ahead of me was daunting especially considering I had a group project meeting at 9pm that night, so I was anxious to get to lunch right at noon. My sister had taken the PSAT’s the morning before and then attended a three-hour ballet workshop for her upcoming performance in the Nutcracker. While I knew she was weary from the day before, I was annoyed that she was dragging her feet Sunday morning when we had made plans. As the clock stroked 12:15 and there were still no signs of my sister in sight, I grew even more agitated. I suppressed the urge to holler upstairs and express my anger. I remembered that my task today was to only express kind, useful, and true statements. This was a hard task for me. Expressing frustration in someone or something is a task inherent in human nature. Humans love to complain. However, this is not something that we should be prideful about; we should be ashamed of our actions. As a lecturer I heard speak over the summer (I forget his name!) stated; we listen to respond rather than listening to understand. I feel this expresses our self-centered nature. I am not saying that we do not care about anyone besides ourselves, but we are deeply self-centered. I realized that while yelling at my sister would slightly satisfy my own ego and frustration, communicating this would not be useful or helpful in any aspect other than my self-centeredness. In the midst of my discernment, my sister descended the back staircase and we were off to lunch. My original plan was to hop in my car at 2 pm, hit up Dunkin Donuts for my Vanilla Iced Coffee and hit I-95 to cruise back to Baltimore. While my sister created a bump in the road, I still got on the road at 2 pm, which further emphasized how unproductive it would’ve been if I had lashed out at her. Furthermore, I would have felt guilty for making her feel bad especially since she was tired from academics and her passion of dance and not from being out late partying.
Communicating on these guidelines made me think before I opened my mouth and truly decipher if what I was about to say would be productive and useful before just opening my mouth to speak bulls***, which I have been known to do (what can I say, I love to talk!). My mother’s reaction when I showed her the iExamen sheet was laughter. She believed that this should be a given that all words that you communicate should be honest, useful, and kind. Having grown up in a Catholic household, she was raised with these ideals. However, after she had time to mull over the assignment she thought this assignment was a good representation of the Jesuit education in practice.