Journaling Tips

Look at the difference between serving, helping and fixing and apply to the work that you do in your field study. Do you serve, fix or help? Do people expect you to do otherwise? Is there a philosophy of work that uses any of the three words? What does the community expect of you? What were you taught prior to field study?

Set observation goals before going to field study regarding a question you may have about the work or a theory that you are curious about. Evaluate your experience after your day, how did your goals change your time at your placement?

Try as hard as you can to let go of any observation goals. Let what happens at your placement to be entirely natural and uninfluenced by your desire to learn one thing or another. Write about how you can support yourself to do this. Evaluate how it went afterward.

Go into your field study with the desire to conduct a thick description of the workplace. Take a few weeks to make an organizational chart of the agency, find out if the one they have looks anything like yours. What defines a client? A volunteer? A staff member? An intern? What similarities or differences are there between those who serve and those who are served? What are the surroundings like, colors, resources, shapes, size of rooms, carpeting or bare floor, new or old?

Journal about how work gets done at your placement. What is success?

Think about how to work from someone’s strengths rather than weaknesses. Journal about a particular person you work with. List their assets, strengths, support. List their deficits, weaknesses. Compare the two and journal about your observations. How do you change a deficit to an asset in yourself? How would you support someone to be able to change? Make a list of deficits and assets in yourself.

Double journal: Fold a piece of paper in half, 1/2 to record incidents the other 1/2 to record your emotional reaction or feelings about that incident. Do this on days where something difficult happens as well as on days where it seems like nothing happened and there is nothing to journal about.

Perspective Taking: Think and journal like your faculty sponsor….a parent….a client’s parent…a child….a lawyer…the President…..the Dalai Lama, etc.

Catalog a day in your placement with incidents from the day. Switch perspectives and catalog or describe the day through the eyes of the people you came into contact with.

If you were given the responsibility of guiding an intern as a supervisor, how would you work with that person, train them, what would you want them to know? How would your work change?

What insights have you gained into what makes people behave in certain ways? Do you feel that people are more or less the same everywhere despite differences or do you feel they are unique in their needs and expressions?

How do you feel you are changing from this experience?

How big is your world? How big was it when you began your field study?

What are the strata or groups you are interacting with now that you have not interacted with before?

How would you approach teaching a political figure about what it is that you do as a student and as an intern. What do you want policy makers to understand? How deeply do you think they understand the major issues faced by the people that you work with now?