In My Own Defense
Purpose: Often, after students have made a choice, they return to meet with an advisor due to doubt because of the reactions of a significant other in their lives. This may be reactions from a parent, sibling, friend, or roommate. It is important if this occurs not to diminish the importance of others' opinions. Others may react negatively or positively for a variety of reasons. Understanding the reasoning behind your choices helps you to prepare for a variety of reactions. More importantly, this process of development of explanations is truly not a defense strategy, but a personal confirmation strategy. This activity can be extremely valuable in making meaning of information and understanding how you feel about your options/choices.
As a result of this activity you will be able to:
- Clearly articulate the reasons for your choice.
- Discuss your choice in various terms of importance.
- Practice responding to the questions of others.
- Explore whose opinion you value and make a list of a few people to center this activity on. These can be general and not specific if necessary (i.e. future roommate, dating partner, relative at a family reunion).
- The purpose of this activity is not to prepare to respond to others, but to test how their responses feel and make sense to you.
- Create an outline for notes about the reactions from the different people.
- Prepare a “defense strategy” regarding your choices before reacting to questions from the other person.
- React to the question/reaction of the person.
- Write your responses and share them with your advisor.
Sample Outlines (Be creative)
- Topic: Careers/Job Options
- Reaction: That sounds like a great choice! What do you hope to do with it?
- Topic: Difficulty of Major
- Reaction: Are you sure you can handle this major? You haven’t been doing so well in school.
- Topic: Future Possibilities
- Reaction: You know your cousin wanted to do that and it never worked out.
Person: Sister who is an Accountant
- Topic: General Reaction to Liberal Arts
- Reaction: Oh that sounds wonderful…I wish I had been brave enough to major in that.
Note: Focus this activity on the experience of hearing the talk about your choice. If you are aware of a possible negative reaction from someone you can use this as a preparation activity.