In my first semester of the masters of higher education program, I took a course on student development theories. In order to understand how a traditional undergraduate develops, we first had to reflect on our own undergraduate journey. Each student created an art project in addition to a written paper that used prominent theories to explain our experience.
I had a jagged experience that involved transferring after my second year, switching majors, then switching back. I symbolized this experience with a Jacob's ladder toy. When the top panel of the Jacob's ladder is flipped, each other panel flips in sequence. This movement creates the illusion of progress even though there is none. I used photos from the summer before my first year of college through my last semester to signify my own illusion of progress.
I learned a lot about myself through this reflective process. Even though my undergraduate experience ended more than a decade ago, there are still key moments that created those back-and-forth decisions that ultimately led me to where I am today. I did not find one developmental theory that explained my experience exactly, but the practice of trying to make sense of student psychology helped me remember what young students go through.
Front of jacob's ladder toy
jacob's ladder toy in motion
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