Have you wondered when you were younger why adults or even grandparents think differently than you? Why would they not think the same way? Throughout my childhood, I always wondered why my sister had thought differently than me when it came to different situations. She had a new perspective in seeing the answer in ways I could have not. My sister is a seventeen year old girl who is a senior in high school whereas I am twenty and in my second year of college at Texas Tech. For this interview, I asked my mom if I could ask my sister questions about her life and experiences as well as herself in order for the interview. Also, I included that she did not have to answer these questions if it was uncomfortable and end the interview any time she wanted. I explained to her and my mom that no name will be mentioned throughout the paper; only pronouns such as “she” and the relationship she has with me such as “sister”. She was the perfect person to interview because this is her last year before she starts college. It will show how she has progressed over the years mentally.
As my sister was answering the question, there were several life events that correspond to the non-normative influence. This influence are unique events that only happen to some people or that happen at different times in people’s lives. The main event that really reflected the non-normative influence was the major career change. Ever since she was a little kid, she was always interested in helping all kinds of animal species. She was always an animal lover and would do anything in order for them to live an exceptional life. As she grew up, she knew she wanted to become a veterinarian. She took some classes that oriented around veterinary science. In her last year of high school, she applied for an internship that her school was offering and applied. It was a class where a select amount of students will work at a clinic every other day in substitute for having class. Once she heard back from the school, they told her she was accepted into the program. Now she works and interns at a vet clinic every other school day and even on the weekends. In the beginning of her senior year, she heard that I was changing my path from pediatrician to physician assistant. This is where her doubts started to became profound. She knew this field was difficult to get in and her worries were screaming at her to change her career. My sister claims that she became more interested in becoming a pharmacist due to many of her friends relaying what it would be like to be in that profession. She now is looking at becoming this, but also keep up her veterinary skills as a side job. This represents a non-normative influence because my sister had a major change in her future career in the beginning of her senior year which is unique to her.
Piaget’s Formal Operational Stage of Cognitive Development reflects my sister’s cognitive thinking as conveyed through the interview. At this point in development, thinking becomes much more sophisticated and advanced. Adolescents can think about abstract and theoretical concepts and use logic to come up with creative solutions to problems (Piaget, 11.6). Skills such as logical thought, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning also emerge during this stage (Piaget, 11.6). During their teens, they become capable of thinking about abstract and hypothetical ideas (Piaget, 11.7). They often ponder “what-if” type situations and questions and can think about multiple solutions or possible outcomes (Piaget, 11.7). Through the interview, my sister has shown similarities to these characteristics that were described. First, she has become an abstract thinker. She imagines the world with many “what ifs” since she is about to head to college next year. She also wonders what if she actually surpassed her sister’s high achievement bar and was outstanding in everything since it is a daily struggle. Another similarity that shows abstract thinking is when I asked her about what advice she would tell her younger self. This required her to demonstrate the ability to think in more abstract terms. She analyzed everything that has happened in her life and came up with a list of things she would say. In accordance, she explained who were the main people who have impacted her life and why. She recalls on what her family and friends have taught her in the past and how she applies it to her daily life. All of these instances in my sister’s life have shown Piaget’s Formal Operation Stage of Cognitive Development.
In comparison to Erikson’s Stages of Development, my sister lies under Stage 5: Adolescence, Identity vs. Role Confusion. During this stage, adolescents search for a sense of self and personal identity, through an intense exploration of personal values, beliefs, and goals. This is a major stage of development where the adolescent has to learn the roles they will occupy as an adult. It is during this stage that they will re-examine their identity and try to find out exactly who they are. My sister exhibits these characteristics to a certain extent. First off, she was always struggling on who she was. While she was growing up, I had always been good at doing activities such as juggling multiple extracurricular and getting good grades in school. Our parents always compared us to each other, but she had always took it to another level. She believed that in order see pride in her parents’ eyes, she should do everything I would do, but better. This is where she lost her own identity over the years. She kept trying to be like me, but was never successful at it. However, when I asked her what she would tell her younger self, she would say to forgive herself and don’t always compete with the high bar that was already pre-set. At this moment, she has slowly stopped competing with the high bar and relearned who she is and who she wants to become.
In conclusion, throughout this interview, I learned more about my sister than I ever did. I saw how she struggled with keeping up with the high bar I set for her in the previous years and how she would always get compared to me in mostly every situation. The most useful in helping me understand my sister was Piaget’s Formal Operation Stage of Cognitive Development because it delved deeper into the way of an adolescent’s thinking. It strongly correlated to Piaget more than Erikson due to the events that happened in my sister’s life. From this interview, I got to really know my sister underneath all her other layers of personalities and characteristics. It was easy to incorporate her interview into this report because I specialized the questions to help me better understand which model to use. When I was writing and asking the questions, I was very confident that those questions could help unravel pieces of my sister I did not know and help better understand who she has become today. Since it was my sister, the interview was relaxed, but professional. I was not nervous to ask the questions I created. Throughout this project, I realize that my sister and I have the same struggles that we battle silently each day. This project broadened my view on my sister and I believe there should be no changes to this assignment.