‘What can I do?’ How to put your values into action

When you’re feeling strong emotions because of the day’s headlines and current events, directing your energies toward service and community involvement can help you recover, socialize, and stay healthy.

“Taking action can be a great way to combat cynicism and hopelessness,” said Calvin Chin, director of counseling and mental health services at University Health Services at Princeton University. “When the world seems overwhelming, taking small actions can feel positive. It can help you feel a little less helpless and remind you that change is possible.”

“People crave connection and community,” Chin added. “By helping others, you can remember your common humanity. It’s also a great way to meet people who share your dedication to helping others, and even if you don’t become friends with the people you volunteer with, seeing friendly faces and be seen.”

As part of its work to prepare undergraduate and graduate students to be engaged citizens, the John H. Pace, Jr. ’39 Center for Civic Engagement connects students and the community to bring about positive change. With tips and insights from the Field Guide to Service and community leaders, here are six ways you can put your values ​​into action.

1. Take a break to process your emotions

Just like you have to stop, drop, and roll when you catch fire, Monica Johnson, psychologist at counseling and psychological services at Princeton University, says it’s important to stop and take stock of your emotions before you act.

“With all the intense things that are happening socio-politically, we can feel a range of intense emotions and want to do something with them right away, rather than just sit around with them,” she said. “But taking the time to stop and just allow yourself to experience your emotions is super important. Sitting with your emotions and acknowledging how you are feeling can ground you and move forward from there.

To reflect, ask yourself:

  • what just happened
  • What did you observe?
  • How do you feel?
  • why do you feel this way

2. Tap on your values

What drives you? What motivates you? Why do you want to act or react? Understanding your values ​​before committing yourself gives you a clear picture of who you are, what you believe in and what you stand for.

“In the face of a crisis, it can be tempting to step in with good intentions,” said Charlotte Collins, the Pace Center’s senior associate director. “But if you do so without an understanding of why you want to get involved, valuable energy can be wasted on reactionary activism.”

To identify and examine your values, consider the following:

  • What was a time when you felt called to action? What motivated you?
  • What are your passions? what do you love about them
  • What skills do you have?
  • Who do you know that could help you?

That Princeton RISE Resource Guidewhich provides an accessible framework for learning about systemic racism and actions individuals can take, sets out additional areas that need to be considered in order to be an effective ally and advocate.

3. Connect with the community

Starting with the communities closest to you and joining forces with others can be a great way to make a lasting and powerful impact. ask yourself:

  • Which other people/groups are already working on this topic?
  • Who can you contact to find out more?

At Princeton undergraduate and graduate student groupsas well as employee-oriented Employee Resource Groups, focus on a variety of issues. The Pace Center allows members of the campus community Join us with local community groups or meet with his Community Partners-in-Residence to explore ideas for connections.

“When I teach, I ask two questions: How committed are you? And is that sustainable?” said Ida Malloy, community partner-in-residence and civic engagement coordinator at the Baldwin School. “It can be difficult for people to acknowledge that people in need know what they need and when they need it, and it can be difficult to stick to something over time, but it’s important to be realistic about what you do.” ready to do and what needs to be done.”

4. Look back to go forward

As current events unfold, a broader look at understanding the historical and contemporary contexts of an issue can reveal why something is happening and what factors led to that moment. As a faculty mentor service focus, Aaron Shkuda, historian and project manager of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, encourages students to ask questions: “You see a building or a landscape and you might ask, ‘Well, what is that? Deal with it? How come?”

Earlier this summer, more than 25 members of the Princeton University community attempted to answer questions about the community surrounding campus and participated in one hike to learn more about the history of the African American experience in the city of Princeton.

“It was important to get out of my own orange bubble,” said Micaela Ortiz, associate director of alumni engagement and experiential learning at the Center for Career Development. “I’ve done similar things on campus like them invisible princeton self guided tours, but all have orientated themselves on campus. It’s about working on my own blind spot. I want to learn more about the people and places in our community.”

5. Stop the doom scrolling

The obsessive impulse to quickly flip through negative news can affect your mood and leave you feeling helpless. Instead, be mindful of where and how you consume news, and take steps to diversify your news consumption.

“There’s a rush from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep,” said Joe Stephens, founding director of Princeton’s journalism program. “It’s in newspapers, on websites, in apps, on your phone, on your watch. It’s everywhere, so much so that we don’t even realize we’re consuming media. Or that the media will consume us.”

To stop Doomscrolling, Stephens recommends six strategies to have more control over your media diet. Some tips include:

  • Choose a time of day to consume carefully informed journalism.
  • Look for substantive, trustworthy, and verified information alongside anything just plain funny or silly.
  • Be a responsible media consumer and think about where the news on your social media feed is coming from. “Ask yourself: who produced it and why?” said Stephens. “And is anyone somewhere along the food chain working to verify the facts?”

6. Make your voice heard

“[Voting] is one of the best ways to really have a more direct impact on your community and where you live,” said Ana Blanco, a Miami-based junior and Co-Head Fellow at Vote 100 at Princeton. “Voting is the most fundamental thing we can do to contribute to democracy and contribute to a more representative voice in government.”

Vote100 is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) and seeks to ensure Princeton residents vote in every election. To be an educated voter, Blanco recommends looking beyond a candidate’s personal history and examining their specific record or stance on politics. Nonprofits or grassroots organizations that advocate for specific issues can also be a good resource for understanding how a candidate is performing, she says.

Those of the Pace Center Voting and active citizen website provides information on voting in New Jersey, links to resources such as ballot ready where you can see what’s on the ballot in US elections and information on campus political student groups and national organizations focused on elections and democracy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *