Biological/ Physical Development:
Honestly, my body did not change much from the age of twelve to eighteen. Other than growing an inch to an inch and a half, going up in clothes one size, and physically growing in the chestal area, I have been the same size since I was twelve years old. To be completely honest, the only reactions I can remember to my physical and biological changes were negative. When my chest grew at the ages of twelve and thirteen, I was upset by it and in denial. I was also upset when I went up a size in clothing. Growing up, I was always self-conscious of my size and even though my size change was not necessarily due to weight gain, it resonated with me all the same.
From twelve to eighteen years old, I participated in volleyball and choir mainly. Volleyball was an extremely physical activity as I practiced and worked out for a minimum of two to three hours every weekday for about six years. In choir, we dance sometimes while we sang. This became more true my senior year of high school when I was a member of the show choir that would sing and dances for every performance given. Throughout this time, my abilities grew in several ways. For one, my learning ability grew. I learned the sport of volleyball like it were the back of my hand. I also learned to read music, harmonize with others, and dance. Another way my abilities grew was with respect to endurance. The more I worked out, the more I was able to do it later on. Lastly, my ability to work with others grew as well. Both activities I spent most of my time in were centered around teamwork. For both volleyball and choir, I had to learn how to work with others.
During this time in my life, I was not very health-conscious at all. My metabolism worked so hard and fast that I could eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted while still losing weight. My activity level was always pretty high during that time. My sleeping schedule was fairly constant, and I usually got five to seven hours of sleep a night. Growing up in general, I never required much sleep, so five to seven hours of sleep was adequate, and I woke up in a pleasant mood often.
Cognitive/ Psychological Development:
In school, I always excelled. From kindergarten through senior year, I was in advanced classes whenever they were available. From the age of 12 through 18, I took the equivalent of AP classes and advanced classes as well. For example, I took algebra one in seventh grade and took two extra math classes throughout my school career. On top of the required math classes, I took Business Calculus along with BC Calculus, which was a combination of calculus one and calculus two. In my senior year, I graduated number eleven in my class of over six hundred students.
Social/ Emotional Development:
Forming my own sense of identity was difficult at this time. I didn’t feel like I fit into just one group because I fit in with the athletes, the musically inclined students, and the academically inclined students. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Then, as I went to high school, I was in the shadow of my sister. I was known as Bailee‘s little sister instead of Foster. After my sister graduated, my last two years of high school or more of finding my own identity. At that point, the choir had become my sole focus and that’s where I felt like I belonged the most. My identity was found in whatever activity I was doing.
As stated before, my interaction with my parents was fairly good because I got along with almost everybody. I fit in with multiple groups and I had friends in multiple groups. My interaction with my parents was really good as well. I have always had a very strong and open relationship with my parents. As for the opposite sex, I was always nervous around boys that I was interested in. I had many guy friends with that I did not have a romantic interest and I was just like siblings with all of them. In my sophomore year of high school, I started a relationship with a guy I was inquiring with. This relationship lasted for a year and a half until the beginning of my senior year in high school. Throughout that relationship, I learned many things about myself and relationships. Even though that relationship didn’t work out, we both learned a lot and had a better understanding of how to relate to others.
Putting It All Together:
During the semester, we looked into several theories. These include Piaget’s Theory, Vygotsky’s Theory, Erickson’s Psychological Stage Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, and empathy in regard to moral development. Throughout this time, all of these theories can relate to my development. To Piaget’s Theory, the ages for the Formal Operational Stage are ages twelve and up. During this stage, Piaget describes how there is an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and the understanding of abstract ideas. People are also able to think more scientifically about the world around them. This can be seen throughout my cognitive development. During this time, I was able to excel in school because of my increase in logic, use of deductive reasoning, and understanding of abstract ideas. I was able to see Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development in my athletic and choral experiences. The scaffolding technique was seen here. As stated before, I learned how to do all of the skills for both of these activities, and then as time goes on, the coach and director had a more hands-off approach where the students were able to do things on their own. The approach was that they would assist much in the beginning and gradually assist less and less until they were completely hands-off. Erickson’s Psychosocial Stages Theory can be seen throughout my social and emotional development. As stated before, I don’t feel like I fit into just one group and I went through an identity crisis. My identity was found and what I did, so when my activities changed, my identity changed as well. This is a common thing to see in people aged twelve to eighteen. As a group older though, I became more secure in who I was and what my identity was. This crisis ended up being resolved later on. The Psychoanalytic Theory is where guilt and the desire to avoid feeling guilty are the foundation of moral behavior. Growing up, I was always aware of my conscience. If I ever did anything wrong, I always felt guilty. I would get this feeling where my stomach would drop and I would just feel awful. This theory is one of the theories that relate to my moral development and feeling. As I grew, my empathy for others increased as well. Empathy is another theory of moral feeling and development that is been seen the semester. I have always been able to feel the emotions of someone else. For the longest time, I just believed this to be sympathetic toward others, but then I learned that feeling what others were feeling was empathy instead of feeling sorry for others, which is sympathy. Growing up, empathy helped my moral development as well. Instead of just feeling bad about what I did and trying to void it to avoid feeling bad, I would try to imagine what somebody else would feel if I had done something. The empathy that I have has molded my whole life. As weird as I feel talking about myself, I have become aware of my uniquely soft heart and kind-hearted nature. I always assumed that everybody else had the same exact feelings I did, but as I grew older, my parents discussed with me how that is not the case. Throughout all of the stages for me ages twelve to eighteen, the theories we talked about a class of been relatable to my life. While I did not know it at the time, my life followed the norm that everybody else faced as well. If I had known about these theories during those developmental stages, maybe things would not have taken as long for me to understand.
- Santrock, J. W. (2018). A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.