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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kathryn Heryla on Friday September 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to JRNL 100H at University of Montana taught by Dr. Lee Banville in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views.
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Date Created: 09/30/16
Heryla 1 Kathryn Heryla September 9, 2016 Introduction to Honors Family Tree Analysis Am I Me or Am I My Family? When you see a person it’s hard to think about all that goes into making them who they are. Well after this reflection I hope to know a little bit more about who I am and why I am this way. So, my name is Kathryn Heryla and I am going to tell you about my known family tree. My dad has been doing research for years and he helped me compile all the information you are about to read. I am going to focus on my most immediate family because I feel like they have had the biggest impact on me but then I plan to explore the impact that my extended family have had on me as well. First, is me and my sister Anastasia Heryla we are very different but we also share a lot of similarities. We moved to Montana when I was eight and my sister was twelve so she was more of a California girl while I am more of a Montana girl. For these reasons and many more we aren’t as close as some siblings but she is an amazing role model. She just graduated from Northwestern University with money in the bank from scholarships. She now has a job that pays more than my entire family combined. Most of the time I am very proud of her but there are times when the pressure to live up to her makes me want to give up. I believe that this has largely contributed to how much I vary from her. Sometimes in an effort to be different I have made myself more diverse in my views in beliefs. Heryla 2 However, much I have changed because of my sister, that is nothing compared to how much my mother has influenced my character. My mom has been the soul earner for my family for the past twelve years. On more than on occasion I have felt like complaining about how hard my life is then I remember how hard my mom works every day to be my mom. From moving a thousand miles away from her family to working overtime to get more money she always amazes me. I also get from my mom a sense of responsibility. She looked after her sister when her parents went through their divorce and she also used their example to decide what she wanted from life. My mom never commits to anything she can’t follow through with and she always keeps her word. Frustration is more of a tear jerker than sadness and keeping our emotions in check defines me and my mom. My dad has also been a big influence on my character in some good ways and bad. Him, me and my sister all share a temper that has led to some problems in the past. When I was a kid my dad had many rules that instilled in me a sense of commitment to anything I sign up for. If I started a season I had to finish it, I follow through on my promises. My dad also never accepted any less than the best. Thanks to his motivation I have gotten years of good grades and many rewards for my hard work. In my family it is not normal to show affection openly as some families do. I feel that showing affection mostly on special occasions assures that the meaning of the affection is felt more deeply. My dad has always made me feel pride in my family and I hope to impart the same on my family. In my extended family I feel that the biggest contributing factor to my character is my grandparents divorce. Their divorce caused my mom to take more responsibility than for her age and to fashion her life after her experiences. It is sad to say that my grandmother and grandfather Heryla 3 were rather irresponsible with their parenting roles. Because of this me and my mother are both meticulous with money and responsibilities. My Aunt Patti did much the same thing as my mom. She has a very happy marriage and both she and her husband have great careers. As my closest cousin Megan is really the only member of my family that I connected with. All of my cousins are older than me and typically much older. Because of this and moving miles away from my nearest family I have gotten used to having very limited contact with my family. This has made all family dinners rather foreign to me. Most of my friends have at least one set of grandparents who live in the same town and they have full family dinners most weeks. To me this sounds amazing but I have never really known it. For these reasons extended family has played more of an indirect role in my life. My aunt Patti for example was an idol of mine when I was really little. When I was younger I had trouble connecting with my mom because I felt that she was an older sibling and didn’t understand what it was like to be a younger sibling. It was the same with my dad’s side of the family. I felt drawn to my uncle Andy because he was the youngest and could understand what it was like. Back then I had a very annoying habit of feeling like nobody understood me. Looking back now I feel very foolish and think that maybe this foolishness has shaped my character a little bit. I find it very hard now to listen to anyone complain about anything if they aren’t willing to do anything to fix their situation. When I was so young that I felt completely misunderstood I was that helpless person and I think it is partly the realization of how horrible I was to think such bad things about my family and disgust at myself that made me have such a strong mantra today. I completely understand that there are situations where we need help but asking for help is the only way to get it. There can’t be any time wasted on being too afraid to ask for help. Heryla 4 Though now is when I must admit that I am one of the worst when it comes to asking for help. I believe that it comes from my dad’s side of the family. My grandma was recently diagnosed with a palsy that has inhibited the right side of her face. Despite this she still tries to do everything herself and she feel disgust with herself when she has to rely on my grandpa now for transportation. In much the same way I have a prideful streak in me that runs a mile wide and had on many occasions gotten me in trouble. I realized this pride in my freshman year and I have been trying since then to better myself to accept the help of others. Still to this day I have trouble backing off in a group project and letting the rest of the group do some of the work but I have come to realize that everyone has a forte and that working together can get things done better than doing them all by myself. Very closely akin to my pride is my love of efficiency because very often they walk hand in hand. Growing up in my family always meant chores. Often they weren’t chores done for an allowance but more they were chores done because it was the whole families responsibility to make the house run smoothly. My dad and my grandpa were always hard enforcers of doing things right the first time so that you don’t have to go back and do it again. I used to be a very lazy worker and would have to do may chores many times but then I saw the efficiency that was behind their nagging. Much like them I grew to love getting everything done right and in a timely manner. In many work settings this has helped me excel and gain the admiration of my managers but it has also encouraged my desire to do things myself so that they get done the fastest way possible. Now that I have come to realize this flaw I have gotten better about stepping aside and letting people figure out the best way to get a job done themselves. Now I try Heryla 5 to limit my interference to when I genuinely feel I can help and even then I have found it important to offer my help so as not to hurt others pride like I myself often feel. Many of these traits that I have described are double sided, both good and bad. Now I would like to focus on a piece of family background that I feel has not influenced my character so much but more my family as a whole. On my dad’s side I am almost completely Polish with a little bit of Luxembourgian while on my mom’s there is mostly a mix of western European. I didn’t really realize it before high school but many of my family recipes and traditions come from these roots. Meatballs and sausage were staples of my diet growing up and I never paid it much mind. Both Poland and the British Isles have sausages that have been eaten many times in my house and Swedish meat balls were one of my favorites. However, there was also an interesting cuisine that made its way into our house purely by chance. When my mom was growing up my grandma would work many hours through dinner so my mom and her sister would spend a lot of time eating dinner with their Italian neighbors. In this way Italian food was also a very important comfort food for me because it represents my mom. In many families with mine being no exception there are certain traditions that are observed that are usually a mix of a lot of cultures. For example, in my rather unreligious family instead of saying grace at the thanksgiving table we go around and say what we are thankful for. I love this tradition because it is one of the rare times when my family has emotions out on the table for everyone to see. That rarity makes thanksgiving a very special holiday. Between my sister, my mom and I there is a running joke that you can never do anything right on the holidays. My dad will either get mad at us for being in his way in the kitchen or he will be mad that nobody is helping him. I feel that this is our shared pride and love of efficiency surfacing again but now we just laugh. Heryla 6 To conclude I would like to reflect on perhaps one of the saddest but biggest influences on my life and on my family. For some horrible reason money controls a lot of what happens in the world. I didn’t realize that my family was considered poor until my junior year of high school. My teacher referenced how the housing market fell in 2008 and that many people who were smart and saw it coming were selling in 2006. It was then that I realized that we moved to Montana in 2006 and it wasn’t because my dad was tired of California like I thought. It was because we couldn’t afford to live in California anymore. When I realized this I thought of how we didn’t have any cars newer than 2000, we never spend more money than we needed to, and how we shopped at good will for back to school clothes. Now especially I look back with disgust at how I wasted my parent’s money for ten years on club swim team and I didn’t even get a scholarship out of it. They must have paid thousands of dollars and yet we went to every swim meet and every practice for ten years. I know I can never pay them back but I also realize that it wasn’t about the money. I’m sure it must have hurt my dad to cut the hundred dollar check each month but I think I understand why he did. I only hope that someday I can show that much love and dedication to the things that my children love. In the end I’ve discovered that that is what family is all about. It doesn’t matter so much where your roots are or events that happened three generations back, what matters more is the love that you show your family and the understanding you show for your tree. You can’t ignore the tree but you have to understand it and learn from it then choose to show yourself how you want to be. To summarize, no one is just little pieces of their family, they are ingredients of themselves flavored with the spices of their family.
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