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A Sense of Self

My name is Nicole. I am a senior, living in Bricktown, New Jersey. Thinking back to life as a freshman makes me realize how many things have changed. My social and emotional growth has been affected by many factors. During my early years I was totally dependent on my parents. I also needed social and moral guidance.

I was born into a single parent family 17 years ago. My mother and I had the love and support of my grandparents and four uncles. I realize now, each and every day, how lucky we are to have them in our lives. Being an only child I felt extremely well cared for. I was spoiled with love and affection. For years I did not have to compete for my mothers time or attention. When my mother married in 1993 when I was nine years old. It was a very difficult time for me. I felt that Bob was invading our lives. He loved me like his own and adopted me shortly after. It took years for our relationship to grow. Lots of love, patience, and caring, eventually led to my love for him as my new dad.

Heredity and environmental influences determine personalities. I tested many different kinds of behavior on people closest to me. As I became more social I wanted to imitate friends, adults, characters on TV, in movies, or that I read about in books. Friends sometimes seemed more important than schoolwork, hobbies, sports, or other activities.

Friendships are an important aspect of everyone's life. For me, they have been a source of both pleasure and frustration. Friends have allowed me to experience myself as a leader and follower, a winner and loser, and as an equal. Mutual respect between friends has been very important. I learned the negative aspects of friendships, as well as the positive ones. Through trial and error I have gradually come to understand the complexities of friendship. Liking others and being liked was vital for my social development. I have learned to establish and maintain specia...

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