Who we are, how people see us?

The 4th of July weekend was a great time to disconnect from the routine, spend time with myself and hang out with good friends. What a better way than having brunch in the morning and drinks at night. For a foreign person who is living by himself in another country and away from his family, friends become family. This means they know all the good and bad in my life.

While we were having drinks, we started talking about deeper topics such as personal experiences in life. One of my friends talked about a terrible experience he had on a date where he felt emotionally attacked by a guy who had bad overall impression of him, based on personal characteristics; what were those characteristics? Living in Chelsea, being in shape and caring about fashion. Based on these three elements, the guy told him (in a funny way) that he was a “Chelsea Boy”. My friends immediately asked him what that was. The guy defined this as a shallow, cocky and promiscuous person. But that wasn’t the first time that he had to hear that from people on dates. Continue reading

Photo Credit: Rod Spark

Does Twitter Matter When it comes to a Reaching a World Without HIV/AIDS?

Highlights from the HEARD Institute presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne

Ask anyone on the street – is social media changing our world? Indefinitely you will hear how Facebook and Twitter are both bringing people closer together and ripping the fabric of our world apart.  Researchers are using social media more and more to understand more about us as humans and how our online environment impacts us to predicting elections and flu outbreaks. Continue reading

What we are watching for on Tuesday at the International AIDS Conference…

IAC 2014 Tuesday Theme: What’s holding us back and how do we move faster?

Tuesday is a big day for us here at HEARD. Our very own Dr. Miriam Vega is presenting our research at the International AIDS Conference – #Retweet This: HIV Stigma in the Twitterverse . If you are attending, stop by the presentation at 4:30pm! More to come on this…

We have several sessions that we have our eyes on for Tuesday’s theme, however oddly stated.  Holding Back? Moving Faster?”  Two themes in one!  Anyway, here are a few sessions we have our eyes on. Continue reading

All that I learned from one little sign…

I recently was sent to the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Not only was this the first time I traveled there but also this was the northernmost latitude I have ever visited, so rest assured I was excited.  (Yeah, I do care for these trivialities)

Without really knowing much more of the cities than where they were located, I jumped right into one of my favorite hobbies, “people watching”.  In a matter of minutes, it was obvious to me that there was a noticeable population of Asian individuals. As I do when curious, I asked around and drained my phone battery using Google. Turns out that the people I was seeing were Hmong and that Minnesota has the second largest population of Hmong immigrants in the United States, so I was in for a treat of history finding. Continue reading

Real Stories Series: Psychology and me!

I recently attended the annual psychology day at the United Nations. It was interesting to see the different points of views of the presenters in terms of contributing to build a sustainable world with peaceful societies. Psychology is a powerful science that could not only help to have a better world but also to understand myself better. While I know this now, growing up I remember hearing only that psychology was something for very mentally ill people, not for students, workers or families. In senior high school, I started studying psychology for the first time. At that time in my life, I was experiencing rejection by my parents because they found out about my sexual preference. At the same time, I started in a new high school where I was bullied everyday by my classmates for my sexuality as well.

As I started the psychology class, I learned that behavioral theories and psychology studies can benefit human behavior in general. I was very interested. At 16 years old, I started reading advanced books including the DSM-IV (that is the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”), which for me was the bible of psychology. I wanted to know why my parents and classmates rejected me and treated me so bad and cruelly. I thought that by reading and learning all about human behavior I could find an answer for my problems.

When I graduated from high school, I decided to apply for psychology school. I was rejected the first time, but that didn’t stop me to believe in what I wanted to be. I applied again after a year and I was admitted. I was really excited to be around people who had the same interests as me, but also the fact that I was going to learn all about human behavior at a higher level. When I was in the fourth semester, one of my professors from psychometric taught me a valuable lesson which changed the reason I wanted to become a psychologist. She told me that, the solution to my problems was not in becoming a psychologist, because the real solution was inside of me all the time. On the other hand, I should think about helping others, make the world a better place by studying the problems societies are facing and coming up with solutions.

After that conversation, I started to think about everything she said and I realized that “The way I see and treat the world is the same way that the world sees and treats me.” I was still excited about studying human behavior but in an organizational environment. That’s when I decided to switch majors to Human Resources Management. After I finished my degree, I worked in payroll and recruitment, but it wasn’t until I started working more on motivation, performance, skills, training and development that I realized that it was possible to make a contribution to the world by understanding employees’ behavior from an organizational perspective.

When I was at the UN psychology day, I remembered all of these moments of my life, and I would say that it is very important to always have a spirit of service and helping others. Contributions are important, no matter if they are big or small. In the conference, the experts brought different perspectives. But in the end, what is important to know is that human beings are the most valuable resource to make this world better. Without them it wouldn’t be possible to have technology, infrastructure and many other things. We don’t need to be a psychologist to make this world a better place to live.

Written By: Ruben Rios

Follow @rubendriosv

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