Published on 01.11.2013

An essential part of every JUMP! Program is introducing the simple model of Prisoner, Vacationer and Change-Maker (PVC). This model creates an awareness of where we are mentally as individuals in any given situation.  At the beginning of our programs, we ask students to talk about or act out what each one of these words means to them. 

When we picture a prisoner, it is someone who takes on the mindset of feeling stuck, imprisoned in a certain situation or frame of mind. Essentially, they choose not to engage in any kind of constructive way and may take quite a negative approach to the situation. In the classroom, it may be a student who would rather be home, is unwilling to participate in an activity and is not ready to break outside of their comfort zone in order to create a positive experience for themselves. 

A vacationer, on the other hand, may be a student who is aware of what is happening and is taking in the action. However, they are not actively engaging in the classroom or with their environment. They may be sitting in class, looking at their phone or falling asleep, and going with the flow. They are not too concerned with what is happening.

Change-makers are constantly making changes or breaking out of the status quo by posing questions, initiating communication and taking charge of situations. If they think something should be done, they take the necessary action to make it happen. They are seen as students who embrace and help facilitate change in the classroom and the community.

The important thing to acknowledge is that all three of these are mindsets.  When you take on a prisoner mindset, you are choosing to be a prisoner and the same goes for a vacationer or change-maker. We can take on all three mindsets in the same day, even within the same hour. When we are confronted with a situation in which we feel like a prisoner, we can acknowledge that we have the power and the choice to take on a vacationer or change-maker mindset instead. All it takes is for us to recognize and accept our current state of mind and make the choice to act in a different, more constructive way. The arrows in the model above point in both directions because these mindsets can be interchangeable; we may be a vacationer one minute and be a change-maker the next.   The most crucial component of this model is to understand what impact our state of mind can have on the people around us. When a student is taking on a prisoner mindset in a certain group activity, how might this impact the other students in the class?  The same goes for a change-maker; if we are constantly operating in this mindset of wanting to change everything, eventually we will drive everyone insane. Therefore, it is important to take a step back in any given situation, assess your state of mind and decide where you fall within the model, and recognize whether or not that is where you want to be and what you can do to change if you wish to do so. 

There is no right or wrong answer to how you should be in any given situation. It is okay to be a prisoner, a vacationer or a change-maker. We are individuals who possess the power of our own free will. We can decide how to use our time effectively and in a manner that we feel is fulfilling, but we should remember that whatever we do, it should be done wholeheartedly. We remind students in our programs that we create our own experiences and if you put fifty percent into a certain situation, you most likely will get fifty percent in return. But if you put one hundred percent into the things that you do in school or anything in life, the benefits you reap are limitless.  In any given situation it is important to be aware of the mindset you hold and allow yourself to be in the present moment.  

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