Looking at my schedule and seeing: Wicked Problems of Industrial Use starts today… I was intimidated. Walking into the first class period, I was hesitant of what’s to come. I opened the door to beanbag chairs, thirty unfamiliar faces and no idea what the class was about. Turned out to be the most influential class I have taken all year.
The beanbag chairs were contributors to the calm and relaxed vibe the classroom upheld. I think Dr. Armstrong wanted us to be comfortable before she hit us with knowledge of the dying world. HA. The plush seating also helped with practicing mindful behavior techniques. A concept I never knew much about or how to do it. We performed many different kinds of meditation and that is something I am grateful for. We were always changing things up so I could see what practice benefitted me the most and carry that on after the classroom. I was always eager to come to class to see what out of the box ideas Dr. Armstrong could throw at us. I am thankful for her unique and experienced perspective to help alter and transform some of my own previous knowledge. Even though the beanbag chairs could have been too comfortable at times after a long day, the people sitting next to me really made the class worth it.
With thirty new faces in the class with similar interests to me, I was bound to find some new friends. Dr. Armstrong had us participate in a lot of group discussions and I am appreciative of the impact it had on me. I met a ton of new girls who were studying in the same field as me. Some girls had been in my other classes all year, but due to the overwhelming amount of lectures in the other courses, I hadn’t had a chance to meet them yet. Dr. Armstrong really helped me build relationships with other people who I can have genuine conversations with about important matters. This class was the base for a lot of new relationships with girls I will be seeing in many of my classes for the next three years. Group discussions over the curriculum also gives you a new perspective and ideas that you hadn’t thought of and I think that is such a positive thing to bounce ideas off others. My favorite saying is, “two heads are better than one” because I like hearing the opinions and thoughts of others. It may spark your creativity or knowledge into thinking of something you never have before. Group discussions and the discussion based teaching in this class thoroughly assisted in my learning of wicked problems and beyond.
The information I soaked in during the four-week period was substantial. From pollution to deforestation to overpopulation to climate change to consumption. It doesn’t end!!!! I was baffled by my unawareness. I could be contributing in just small, simple ways to help the environment. Reducing my plastic water bottle intake, reusing supplies, recycling more materials and buying ecofriendly products are minuscule ways I can implement in my life. But it doesn’t have to stop there. For my future career in the fashion industry, my knowledge of textile harm and waste will contribute to the way I work and how I can obtain the same outcome in an environmentally friendly way. Using sustainable materials that could be reused or biodegrade are also ideas. With my sweatshop information I gained from the Wicked Investigative Report assignment, I now have a large familiarity with sweatshops and ways to avoid them. I know the effects and damage it causes to the laborers and I will never tolerate any link to them. The harsh working conditions, minimal pay, zero benefits, child labor, intense hours… all for profit? We are putting the value of a dollar, over the value of a human. Even doing simple research on what companies or brands have had a relation to sweatshops is sickening. It makes me boycott the brand and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth about what they stand for. All of this knowledge has transformed my thinking of the environment in relation to my future career.
In the end, I know many different meditation techniques to practice. I built friendships that will go beyond the classroom. I am more conscious of our planet. I am more attentive of my actions and the consequences of them. I am more aware of pollution, animals, plants, weather, toxic chemicals, factories, cars, trees, crops, urbanization, technology, waste, materials, trends, fashion, nonrenewable resources, population growth, biodiversity loss and many other topics we discussed or just touched on in this course. As you can see, I have gained a great deal of knowledge that will follow me in my future and I hope to continue my learning of sustainability in other courses throughout my college career.