When the day to the start of my Wicked Problems class inched closer and closer, I did not know whether to be anxious or excited. I had no idea what to expect from the course, what it would cover, how it would be taught- heck, I didn’t even know what a “wicked problem” was. But as of now, it has proven to be the most influential course that I have taken so far, something I did not expect given it was only a four week course. From practicing mindfulness to debating the problems of the industry we will be working in, I have learned so much in the course, and have gained a sense of purpose in both myself and in the world around me.
The first thing I would like to touch on would be practicing mindfulness throughout the month. When the concept was introduced to us, I was a little skeptical. I have “tried” meditation before, but I never really focused on practicing it, or really focusing in on what I was trying to do/accomplish. I never had direction, so after a short amount of time of my mind wandering and not concentrating on what was happening presently and not being in the moment. Understanding what it means to practice mindfulness and having someone to help guide us through the process helped me tremendously. I also learned while practicing new techniques each class that not all forms work for me. For example, I am much more focused during the listening meditation than I was during the object meditation. Having my eyes open during the object meditation allowed more external distractions catch my attention, while having my eyes closed help me focus in on the present and use the sound to ground me and give something to solely focus my attention on. The moving meditation I felt was the most difficult, due to the fact that it was done in a small area with a lot of people. Usually to clear my head, I like to go for a walk or a run, but these activities are done in solitude, where I don’t have to worry about keeping up with someone, or having someone keep up with me- I can just focus on myself, my breath, and my steps. Since introduced to mindful practice, I have begun to make it a habit to take about 5 minutes in the morning to just focus on myself, on what I need to do, and to clear my head before I start the day. I’ve noticed that it helps me with my anxiety, and the stress of school and daily life, so I have benefitted greatly from this activity.
The next thing I would like to reflect on are the problems in our industry. While I was aware of the detrimental effects that we have on our environment, I honestly did not think that our industry was tied to it as much as it was. But I also realized that our industry is one that could have a major impact in changing how we operate, how we use our materials, how we dispose of materials, and how we can integrate green technology into our products and design. I am also more aware of my own impact and strive actively every day to be more conscious about how I use things, how much of something I use, and how I dispose of things. Recently my apartment complex introduced recycling bins, so I have been doing more recycling since the option is now easily available for me. Although we are doing great damage to our earth, there is time for us to try and mend the damage we’ve inflicted. Everyone has the ability to make a change, from a child in Oklahoma to the governments of the world. There is opportunity for change, and we can act upon it.
Mindfulness has also had an impact on how I view the problems of our world. Just like I now take the time to work and take care of myself, I want to take care of our world which has provided for us. The current state of how we live is not sustainable, which then causes the problems that we have discussed in class such as global warming, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. If we don’t take care of our planet, our planet cannot take care of us. But we can change this, and it all starts with us.