Oh how the time flies! It is our last blog for the semester. Writing these entries has been a unique experience for me. That awkward feeling of the entire class reading my disorganized thoughts and ramblings was a bit nerve wracking at first. Once you get past the butterflies this assignment actually becomes a fun way to describe your week with your classmates. Anyway, in this final blog I would like to share with you some takeaways from this semester.
Before attending Oklahoma State University I had never heard the phrase Wicked Problems. Sustainability was slightly familiar but still kinda cloudy there. Even though this was a short class, I still retained some great info that I will take into my career. Week by week we had in class activities like debates, meditation, and watching a documentary. The film we watched was called the 11th Hour. Just to summarize, the movie detailed the issues of global environmental health. There were scientists, architects, social activists, and writers who spoke on the various causes of global warming. Honestly I zoned out the first 15 minutes but then I pushed myself to have an open mind. Absorbing all of that content made me an involved student. I began to make more of an effort when participating in class. Even though I am not the greenest person, this was still a class worth taking. As most of you know each week we had writing prompts for a reading we did. Not gonna lie these deadlines stressed me out a little bit, but hey that’s college. All of the articles centered around the apparel industry in some way. For example, one of our prompts discussed poverty and its affects on people and their environment. At first that may not seem related to fashion but it is. A lack of finances reduces someone’s physical health and appearance. The person usually had mismatched, dirty, ill fitting, or torn clothing because it is all they can afford. Fashion can be a way for individuals or groups to display their socioeconomic status to others. So I liked how I could relate each assignment to my degree plan. That gives you some kind of insider facts on how your industry really works. Being aware of these problems now, is motivating me to incorporate them in my future career. You could not be the best writer, but the blogs are still fun because of how you can express yourself. Your blog can be informative, funny, sarcastic, or even idealistic. There is always a creative way to catalog your ideas. Reading my other classmates’ posts was a wonderful experience as well. Many people had such fresh perspectives on similar topics. I love that because our work never really gets boring. You are constantly developing ideas and conversations you can share. Hopefully you guys are having a great time with your blogs as well. Some days it is a struggle to get them done due to writer’s block. Having too many views at one time can become overwhelming to you. This is when another in class activity comes into play. Mindfulness is a valuable method in which to relax one’s mind and body without judgement. Mindfulness will allow a person to focus on their emotions, good or bad. This technique can increase your peace and tranquil energy. I am probably sounding like a hippy right about now, but that’s okay. Centering your thoughts is calming whether you realize it or not. Within our research we learned how it can reduce depression, stress, anxiety, anger, and even selfishness. Never underestimate some quiet time. Another unique part of this class was the group work we did. I was a little surprised because I thought a majority of the work would be papers and slideshows. Many of the assignments were based on verbal communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Juggling this amount of skill sets was a good test for the real world. Regardless of your degree, everyone will have group projects, persuasive arguments, and detailed reports. Stressful, yes I know, but very much needed. Each project was tougher than the last but WE made it! Out of all the classes I am taking, this was the most interesting just because it was so different. Just to wrap this entry up, overall the class taught me to think critically and independently. Always find a new method or solution for any problem you have. That is what wicked problems consists of. There is never one clear answer to any problem you are facing. Even when you do find a solution it may not work for the parties involved. For example, you could tell people to use solar panels to conserve energy. First off, how many people can afford to have them installed? Realistically speaking how many residents, businesses, and institutions can adapt their lifestyles around this new source? For the ones that can, do they isolate themselves from non solar communities? See how having good intentions is a start- but not the desired end result. With all of that being said, I have gained new knowledge, perspectives, resources, and skills that I did not have before attending this class. As for my own personal contributions, I participated in a group project. Also I spoke in class debates even though I am not a fan of public speaking. Helping my classmates open up with their opinions and thoughts was an incredible experience. Being able to share our concerns or questions about our work was good too. Just talking about our classes or our favorite tv shows assisted in breaking down social barriers. I started to notice the tension melt in the classroom. People didn’t feel so nervous around each other. In conclusion taking Wicked Problems aka Sustainability was a fun way to start off my semester. Learning that I am apart of nature and therefore I should respectfully care for it. Super deep and metaphorical right? All lightheartedness aside I did learn to respect nature, understand the ecosystem, and hold myself accountable for the choices I make as a consumer. Anyway I had a great time this semester and I hope you did too.