When I found out about this wicked problems class and that it was only a month long my first thought was, oh this will be a piece of cake. As the semester went on and the beginning of the class crept nearer, I began getting more and more nervous. My other classes were starting to get more demanding and my stress was through the roof. I woke up the morning of October 15th, put on some comfy clothes and eventually arrived outside the door of room 215. The doors were still locked when I got there so I sort of wandered down the hall and back until I noticed other students trudging through the doorway. Stepping into the room I saw a number of bean bags and figured that it was just a first day of class specialty. My nerves slowly melted away as I saw a familiar face and I plopped my body into the bright blob of foam beside her. This was the place that changed me forever.
As each Tuesday and Thursday proceeded, the others surrounding me all brought something valuable to the safe space. At first I was too shy to share much. I would get scared that what I would say may sound like I did not understand what in the world we were sharing about. I slowly became more comfortable with the other girls and my professor, and started putting more of myself into the room. Even if I did not quite grasp the topic, I still felt secure in what I wanted to say. We all had different perspectives and outlooks of the issues discussed and it felt good to have others listen and explain their own understandings. I feel that that was the biggest contribution that any of us could have made. It can be extremely intimidating talking about anything in front of multiple other people, especially for myself, so I had to bundle up some courage and reveal my thoughts to them, sometimes partly slumped over the side of the blue or orange Big Joe. Maybe the only thing they took away from it was a bunch of gibberish, but I also could have planted something new in someone else’s mind. For me, participating in discussion and learning from my peers was my biggest contribution but also my biggest takeaway.
I admitted in my first blog that before this class I never really focused on the problems the world is facing such as pollution and global warming, but now my eyes are wide open. Though I have recently started recycling, I still most definitely want to learn more about these issues because I feel that they are easily looked past or just blatantly ignored. The truth is, we are lazy. We do not want to deal with it or believe that it is real, so we put it off on someone else, creating an endless cycle of negligence. I want to make a difference, and though that difference may be small at first, it could grow into something much bigger if I take the right steps and help others join the journey.
I am usually the friend that others want to come to for advice and rant to when needed. I feel I am a good influence on others and as said above, one small step can end up making a huge difference. Implementing ideas for a positive change into my family and friends could ultimately lead to that big difference. If I can help the ones around me begin doing things to help these wicked problems, they can share their personal journey with others and change that negative ‘endless cycle’ into a more sustainable one. Some of the tasks are easy, anyone can do them, but others are much larger than a few people can handle which is why we need to continue to help others be more aware, like this class did for me.
Though this class was short lived, it helped me grow tremendously. I have never taken a class where I had to talk about things that I had little to no knowledge on in front of so many others. I tend to be very introverted and choose not to convey much with others. I like to sit back and listen, taking in the views of others. I got pushed outside of my comfort zone and I am beyond happy about it. I know that I will still struggle with public speaking in the future, but this is only the beginning of what I am capable of. I gained new friends and knowledge about the world we live in, along with what I need to do in order to make an impact. I also felt that this class pushed me to be more responsible. I had to gradually push myself to try harder and go further every week and it was truly invigorating. It was empowering to know more about the things that so many really do not know much about. I hope that I will continue to progress in my understandings and knowledge and be able to provide more when I catch Pixie in a future class with Dr. Armstrong. Maybe there will be the average desks and chairs when I walk into the next room with her standing in it, but the environment will remain the same and that was what kept me feeling comfortable and safe.
I am beyond grateful for every opportunity and door that this course has opened up for me. And I will never forget the “class with the bean bag chairs and the stuffed unicorn”, or the professor with the awesome style.