I Took the Class, Now What?

Introductions are hard but saying goodbye is even more difficult. It’s strange to have a class end halfway through the semester, but it gives me a benchmark to look forward to. I’m halfway through this task, what can I do with my new time? Solve the world’s problems? I’ll work on it. I’ve taken the class, now where do I go from here?

This course was so fun to take, even through distance learning that can be difficult to pay attention to. In this class however, I felt super connected with the course work, with my classmates, and Dr. Armstrong. Maybe it was the necessity to show our cameras so we have to look attentive as well as being so. Maybe its the fact that Dr. Armstrong called on us, and we had to be ready to answer to the best of our abilities. It became like a game to me; Ooo who is she going to call on first? Is it me? How should I answer? What should I start with? It made it very compelling to try and answer the questions whether I was called on or not, it was refreshing for an online class. 

It was really engaging to be able to interact with classmates on calls as well. Discussing the topics and hearing different perspectives of my peers was so interesting and I looked forward to it every time. I tried to contribute as much as I could at these times when we were in breakout rooms. I tried giving my opinions and perspectives on things as clearly as possible. It was nice to have a time where we were encouraged to share. That was sometimes challenging though when breakout rooms would have people who read different articles and are coming in with a different viewpoint than myself. Despite this bump in the road it was still fun to give my points and try to explain them and agree with some and then listen to other people’s points and try to learn from my classmates to see how the other side of a coin is being dealt with. 

If I was ever in a group with people I didn’t know very well I would try to be really friendly and let everyone talk and make sure to listen to them. It’s not a group discussion if someone stays silent! Plus, it’s never fun to be forced to keep your input to yourself when the whole point to it was to share and learn from each other. Encouraging others to share and making sure to include them is sometimes the easiest way to make friends, and I’m so happy to say that I’ve made some really good connections with people through this course. 

I wish there was a little bit more time to discuss with Dr. Armstrong. There was one or two instances where I wasn’t super clear in the subject matter and it definitely reflected in my reading assignments. But luckily, there was enough time when coming back to the group to clarify things and classmates were always ready to explain things to me in a different way. I wish I could have had more time to explain rural poverty, as some of my family members were ranchers and had to think about these things and live through them. I feel like I could have given some real world insight to the topic and maybe find some different ways to see into the problem. 

After this course, I now have so much information about what makes a wicked problem a wicked problem. Now I know why someone doesn’t just “fix” the problems we have in the world, it’s much more complex than that. I think that’s the most important takeaway for us to have. Part of solving a problem is understanding it and being able to explain it to others. There are so many folds of an issue it takes knowledge to get into the folds and fully comprehend it. Even a problem that seems like such a simple fix like pollution. “Just stop polluting!” right? WRONG. 

There are so many variables that go into a wicked problem that the idea of it having a cure all solution is prosperous. It is both enlightening and disheartening that this dynamic takes place. It does open up the opportunity for so many different creative solutions for those variables. In our infographic problem, my group specifically, I did my panel on solutions to textile waste. There are so many different ways that people are trying to do. Fermentation, recycling textiles, water purification, it’s all so interesting and so niche but so very important for environmental conservation. I really wish the course focused a little more on what is happening already to combat these wicked problems but it is a smart thing to do, by not teaching about it. 

It encourages the students to do their own research outside of class. I think I personally will be doing research on textile recycling, and tracking where the waste ends up. I didn’t fully understand that the U.S.’ second hand clothing ends up in other countries, disrupting their economy as well as their own second hand clothing industry. The track is fascinating and I can’t wait to see what I find in my own research. Maybe I’ll be one of the people who ends up helping this problem. 

I’m glad I took this class. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to take it too, especially when you think of the time we’re living in. It might be the 11th hour, at 11:59 but it also feels like we’re pressed even further for that time limit with the current global situation. I hope that humanity can work together to combat our mistakes, and take the logical and felt out paths that we’ve devised to take on this goliath of a wicked problem. I’m excited to share my new knowledge with the people around me. I can share with my roommates how recycling things is more important than we think and what to do with clothes before they throw them out and explain how investing in “long lasting” options are worse than the beginning product. That fact was new to me too and I’m going to be looking into different, more sustainable routes to take around that option. The class made me more conscious about my existence in the space I take up so I want to leave the space I inhabit better than I found it. 

We coexist with the world, and right now we are it’s parasite. I hope to change my own personal ambitions and hopefully inform others so they will want to do the same to where it benefits the world, as well as myself. I’ve taken the class, now where do I go from here?

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