But Mom, My Professor Picks Favorites… & I’m Not One of Them!

A paradigm is a lens at which someone perceives the world. For example, if you were to have sunglasses that make the world look darker, after a while, the darker colors look normal to you. In the world of sustainability, we view everything with sustainable sunglasses per se. We as sustainability activists see the world as an opportunity for sustainable practices such as an disposable plastic waterbottle, we see a need for a reusable replacement such as a HydroFlask. For the YES vs. NO Globalization reading, both authors had a sustainable lens when looking at the effects of globalization. The YES author said the key to sustainability is globalization because through global trade, we can life other civilizations out of poverty and empower those people to also make change in the world. However, the NO author said the key to sustainability is the opposite of globalization through practices such as material loops, locality, and shared property. Through further research on paradigms, I found that there are two natures of paradigms, the negativity (victim) paradigm, and the positivity (agent) paradigm. The negativity/victim approach is the “it wasn’t me” attitude toward social issues; whereas, the positivity/agent approach takes responsibility in social issues. We, as a younger generation, need to ask ourselves how can I help this situation instead of believing we cannot do anything about the situation at hand. So, how can we begin this process of positivity and agency?

As members of Generation Z, we college students are typically assumed by others to act as the victim. Throughout a typical school day, students complain about their grades blaming it on how professors pick favorites, there’s not enough time to watch Netflix between assignments, the answers aren’t on Chegg, or that the class is just plain boring. The negativity surrounding college students and their success comes down to playing the victim card when in reality they are their own victim. I’ll admit, sometimes I fall into this mindset. Recently, with the pandemic and with school ramping up before Thanksgiving Break, I have played victim with school work. I have been treating every task at hand like a chore instead of an opportunity to learn. During Tuesday’s class, the opportunity to practice mindfulness was a break I didn’t realize I needed. Throughout the past week, I have been using Calm.com to bring myself back to the positivity paradigm. My usual hunger for more time was traded with a practice for making space. Anxiety about due dates, the current pandemic, the election, and other worries have caused mental and physical stresses on my body that I didn’t realize until I did my first 10-min meditation podcast. My mind had been spinning with responses to future concerns. Meditating helped me focus on my current surroundings, my current physical being, and my current mental state. Yes, the world seems like it’s falling out of the sky, but what can I do every day to increase my joy, decrease my anxiety, and spread positivity to my peers who think similar to me.

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