These past eight weeks of chaos in this crazy time I have been enrolled online in the Oklahoma State course, Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice for Design Housing Merchandising students and I have learned quite a bit. Despite not being one of those design merchandising students, and despite the madness of the times, I have learned about the course material as well as various problems we studied, about the people I have worked with and how their mindsets work. I have also learned about myself and how my own thinking can be beneficial as well as harmful to the world around me. The type of learning we did in this course involved a lot of small group discussion and breakout rooms, in addition to meeting as a whole class, and I think that doing so made this course an incredibly beneficial as well as thought enhancing experience. Even within my own info graphic project group, we all had very different ideas, opinions, life experience, and ways of going about things that gave us a chance to learn from each other. It was really incredible to get to hear out, as well as learn from , my group members and other individual’s opinions and perspectives on multiple wicked problems that were discussed throughout the course. In addition to learning things from my fellow students, I have taken away knowledge of several things from this class itself, but I would say the primary thing that I have learned is that wicked problems, if they are truly wicked, have no single or perfect solution. They have many solutions and none of these solutions are the end all be all for that problem. I would like to say that coming into this class I learned the cure to cancer, learned how to resolve all global as well as local conflicts, learned how to end poverty, and learned how to undo man’s effects of global warming, but I did not do this. Instead, I came out of this class with a greater understanding of the breadth of the complexities of wicked problems such as these and many others. I now understand that the problems that truly plague humanity as well as our planet are understood in many different ways by different groups of people with different interests, and the solutions to these confusing problems are viewed in the same way- there are numerous varying solutions for all these wicked problems and there is no one size fits all.
After working on this group project info graphic for multiple weeks, I realized there is quite a bit more I would like to learn about a few of the topics that were covered in class. One of these is the problem of plastic pollution that my group and I created our info graphic over and I would like to better understand what I, as an individual, can do to help keep the plastic pollution out of the ocean, waterways, landfills, etc. Another thing I want to understand better is the fundamentals of global warming and the multitude of possible solutions and approaches. The final thing that was discussed throughout class time that I want to understand better is the idea of cap and trade as a solution to multiple pollution issues. It is a concept I have never fully understood so I would like to learn more about cap and trade as a potential solution as well as how this is regulated by the government, so that I can better understand how we can use this concept in the future to help solve our numerous pollution issues. On the other side of things, although it is often difficult to see, every individual has the ability to have a positive impact within their personal circle of influence. I realize that I have the ability to make waves, even if they are small ones. My primary example that I like to use on how one person can make said waves, is the time I convinced my grandparents to start recycling. After just a few weeks of recycling everything from paper to glass, it was going very well and they felt they were making a positive impact alongside me, so they started talking to their friends at church and some of those families started recycling too after we talked to them. I am at University where I am becoming further educated and, now that I am at college, as well as have made many college friends, my circle of influence is even wider, so I can further make an impact on the world about the things I very passionately care about.
Overall, I have greatly enjoyed this course and all that I have learned from it. I feel that coming out of this course I am a better communicator, a more mindful thinker, as well as a more passionate person. I learned so much from my peers who were nothing but kind and wonderful, I learned so much from my professor who was very patient, kind, and has great taste in music, and I learned a lot from myself- once I was able to take a deep breath and a step back to be grounded. I will continue to practice trying to be a mindful individual and meditating so that I can make a positive impact towards solving some of the wicked problems within my own field. I can also continue to strive for spreading positive influence within my own circle of influence so I can spread the ideas that are most important to me, while also being open to other interpretations of wicked problems as well as other people’s ideas for solutions. Going forward I will carry this fundamental understanding that wicked problems are not a one size fits all when it comes to understanding them as well as finding solutions, I will also carry the understanding that to go about solving any of them, we need to look at these things from multiple perspectives and do our best to accommodate all of the most significant ones.