Wicked problems are not the easiest to understand. They aren’t because of their complexity and the fact that there really is no right or wrong solution. And in order to make any progress in attempting to solve a wicked problem, you need to have understanding along with a little passion. This course has taught me what wicked problems are and how to cope with them. I came into this class with a lack of knowledge and completely different perspective about wicked problems, and in these last couple of weeks, I have gained a deeper understanding and compassion for all that goes on in the world and how to handle it.
Originally, I enrolled in this course because I needed the credit hour. After taking this course, I have developed a compassionate curiosity for wicked problems and the world in general. I have been driven by this curiosity to open up and learn more about things I never would have. And it really is bittersweet to see the end as it has been one of the few courses to actually impact me and make a difference in my life. This course has made me want to further my sustainable education, and learn more about sustainability in my specific major: interior design. Practicing mindfulness has been a big part of this for me and has led me to be impacted emotionally, intellectually, and somatically.
I did not know what mindfulness was. And even after practicing it in class, I did not care for it. I thought to myself, honestly, I have too much going on to even incorporate this into my day to day life. I am a first time mom to my little five month old, I am a full time student, I am a wife, and I try to have a social life when life lets me. It seemed too much of an inconvenience to my already busy stressful life at the moment. But each class we would continue doing it, I became more intrigued with this practice. I am not good by any means at time management at the moment or managing my stress and struggles, and practicing mindfulness made me wonder: could this help ground me to manage my life better? So, I started practicing it. I found the best time for me is at night when I can be all alone and really focus with no distractions. I started out just practicing what we did in class and reflecting on my days. Then I started adding in some daily affirmations. I eventually made my husband start doing this with me after seeing the positive impact it has had on me. Doing this together has allowed us to really focus on what each other are feeling and altogether has made us closer. I can see the change in him as well. It has completed changed not only my way of thinking, but the things I do.
This class has brought me so much more awareness about wicked problems that I did not know I contributed to. I am an avid shopper, and not only that I am very impulsive. I tend to buy clothes, shoes, purses, whatever it may be, and wear it once or twice, and never see it again. I throw it out and get new clothes because I get bored or never liked them in the first place. And I never understood I did this until coming to this class and hearing either other people’s experiences or learning about the problems that doing this can cause. After realizing the damage I have done, I am a lot more mindful about not only the items I buy, but where I buy them from, and what I do with them.
My heart is filled with compassion and understanding for wicked problems now. I am more willing, vulnerable, and open as a person I feel like. I have always been respectful when having a disagreement with someone or something, but I feel like I have been closed off to understanding truly why another belief would be believed over mine. Being emotionally connected and mindful has changed that. This has humbled me and allowed me to be more compassionate towards others and wicked problems in general.
I am not only intellectually and emotionally transformed, but also my body and spirit has transformed. I am twenty one years old and I have not chosen the easiest path. This has caused a lot of strain and turmoil on my spirit and body. For example, postpartum depression and anxiety. Very real and draining things to have especially while trying to meet class deadlines when you just want to crawl into a ball. After practicing mindfulness, I feel like a new person and I am so grateful to have this shift in my life. It grounds me and brings me to a place where I can really see what is important and what is not.
I honestly get anxious thinking about wicked problems and the outcomes. But it truly makes me more anxious that people are not aware of these problems. And people who are aware want to find one answer to the problem and leave it at that. The issue with that is that there is no “one” solution. And because of the lack of results in front of us, just minor things, people do not care. When there are not enough people willing to care and make the change, nothing changes. It is a cycle that needs to be broken. Simply having classes with information like this one, where it is put directly in front of you, could potentially transform our world.
After my experience in this course, I have changed my outlook on things. I used to do things contributing to wicked problems and just slack it off like it was no big deal. Now that I have a better insight on the reality of things, I know that even the little things matter. Because we do not see the effect what we do has on anything at first, but we will. And I used to be one of those people who thought, what if it doesn’t really matter? Nobody else is doing this so why should I? But I have now come to the realization that if just a few people start having the mindset that the little things matter and encouraging their circle of influence to have the same, these little movements could contribute to a bigger one. I have noticed small changes after sharing things with my family and friends and feel like it would not be too much harder if others did this for word to expand to make a difference. And I feel like it does not have to be some bland thing we have to do; we can actually have fun with it. It is crucial for us to be aware of our surroundings and how what we do and say can affect the environment, those around us, and the future. Plus, sustainability is cheaper than waste which should always be a perk. It is frustrating that we cannot solve the problems with wicked problems all at once but getting started is the first step.