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Anxious in the Woods

sarahj's picture

Hello everyone! I'm Sarah Shaw and I'm a senior English major at BMC.

My Happiness Ranking

1. Campus Center Parking Lot

2. English House

3. Dalton Staircase

4. Park 20

5. Morris Woods

My ranking is based on the level of anxiety I felt in each place.  Standing in the middle of the Campus Center Parking Lot, I did feel a little bit awkward, wondering to myself whether each passerby was looking at me trying to figure out why a girl was standing in a parking lot look around.  However, I mostly felt very calm and content.  Yes, I had a vague notion that I could get hit by a car, but it wasn't too much a concern.  There, I felt very connected to people, which something I know I crave.  There were people driving and walking by as well as two girls opening some boxes.  I was also able to enjoy the feeling of being outside, without the perils I would later find in Morris Woods.  The air was a nice change from the inside of my dorm room and it was good to feel the sun on my neck and smell the grass in the air.  The only annoyances were the occassional engine start and the slight smell of warm concrete.  In English House I felt a little bit less comfortable because it is an academic setting which causes a slight change in my behavior.  I felt a bit more rigid and confined and I don't like sharp edges and cold desks so that added to the rigidity.  The house brings out my academic anxieties.  In Dalton, the natural light was a welcome change from the dimmer English House, however it is SOO hollow.  Every sound echoes through the cavernous building and it feels so unnatural.  I feel very disconnected from people there and I've always been a bit anxious on those stairs.  Imagine if you tripped! There is nothing but metal, glass and concrete in there!!!  Park 20 was even more uncomfortable for me.  It was dark and quiet and located in the baasement of a strangely built structure.  The many empty chairs made it seem like I was in Chernobyl.  It also felt like a very contained environment and as human being, I don't like feeling contained or constrained.  Morris Woods was ranked last because my anxiety level was the highest here.  As I walked into the woods and looked at all the fallen trees and swatted away mosquitos, I thought about the unpredictability of nature.  I felt very vulnerable.  What if a tree decided to fall right now? What is one of these mosquitos had West Nile or EEE, which my mother warned me to be careful of? What if there was a rabid chipmunk??Despite the fact that I could see the houses surrounding the "woods", I still felt very isolated and alone.  The woods are a mysterious place...

Plant Happiness Ranking

1. Dalton Staircase

2. Morris Woods

3. English House

3. Park 20

5. Campus Center Parking lot

My plant happiness ranking is based on the ability of plants to survive in each location.  I do think it depends on what kind of plants you're talking about though.  Dalton Staircase was ranked at number one because of the amount of light.  However, these plants would require someone to water them and foot traffic on the stairs may be a problem.  In Morris Woods, I think plants would find the greatest amount of resources and could take care of themselves.  Of course they may face threats from other plants and animals.  English House I and Park 20 tie because they both have very little sunlight and n top of that the plants would require a caretaker.  The Campus center PArking Lot is listed last because, even though the planst would get a lot of light, they would mostly get run over a lot and burn because of the heat of the concrete.

I think planst and humans are similar because we are both happiest in environments where we face the least amount of threats.  I also think we dislike environments where we are contained or constrained.  Both like to take care of themselves and be free.  As for differences, at the moment, I cannot think of any...

The only change that I would make to my happiness ranking if I were ranking non-human animals, is that Morris Woods would be listed first and then the ranking would follow the order of the plant rankings. Animals, although they can be caged which is equal to a plant be potted, would much rather be free to roam about and Morris Woods allows that. The similarities I listed above would remain the same.