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Emotional vs. Phsyical comfort

et502's picture

Hello EcoLit 313! My name is Emily, and I'm a senior at Bryn Mawr. I'm studying English and Education.

My Happiness ranking
1. English house
2. Park 20
3. Staircase in Dalton
4. Morris Woods
5. Parking lot
Factors that affected my comfort level:
Emotional safety (Social expectations, requirements for outward expressions of identity) - I found myself asking, “What do I have to wear to enter this space? How would I have to behave if I was surrounded by other people? How would they be treating me?” For example, in Dalton, I have to wear shoes. It has a business/formal feeling that goes with the pristine textures. Or, at least, my experiences in that building have been business-like, so the staircase takes on those qualities. English house on the other hand is, well, a house. Maybe it used to be someone’s home? I’m not sure, but I always feel more comfortable stepping into a room in a house, a shared/private space, rather than one in a building, a public space.
Familiarity - I feel comfortable in classrooms. I’m a student, so that’s probably a good thing. Places of transition - like the staircase or the parking lot, don’t hold the same sense of stability that classrooms do. I know how I’m supposed to act.
Physical Safety - I measure physical safety in negatives: I don’t miss being safe unless I feel threatened. I felt (mostly) safe in the parking in the parking lot behind the Campus Center. Cars usually slow down once they get to the CC. However, a car alarm went off unexpectedly, just as I was walking by it. I hadn’t touched the car, I wasn’t anywhere near it, so I knew that I hadn’t done anything. But still, the alarm was unsettling, and it threw off my sense of safety. It was also an exposed area - It was too warm, dry, there was not enough shade from the sun, and I felt like I was withering (too dramatic?)

Potential plant happiness ranking
1. Morris Woods
2. Staircase in Dalton
3. Park 20
4. Parking lot
5. English house
I worked in a garden center for a while this summer, so I was mostly paying attention to the availability of sunlight, water, and temperature. Since all of these things were available in Morris Woods, I gave it the top rank. Good work nature!
Plants would have to depend on people for water in all of the other spaces, so I ranked them based on sunlight and warmth. The staircase in Dalton gets lots of sunlight, but plants Which was really exciting. Couldn’t get dried out as quickly because the temperature is controlled in the building. In the parking lot, plants have almost no protection from the sun, they could get scorched and any water they get could evaporate more rapidly. Also, I’ve noticed that we have to consistently re-landscape the area, so plants are clearly not doing so well there. Maybe we aren’t choosing the right ones...

Similarities & Differences: My sense of comfort was more affected by emotions, past experiences, and associations in addition to physical features. Plants, on the other hand, are only affected by physical features. So I’m more complicated than a plant.

On an unrelated note, I found a polyphemus moth caterpillar on a tree behind Denbigh. Which was really exciting.