When I first began this course I was unsure of what to expect, even just based on the title of the class. I could not tell whether it was supposed to be more broadly environmental or more personal. As it turns out, this class was both. I really enjoyed the way this class made me think closely about my own identity but then also forced me to look greatly beyond myself to the world in which I live. Thinking about these sort of things has given me new perspective that I will continue to think about beyond this class.
Early on, I was very uncomfortable with the idea of having to post all my writing online onto a public page. I had always felt uncomfortable letting other people read my writing, and the prospect of putting my papers up for anyone to read seemed rather daunting. Reflecting on my process through sharing my work online, I am grateful for the opportunity it gave me to become more comfortable with sharing my ideas and thought process. This writing process has forced me to stand behind my ideas and become more confident in sharing what I think. To be able to open my portfolio and look back at a whole semester worth of work and see my progress in it is a unique experience that has helped me to reflect upon how I have grown and changed through this class.
In the beginning, similarly to my initial feelings about posting my writing online, I also felt somewhat uncomfortable sharing my ideas in class. I definitely think I did more listening than talking overall in this class. I started off being worried about not having the right thing to say and not confident in sharing my ideas, but I feel like I got over that and shared my opinions more in the second half of the semester. I appreciate having the opportunity to hear the ideas and different perspectives of my classmates and to have been part of such a great group of people.
In terms of the content we covered in this class, I have learned so much about my identity and relationship to the environment that have challenged what I thought I knew and given me a new perspective. In most classes I have taken in school what I have learned has only been relevant to a specific subject area, and mostly irrelevant outside the classroom. The ideas we discussed in this class, especially in the second half with regards to the way we interact with the environment are things I will carry forward with me and consider in my everyday life. I have been making a consious effort to think more ecologically intelligently, for example, I am trying really hard to curb my habit of walking through the grass. I know thinking and making an effort is not enough to constitute real change, but I am slowly making progress.
I think revising my twelfth paper was a good way for me to end my writing in this class because it really brings together what I have learned here and what I plan on doing with it. I am very interested in the Health Studies minor. I left my last Medical Sociology class feeling confident that I had found an area which I wanted to continue studying and one that I could find a potential future in. In contrast, I left the last seminar for this class worrying about how I was going to take what I learned about the environment and my identity and actually integrate it into my own life and future. My last paper gave me the opportunity to combine and examine the interactions between the topics of both classes. I see my future academic and non-academic work focused around environment and health, which I suppose is really something along the lines of public health. The courses I discovered while writing my final paper have pointed me in the direction of some classes I may take in the near future, and has made me excited about carrying on what I have discovered this semester.