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Self Evaluation and Reflection

mpan1's picture

Dear Anne,

            In the beginning of this process I was eager to discover more aspects of my identity and aspects that affect it. Despite that, it was when I started to read Ozeki’s “All Over Creations” that I really began to think about how specifically the environment has shaped my identity and about my relationship with the environment. Reading Oreskes and Conway’s “The Collapse of Western Civilization” and “As the World Burns” by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan was the first time I had given my relationship with the environment some thought. All my science classes I had taken never emphasized the effect of human actions on the environment. Instead, I was taught to do simple things like recycle and turn off the lights when they’re not in use but the effects of not doing these things were not emphasized. Therefore I grew up never really thinking that I was having a negative impact on the environment. After reading these works I have realized that finding ways to decrease the damage is urgent and drastic consequences will result if we continue our ways. Although I have gained more knowledge about the status of the current environment I have not learned of any long term ways to better it with the exception of Van Jones’s idea of programs creating infrastructure that use clean energy along with the increase of jobs. At the end I have realized that it is my responsibility to take care of Earth and pay attention to my surroundings. I no longer see the soil as dirt but instead something that gives rise and supports to many organisms we depend on. I have a new awareness and appreciation for Earth. I am now aware of the amount of energy I have been using and have tried to cut down on resources such as taking shorter showers and deciding not to use a car if applicable. I understand that these are only short term solutions which aren’t exactly that helpful as Kranti as pointed out in “As the World Burns” but at the moment I am not willing to dedicate my life to environmental issues and fight for them like Van Jones has done. I have also learned a lot from the presentations done in class. I am now aware that the college still needs fixing to make it a safer, more inclusive space. My senior high school English teacher had always said that the town I am from is a bubble. Although the space at Bryn Mawr is more diverse in terms of race, gender identities and sexualities than I am used to I am beginning to realize that it still is also a bubble. As it was nicely said by a classmate it is our job to expand these ideas outside of Bryn Mawr and create contact zones outside of Bryn Mawr so that more people can learn from each other.

            I have noticed that my first paper had too much of a summary although this is due to the fact that I was not comfortable writing the paper from a personal angle. I have also noticed that my transitions have improved as I have written more papers. I have also noticed that my papers that were specifically connecting two works together, for example using the ideas of one author to respond to another author’s piece of work, created more complex, better ideas. I have enjoyed writing these papers because it was a challenge finding connections between two different works that most of the time were about two completely different topics. Therefore, these papers are also the most rewarding and thought provoking as I tried to rewrite the paper from a new prospective. Despite that, I have learned most from writing the last few papers about the environment especially since my viewpoints have shifted over the last papers. Starting from “Degenerating Environment” I argue that it is impossible to fix the environment. After that I write that if people work together there is still hope. In the next paper I write about feeling hopeless and frustrated about the bettering of the environment and lastly and I conclude that I am part of the problem of a degenerating environment and am increasing my efforts to now better the environment.

            My participation could have been a lot better. Despite the fact that my high school English classes were mainly discussion based it was not expected that everyone participated. Due to that, my role in these classes has always been listening. Furthermore, I also feel like I am not the most analytical person so is hard for me to come up with insightful responses. In my opinion, many of my responses have not been helpful to the class. I also have not been able to get over my fear of judgment which was a huge obstacle in my participation. On top of that I found most of the articles challenging to read. The works that I really enjoyed were “All Over Creations”, “As the World Burns” and insightful articles that offered me new perspectives like “The White- Savior Industrial Complex” because they all led me think differently about the environment and views on helping others.

             For the 6 week project my partner and I contacted representatives from admissions, financial aid, Stephanie Nixon and archives. We made sure to meet weekly to email each office or person along with discuss what questions we wanted to ask. We both were present for the interviews which was spaced about two weeks apart. After looking through archive material and putting them together with interview responses we both managed to gather a lot of information as seen from our posts. We both separated our parts because we felt it would be overwhelming to put together. All in all I felt like we acquired a good amount of information although we did not have time to interview any students.

            Overall, I had come to Bryn Mawr with the idea that everyone was so diverse compared to where I am from but in the end I also learned there are still some topics that need more discussing and fixing both at Bryn Mawr and in the rest of the world.