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Self Evaluation and Reflection

The Unknown's picture

            I am most proud of how my writing has changed throughout the course of the semester. When I began, I wrote essays that did not progress, but generally began the same way they ended. At the start of the semester, I took on topics that I was personally interested in, but the way I discussed and interpreted them did not necessarily make difficult and complex claims. With this last revision, I have completely restructured the way I write a paper, and the beginning is ambiguous, but the thesis and main idea of my paper become clearer as I explain what the “mindset of the oppressed” means. I think I started by simply placing quotes into papers that though related to my topics were not effectively connected to the ideas that proceeded and came after. I think my paragraphs flow better and connect more to each other in these later papers.

            I think in the beginning of the semester, though I associated many of my skills and happiest moments in my life with the environment, they were related to specific times when I “felt” fully immersed in the environment, which often meant in the woods, away from civilization. Though I still struggle to place my purpose within the interconnected webs of life, I see myself as a vital link that maintains the system, instead of looking at it from the outside. Even though I was not surprised, I was particularly moved by Stacy Alaimo’s article about the importance of the flow of small creatures through our bodies.

            Part of the problem with solving these large issues such as climate change is that humans still do not fully understand their role in causing and worsening its effects. Even though I want to feel more connected to my surroundings, I feel there is a secret code that is written in the trees, flowers, and mountains, that I struggle to interpret and understand.

            I think part of the edges of my learning lie in loss. It was particularly disheartening to realize that there are limits of my knowledge due to extinction. How unaware people are of the amount of destruction they are causing at such drastic rates astounds me. I struggle to define the emptiness I feel when learning that there are species that no one will ever no about, stories that will never be told, and cultures that have not been recorded, because there was only room for the colonizers’ words. My perspective on history ahs changed in that maybe part of the problems that we face in the present are not only due to not learning from the past, but not knowing about significant historical events.

            My greatest joys in reading were deciphering symbols. I appreciated how one item, plant, or name could have one meaning in one context and take on a completely different connotation in a different scene. For me, All Over Creation, was the culmination and intersection of the key themes we discussed throughout the semester: identity, environment, and change. Also for me, one of the hardest lessons that seemed to repeat throughout our readings and discussions was the idea of forgiveness. Whether or not we can forgive ourselves, the possibility or limits to forgiveness, and that even when others forgive us, we struggle to forgive ourselves.  

            What is the process of recreating relationships after separation? How can we appreciate the disconnection and growth, and yet still find common ground when we are reunited? This goes back to the idea of loss, and one of the ways we experience it is through unavailable time and instances of detachment.