Weekly Reflections

Week 1- I have never really understood the word “ethos”. I always thought of it as a buzzword, and when I saw a class that said it would explain it, I signed up out of curiosity and a need to better myself. After the initial explanations, I wanted to know more, as I knew then that I still did not fully understand. It was very nice to have a class talk about what people and companies should do. There are many classes focusing on technique, but something discussing morality is always necessary.

Week 2 -It is always refreshing to hear others talk about feminism and its importance. This week we talked about various kinds of gazes and it was fascinating. I have heard of the male gaze in media before, and hearing others learn and talk about it is very validating, as it is the kind of thing that sometimes, people laugh it off as liberal nonsense. But I am glad that it is not the case here. Not only that, but to also learn how that gaze can become oppositional is fascinating. It was comforting, refreshing, and educational.

Week 3 -I have heard the word “sustainability” so much that I feel as if it has become a buzzword. And so, when it showed up in this week’s class, I was very skeptical. What would this class tell me about sustainability that I had not heard again and again and again elsewhere? Thankfully, I was refreshed to find that we talked about how to instill sustainability, we talked about practical actions which I love. It gave me hope that sustainability really can be worked towards in significant amounts. And then, the question of how we can make ourselves more sustainable was intriguing and very different from other classes.

Week 4 -This week, we elaborated on how we can better ourselves to be more sustiainable. Once again, instead of focusing on vague unhelpful suggestions of how to do so, such as “simply do it”, we focused on helpful, practical courses of action. There was an analysis of how people are creatures of habit, and how subtly changing that habit can change the person. That is something that can help me, that is something that I can utilize and work with, instead of what I have heard so many times before, just suggestions of “just do it” or “just change. The idea of making ourselves more sustainable before working on making others sustainable resonates deeply with me, because I do not want to be a hypocrite.

Week 5 -This week, we spoke about making “the business case” for gender equity. I wish that this was not necessary. I wish that we could make an appeal on ethical reasons alone. Making the business case for gender equity, trying to argue for gender equity by saying that it can actually produce more money, leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Of course, I can see its necessity I think that what bothers me about it is the idea that we have to justify it through a viewpoint that capitalism can agree with, when capitalism has only reinforced female objectification.

Week 6-This week we looked into organizations. What I found very fascinating was organization/company culture. It was something that I had never taken into account when thinking about companies in earlier classes. You cannot just try to formulate some type of one-size-fits-all solution; you must think about how the company and the people within it think. This is incredibly useful knowledge. It will assist me in future endeavors to work with companies.

Week 7-Redesigning a company’s way of working or its ideals is a hefty feat. Even in a theoretical fashion, there are so many factors to consider. First of all, the opposition to any change that you may want to make. Then, the culture that you will have to work with. The feasibility of your solution. The wording. There are so many things to consider.

Week 8-It was hugely impressive to look at everyone’s works. A plethora of different ways to affect a company in a way that could actually be listened to. The analysis of a company and the formulation of a help coming from that analysis is something that I really want to work more in. I love figuring out how things work and if I can put that to good use, I can be happy knowing that I can be useful to the world.

Week 9 - In this week, we learned of practical wisdom, vented of recurring situations that upset us, and visited Garfield Farms. Hearing someone talk about practical wisdom was refreshing. After all, it is all too easy to say such wide statements like “Do not lie” and etc., but in reality, there are situations where you have to bend the rules because not doing so would be absurd. Its something that everyone does but no one talks about, and acknowledging it is important because it must be pointed out that in the real world, never bending the rules is simply impractical and unwise. When trying to make a better world, as good as ideals are, practicality is more important in my debatable opinion. I have always leaned towards practicality than theoreticals in my design and ways of living, and this has reminded me of that.

Visiting Garfield Farms was enlightening. To see an individual — an emphasis on that word, individual — living in such a sustainable lifestyle was something entirely new. It really gave a physical, tangible aspect to everything we have been learning about. It took the theoreticals of sustainability and made them real, right in front of me. That is something that I very much wanted to see. It gave me hope.

Week 10- What really stood out to me was the video about being honest of how we are dishonest to ourselves. Being dishonest to myself is a huge problem that I face every day. Often, I lie to myself and say that everything will be fine, rather than do the difficult tasks that I should. I have a problem with lying in general — nothing malicious. Just, not honest. I especially do this with my parents. They ask if everything is fine. I lie and say yes. I do this because I feel that if they think I am not doing fine, they will freak out or think that I am unable to take care of myself or that I am an idiot. It is a very anxious experience. I like to ignore the fact that I lie to myself and others, but facing it is necessary and at times, even relieving.

Week 11- On Monday, I discussed my presentation ideas with some of my classmates. It was relieving to see that they too suffered this same problem — the problem of working in a team and having that team suffer due to internal affairs. I was originally going to target only the factor of a single teammate being stubborn and unhelpful due to their ego, but as people shared their stories, I realized that that was not the only way a team could be unhelpful, and indeed, it was only a symptom of a larger problem. That problem is the lack of being taught teamwork by the university. Now, one may suggest that we should already know how to be teammates, but this does not hold up. People come from many different backgrounds with many different personalities; you can’t expect them to automatically be cohesive with each other. People discussed this lack of teamwork teaching with me, and I agreed that this is a problem. It is relieving for other people to have the same problem as you.

Week 12- This week was a presentation week. As always, I was very impressed, and also more captivated than usual, as this was about people’s pet peeves. Knowing what makes someone angry lets you relate to them, especially if you get angry over the same thing. I was also more captivated because everyones’ presentations had an emphasis on clear, precise solutions, solutions in which steps could actually be taken by any of us to solve problems, and I love solving problems. I think I did well with my presentation, I did like the graphics of the people on the bottom, I think it lended a sort of example or humanity t oit.

Wednseday was the big one though; should and must. Oh boy, was that a bout of introspection. It becomes very unclear as to what is a should told to you by others and what is actually a must. I know that some of my shoulds became musts when I really thought about it. And I thought, “is this should really a should that I need? or is it something that I have simply been told again and again…?”. Hm. It also reminded me of things that I really should or must do but have pushed to the back of my head. An example would be to call my parents more. Lose weight, eat healthily. Hm.

Introspection is fascinating and enlightening. I am glad we did that.

Week 13 - Unfortunately, I was sick on Wednesday and thus unable to come. However, Monday provided plenty to think about.

The introspection within this course is really, really something different. This week we thought about what mattered to us and in what way. The most interesting part of to me was when I thought about how my big brother-ness, for I am the biggest of three brothers, seeps into many of my interactions with other people. I grew up as a big brother, and even now in my adult life, there are times where tendencies from that still occur. I know this about my self now, but I wonder how it is for others! It is fascinating to think about how people work, and what they think they are and what they may actually be.

It was also interesting to think about the logic behind my actions, which I have not thought of before. I thought of how I am a solutions-centered person. I assume that being solutions-centered is the most logical course of action, as if it is an obvious fact, but what if it isn’t for others? What if, for others, their obvious fact is extremely different from my obvious fact? How would I work with such a person? I likely have already, but how do we get past inevitable conflict when our truths are not the same? In a way, if our truths are not the same, then we live in different worlds, and that is absolutely fascinating. Pathos is similar in this regard, in that I am often angered or irritated by the state of the world, but what is it like to exist in a state where your emotional mattering map is not the same as your own? Again, like a different world. And how do you navigate inevitable conflict with that clashing reality? A good question indeed.

Week 14- What matters to me? That is a very heavy question. Although it may seem a boring answer, I must say success- in this case, that is defined by obtaining a job and a high-paying salary. I want this because it will make my parents proud. I want this because making my parents proud and happy and satisfied will make me happy and satisfied. And then what? If my main goal is accomplished, then what? I struggle to answer that question myself. It often feels like that will be the end of my story. As if, once I get my job and feel settled in, the credits will roll. End. It is an odd sensation. Such a goal has been built up to my whole life, and yet…what happens after? What REALLY matters to me as a person, what matters to me besides that temporary goal? Taking care of others matters to me. I have always been a caretaker. I grew up taking care of my younger brothers and it went over to me taking care of my friends and sometimes even complete strangers. Why? It was simply ingrained into me as a person when young, I suppose. How interesting.

Week 15- This week contained the presentations. It is a deeply personal question to ask someone- “What matters to you?”. And so, seeing people’s answers retrieved from weeks of careful thought and consideration is truly an insightful experience, for which I am grateful. I really learned who my classmates are through these presentations, I was able to look into the personal stories and pasts of people who I had only recently begun to know. Not only that, but I was able to reveal myself to these people, and that is intensely relieving and satisfying. I think that this is because it allows you to open up. Also, it was really shown to me through these presentations that seeing what matters to a person really reveals who they are as a person. What I presented was about enjoying life and doing all that you can possibly do. What does that mean for me as a person? It is a question that I will be thinking about for some time.

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