According to the Honors Community meeting exercise, my top five values are (in descending order): innovation, personal growth, risk, compassion, and opportunity. While these values are important to me, I don’t believe this list is inherently stagnant. My hierarchy of values fluctuates depending on circumstance. And while I would like to think that my values are indicative of a deeper personal truth, that they guide my every action for the best, and that I am a better person because of my ideals, they are much more reflective of my daily personal growth. Which, I suppose, explains the current placement of “personal growth” in my list.
Given this current list however, collaborating with others will require me to exercise communication. I am naturally shy in group settings, and only after continuous exposure to certain people will I begin to share my creative problem solving. Therefore, my top five values are a reflection of what I aspire towards in collaboration.
The most surprising part about my top five values is how much they have changed over the years. As I mentioned before, my top five values fluctuate depending on circumstances. But within the past five years, my admiration for family, tradition, and spiritual growth has been diminished. In fact, I rated those as my least desired values. I suppose this is a testament to my changing moral code and lifestyle.
Anthropogenic climate change may be the source of our planet’s eventual doomsday, but at least it taught me the significance of integrative learning.
True, I might be overstating the inevitability of climate change. But by combining the social, scientific, political, and economic ramifications of the topic into one course, it’s impossible to remain optimistic. The variety of perspectives did synthesize a more holistic understanding of climate change, but in such a way that I no longer have faith in the future. Science dictates that the current momentum of climate change cannot be stopped, no matter how much fossil fuel usage is curtailed. Politics currently show that powerful governments are driven by economic domination rather than morality. And climate change policy – no one can agree.
So, how did I discover integrative learning in HNRS-200?
Ultimately, the fusion of science, policy, and politics lent to the formation of my pessimism. Yes, I did merge the three subjects in preparation for the mock negotiations of the UNFCCC as a representative of Russia. In fact, my study of Russia may be at the root of my negativity. Russia, whose economy is driven by the fossil fuel industry, whose leader continually ignores the impending demise of natural resources in favor of political and economic superiority, and whose officials deny the irrefutable science of climate change, gives me no hope for the future.
In other words, my quest for integrative learning came at a severe cost: my loss of confidence.
(Though I might just be dramatic, as Russian officials often say of scientists who prove the existence of climate change)
After completing my first 17-credit-hour week – mildly sleep deprived, understandably perplexed, and reasonably ready for the weekend – I lazily opened up my phone in the hopes that someone was as ready for adventure (and non-TDR food) as I was. I scrolled down my contacts, passing A…B…landing on C. Cassidy. Recently introduced at poetry slam during Welcome Week, we exchanged numbers after we bonded over an unyielding love and adoration for DC’s Ethiopian restaurants. Off went an invitation to this girl I barely knew, and within minutes, we had plans to make the extraordinary trek to Dupont’s Keren Restaurant on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the survival of our first week in college. Come Sunday, my roommate, Cassidy, and I made our way to one of the most magnificent meals accompanied by a menagerie of conversation. We gawked over the exotic food, our hands and mouths full of gestures and nuances of budding friendship. We laughed over the previous week: the awkward encounters, the new expectations, the early morning classes. Not to be cheesy or cliche, but we ended up celebrating more than just our first week of school. We were celebrating new beginnings.