29 April 2014

Chugging Towards The End

Yesterday my environmental studies group turned in the research project we've been working on all semester. I definitely felt a mix of relief that we were done, and anxiety that I knew there was still more we could do. Our final product was a thirty-five-page paper and a poster, which we will be sharing at biannual poster celebration that the environmental studies department holds every semester. Our group probably spent a good twenty-four hours writing this paper, as a group, which means between the four of us we spent four days writing the paper. That's a lot of time, but we're pretty proud of our final product. We were looking at environmental justice in Portland's urban parks. If you're interested to see what exactly we did, you can check out our project mash-up page or our project record. Our poster and paper are linked to in the "interim/final reports" section of the project record page.

I'm also finishing up an eleven-page paper for my global resource dilemmas class. This paper has been a bit of a challenge to write, but also kind of fun. My professor calls it a "thought-paper," meaning it can only include our own thoughts. We aren't allowed to cite anything or refer to any specific real life situations, and we are supposed to show when something we've talked about in the class would work in the world. It's challenging because I'm so used to finding research and using it to back up my claims, so it's almost startling to just talk about my own thoughts for eleven pages. I wrote my paper on marketable population licenses, which is a proposed method for dealing with overpopulation. The idea is that people are given licenses (worth 2.2 children, if given to a couple, or 1.1 children, if given to an individual [this is the replacement rate]) and can sell them if they don't want children, or buy them (for about $15) if they want more children. The benefit is that it gives people the freedom to choose how many kids they want, while still limiting population growth. I'm still unsure how much I support them in real life, but I argued about why they were the best means of reducing population growth for eleven pages. Part of the paper has to be us rebutting ourselves, then responding to that rebuttal. It was kind of fun to take on this persona and argue with myself for that long, but it was also difficult to challenge what I said and then respond to those challenges.

In econ I'm busy studying for my final. I'll admit I haven't gotten very far on this front yet, since I've been so busy with my papers, but it's my main goal for tonight. Our final is cumulative, so I need to go back to the first chapters and read over them, as well as make sure I have a good grasp on the more recent material. I think this class may actually be the most difficult one I have taken so far at Lewis & Clark, but I've also learned a lot. I'm nervous for the final, but it should be okay.

We just finished reading our last book for the semester in Spanish. It was called Sueños digitales (digital dreams), written by Edmundo Paz Soldán. It was by far my favorite thing we've read this year. It's about a man in this semi-futuristic society that is very based in technology. The interesting part is, it's all technology that we currently have. This man (Sebas)'s life revolves around Photoshop, and all this confusion arises about what is real, and how we form our realities. Everything in this world is touched by technology, so that there are pictures of historical figures standing together who had never met, and the news is made up but supported with these fake images, and people dream of one celebrity's head on another celebrity's body. It was really interesting, and we had really cool discussions in class. I'm looking forward to rereading the book this summer, since I know I will pick up on things that I missed the first time.

In my final class, self defense for women, we have a final project due today. The guidelines were very loose; we were just supposed to plan a project that related to something we got out of a class. I made an art project out of the board we broke last class. I based it on the place in Washington I camped a couple of weeks ago when I went backpacking. The place reminded me of this meditation that we do in self defense. The meditation has you imagine a body of water, and calm all of the ripples that appear in the water. At this campsite, there were rapids that were separated from the water right next to our campsite by an island. I really liked the metaphor of the rapid water separated from the calm water, so I drew it on the board. In the calm water, I wrote all of the affirmations we say at the end of class (things like "I am strong," "I am worth defending," "I am beautiful"). The break in the board is the break between the calm water and the rapid water.
my project
I'm pretty proud of it, and it was fun to make.

The other big thing I'm working on is Symposium. We are finalizing the website, which is exciting. I think it's looking good! You can check out our almost final version here. Tomorrow is our last co-chair meeting for the semester, which is bittersweet. I've been spending so much of my time on Symposium that I'm not sure what I'll do without the weekly meetings (though I guess this holds true for all of my classes and the work that comes with them).

We are so close to the end! One final push for the rest of this week and finals, then it's summer break! I know you all are very close to making your college decisions, if you haven't already, so good luck with that! You'll be great wherever you end up- my biggest piece of advice is to trust your gut. If you feel like a school is the place for you, then it probably is.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me at rekidder@lclark.edu!