112 Reflection

Dear Meriah,

UNIV 112 has truly been a learning experience. Most of my classes this semester have been hard but I have been able to manage them without becoming too overwhelmed. UNIV 112, however, sent me through quite a loop. It was hard. It was challenging. It did make me think. I was forced to really push myself and see how far I could go. Initially, that made me angry and resentful but as I write this now I am grateful to have been pushed past the point of self-doubt.

In high school, my teachers always described college as this ridiculously challenging experience that was nearly impossible to handle. Over and over again, they scolded us, telling us we were no where near ready to take on such an obstacle. My senior year, my math teacher sat me down and told me carefully that she was “very concerned about me going away to school.” She may have been right, but the constant negativity certainly didn’t help. After hearing such disempowering stories about failure in college, I started to believe that, just like the rest, I wouldn’t make it through either.

What a shame that those instructors felt that they had to tell us that we were incapable of success in order to feel as if they succeeded in their job to motivate us. High school was designed to feed us doubt and make us small. It created an environment filled with fear where everyone was constantly searching for approval in order to feel as if they were worthy of recognition. Imagining my high school without this system allows me to envision a powerful environment where students are whole-heartedly encouraged to do their best and see that they are inherently beyond worthy of success, love and compassion.

Yes, UNIV 112 is undoubtedly a lot of work. Working a lot with things of ethical concern naturally causes you to question things you previously thought as true. It was really interesting to have classroom discussions where people were mostly open to speaking their mind and telling the class their thoughts and opinions. Because of that, my eyes have been open to other options and possibilities I had never even considered.

Education is such an amazing gift. When I was younger, I wanted to just go off the grid and live with islanders where I worked an average job that could get allow me to get off of work and go explore nature. I still want these things, but now I see the benefits of a higher education. This semester I have made so many incredible connections in my mind. These connections have led me to even greater connections that have completely transformed my life.

Creating a well-rounded mind is something that can’t be replaced with anything. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to challenge my mind and expand my knowledge by taking hard classes like UNIV 112 over the next four years.

Olivia Westerman