Throughout May Term, our class has explored a variety of issues that are prevalent on our campus and discovered ways that we can study these issues with an intellectual lens with the hope of implementing positive changes. Each group tackled a different issue that encompassed unique obstacles and methods of investigation, delivery, and execution/application, but we all learned very significant lessons about everything it takes to address an issue and propose solutions to authority figures on campus that will help us in the future when we face similar challenges. For instance, my action project helped me understand that there are countless things that need to be considered when critically analyzing an issue on campus. It is one thing to simply state that there is a problem; what this class helped me understand is that I must examine the issue like a Rubik’s cube. The colors and sides of a Rubix’s cube exemplify how there are all sorts of factors that I must consider in order to thoroughly understand my issue so that I can properly address it and ultimately propose the best, most feasible solutions.
If my partner and I did not examine our issue from as many angles as we could, then we might miss important details, which influence the solutions we propose. For example, my partner and I addressed the issue that students with mental health concerns and disabilities need more agency, better accommodations, and a support group. Once we identified the issue that we wanted to fix, we had to look at it like a Rubik’s cube, mentally moving the problem around to view it from every angle. Viewing our issue like this allowed us to understand it as best as possible. It directed us to which administrator or faculty/staff member could help us implement the changes we wanted to see, which allowed us to understand what is already being done to help these students so that we could simply build upon these ideas rather than suggest solutions that are already being done. This action project helped me understand what is possible to do (and propose) in a short period of time, what I as a student am capable of proposing, what type of disability services are being offered and how they can be used in ways they are not already, and what it takes to address these issues with the appropriate stakeholder within Transy’s network of administration, faculty, and staff.
As I reflect on what I have learned throughout this May Term course, I realize that understandings and skills I have gained will help me outside of the class room and Transy bubble as well. Speaking with different staff members on campus (i.e. Ashley Hill, Amber Morgan, Hunter Williams, and Michelle Thompson) helped me understand what sort of questions I should ask, how I should present problems to authority figures, and how to make my proposals and voice heard in a constructive manner. When I start my job after graduation, I think these tactics will be incredibly important. I will be serving as AmeriCorp VISTA for a nonprofit and I am sure that there will be times when I can (or should) offer my perspective about certain processes, operations, issues, and more. The experience that this class gave me have prepared me for the “real world” by giving me the opportunity to know how to voice concerns and solutions to authority figures as well as how to implement relatable scholarship about the issue in my proposal.