Writing my final paper was a very useful and reflective experience for me, and it is one of the few “final assignments” that I have actually really enjoyed. For some background, my group was working with issues of food accessibility and we decided to interview University of Washington professors whose work was relevant to or intersected with that topic. We ended up interviewing Professor Elizabeth Wheat (College of the Environment) and Professor Anne Goodchild (Civil and Environmental Engineering) about their thoughts on food accessibility, as seen through the lens of their respective studies.
It was very interesting to connect some of the information they gave us with the content we’ve gotten from class, especially pertaining to the economic implications of food access and the public discourse that happens surrounding food. I really enjoyed this, and it was great to be able to dive a bit deeper into those topics.
We conducted these interviews over the course of a few weeks, and while they were engaging and interesting at the time, some of the content and core messages got lost in the shuffle of dead week and finals for me. That’s why it was extremely meaningful for me to go back, listen to our interviews again, and synthesize them with other course materials to identify the big takeaways that I can be applying in my own life.
The two big takeaways that we got from Professors Wheat and Goodchild was that 1) we need to be more conscious of our actions and the impact that those actions have on the world around us. Every time we order a single item from Amazon and it comes in a box that’s four times bigger than it needs to be, with three plastic bags and a ton of plastic filling holding it in place, consider a more efficient and less wasteful way of obtaining that product in the future. Recognize these patterns that occur in your life over time and take substantive and meaningful steps to change them in a positive way. And number 2) choose something to focus on that you are passionate about and that will improve the world around you. Devote your life to something meaningful and bring in into the lives of your friends, family, and loved ones. It sounds cliché, but sometimes we need to be reminded that we actually do need to be the change that we want to see in the world, because if we don’t take that first step how can we expect anyone else to?
(Image curtesy of the USDA)