Throughout the semester, as a collective and as individuals, we have consumed and analyzed a number of dystopian pieces of different formats, including movies, articles, and books. I believe my ability to analyze these texts and films has improved as we have navigated them. The more texts we read and films we watched, the easier it became to identify and describe the dystopian elements that were present. For example, when I watched Snowpiercer for my last film critique, I had so many thoughts running through my head the entire time involving the dystopian world portrayed that it became hard to even keep up with. Some of the texts we read were a little more challenging, but I think starting off with more complicated texts like the Freud piece prepared me even better for future analyses. Along with this, the research mini-panels and the podcast project have helped me be able to connect many dystopian elements to real world analogues. At the beginning of this course, it was easy to imagine dystopian fictions, but difficult for me to identify real-world examples because I was taking everything too literally. Now, I realize that there is no strict definition of a dystopia; they can unravel and develop themselves in completely different ways that share a similar essence.
At the beginning of the semester, I also found it difficult to translate my inner analyses into complete, understandable thoughts in writing. Certain activities that we did in class, such as writing essays as a group, definitely helped me resolve this issue a bit. They did so by forcing me to work through my thoughts with others, get feedback on them, and collectively share a voice in words that is clear to others. These group essays also greatly helped me learn how to articulate competing perspectives on different topics. Often times, my group members held different opinions regarding certain discussions, and we collectively had to find ways to incorporate those competing perspectives. The podcast project also contributed to my growth in both of these areas, as I have had no choice but to consider how my analysis of my film would reach the audience. Hearing myself aloud recording the podcast really allowed me to think outside of my own mind to hear how well my ideas were being articulated. It also allowed me to help my group members by giving them feedback on how their ideas were coming across to a listener.
At the beginning of the semester, I don’t believe I really struggled with exercising reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. Throughout the semester, I believe if anything, my ability to do these things has faltered. Once the pandemic began, and even a little before then, my emotions were definitely running high and guiding my thoughts and actions. However, the more I adjust to online everything, the easier it is becoming, but I still have much work to do to develop a more objective point of view. While I struggled in the beginning with analyzing the underlying assumptions of different perspectives, I believe the wide variety of perspectives that we have held and read about in this course has helped me broaden my horizon. The area in which I believe I have grown the most in this semester is developing proficiency as a self-regulated learner. Like I mentioned before, the pandemic has induced much personal change in the way that I learn, as well as the way that I feel about learning itself. We as students have been forced to learn how to utilize digital sourced to gather our own information to a certain extent. While some of my classes, such as metabolism, already focused heavily on self-regulated learning, I believe the online shift has definitely amplified self-regulated learning. The podcast project also had the same effect, as we were pretty much independent in researching and developing our analysis.