A varied and sometimes erratic record of what I'm learning inside and outside of the classroom

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Flight and New Horizons

My name is Ariel, I'm almost 21, and I have never ridden on a plane before.

Until today, that is.

Plane taking off from Sunport

I feel like I've passed an epoch in my life in some ways. I have now experienced an aspect of our culture that I have never been able to relate to before: the security hassles (no one told me that you had to put your laptop in a separate bin, so they put all my stuff through again), the seemingly endless intricacies of an international airport (what do all these numbers mean??), the moving sidewalks (so fun!), finding your gate, boarding, etc. When the stewardess came around with snacks, I had to get the peanuts--just to make the first-time experience complete, ya know?

As we were taking off in the airplane (with my professor and fellow student watching me curiously to see how I would react) I marveled at what a miracle flight is. This metal machine, weighing several tons, actually was going to fly us through the air for several hundred miles and get us to our destination in a fraction of the time it would take by car.  The flight was uneventful, though the changes in pressure took a little bit of getting used to. I still don't feel like I'm in Arizona, because when my family travels, we drive, and so I feel like I haven't spent enough travel time to get here. And yet here I am. As I took in the yellow Arizona sunset from the window of our rental car, it all seemed rather surreal.

We were all starving when we finally got to our hotel, so someone suggested we go out to eat. My fellow student, Kristen, just finished a field study in India this summer, so I suggested we go out for Indian food. (Note: I have never had Indian food before in my life.)

"Yeah, that sounds great! Let's go!"

So we went. On my suggestion. And while there was a little too much cilantro for my taste in some of the dishes we ordered, it was an excellent culinary adventure, and I got very full. I personally ordered the sag (spinach) shrimp, which I loved. Of course, I don't think I've ever met a shrimp I didn't like. We finished the night off with a quick jaunt to the Coldstone across the street from our hotel (which is rather posh, by the way).

It seems appropriate that my first flight was out to the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, which is all about going further and reaching higher in education. I am so excited to explore the city and participate in this conference. In some ways I feel like I'm standing on another edge, ready to take the steps to take my education and my life to the next level. When I fully grasped the idea of taking control of my own learning and making my education what I wanted it to be, a whole world of possibilities opened before my view. I can't wait to step into the future.

Photo credit:  bobthemtnbiker on flickr

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Digital Civilization Journey

A post in preparation for the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference 2011

Creative Commons Creativity Poster

As I reflect on my experience in my Digital Civilization course a year ago, I believe that out of all the  courses I've taken, this one has had the most profound impact on me as a student in general and as a learner in the digital age.

Dr. Zappala, one of my Digital Civilization professors, remarked in his reflective post that students found this class "disorienting" at first. Why yes--yes we did. I walked out of class the first day wondering, What in the world I have I gotten myself into?! Finding our own readings? Blogging about our learning process? Seeking out connections via the Internet with other people who were interested in our topics? This was...unconventional, to say the least. Not like your traditional go-to-class, do-the-reading, do-the-homework, turn-it-in type of learning process. The class required a radical shift in thinking; I felt like I had to re-learn how to learn, and sometimes that was downright hard.