midterm reflection

          I distinctly remember signing up for this class above all others. It was a summer morning and I had set my alarm in the beach house my family was staying to get up early enough to register on time. Curled up at the counter still in my pajamas, sitting next to my mom and anxiously munching pita chips, I was ready to get this over with. 9:00 AM finally rolled around and  Eaglenet seized up almost immediately. After finally accessing the website I began to choose my classes. My first FESM choice: Banned and Dangerous Art. I entered the code but upon adding, it was full. My second choice, Ethics and Literature. The same process. At this point the FSEM choices were all unfamiliar– I found a title that jumped out at me: “GLOBL: Panacea or Deal with the Devil?” and selected it. My schedule was complete. I breathed a sigh of relief, shut my laptop, and went to get ready for the beach (it was summer, after all).

          Later that night I explored my courses and looked up professors. I realized I had absolutely no idea what “GLOBL: Panacea or Deal with the Devil” actually meant. A quick post on the Mary Washington facebook page yielded some answers: that this was a freshman seminar on “globalization”. The word itself  was completely foreign to me at the time. I googled globalization, asked around,  and gained a very vague idea of what it meant (but for the most part I was fairly clueless). Ultimately my first impression of globalization was that it had something to do with our “world growing smaller” and was fairly limited to the business/monetary aspects of our world. I was excited at the process of learning about a completely new topic, but daunted by the intimidating word “economics”.

           Throughout the course thus far I’ve gained a greater understanding on many of globalization’s elements. It began with understanding what globalization actually meant, and slowly over time I’ve been able to apply it to my everyday life ( a little more than i’d care to admit!)  while gaining understanding of its potential implications. To be honest the definition portion of the learning process took me a while. The book I chose to read was Thomas Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and in the beginning I felt bogged down in his elevated style. But through class discussion and persistence with the book, I slowly was able to mold my own ideas about what globalization meant. To me it seemed odd that this phenomenon is present around us at all times but is difficult to define– it seems to be a force (overpowering or underlying depending on personal opinion) that means different things to different people. It is an idea so (relatively) recently expressed that people are still in the process shaping and molding its definition– and I felt that the beginning of this class was devoted to exploring the aspects of different opinions and forming our own conclusions.

         Using our group consensus- that ” Globalization is the increase in interactions between people around the world that involves the sharing of ideas, goods, cultures, and businesses” as a foundation, I’ve gradually been able to build a stronger understanding of the concept as a whole. The best indicator for my growth throughout the class is certainly my blog. In my first few posts, (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/01/6/, and http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/01/hello-world/) I could barely wrap my head around the idea of globalization. I could make loose connections but I was tentative and unsure. I tried to apply the concept to things I was familiar with, such as music. I made vague guesses and attempted to comprehend what felt like a giant idea. I felt like I was vaguely gaining understanding, but still needed to fill in major details. Later in the blog ( http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/11/globalization-personal-defintion/) I was able to articulate my own impression of globalization and convey the idea to others. I felt that I was finally forming a personal opinion on the topic and gaining a greater handle on the definition itself. Lately I feel that I’ve been able to take things one step beyond the definition and apply the concept not only to my life, but to world issues in general (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/10/01/patois-and-language/ and http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/10/12/global-responsibility/). In the beginning of this class I was struggling to make the connection between the idea of globalization and its application to everyday life- but today globalization seems to pop up from hour to hour whether or not I’m looking for it. I often find myself sitting in class (such as my Global Issues In Lit class or my Sociology class) and mulling over the concepts discussed in relation to globalization. Further understanding of globalization has given me a broader scope by which to apply ideas, and has helped me to forge many links between everyday life and this large phenomenon occurring worldwide. I doubt that at this point in time I could teach globalization to someone, but for me the application to real-life scenarios has been a major accomplishment.

          While this may not speak directly to the content taught, globalization has also helped me to be bolder in a classroom setting. I often am active in class discussions, but only when I’m confident with the material. Through this seminar I feel as if I’ve become less afraid to speak up and voice my ideas, even if I’m not completely sure about the topic I’m speaking on. The non-judgmental setting has opened up the boundaries of discussion further than I’m used to and helped me to be more comfortable speaking on a topic even when I may be somewhat off-base. While in the beginning of the course I felt more timid speaking on something I knew very a little about (like globalization), today I am less afraid to ask questions and raise ideas even if I’m unsure of their legitimacy. We’ve recently been discussing the topic of economics in relation to globalization and I’ve often found myself asking questions that in the beginning of the year I would have easily kept to myself. Globalization has definitely given me a new confidence and curiosity when it comes to class discussion and unfamiliar topics.

         Ultimately, I feel like I’ve grown significantly through this course in a small period of a time.  I came in unsure of what globalization even meant, but throughout this half-semester I’ve developed a personal definition, become more outspoken in class, and gained the capability to apply my definition to everyday life. I feel that on a daily basis I am able to think more critically about globalization and process its effects in our country and throughout the world. Through Thomas Friedman’s book, Professor Greenlaw’s notes, movies like Outsourced, and class insight I’ve built a strong foundation for learning this topic. I’m happy with my progress thus far and incredibly excited to follow this course into topics that I have a strong passion for, such as culture.

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