“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
We want to start this blog post by wishing our very own Laura a speedy recovery. We miss working with you very much, and promise to continue to do our best to help Young Agrarians with their sustainability dashboard until you are well enough to rejoin us.
February 5th to March 11th
Objective: we wanted to conduct research for our Academic and Experiential Review Outline on the current knowledge and gaps of the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic Individual.
What is the challenge?
Our Academic and Experiential Review Outline (AER) is individual work instead of group work. Moreover, Laura might not be able to proceed with the course due to her injury.
With Laura’s injury possibly preventing her from completing the course, there are only 2 of us left in the group. When we realized this, it also dawned on us that since we have initially divided the workload so that each of us will research one pillar of sustainability, one pillar, will not be researched. We also realized that we would have to carry the load of 5-6 students (the number of students in other groups), which meant that we had a great deal of work to do. This was also compounded by the fact that we just discovered that the AER paper was to be done “solo”.
We were still able to tackle this matter as a group (now a duo!) by continuing on with our work as planned. Hadas will conduct research on the economical aspect of sustainability and Jesline will research the social aspects. With this method, we are able to conduct a more in depth research on each component of sustainability and eventually compile our data into the Google doc that we have created. This is definitely one of the most crucial steps in order for Young Agrarian to develop their dashboard. With Will’s and Latika’s guidance we also acknowledged that if Laura is unable to rejoin our group, it would be best to narrow the scope of the project to just two pillars of sustainability: social and economic.
With only having 2 members left in the group, our teamwork and flexibility allowed us to complete our AER outlines successfully!
Moment of significant change
During the passing week, our group participated in the Moment of Significant Change workshop in order to reflect on the events that have occurred during our project.
We experienced several “ups and downs” throughout the term in relation to this project. We both agreed that we actually experienced several “Moment of Significant Change”; one being our struggle to write our project proposal, and the other being our confusion about the nature of the academic and experiential review paper. However, most significantly, the fact that we might have to complete the project without Laura means that we might also need to narrow our scope.
“Up & down” #1: Right from beginning, we were all very excited to take on the Young Agrarian’s project of creating recommendations for an impact Dashboard. In particular, we believe that our diverse background and flexibility are assets to tackling this project. However, our excitement gradually decreased as the deadline for the project proposal neared, which required us to state the aim, significance and objectives of our project. After meeting with our community partner, Sara, we were all very confident about the aim and objective of our project. However, during our tutorial session, we got some conflicting feedback. Although, it was tough pinning down exactly what direction we wanted to take and how we are going to achieve our objectives, in the end, writing the proposal really helped to give direction to the project.
“Up & down” #2: As the term went by, midterms alongside all of our other commitments made it hard for us to meet as a group. As a result of our miscommunication, as well as a mistake in understanding of the academic and experiential review paper instructions, we were struggling to hand in our experiential outline by the due date. Unlike the challenges we faced in the process of writing our proposal, we were more pressured by time rather than the content for this assignment.
The uncertainty about Laura’s future in our group is definitely our most difficult challenge at the moment. On one hand, we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that is ahead of us and understand that scaling down our scope might be inevitable, but on the other hand we do not want our project to fall short of Young Agrarians expectations and needs.
We have noticed that our mood was greatly affected by the amount of work or commitments we had in that week, but these experiences have contributed greatly to our overall learning process and experience as these are likely similar to those experienced in “real world” work in community projects.
A diagram that we drew during our tutorial to illustrate our mood (represented on the Y axis) throughout the term (represented as deadlines on the X axis), shows that our excitement and good mood in the beginning of the term has been replaced be low spirits in accordance with the approaching deadline of the project proposal, and than again as the deadline for submitting the academic and experiential review outline neared.
Although we miss working Laura on our project, we have to remain positive about our ability to succeed in our work without her. For this reason, we have drawn our moods and happiness level on the Y axis as higher and separated from hers in the illustration in association with her injury on the X axis.
Strategies for successful project completion
As a group, we have discussed several successful strategies to successfully complete our project. Through our successes and failures, we realized that we have to better manage our time. Our strategy consists of continuing to update Sara about our project, time management in order to present our best results in the targeted deadline, and successful communication among each other as well as our TA. We feel that by dividing up the research on the impact of agroecology between ourselves, we will be able to do it more thoroughly: Laura will research the impact on environmental sustainability, Hadas will research the impact on economic sustainability and Jesline will research the impact on social sustainability.
In the process of writing our academic and experiential review paper, we will give each other weekly updates about the findings that we have. In the process we will assess peer-reviewed articles to prevent any form of biasedness. We will then simplify our research by compiling it all in a table that provides a short summary of the paper. We believe that this will be the most efficient method of compiling our findings for our final presentation.
Although we have a plan and a strategy in place for successful completion of our project, we are also prepared to embrace masses and failures along the way. As we have learned throughout the term, embracing these can actually benefit our creative process and lead to breakthroughs (Harford, 2016; Cohn, 2015). We have to be able to adapt and change.
Harford, T. (2016, December 21). Tim Harford: How messy problems can inspire creativity
[Video file]. Retrieved from http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Week_04
Cohn, G. (2015, May 20). Twelve parsecs Failure Is Your Friend: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com