So I'm finally back from Pakistan and it took me about three weeks to settle in and catch up in school. I was gone for a month for my cousin's wedding, but I also took the opportunity to make my trip a learning experience and apply the concepts I've learned in the past semester to the real world. I shadowed my aunt, the CEO of Indus Resource Center, in her day-to-day operations on site in Khairpur, Pakistan. IRC is an NGO dedicated to building schools in the interior villages of Sindh, and the work they are doing out there is exceptional. I'm in the process of putting my findings together and writing more about my experience and what I learned. I'll save the details of it for another post!
I wanted to use this post to evaluate my goals for the Spring semester as we got to choose our classes this time. This semester I'm really focusing on diving more deeply into the concept of well-being and the role art plays not only in the hospital setting, but also how art allows people to cope with their own mental well-being. My two electives are Art History: Better Homes & Gardens and Art Therapy: Comics Narratives. Better homes & Gardens is about Vernacular Environments, Folk Art, and Outsider Art and I'm interested in artists who create art environments outside of mainstream using found objects of waste and other material I came across Nek Chand's Rock Garden of Chandigarh and am absolutely fascinated by his creation. You can find more information on it here: SPACES
Comics Narratives is probably my favorite class thus far. We're required to keep a daily journal using words and images to write about anything we want to talk about. What I found is that through the use of images, such as comics, I find myself confronting subconscious thoughts and feelings about my fears, anxieties, hopes, and aspirations. I think this is a great way for me to not only get my drawing skills going again, but also return to journaling since I finished my 5 year journal at the end of last year. Journaling is a skill I have found to be the most actively engaging activity that has helped turned my thoughts into reality, as cheesy as that sounds. It's very empowering to see your thoughts transcribed onto paper and then push yourself to change what you don't like and achieve what you always had intentions to overcome.
My other two classes are a continuation of classes from first semester, Management II and ProSeminar II. This semester's proseminar class focuses on research methods and also on how we personally each approach our research. We have weekly assignments to write in our journals and self reflect on our research identities and the assumptions we may bring to our interpretations of the data we collect throughout our research. This is why I call this semester 'the semester of self reflection.' It's about going a step further than just acquiring knowledge and being able to think about it critically, but to actually applying it as self improvement. I'll leave you with this poem by Peerzada Salman I found in Pakistan in his book titled Bemused.