Normally a two hour class full of presentations doesn’t go by very quickly, but Tuesday’s class was definitely an exception. I thought each group did an incredible job, and I also thought it fascinating that for our midterm we were able to do something so beneficial. Although I did not study for hours upon hours like I have to do for my other classes, I feel like I learned more during this midterm than I have during almost any other. In general, the main takeaway that I took from this midterm was learning more comprehensively the process that must go into analyzing a problem or a social need, and truly understanding the many different layers that go into that problem and how to solve it. Specifically, the few things that really impacted me were how to understand the people involved and the importance of the flow of power.
Our midterm dived into the LGBT community here at BYU, and the associated difficulties that arise with being a LGBT BYU student. By far the greatest understanding we received of the community and the oftentimes associated problems of depression, isolation, and anxiety were when we attended the weekly USGA (Understanding Same Gender Attraction) meeting and talked with the people there. I found that since I prepared for the meeting with research and since I was emotionally invested into understanding this issue, I felt on a deeper level the struggles and successes of the people and I really, really wanted to understand them and the problem and hopefully the solution to help them. I felt like once I made this emotional connection, this midterm didn’t feel much like a midterm anymore, but something bigger, and much more important. Through some past experiences, including this summer, I have learned this lesson that I felt like I learned again through this midterm, that it really is all about the people, and if you are not able to understand them, or if you do not seek to understand, then it is very difficult to even try and help.
Something else that I learned particularly from this midterm was the importance of identifying the flow of power in the issue. It was interesting to identify the different entities and actors in the issue, and then after talking with each trying to map out how they are all related and how they influence each other. I learned that without mapping out the relationships and particularly which entity can influence the others, then you can’t understand where the solution will originate from, and where your efforts need to be focused in order to make a difference.
Just imagine, what if this type of work was your actual job?! I couldn’t think of anything better.