By: Robert Jamieson
My biggest learnings from the summer have also had to do with what became my biggest questions. Voluntary simplicity has made me look at my life in such a different way than before. I have come back to this topic in everything that we have discussed as a group. This has made me realize that, unfortunately, living simply is not easy. But it makes you live more consciously.
I realize that I won’t be able to fix all of the problems in the world. I probably won’t be able to fix any of them. But the biggest thing I have learned this summer is that becoming aware of these things, the things that I can control, can make a difference.
Living simply doesn’t mean living with nothing. It means being aware of how you are living. Before this summer I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t aware that going through the motions and getting by wasn’t living at all.
Living in community has made me appreciate the ability for people to work together and talk with each other about important issues. It was tough at times. As a person who likes to do things alone, it wasn’t easy including others in my plans and everyday activities and interests.
I think that this experience has made me better at opening up with others and better at asking others for help. I am not saying that I am good at it yet but I don’t necessarily see it as a sign of weakness anymore.
I will take away 20 close friends from this community. Twenty friends that will be there for me, talk to me and push me to be a better person.
Robert Jamieson worked as an intern this summer with the Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center (IJPC). He is a senior Psychology major from South Bend, Ind.
By: Megan Gossen
This summer I have grown because I have become more aware. I am more aware of the environment I am in, whether it is making sure to enjoy the beauty of nature or be present when I am talking with a friend.
I am more aware of the impact I have, like the small impact I have when I reuse or donate items or the impact I have on a person’s life by helping them out or making their day. I am also aware of the impact I can have on the world if I am very dedicated and work in collaboration with other people.
I am also aware of the many social justice issues we have discussed, even in everyday life. I speak up if someone uses the word “gay” as a synonym for feminine or stupid; I am aware of the accessibility, or sometimes the lack of it, for people with wheelchairs in public places, and now because of our discussions, I am aware that everyone has a story, so I should not judge them on their circumstances.
Being aware is very important in today’s world, especially when most people are focused on themselves. Being aware of an issue is the first step to change.
Megan Gossen worked as an intern this summer with United Cerebral Palsy. She is a junior Occupational Therapy major with Spanish minor from West Chicago.
By: K.G. Koch
I have been truly amazed by the deep relationships we have built over the course of two months. We have been there to listen to each other when one of us had a bad day, and there to encourage one another through the tough work.
The depth of conversation we have had is very encouraging to me; I’m glad there is a larger community of people who can intelligently discuss and work through difficult social issues. Moving from the academic to the social, this community has shown me how to be more outgoing and spontaneous, qualities that will hopefully stay with me.
Another more concrete take-away is a sense of pride in our city of Cincinnati. My knowledge of the city has grown so much over the summer, due to both work and the community, and I can’t wait to explore more hidden gems throughout the city.Things like Dusmesh, Pita Palace, the Northside Fourth of July parade and Findlay Market added a zest to our community that I will be sure to continue as long as I call Cincinnati home.
I hope to keep our community during the school year. A quote from Socrates inscribed on a pot at the Civic Garden Center applies here: “Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” I guess I just really hope that we stay constant.
K.G. Koch worked as a community gardens intern with the Civic Garden Center this summer. He is a junior from South Bend, Ind., majoring in Philosophy, Politics and the Public and International Studies.