As thrilled as I am to study abroad for 4th year, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as I packed up from our OSL Lab. The twenty weeks we had together were amazing. I had a lot of fun, faced a lot of challenges, and learned so much.

The first big challenge was wrapping my head around the concept of open source learning. Others have already mentioned the big discussions we had in winter quarter (the cluster, standards vs. standardization, and more). Looking back at it, it seems silly that I had been so flustered with it now that I experienced it in spring quarter.

The next big challenge was making circulation an experience. What is the experience? For me, it wasn’t enough to say that I wanted a sectional experience or an outdoor experience. These experiences were too vague for me to work with in winter quarter, which made my project unsuccessful in that aspect. In spring quarter, I feel yangsuzien and I were much more successful. I think part of that success was due to our choice of words. We wanted to INJECT people into these spaces, and we wanted to INJECT spaces into other spaces. Love the power of active verbs.

In spring quarter, the main challenge I dealt with was time. We had a lot of work to do, and I wanted to do everything. Each drawing has a potential narrative that adds depth to the story. Ultimately, my partner and I did as much as we can and had to choose which artifact needed the most of our time.

A particularly personal challenge was to open up and share my thoughts, especially to larger groups. In a studio about open source learning, this seemed like a problem. During a discussion around the family table, I might be so busy trying to think of something to say that I lose track of the conversation, or I might be so intent on listening that I haven’t been able to organize my thoughts to come up with anything to say that makes sense. I meant to post more on the blog in spring quarter… but that didn’t happen. However, communication with my partner wasn’t a problem at all. I’m glad to say that I had the most amazing partner yangsuzien, who almost got to the point of reading my mind by the end of spring quarter, which was helpful when I lost my voice. I loved bouncing ideas back and forth with a partner (or with another person in studio).

While this studio got a taste of what open source learning is about, I still wonder—will open source learning really be the future? Or are people still too skeptical? Or too attached to the traditional learning systems? I often hear from other students (from other majors, if that matters) about how much they hate projects, especially group projects. They might say they don’t know how to learn something difficult on their own. A lot of people still view tests as a way to measure students’ knowledge. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic about how OSL can change education. OSL supports exploration and curiosity, and that’ll eventually lead students to their passion.

As I move forward to new adventures, I want to remind myself about how I want to approach learning by asking myself this question: how will I take ownership of my education and maintain that ownership? I think once I lose that sense of ownership, when I let parents/teachers/professors/mentors make my goals rather than making my own, I lose interest. I’m trying to reach their expectations instead of just doing my best. So when I find myself losing interest even in things I am passionate about, I will look back at this question and do something about it.