A reflection on my time observing

My experience in the student center was a great learning experience. Before engaging in this assignment, I doubted its usefulness. But, taking the time to sit in a space and look beyond the surface proved enlightening.

I had spent countless hours in this space, but had never noticed some aspects of it that I do now. For example, I noticed an elevator that I never knew existed, flooring patterns, and signage.

Beyond the physical surroundings, I came to understand behavior of those who spend time in this space. My location was one of movement. It was where people enter and exit the space. I noticed the behavior of those in movement. I saw how most of them are looking at their phones, and how many of them were alone. This may be because of the time of day, or the current situation, but it was still fascinating.

The physical process of “jotting,” was useful. Initially, I did not know if I was jotting enough or jotting too much. But after taking my jottings and making longer sentences or descriptions, I wish I had taken more. Jottings allow for observers to take in as much as possible. One word can recall a situation or memory, and then translate into a story.

Relating back to our semester-long investigation project, I can see why Bill had us partake in this exercise. Understanding what is important to “jot” will prove useful while attending our research locations.

While I am happy with my experience, there are aspects that I need to improve on to become a better researcher. During my time in the student center, I stayed in one location. I wanted to focus on one space. This cannot be the case for my time in the field. I need to try to understand every aspect of a space. Emerson, Fritz, and Shaw talk about participating in an environment. I need to get as close as possible. My location in the student center was not close. It was rather passive and in the background. I could have engaged in buying something in the center, or even interviewed those within in it.

I am looking forward to spending time at Holy Family Home, by participating, observing, jotting, and translating those jottings into meaningful content that tells a story.


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