Reflective Writing 2

Imposter syndrome is characterized by feelings of inadequacy and fear of being found out as a phony ( There is also a strong connection to perfectionism. Any success is written off as the person tricking everyone and any failure only reinforces the thought pattern. Imposter syndrome can lead to anxiety and depression. According to VeryWellMind, it’s estimated that 70% of people will experience at least one episode of imposter syndrome in their life (

The article by Ethan Urie discusses tips for working through imposter syndrome in computer science. The tips range from mindset changes, to seeking reassurance from managers, to keeping track of accomplishments. I think the tips could be helpful but since my experience with imposter syndrome is so different I honestly don’t know. I do think adopting a growth mindset and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable are both good tips. From the outside, those tips seem like they would help change the negative thinking that causes imposter syndrome.

I also want to acknowledge that people of color and women were first found to have imposter syndrome but it’s hypothesized to be due to the structural discrimination in the workplace ( If someone is getting constantly told by their coworkers that they’re inferior or less competent, of course that would take its toll. By making imposter syndrome a personal thing, we ignore the systemic issues that often cause it, putting the burden on women to fix something (else) society caused.

My experience with imposter syndrome was a little atypical but what helped me was reassurance from my friends. Perhaps that sort of validation and assurance from peers or another trusted person could help alleviate imposter syndrome. Changes to workplace culture could also help prevent imposter syndrome, but that isn’t something most people have control over.

CPSC 240 Reflective Writing 1

I started coding last year when I took CPSC 110. I’d done some coding in high school but it was the interfaces with the colored blocks that you drag and drop. It never really clicked for me until I actually learned the how and why.

I think my favorite thing about coding is knowing how computers work and getting to solve problems. There’s such a feeling of accomplishment when you finish a program and it works. My least favorite part is probably getting stuck, where I can’t figure out what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Week 13 Reflective Writing

The main thing I’ll take away from this class is a more nuanced idea of the purpose of theater. I had never thought of theater as more than entertainment before the class. Knowing there can be deeper messages to theater makes sense and I think it will help me take more away from seeing shows. It was also interesting to learn about the history of theater and how innate it is to humans. That’s not something I would have looked into on my own, so being guided to it make me look at a part of theater I wouldn’t have otherwise.

I think this class was worth it. Yes, there was a lot of reading, but it was almost always interesting, and the work associated with them was more of thinking than busy work type work. I think I found this week’s lesson about musical theater the most interesting. There were so many changes to musical theater, all within a century. Musical theater was also the easiest to understand for me since I knew about most of the shows we talked about before the lesson, so it was a bit easier to wrap my head around. Musicals are the part of theater I like the most, so of course it would be my favorite lesson.

I’m not sure how this class connects to my other classes. I think the class connects more to my life which eventually will be affected by my classes. Right now, I’m just taking classes that look interesting. Theater does psychology to make people feel a certain way, with colors and music. I guess electronics in theater might be programmed which would connect to my computer science class but that’s a bit of a reach and very surface level. This class was very different from the rest of my schedule. There was a lot more internal work to put together concepts as opposed to clear rules and ideas being laid out for me.

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Week 12 Reflective Writing

I think the STEM vs STEAM debate has understandable basis but doesn’t really matter. Incorporating art has valid backing, since there are design and public speaking parts in science. There are barriers to participation in STEM for girls, and people of color (article), and the arts can be place for them to exist and be creative. The linking of science and art/design was really interesting to me. I’ve always been good at science and math, but I’ve also liked theater and music. Having it laid out to me that I can do science related stuff while also using creativity and design is a nice idea. It does make me wonder if the reason I like computer science so much is that its an intersection of science and creative problem solving. “With STEAM, the pressure is off to become a scientist or engineer—you can be a designer, digital artist, coder, art director, and scientist and engineer all at the same time” (article). Because I’m good at math, there’s always been an expectation that I’d go into some STEM field, and I don’t know if I want to. The idea that STEAM reduces that pressure seems like a big benefit.

A couple years ago I remember seeing something about the math and engineering behind outfits at the met gala. The math required to structure the dresses and make stripes look straight across a human body is insane. And yet I never put together the relationship between art and the sciences.

I think STEM might have originated as simply a category to explain what it was and maybe to focus on the lack of girls and diversity in STEM, but I feel like now it’s more like a clique. It’s become an enemy of the arts despite the overlap between the two. I think STEM should just be a category of skills but until society has more diversity and fewer barriers in STEM, we should include the arts.

Week 11 Reflective Writing

I think for characters of a specific race the actor needs to also be that race and trans characters need to be played by trans actors. The Vice article mentioned how having cis men play trans women (or vice vera) reinforces that idea that trans women are just pretending to be men. I think racial accurate casting is similar. There is a physical difference and it just feels wrong to ignore that. Queer characters are more ambiguous to me. It would be cool if queer characters were accurately represented and queer actors were able to get roles as straight or queer. Right now, I think it’s more important for queer people to be involved in the writing process and to collaborate with the actor. It feels like it could be valuable for queer actors to get roles as queer characters but there is a financial issue and it might not be clear if an actor is queer when casting. Overall, queer characters should be written by queer people and it shouldn’t matter who plays them. Trans and people of color should be played by the appropriate group, because there is a physical difference and a group of experiences specific. I’d group non-binary people in with queer here because many people can look androgynous, which is the general idea of nonbinary. It would, of course, be cool to see nonbinary people playing nonbinary characters but it feels like a less pressing issue. I don’t think there is much nonbinary representation right now.

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Week 10 Reflective Writing

The idea of a liberal arts school without a fine and performing art department is absolutely absurd to me. Even if there were financial issues cutting the whole department seems excessive. The whole letter felt like it was creating reasons to cut the department, not listing actual issues. It’s like they don’t understand what theater does. I think that idea of teaching people in primary school that theater and art aren’t just pretty and entertainment but can share a message and make you think might change the prevailing idea of theater.  So many of the shows were criticized for LGBT+ content, which might have been a fair complaint 40 years ago, but in this era that content is much more accepted and should be see on stage more. I think the biggest issue I had was that it felt like such an unnecessary step. If the school had an issue with the content, they should talk to the department about the shows or how the shows are advertised, not just cut funding as a first step. This, of course, is still censorship but it feels more acceptable, perhaps because it gives the department a chance to say no, we want to challenge people and make them think. I think this is similar to the idea we talked about in class how self-censorship is not very common anymore and people instead go to these extremes of shutting down the art.

The article about Mapplethorpe mentioned that after the original exhibit closed another museum took the collection and displayed it, and because of the controversy and the media attention a lot of people went that might not have otherwise. There was a video that interviewed people who saw the exhibit and none of them seemed upset or disgusted, they seemed to have found it interesting and it made them think. So those who are ready to see some thought-provoking art were able to go, and if you didn’t want to, there was no obligation to.

I do think we should publicly fund the arts because it’s a big industry with lots of people and lots of income. Not only are those people supported since they have jobs, they can also do what they care about, and the rest of the community gets access to art. Theater has such value, not only as art, but also to share stories and make people think and that should be accessible to all.

word count: 407

Week 9 Reflective Writing

I think theaters should make trigger warnings accessible. There is content in theater such as rape, abuse, suicide, that is important to talk about but may be harmful to some people. If you’ve experienced one of those things, you might not have the aesthetic distance to watch the show and providing information that tells you that before the show is important. The question is how public the warning should be and how much information they should share. I agree that “mature content” is too vague to be helpful. Does that mean there’s a rape scene or just a sex scene? Arguably both are mature, but the different emotions make them very different to watch. One article mentioned a vague warning on the theater’s website with directions to contact them about specifics. That seems like a very reasonable middle ground. Nobody’s viewing will be affected by possible spoilers and people who might be unduly affected can avoid the show.

I personally don’t think trigger warnings affect a viewing of a show. I saw a production of Spring Awakening and the playbill mentioned mature content and partial nudity, if I remember correctly. That show mentions suicide, abuse, sex, and has a scene where a character is (consensually) beaten with a switch. I knew the show going into the theater. And yet that scene was so emotional. I found it a little hard to watch and I can’t imagine what it would feel like to watch if I’d experienced that. If theater is done well, I think the audience should be responding to what’s happening onstage, regardless of what they know prior.

I understand the argument that trigger warnings might deter people. Either they learn it has x content in it and avoid it because that content is too close to home or they avoid it because they’re not comfortable seeing that right now. The first one is valid and important; without aesthetic distance, they’re not going to get anything from the show or enjoy it. The second one is hazier. I think there is an age where things may not be appropriate, especially if they are graphically described or seen, but there’s also a point where for many people it becomes discomfort because it’s bad and scary, which is what theater is trying to make a point about. I think that’s why I liked the idea of being able to contact the theater for a detailed trigger warning. It makes the information available to those who need it. Additionally, it’s pretty easy to look up a show online, and even with production variation, a lot of possibly triggering content is part of the plot.

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Week 8 Reflective Writing

I think there is a value in a public now. Seeing the contrast between how you react, and the rest of the audience might make you think about the why of your reaction. Or seeing the alignment of the reactions might validate your opinion. I don’t think the public now is necessary, but it does have a value. Theater isn’t accessible to everyone and it doesn’t seem right that theater would be a necessity that is not universally available. Perhaps the public now is necessary but could be experienced not in a theater. Or maybe I’m being very optimistic, and theater is a necessity that many people don’t have access to.

I agree that theater does help us understand ourselves. Seeing a new idea and realizing your reaction isn’t the same as the audience’s might make you start thinking. Or seeing someone onstage who you relate to might help you understand why you do something or act some way. Simply seeing you don’t have the majority opinion might make you think about it, and if you do that and realize you were wrong and change, then theater has helped change the world.

Theater has existed for centuries. There must some reason we always create theater. The Greeks used it to share stories of morals and right vs wrong. The Romans used it for propaganda, and in the modern day we entertain and teach. In today’s society theater is rather exclusive. And yet people will pay hundreds of dollars for a single ticket. There must be something special that the theater offers that a $15 movie ticket can’t. I think it is that interaction with the audience and the actors. Maybe theater doesn’t have the special effects of film but you’re so much close to what’s happening, and it is happening now, right in front of you.

Word count: 307

Week 7 Reflexive Writing

I don’t know what the value of political satire is today. When I agree with the creator’s general political views, I enjoy satire, but the ones linked I didn’t agree with were much less fun. The original goal of satire is to poke fun at something and make you think about it. I feel like that’s hard when people either agree and think it’s funny or refuse to think about the joke. I think it’s hard to tell if satire is losing traction because of anomie or simply because the political climate specifically is too partisan. The argument makes sense; if any opposing view is considered bad but valid, it gives a lot less power for satire. The Guns SNL skit has over 7 million views on YouTube and the coronavirus bit from Randy Rainbow has over 1.5 million. There’s clearly still an audience for political satire but that doesn’t determine whether it’s still functioning as intended or just acting as entertainment.

The excerpt of the article talked about who satire afflicts and who it comforts and how that needs to align with who is already afflicted or comforted in society. The parody of Modern Major General didn’t feel like it followed that to me. It was poking fun at AOC, a young woman of color, in congress, which is mostly old white men. In that group she’s a minority, and even more generally in society the same is true. That video felt like it was a very personal, and unnecessary attack to her. Perhaps since I like her, I’m biased but I think that’s something to consider. I didn’t find the snowflake song as bad, but I didn’t like it either. That one was much more general, poking more at liberals than any individual.

I also don’t know if we’re too partisan for political satire to change people’s minds. I feel like satire could change a person’s mind, but many people right now are very set in stone in their political ideology. I think it would take more than a 3-minute political satire to change their opinion. There’s also a difference between agreeing with politics and liking someone’s character. The two often go hand in hand and seeing someone poke fun at a politician who you like might make you upset rather than think about the joke. Thinking about how I reacted to the AOC satire as comparted to the Randy Rainbow’s Trump satire (which I found amusing) makes me a little dubious that satire could work right now to change people’s minds. Perhaps in the future it could, but now everything is so polarized that it seems unlikely.

Word count: 441

Week 6 Reflective Writing

I think plays about COVID should look at how people responded. There has been such a range of responses and some people seem to lack empathy in their response. Mask wearing has been an oddly divisive topic in the US and yet in other countries, people wear masks when they get sick out of courtesy during a normal year. It was never an upsetting concept to me. I wear a mask, and possibly prevent people from getting sick and dying. Seems worth it to me. Yet it’s not a country wide norm. Even here on campus with liberal population I see students wearing their masks incorrectly. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’d be curious to see if the more politicized component of mask use would be included.

I think masks and being inside would have to be addressed in a play. It would be interesting to see what the reaction to a face mask years after COVID resolves is and if they become more normal to wear when sick like in Asian countries and what the reaction to seeing masked people on stage is. I think the social justice issues that were brought to prominence in June and July should be mentioned and the start of election season amidst all of this. As I write this, the President has COVID, is in multiple high-risk categories, and is currently staying at a hospital out of an abundance of caution. This is such a unique experience especially during an election year. Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t want to see a play about COVID. I don’t want to think about it anymore, I’d much prefer a distraction. I think the timeline of when shows about it premiere is going to be important.

I think the exact things touched on in a play about COVID would vary based on the playwright and their message. I’m sure there are issues being raised that I’m not even aware of. But I also think the government’s action, or inaction, will be a notable part of many stories. Healthcare, job and wage inequity, with contactless pickup and the rise of disposable items disabled people have very equal access and yet both of those are COVID specific, police brutality. So many issues and conflicts rose to more general awareness and I think those will be addressed.

word count: 390