The self-awareness project is an opportunity to reflect upon the depth of your experience in the course. How did it go? What happened? What did you notice? What was difficult – or great? What does your experience suggest to you about what comes next in your own development as a creative person?

The self-awareness project is fairly simple. It does not have to be super long or involved (but it can be, if you like). Use your notes from the course activities. Add some general reflections. Think about your personal reactions, insights, and ideas in response to the course. Here are a few possible themes to explore:

  • What do your experiences in this class teach you about your own creativity?
  • What was surprising or interesting about a given experience in this class?
  • When do you notice yourself having the most difficulty in this class?
  • What is most joyful about being in this class?
  • What memories, thoughts, or feelings are evoked by your experiences in this class?
  • What has your experience in this class taught you about your own challenges in personal development?

The structure of this project is flexible. You can include as much as you like: thoughts, reflections, ideas, implications, insights, or anything that might help you to deepen your creativity and understand your life. If you’d like a few further considerations for this project, review the evaluation criteria for the projects and the course overall; these criteria show the kinds of attitudes and behaviours that lead to good self-reflection and self-awareness:

  • Taking personal responsibility for the motivation and self-awareness required for meaningful learning
  • Challenging oneself, especially with the discomfort of encountering new things
  • Developing and sustaining a positive, growth-oriented mindset
  • Encouraging belonging, trust, and emotional safety for everyone in the learning environment
  • Caring for people (via empathy) and caring for oneself (via self-reflection and self-regulation)
  • Examining and revising personal values and beliefs as the result of new learning
  • Suspending judgment and evaluation in situations involving process and flow
  • Approaching creativity as a set of skills with many dimensions and a long learning curve
  • Engaging in the reciprocal process of appropriate feedback
  • Showing up and doing the work

How long should the self-awareness project be? Good question. How long do you think? If you have committed to the process of this class in any meaningful way, you will have some reactions and emotions about your experiences. How many words would it take you to describe and express these reactions and feelings? How much detail would you need to include in order to give a decent snapshot of your overall experience? Would you need more than a hundred words? For sure. Five hundred? More, probably. More than a thousand? Maybe. More than a million words? Probably not that much. See how it goes. As you will have understood by now, word count is not even a remotely helpful guide to the quality or effectiveness of writing (see the Tao Te Ching, for example: one of the world’s greatest and shortest works of literature). Writing is as long as it needs to be.

If you get stuck with this assignment, feel free to reach out to ask questions. But really, getting stuck is part of the process. Getting unstuck is how you activate your creativity.

Because the self-awareness project includes all of your experiences in the course, it is worth 40 percent of your grade: 20 percent for showing up and doing the work (see above; also see the assessment & evaluation criteria), and 20 percent for reflecting on your experiences. Showing up and doing the work is not simply about doing the readings, projects, and activities. Rather, it’s about engaging with the course and its assessment and evaluation principles in a meaningful way.

The self-awareness project is due at the end of week twelve.

A Note of Caution

You can write about anything you want (as usual). But please consider that any subject that is challenging for you to talk about openly (such as personal trauma) is a subject you should probably not write about. On the other hand, powerful personal experiences often provide excellent source material for writing, so it may be difficult for you to decide what to do. First, please use your judgment about how best to keep yourself emotionally safe within and beyond the classroom. Second, please discuss your plans (or your concerns) with me if you decide to write about personal or provocative subjects. In particular, be cautious of subjects involving violence, abuse, trauma, death, mental illness, and related themes (whether they happened to you, happened to someone else, or are imagined). These subjects reliably activate strong emotions and are often unsafe if not handled properly. While no subject is absolutely off-limits in this class, there are many subjects for which there is a risk of harm to you, to me, to others in the class, or to our shared communities. We must be respectful and careful of ourselves and our relationships with others. Please ask me for guidance if you are uncertain.

You ask whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are disturbed when certain editors reject your effects…I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do…there is only one single way. Go into yourself.