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Minerva Week 18: Wild Things

February 9, 2015

What does it mean to be wild? For me, it means being comfortable with independence, and uncertainty, and being able to reap the rewards of straying off the path. Spurred in part by my fantastic roommate, I ventured out during class days this week. We had adventures that reminded me of how free I am, and how wild I might become.

Our first stop was the Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco. It was Toonie Tuesday, where the gimmick was that each person who went to the museum would be given a dollar. They could then choose to keep the dollar (essentially being paid to go to the museum), give it back, or give a donation to the museum. All were acceptable choices to gain admission. I gave $4. It was worth every penny.

There were some fanciful and wonderful cartoons in a retrospective of (the kooky lady and artist) M.K. Brown.

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There was also a fantastic exhibition about political cartoons. I was awed by the boldness and anger that came through with each bold line. Here are a few examples:

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The next day, we went to the San Francisco Zoo! Well, we almost went! It was free admission for SF residents, but we had to get there before 3:00 to gain admission. Our last class ended at 2:30, so we rushed to find a cab. We drove for what seemed like hours. I was shocked to see how MUCH of the city there was – so many hills filled with tiny pastel houses. My map of San Francisco only included the inner, walkable, core.

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We ended up making it to the Zoo (having gotten dropped off at the wrong end of the Zoo and having to walk completely around it, nearly getting lost in the process) well after the 3:00 deadline. And yet, we could still see some animals! The ticket entrance was set a little further back into the Zoo, and the giraffes, zebras, antelope and ostriches were all visible from our viewpoint.

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Seeing the animals in their enclosures reminded me of the San Francisco State University campus. We had driven by it on our way to the Zoo. I was shocked to see it, a standalone complex of fields, residence buildings, and classrooms. After almost six months at Minerva, the idea of a campus seems so alien to me. If students at traditional universities are animals in carefully constructed habitats, I was a wild one. The city was my campus, so I was still in a ‘natural habitat’. It might be a little less safe or convenient sometimes, but it was real and it was beautiful.

My week of classes was captivating. We were delving into ethics, negotiations, study design and network analysis. I found myself thinking seriously about the costs and benefits of negotiating with terrorists, I delved into the epicentre of the anti-vaccine movement, and I learned about how a rumour can easily spread through a well-connected social network. The most affecting class preparation I did was to watch an award-winning short film that presents a heartbreaking ethical dilemma. I’ve linked it below.

Today, I headed to the Legion of Honor Museum. Perched near Land’s End, a picturesque section of cliffs at the West edge of the city. The Legion of Honor is a reproduction of a building in Paris, and contains fine artistic treasures. Here are a few:

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The grounds are also beautiful. Once I was done in the museum, I headed outside and walked the trails by the cliffs, descending to a peaceful beach. I watched as the waves crashed against the rock. I felt their power.

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Finally, I headed back to my room and poured myself a well-earned bowl of cereal. I watched the ocean from my window, and felt the wildness in my heart.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bronwyn Oatley permalink
    February 12, 2015 3:43 am

    Really loved this post B. Wondering about similar things at the moment — wildness and cages. Great to hear your thoughts through the blogosphere. Keep rockin!

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