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Sarah Riegel

Joanne Rohan
Honors 1101
December 2, 2014
My Final Reflection
As I pondered which artifacts I wanted to present in my portfolio, I found it relatively
easy to determine which specific pieces demonstrate my growth this semester. This is because
these are the pieces that truly impacted me. I chose the pieces that I felt led me to critically think
about my own beliefs and identity, and become more open to others worldviews.
The first assignment I showcased in my portfolio was my altered book, Divine
Intervention. I included this for multiple reasons, the first of which was how it set up the rest of
my semester. My altered book was the first project that forced me to really reflect on my own
thinking. It made me decide what I believed about certain topics. Completing this assignment,
particularly having to make my ideas visual, made this metacognitive process easier to work
through in other classwork during the rest of the semester. It also gave me a starting point, so that
I am better able to recognize the changes my opinions and thinking have undergone. It also
makes more apparent those beliefs that have stayed the same.
Fittingly, Divine Intervention features my religion page first. This page is all about my
faith in God and my salvation through Jesus Christ. It reflects my belief that Christ is the light of
the world, and that I am called to walk in His light. Light illuminates, and there is no room for
the darkness of sins power. In addition, I want this light to shine in my life so that others may
see it for the glory of God. It has been more difficult than I expected for me to make time for
God this semester, which is something I have really wrestled with. How can I be shining His

light if I am not seeking it myself? Yet, I do not doubt my God or my faith, and I must fight to
keep my relationship with Him strong. This, more than any other page in my book, has not
While some of the views I represented in my book have been affirmed in my first
semester of college, others have started changing. My family page depicts the habit I developed
as an only child of adopting extra family. At the same time that I have been able to choose a few
more family members this semester, I have begun to feel the beginnings of separation from
family members I had adopted in the past. My religion page shows my muddled thoughts
about politics, and the idea that I do not side with either party completely. While that is still true,
I have caught myself agreeing more with liberal opinions than I had before. Growing up in a
conservative family, I suppose it is not all that surprising that I have been forming more liberal
opinions now that I am away from my parents. However, I must continue to think for myself, not
just letting my environment influence my political views totally.
The other page that has changed most for me is my food page. This change has occurred
mostly in viewing and reflecting on Food Inc. It is also a lot more difficult to make healthy
eating choices in college, when I am required to have a designated meal plan. My choices are
limited, and my bank account is limited; yet, I thought I ate moderately healthily. When I saw
what chemicals or corn products go into even the healthiest of my food choices, I became a little
depressed. Not only did it feel like my eating habits were unhealthy, but it also felt like food
companies had been lying to me.
I did not make any real discoveries or decisions on how to fix this. After all, I am a broke
college student who really cannot afford pricey organic foods. However, after reflecting on my
own and in class discussion, I feel like I understand a little more the phrase even one person can

make a difference. I had always just accepted this phrase at face value. I had not realized that it
is not solely up to that one person to get things rolling. Instead, while one person can start a
movement, many people are needed to support and act to bring about real change. Whether I am
the one to start change or just add to the fire, my actions have significance. Watching and
critically thinking about this movie spurred me into action in my inquiry project for my Writing
course. I am no longer content to just report on how community gardens can improve food
disparities, and then check this off of my list. Even after turning in my final product, I have made
plans with my Writing professor to continue seeking improvement in food justice in
Mecklenburg County.
My City as Text reflection is the third assignment in my portfolio. The experience as a
whole helped me get my bearings in Charlotte and better understand my place at UNC Charlotte.
My two biggest realizations about Charlotte the city, that it is expansion-minded and incredibly
diverse, were elements I had noticed in Charlotte the school. However, learning to understand
how these two things interact while actually exploring the city helped me understand why UNC
Charlotte is this way. Now that I have begun to better comprehend this, I feel I can become more
of an integral part of UNC Charlotte. Because I have seen how the city and the school relate, I
can now look forward to how I may be able to fit into and make an impact in Charlotte. Even if I
do not choose to stay in Charlotte after I graduate, I will be able to take the spirit and mindset of
Charlotte with me to wherever I go.
This experience, including reflecting on it and A Place to Come to be David Goldfield,
has helped me be more open to the opinions of others. Particularly when interviewing citizens of
Charlotte, I heard some surprising things. As I began to look back on my experiences, I realized
that just because these peoples opinions seemed foreign to me did not make them any less valid.

I also spoke about how riding the bus to and from Charlotte made me realize I had had some
unintentional bias toward people who rode the bus. I had previously stereotyped my fellow
passengers without even realizing. The experience showed me that people who ride public
transportation are not necessarily of a lower economic class, and can be quite professional and
friendly. Whether or not one rides public transportation has nothing to do with ones worth.
My This I Believe essay was one piece I truly enjoyed. The most difficult part of
writing it was just deciding what belief I wanted to write about. I wanted a belief that was
applicable to every part of my life, not just my belief in God. As such, I was pleased to have
related my belief to a sacred and a secular text. In addition, I wanted it to be relatable for others.
Knowing it was going to be shared with the class, it was tempting to be less open or explanatory.
Instead, openness with myself and all who would read it was something I consciously sought.
I knew I believed in childlike faith, but having to actually write through this belief in a
narrative form made me consider it in new ways. I was able to recognize other beliefs, such as
innocence, unhindered love, and joy, which intertwined or stemmed from this one. It helped me
understand my own belief at a deeper level. Again, I was no longer accepting something at face
value, but actually getting down to the real-life meaning of it. Since writing this piece, I have
experienced quite a few breechings or breakings of trust that have resulted in a decline in childlike faith. As such, I have found myself more determined to maintain my child-like faith in other
situations, such as my faith in God, because I know now how important it is to me.
My final, most special, piece in my portfolio was the one that made me question the way
I thought about something. This assignment was my six word memoir. I considered many
approaches to this task before finding the right statement. Expressing my identity in only six
words was daunting to say the least. I explained in my reflection on this assignment that when I

was forced to strip away all of the outside or more superficial things that make up my identity, it
was difficult to know what remained. I finally settled on the phrase hold fast to what matters
Writing in these parameters made me question how I was thinking about my identity. In
high school, I had come to understand my identity as a child of God. However, as I thought
about my identity in six words, I realized I could not just identify with I am a child of God.
While this is certainly true, and the most important part of my identity, I came to understand that
it is really my beliefs that make up my identity. I say this because I would not be a child of God
without my belief in Jesus Christ as Lord. I would not be anything without my beliefs. My life
and all of my decisions are strongly influenced by all of my values that stem from a few main
beliefs. I am very firm in these beliefs.
I continued to question the idea of holding tight to my beliefs. Was I holding on too
tightly? Would it be better to let go of some beliefs or values? If a certain person or opportunity
was important to me, would that cloud my vision from seeing that it would be better to let them
go? Would it be better to let them go? As I explained in my reflection, I realized that in each
situation I pondered what mattered most either necessitated or was the act of letting go.
Recently, I have been struggling with putting this principle into practice. I am finding it to be
true still, but much more difficult in actuality to let go or even understand whether this is the best
option in these situations.
Looking back on all of my artifacts, I do believe my worldview has changed this semester
through this course. I have become more open to and appreciative of others beliefs and
opinions. In the past, I used to say that questioning beliefs and hearing the opinions of others
helped refine and strengthen my own beliefs. I truly did believe this in principle, but was often

too afraid of shaking my own beliefs to really let others views into my little world. After the
experiences I have had in this class, including personal reflection and class discussions, I actually
believe this to be true. In college so far, I have struggled with perspectives I used to have. I will
admit that this could sometimes be scary, though perhaps not as frightening as I had imagined.
However, I found that this has been a necessary part of growth. To be able to love people, I have
to have a healthy appreciation for their opinions. When I let these influence my thoughts, I have
found that my beliefs either are really strengthened or refined to look a little different. Either
way, I believe this has been for the best.
I feel that through taking this course, I have realized that the Honors Program is full of
people with diverse opinions, which is what makes us a more innovative, influential group. I
thought that I would be with like-minded people, concerned with our studies. While we do have
some similarities, we are nowhere near versions of the same person. This is a great thing. We
have a lot to learn from each other. In addition, this course has put me in contact with a lot of
good resources and people that will make my experience both in the Honors Program and at
UNC Charlotte a better one. It was not just the City as Text experience, but this entire course,
that really helped me appreciate the diversity of Charlotte. I am thankful to get to interact and
collaborate with people who can bring something different to the table.
This course and others have made my transition to college a little easier in some ways. I
feel they have prepared me for the semesters ahead. Now that I have developed metacognition as
a habit of mind, I will be able to make intelligent decisions about my studies and my life with
more intentionality. In addition, I am looking forward more now to exploring while in college. I
am not just here to get a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mathematics; I am here to gain an
education about many aspects of life. I am less scared of this now. For example, I really do hope

to take some religious studies courses in the coming years. I also hope to explore some within
my major, mostly in upper level courses to get a better idea of what I want to do with my life. I
am so excited to do undergraduate research at some point, since this is what I think I want to do
in my career. Next semester, I am also starting to explore physics with my newly-declared minor.
I want to gain life experiences while I am here to be better prepared for life outside of formal
education. This semester, including this course, has been a promising start to my college
experience in this regard.