Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 2 years 1 month ago

When I was told I was about to spend 28 days in a village within Xizhou to research a topic we were highly interested in, I was speechless. I never really had a strong interest in one particular topic, therefore, the list of topics I could research was huge. I went to my brother (Jeffrey) who had gone on the Microcampus trip before and received some advice on choosing my topic. His suggestions were to find a topic that I was not acquainted. 

I ended up using this criterion for choosing my topics: The topic had to be relatively new but I had to have had a bit of background exposure or knowledge on it and the topic should deal with something found outside of the cities. 

I limited my topic choice to three main topics. My first choice was Herbalism and TCM found within Xizhou, my second choice was the development of tools and technology in Xizhou, and finally green energy methods of Xizhou. Green energy was eliminated first because I felt it was topic that had already done multiple times and there was not much information that I could explore. I was stalled between studying the development of tools and technology and studying the usage belief in TCM. However, eventually tools and technology were eliminated as well because I believed I often had too much exposure of technology within the city, therefore as explained above I wanted to try something new so I decided to study the usage belief of TCM. 

In the end, I am the most interested in herbalism and secondary medicine found in Xizhou, especially in the usage belief of the medical techniques. This interest comes from my family's blended use of Chinese and Western medicine, as a result, I am mixed between the beliefs in medicinal practices. Through Microcampus, my overall goal is to be able to distinguish the reasons between the similarities and differences between the belief of the two medicines and the reasons behind it. Before going to Xizhou, I would research the belief behind Western medicine and learn about the beliefs behind Western medicine and why it was able to spread so quickly throughout the world compared to Chinese medicine. 

There were about 3 other students who have already done projects on perspectives and views on TCM and how it is being mixed with WM. One suggestion really stood out to me, Shirley, whose project had received an asterisk, suggested to not allow project envy to control you. This incredibly important advice to me because I often become jealous of the work of others always thinking that they are better than me. This will become especially hard to control also because of the number of people who have done this topic before me. Secondly, another suggestion, in general, was to not give up near the end just because the information becomes repetitive. This is also important because as we collect the bulk of our information, I am sure the final last bits will be hard to obtain, and many people may choose to give up and stop gathering new information. 

In conclusion, this Phase was mainly on topic selection which I hope I will not regret. I have used my criteria of trying something new to eliminate topics and finally settled on the perspective of TCM in Xizhou. My next phase is when I begin to dive deeper into what I really want to find out and can be found here

After Microcampus, my life has been greatly affected by the new and different experiences that were offered during Microcampus. From being able to work efficiently and effectively to having meaningful conversations with (at first) strangers around me. I know understand the difference between "giving" and "trading" and the awareness of impact. How that perhaps people in need aren't necessarily always wanting gifts, but instead a trade, a bond, an understanding between two drastically different people. I also realized how much could be gained from just viewing the world around us and not just our smartphones and computers. For once, I noticed how the buildings were set up in a certain way or how some certain art was covered, I feel this type of education has been more effective than any other program I have ever tried out.