Instructor: Dr Nassim (JafariNaimi) Parvin
This is a group project for the Discovery and Invention class at Georgia Institute of Technology
The theme of the class is transitions and border crossings, and our chosen focus area was bus travel, specifically, our feelings during a generic journey from a stop to Campus.
However, we did not arrive at this topic directly. In fact, we had initially chosen different topics, and in a way, we transitioned through those to reach where we are now. We had started with the theme of rehabilitation. However, we realized that, neither of us having undergone such a transition, that we would not be in a position to empathize with the experience. Therefore, we decided to switch to something that we ourselves had experienced, instead of focusing on the experiences of others.
In this domain, the first topic we chose was the transition of growing up, from infancy to adulthood. However, we ran into another problem- the topic is a very broad one, and how could we describe what our experience was if we do not remember most of it, in the first place? An alternative transition was transition in level of education, however, that is also a broad topic in its own right.
So what would be an appropriate topic? The answer was not a transition that we would have gone through once, but one that we go through every day. And that is how we arrived at bus travel.
These are the initial concept diagrams I had made for our first theme. The basic theme of rehabilitation was looked at, and we thought to map the feelings of prisoners and addicts as they undergo this transition. However, neither of us were in a position to say that we could understand their perspectives, because this transition was not applicable to us.
Therefore, we had to change our theme. We moved on to the transition of growing up. I decided that I would switch to digital maps at this stage. The maps I created are shown below. The transition is from the perspective of a human growing up, from infancy to adulthood, and represented across 3 different forms( Transition in learning, physical and emotional transition, and behavior).
However, this theme was too broad. In addition, it was a fuzzy experience, being that it was from childhood. Therefore, we had to change our themes again.
Below are the maps we created, for our final theme- bus travel. I will speak about the map on the left, because it represents my thought process.
The color coding represents my emotions during the process of waiting for the bus. The map is of Georgia Tech’s bus route, and represents a journey, in which I am waiting for the bus, and the emotions I go through whilst waiting for the bus and eventually sitting in it. The scenario itself is one where I am short of time and need to reach some place quickly. Red represents anger, Green represents happiness, orange represents frustration, and black represents apathy. Yellow is the color of the bus itself, and represents a neutral outlook.
At first I thought that the change in emotions (from happy to apathetic) happens because it represents a change in outlook- from thinking that I will arrive at my destination in time to raging at the bus’s slow progress, to frustration, and finally apathy, representing that I have given up hoping to reach in time.
However, I increasingly find that this is not just about bus travel or deadlines. The surprising thing for me, is that I often go through this exact same transition even when the deadline is far away or I have surplus time. Sometimes I go through it because I simply want to finish whatever work I am doing, or because I just want to get to my destination as soon as possible.
Does that mean that, more than external factors, it is our own personality that influences how we feel? That, regardless of what happens, I will end up going through this transition in some form or the other, although the duration of each phase may differ each time?