Listen Up Challenge

April 11, 2013
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Student Reflection - April 10, 2013

It’s not every day that someone gets to experience life while deprived of one or more senses… that is why today was pretty extraordinary for me. Normally, I am fairly confident that I could identify whether someone is cracking an egg or chopping onions. It is also a fairly easy task for me to determine whether a door is attached to a house or to a car. This considered, I found my inability to quickly and easily identify such situations during today’s challenge quite frustrating. Through being forced to identify situations based on sound alone, I was presented with scenarios that, at times, I was unprepared to identify. In one example, I was sure that the sound I heard was from a train bell, rather than the clinking of campaign glasses together. In another, I was positive that the clicking noise that I heard was from typing, rather than from taking someone’s blood pressure. In both cases, my confidence proved false.

It is funny to think how just a little bit of context can transform your perception of the world. Obviously, had I been at a wedding or in a hospital when I had heard the aforementioned sounds, I am sure that I never would have made the conclusions that I had. Even something as subtle as having smelled food or heard doctors in the background would have greatly influenced how I had identified the sounds. In retrospect, I simply did not appreciate how hard it would be to perceive something without context – whether it had been garnished from my situation, my sight, or my other senses.

From this challenge, I once again find that I learned an unexpected lesson: Context is very important. As I found out today, context – even when garnished from the most insignificant detail – can pretty significantly change how you perceive the world around you.

Winning Reflection - Matthew Coon

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