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Quest for Meaning

Quest for Meaning

This I BelieveĀ®: Why It Is Important to Me and the World

QFM Essay and Presentation

“This I Believe®” essay and presentation takes its title from a current National Public Radio1 project  to collect essays from people in all walks of life about their beliefs. It, in turn, is based on a 1950s radio show of the same name. In the context of Quest for Meaning, this essay will be a bit different as it gives you an opportunity to think in a comprehensive and integrative way about our learning together in Quest for Meaning. Successful essays must demonstrate excellent engagement with the whole course by means of specific examples from course readings, plenary presentations, service learning, and class discussions throughout the fourteen weeks of Quest for Meaning (QFM).

Our QFM materials have addressed situations in most people’s lives when they make choices from among alternatives — to follow a particular vocation, to concentrate upon a family’s needs, to take on (or avoid) new responsibilities, to develop a set of advanced skills for one’s life work, to work in concert with other people to effect changes in the way we live, work, or relate to one another and to choose the ways we relate to nature. Every student who is within several months of completing an undergraduate degree has either made some important choices, or will be feeling the need to make some significant choices soon.

What guides you in your important life choices? Which areas of the General Education curriculum (arts, humanities, natural science, social science, global, environmental) have had the most impact on your beliefs and understanding of their importance in the world? Are there ethical theories and/or faith-based approaches that help you to move beyond personal desires and needs and consider the needs of others? Try to identify the building blocks of your world-view, as you are now about to graduate from Eckerd College. Seize this moment to clarify these views to yourself and to your classmates.

Your experience in QFM should have helped you articulate a clearer sense of meaning and purpose in life, forcing you to examine and/or defend your own beliefs. This essay should help you understand how you react to issues facing us individually and as human beings. Please address your understanding of meaning and purpose in the human experience in your essay, with a clear articulation of how this helps you understand the links you share with the broader community, both locally and globally. In your essay you are expected to reference class materials in a way that indicates how they helped you clarify your thinking. You are not required to agree with the class materials, but to address the ideas that have challenged or solidified your own underst anding.

Everyone will be writing an essay of approximately 8 to 10 double-spaced pages. Essays must substantially connect to a reasonable fraction of the course materials (readings, plenaries, discussions, service learning, etc). Those that do not meaningfully integrate course materials will not receive full credit. In addition to your essay, you will also make a presentation to your class. For your presentation, you may choose any format you wish in order to present a part or the whole of the substance of your essay.

Your essay is due on November 21, 2013 in class to your section professor and the class presentations will be in the final two weeks of the semester.



Fall Plenary Sessions

Dawn Porter, Director of "Gideon's Army"

10/22/15 Prof. Anne Cox, "Sciences and Our Quest for Meaning"

11/03/15 Prof. David Hastings, "The Natural Environment and Our Quest for Meaning"

11/12/15 Prof. Arthur Skinner, "Art and Our Quest for Meaning"