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Insights / February 6, 2017

Reimagine Your Box

By David Munkvold

Everyone lives within certain roles (self imposed or societally imposed) and most people are unlikely to step outside of the boundaries inherent in the roles that are prescribed to them. Most of us are comfortable in our boxes and when we discover that the existence of our box is built upon problematic or unsustainable structures, we often choose to remain in our boxes rather than tear down a wall and find a way to live that is more in line with our ideals.

We stay in our boxes because we don’t want to be labeled as “weird,” we don’t want to try new things, we don’t want to engage in practices that we perceive as uncomfortable, difficult or inconvenient. Our inability to reimagine ourselves in context gives power to the forces that attempt to define us.

Reimagination requires creativity, courage, and a critical perspective. Take responsibility for your own boundaries and make new things possible based on how you want to be in the world.

In terms of programming, we have all drawn lines that we refuse to cross in terms of what technologies we will never bother to explore. We have professional niches that may seem to give us an advantage but often limit what is possible for us.

Recognize your box, reflect on why those walls are where they are, and then do something new and creative (and responsible/respectful) that changes your box.

David Munkvold is a senior at Macalester College, and one of four software engineering interns in Software for Good’s Spring 2017 intern cohort