Final Self-reflection essay

The course epigraph for this writing seminar, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner,” (Octavia Butler, Bloodchild) highlights my experience through the course as I feel as though it was a prevalent overarching theme throughout the semester. Prior to attending class, I believed that the course would offer insight towards writing from an economical standpoint due to the description, “risks, rewards, and rent-paying,” when choosing my classes for the first semester. I wasn’t necessarily how thought-provoking this topic would be or if I would even enjoy it as I’ve never been much of a numbers guy. I quickly realized that the theme was not as I expected but was entirely different from what I initially perceived. This immediately shifted my perspective on the course and gave me a fresh outlook on how I should perceive information I’m given. The discussions that were sourced from the course material were very thought-stimulating which I found very enjoyable but was also disappointed in the lack of engagement often by my peers. As I remember, the professor would usually resort to calling randomly on students to participate in a discussion or read part of a story such as when we began to read “Bloodchild” and Dr.McCoy would be forced to ask someone to read as there usually were no volunteers. I felt inclined to contribute to the group discussions but generally held myself back from doing it too much as I wanted to give others the opportunity to voice their opinion. Due to the nature of the course, however, I feel as though every student was able to gain something out of this course, whether it becoming a better writer, thinker, or both. What I mean by the “nature of the course” is that the requirement to understand a question or concept and then often debate it or write about it with others causes each student to delve deeper into the topic to better understand it. A good example of this was very recent during the Collaborative Essay, in which students were separated into three groups and asked to cooperate in crafting one essay tying together the idea of upgrading and the short story “Bloodchild”. I believe this corroboration of minds and work helped us all find new insights on our own work as well as how to improve our style of writing. This also helps break down the barrier of hiding your writing to prevent others from telling you what’s wrong with it. It is very important to be able to handle and listen to criticisms in order to grow as a writer and as a person.  

My feelings preceding the course were similar to my feelings prior to my arrival upon campus. In fact, I believe that my feelings through my time in this course can shed light upon my feelings through my time in college. Before I arrived in Geneseo, I was extremely nervous about the daunting mountain I believed to be education in college but was also excited to climb it, to discover new opportunities that may have never been made previously available to me from my perspective at the foot of the hill. Very early in the course, our class had a discussion about the best way to accomplish large goals whether that be applicable to a large paper or creating a new habit. In this discussion, our instructor explained that looking at a goal should not be seen as one large leap, from A to Z, but rather taken as the many small, attainable steps in between. This idea has really resonated with me throughout my very limited time in college and now I apply it to my analogy of the aforementioned “educational mountain”. To clarify, I have dubbed this educational experience at university as a mountain as to underline the expected and very real rigor of college courses. Through my time in this course and at school, I can now see the steps being added on to this large mountain, carving a clear path towards my goal that once seemed almost impossible. I typically use this method with most of my more important or larger assignments such as this essay or when studying for a test in biology and have found that I am flourishing academically. As I previously stated, this is not only applicable to assignments for college but may also be used to create small, attainable goals for any situation. An example of this may be a person having the overarching goal of being more physically fit and in order to do this they gradually accomplish smaller goals such as eating better or increasing the volume of time spent at the gym. Because of this I feel that this lesson goes deeper than just on a college level and can greatly affect the life of a student that properly utilizes it. 

This course epigraph truly creates a potent atmosphere for deep thinkING mixed with the continuous engagement through course material into this epigraph. I believe that students enrolled in this course truly were able to practice their ability to reflect on change and learning through time. However, I don’t believe the fact that this is insisted upon by the GLOBE standards really matters in the grand scheme of things. To further unpack this statement, I believe that this should be an educational standard for all classes in every university, not just for the GLOBE classes and not just for SUNY Geneseo students. The riveting ability to create such a stimulating educational experience should be had by all those willing to learn and put in the effort. The fact that this is only subjected to so few is stunning and I believe it would be extremely beneficial for every classroom or lecture hall in the world to require students to reflect upon any changes within their learning and their outlook upon the through time. So to further explain, I don’t believe it’s important or impressive that the course accomplishes this because GLOBE says it should but rather because it accomplishes this at all as many classes or institutions tend to take a one-and-done, never-think-or-reflect-on-anything-I-just-spent- the-last-fifteen-weeks-on approach. I know this to be true as it is occurring as I am writing this essay. I find my biology class to be very bland and unengaging as I just work from unit to unit, not really bothering to reflect on what I’ve learned or care to really retain any of the content presented before me. 

To reflect, I believe the material of the course and the methods of engagement to the material produced a very thought-provoking, overarching theme to a class I had not expected it to come from. This class does this through multiple methods; the encouragement of collaboration among peers which promotes deeper understandings, the use of a self-grading system, and ability to see situations from a fresh perspective. Working with peers allows us as writers to see mistakes or improvements we would otherwise not notice as writers tend to not see the flaws in their work(Dr.McCoy). This in itself improves our writing, but goes further as to force us to think more critically about the issue and topic at hand. This positive learning environment is strengthened exponentially by the use of a self-grading policy which allows students to focus more on the feedback given by the teacher rather than allowing the “number” to fully ensnare the students’ thoughts(Stommel). On top of this, cross-referencing an idea off of the perspective from multiple authors or characters allowed us as writers to be forced to see numerous views on a singular, specific topic. This course dynamic does not matter in regards to the GLOBE standards but rather matters for what it is to the learner. Because of this, it should be incorporated in classrooms on a large-scale among all ages due to its importance to creating a complex curriculum for the student to maximize their learning in. 

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