By: Ian Delpha
At the beginning of this year, coming in as a freshman to SUNY Geneseo, I really didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of uncertainty on whether I would really like it here, if I would like the classes I chose, along with a whole lot more. Although, when I signed up for this class and read what it was going to be on, I had an excitement towards my first day. I didn’t really know what the idea of Risks, Rewards, and Rent-Paying were quite yet but knew it would be something I would enjoy compared to the other ones. I thought that this class would be able to carry over into my concepts of being a Business Administration major and be beneficial to those classes as well. Coming into the first day of class, I soon realized this would be a class I knew I would like but would also challenge me. We have done many things in this class like learning about “They Say / I Say”, talking about the themes and ideas within Bloodchild, group discussions and debates, working on our writing, and just everyday class tasks that have all tied into one another throughout the course.
The first thing we really focused on this semester was “They Say / I Say” which had a lot of lessons. The main ones that I really took away and incorporated into my writing throughout the rest of the semester was the idea of the “bouncy ball” method. This shows the idea of putting the “I Say” statement which is the opinions of yourself and what you think together with the “They Say” side of it, which is what others opinions are, and having it flow all together. This allows for less ideas bouncing off one another and making it hard for the reader to understand and instead allowing them to flow to it. This also has helped me with the idea of slowing down in my writing. Sometimes in my writing, I tend to get my ideas down and what I want to say but lack the explanation needed for the reader to understand. I forget that the reader doesn’t already know what I know on the topic so being able to really dive deep into your writing and provide explanations and information following your ideas can completely transform how your writing sounds and the clarity it has for the reader. It adds more flow and understanding to your piece and allows the reader to enjoy the reading rather than being confused or left hanging on certain parts of the writing.
The middle part of the year had a major focus on “Bloodchild” and I would say this was the hardest part of the semester for me. It was challenging because I am not always great at diving deeper into meanings and this required a lot of that so it pushed me to become better at it. The biggest part of this section was our Bloodchild Essay which we spent a lot of time on. In this essay, I focused on relating the concepts in Bloodchild of the Terrans, which are the humans getting forced to move to the land of the Tlic, which are alien-like creatures, due to persecution of them on Earth. They had to adapt to this new life and I compared this to myself coming to Geneseo as a student-athlete and having to adapt to all the changes thrown my way. After writing my draft there were definitely some changes that could be made that were mentioned in my feedback that would really help my essay. The one major one which I mentioned above was slowing down. I tried to fit too much information into my writing without explaining it thoroughly and clearly. Also, it just gives the reader too much to pay attention to and makes the writing confusing with no flow. The way I fixed this was by choosing one of the topics I discussed and making it the main idea of the entire essay. I choose to just talk about the life of student-athletes and how it could be compared to the life of the Terrans in Bloodchild. This really helped out my essay and made it become much more developed. The new phase in my life of being a student-athlete here at Geneseo was a big new step and came with a lot of uncertainty. Factors like would I like the school, would I like my teammates, could I find a balance between school, lacrosse, and social life, and just if it would be too much overall. I had to adapt to these new changes in my life relatively quickly as it all came at me very fast. This can be related to how the Terrans in Bloodchild felt as well. They had to leave from the place they have known for so long, the Earth, and move to the preserve of the Tlics all very fast. Not knowing what it would be like or if they would be accepted there was something they had to think about but overcome and adapt to as well. As you can see, these two topics were able to be related to one another very well but also can be related to this course. The ignorance I had coming into this class due to a lack of knowledge about the course and what it would entail is the same ignorance T’Gatoi had going to the preserve and myself coming to play lacrosse here. This shows that not only are these themes good to learn about in the novel but can be applied to everyday life in many more ways than you may think.
This next part of the class was something that we would do throughout the entire year and were probably the most beneficial things we did in my opinion. These were the group discussions. We would usually be in a circle around the room or sometimes in small groups and we would talk about whatever thing we were focusing on at that time. This gave people the opportunity to express their ideas on things and give other people the opportunity to give feedback. This contributed to a lot of the learning I got in this class because when you are talking and discussing the concepts we are learning with class, it opens up new perspectives and allows you to gain new understandings about a topic that you may not have had before. This part was a huge factor in helping my writing as well. Since we did a lot of writing in this class, sometimes only seeing it through your own perspective can be limiting to yourself and it is better to get other perspectives on it. Being able to do peer-reviews was one of the most important things for me. One because it allows your paper to get a new set of eyes and give feedback on it but also because when you read other people’s writing, this allows you to get more ideas that may benefit your paper as well. This is why I think it is one of or if not the most important parts of the writing process that we had.
Overall, I really enjoyed the things we did in this class and felt that I have learned a lot that can be applied into other aspects of my life. Being able to make these connections from Bloodchild and apply it to my life here at Geneseo has already been very helpful. It shows me the ways I have adapted so far and how I will continue to do so. It shows that although change may be scary, it is inevitable and is something that you need to learn to accept and deal with throughout your life. The time spent in this class has taught me so much more than just the writing and speaking skills that will carry me through life but the actual life lessons that will stay with me the most. I am very happy I chose to take this class and can see the difference it has made so far in my time here at college in this first semester. Being able to have a class like this made the transition go so much smoother and I know the things I have learned in this class will be applied to the rest of my classes throughout my time here at Geneseo and even into my career in the future.