The risks and rewards of a freshMAn

Grayson Clark


Throughout this semester I have come to learn that with almost everything there is a risk, whether that is something small like procrastinating on your work to hangout with friends or  a more severe situation like spending thousands of dollars to attend school. The epilogue from Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This epilogue reflects lots of my first semester. It means to me that each decision you make has a risk no matter the severity. While adjusting to college throughout this semester I have come to realize that with heavier the weight of the decision very often the outcome has a heavy result. Overtime I have gained a better understanding that while there may be risks on each side there’s also a reward for each. While still using the first examples, when I decide to study and do well on a test I feel very accomplished and relieved, but if I choose my friends over work I often feel the repercussions later on of my actions. But during college it isn’t all about school, growing into college has shown me that it is finding the medium that will benefit me the most.

While dealing with risks versus rewards, with school, the rewards are very often the most important aspect. Although the reward may sometimes seem as just as a result, there is often a better and a worse side of the rewards. The rewards are always relatively clear cut. Gan seems to pick up on this fairly well throughout “Bloodchild”. In the story “Bloodchild” Butler plays with the ideas of risks versus rewards of humans living on a foreign planet. The main character Gan is caught in a dilemma, he had seen a human give birth to T’lic larva. In a sense this experience has traumatized Gan and he begins to worry about his future and says “His body convulsed at the first cut.” while watching what he will have to endure. The T’lic that lives with Gan, T’Gatoi, asks Gan if he would rather have his sister give birth to the larva. He understands that the risk of letting his sister take the larva has a risk of her passing away during birth which could result in him feeling as if it’s his fault she passed away, but with him taking the larva he is able to make sure his sister lives and gives himself a chance to live as well. With Gan ultimately taking the larva himself he understands that with the risks he will put forward with taking the larva but shows that he also believes that the result will be more beneficial to him. Gan weighing out his options on making his decision has shown me that it is beneficial to weigh out the positives and negatives of my own in any given situation. 

Whether it is making the decision to hangout with my friends or be proactive and get my work done early in the semester I had struggled choosing the right path. In most cases it would’ve been the better option to get my work done but with all my friends hanging out together I had decided I didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity. The first time I had come back with a bad test score I was lucky it was able to be dropped but it gave me a wakeup call. I realized I was no longer in high school and the stakes have risen. I realized that I need to put more effort into my work and sacrifice some social time to achieve what I came to school to do. As the semester had gone on I had found fun in learning, I had realized that with a group studying can be much less of a chore and I can negate the sacrifice of missing out with my friends. It has become a great social outlet for me and has also improved my test scores. This has become a great reward that I have been given as choosing the option to benefit myself has benefited me in more ways than I could’ve ever expected. But on the other hand this also shows there may be unexpected outcomes. Coming into this semester I had hoped to play soccer. Soccer being the main reason I had decided to attend Geneseo it had really devastated me when the doctor had told me I would no longer be able to play until I get surgery. I hadn’t seen this result before I had come to Geneseo but even though I may have not been happy then it led me to meeting some of my best friends. With the decision on coming to Geneseo to play soccer I hadn’t seen any risk but in the end there had turned out to be another side to the option of playing here. 

But with taking these risks even if they had gone sideways something positive had come out of each one. Even if it took time to see, each one it was a positive outcome for me. In many situations there can be positive outlooks if you see it from the right perspective. 

Much of what Gan had experienced in “Bloodchild ” is the same in some aspects. What may seem incorrect to humans may be important to the T’lic and vice versa. The humans fleeing from Earth had nowhere to stay and were brought in by the T’lic in return the T’lic had placed some restrictions on the humans and had them aid them with their young. Without the risk of allowing the humans to live on their planet the T’lic wouldn’t have the reward of having somewhere for their young to grow. And similarly the humans wouldn’t have anywhere to live if they didn’t allow the T’lic to grow their young within them. In each aspect there is a group that is reaping the benefits of the others’ risk.

Throughout this semester the risks versus rewards part of this court had been what had been the most prominent part of this course in my day to day life. This class has shown me that with a great risk can come great reward if you are willing to work in good faith. If you decide to work hard and sacrifice what others will not, you will attain what others cannot. Butler’s “Bloodchild” had shed light on this aspect for me in a real situation being that Gan had a hard decision on his hands but was able to decide what would be the best for him. Gan may not be a direct mentor for me seeing as our situations are not similar, but how he has conducted himself throughout a pressure situation like he had experienced gives me a guide on how to treat situations I may not be able to navigate easily. As many students begin college they go through changes that they did not see them having to go through and that is one thing Gan had done well that I had admired, even though it is fiction it is still useful to use these characters and how they have treated their situations so maturely. The risks and rewards of this first semester have been evident to me after the fact of the situation, not so much at the start. This is why I believe that before people make decisions they should take their time and think about what each decision could bring.

starting college vs blood child

In Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” ideas of coming to the harsh reality of growing up are heavily expressed. As Gan is faced with what he will face in his future he begins to question whether he is willing to take the larva after watching what happens to those who take them. Gan and his family are humans inhabiting a planet that is not Earth and was owned first by the Tlic. The Tlic are aliens in human eyes, they are tall, have lots of arms, legs, and claws. They are intelligent beings and restrict humans as a way to keep them in check. In return the humans get a place to live and don’t have to do much work the tlic provides for them. Gan is second guessing on what he truly wants in his future. He knows if he doesn’t know if he wants to accept T’Gatoi’s eggs but if he doesn’t his sister will have to. As Gan explains his tenseness of the situation when he questions “Would it be easier to know that red worms were growing in her flesh instead of mine?,” on page 26. Gan sees what really happens and knows it’s what he’s going to go through. He now understands what he will have to endure in his future; he begins to question after experiencing the trauma of the larva as he watches after watching “His body convulsed.” This is much like a college student preparing for college, a college student at seventeen or eighteen is often not sure if they are prepared for college. While graduating as a junior and heading to college young I have become comfortable with the fact that much of what I have decided to do has come with a certain degree of uncertainty and uneasiness. As I have begun my freshman year of college I have learned that there is an amount of nervousness and a lot of adjusting. I have also learned it is also very easy to find comfort in new friends. With Gan not being able to speak to anyone who has gone through or is going through it, it makes Gan’s situation much more challenging. His situation is also more severe than any college students in that he is trying to survive compared to can still be a tall order of a freshman in college to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Gan struggling to decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life he is able to make a sensible decision by weighing out what may come with each option. He knows he doesn’t want to force his sister to take the larva but also knows how much pain he will have to endure and will also be sacrificing his life. Gan, while helping T’Gatoi extract larva, says that he feels as if he is “torturing a man” and feels sick to his stomach doing so. When Gan says this he is expressing his furthering feelings of nervousness towards the task he must complete. While no college students are being tortured, they hear from older college students how hard a certain course is or something negative about a professor they have and can add pressure towards starting college or a new semester. Gan later speaks to T’Gatoi and expresses his feelings on his situation. He tells T’Gatoi “I don’t want to be a host animal” on page 24. Gan is talking over his feelings about the situation with someone he feels comfortable with to ease his nerves about what he is going to go through. He has felt a new sense of relief after speaking with her. College students have many opportunities to speak with people when they do not know what they are doing, the university provides many useful resources that we can easily access for help in our path through college. As I have been here I have been able to meet with my advisor, and a few professors in order to get the extra help that I need. There are also clubs that students can attend and they will aid you on your path throughout college in whatever you may need help with, even if it is just a group of friends. I have joined the dental club and they have informed me on what I should be doing to prepare for future exams and schooling and it has been a great resource for me and has made the whole process much less stressful. Gan isn’t as blessed as us; the only person he really has to talk about with is trying to convince him to take larva for their sake. Students first jumping into college give up much less than those in “Bloodchild”. First year students mainly give up comfortability and they pay their tuition, which can be challenging for 18 year olds. On the other hand it is not nearly as difficult as giving up a family member as they do in the short story. Gan is stuck with the decision on whether he wants to live and have his sister take the larva or he takes the larva so his sister can live. College students’ main choices are things such as what they want to study, or who they want to room with. What I have experienced in my first semester so far is nothing compared to the pain Gan will go through in his near future. The same as I will go through, I will not have to sacrifice much other than time and money which will give me a positive outcome. Gan is sacrificing his life and he will lose his life in order to keep his family safe and out of love for T’Gatoi.

As a freshman in college I have had to do lots of adjusting to college life. I have gained new friends, a better education, and will be more prepared for life in exchange for paying tuition and leaving home. While it is a nerve wracking experience starting your first year of college there are many positives that come out of attending college. Not only do I have many positives with attending college, I have lots of help in navigating through college. With Geneseo offering many resources and opportunities I am able to find my path through college quite easily with the hardest thing being the work I get in classes.The new environment I have begun to grow as a person more than I would have staying in highschool. Gan is faced with much more difficult challenges, in circumstances that would be illegal such as when he killed the achti with a gun that they are not supposed to own, or whether to save himself or his sister. While Gan isn’t given much of a choice in what in his life regardless of taking the larva. He is not able to go and study what he wants or meet new people. He is on a preserve and still has the responsibility to take the larva and protect his family and make T’Gatoi happy. With going into a new situation you will never be completely comfortable in situations that will benefit you. As I have started my freshman year I have understood that it is very important to continue my education because in the end it will benefit me.