Self Reflective Essay

When I reflect on my experience and the different ways, I’ve grown; throughout this semester our epigraph, “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”, makes me think back to the beginning and everything makes sense now. I remember our first class discussion about the epigraph and everyone was very confused to say the least. We had no idea what or who Gatoi was. We partially had an idea that someone in the story would be risking or at risk in some way, but we didn’t know. For me, once I finished the story and being done with the class this epigraph and story has taught me to look at things in different ways. I look at the relationship between educator and student differently. 

In all honesty I thought that this writing class was going to be like any other writing class I had ever taken. I thought I was going take this class and possibly fail but at my best barely pass. I had previously taken an INTD class during the summer and that was the outcome so there was no reason for me to believe any differently, I truly dreaded the idea of taking another INTD class. The class I took in the summer was fine. No more no less. It was a class that was doable but not at all memorable. I remember the professor I had was a good professor; however, a complaint he had was my facial expression, or rather my lack of facial expressions along with my body language. Looking back, I understand what he was saying, I assume he wanted me to look more engaged in the class discussions. However, I believe his teaching style wasn’t aligned with my style of learning. So, because of my past experience I wasn’t hopeful coming into this INTD class. I anticipated having to read whichever book was going to be assigned and truthfully, I didn’t think I would finish the book simply because in the past I had no interest in what I was learning. Throughout this semester I realized that I’ve become more open with my opinions, which is something I had hardly ever done. Growing up I’m never usually the type to express myself nor share my opinion in class. 

What helped me grow as a writer was the different teaching style by you, Beth McCoy. One thing I’ve always had trouble with was elaborating and by you constantly saying “unpack”, “what do you mean”, those phrases have been something that I ask myself every time I think I’m done writing. When It came to class discussions, I grew more confident in speaking, it had a lot to do with the size of the class as well as who was in the class. I felt as though my classmates where supportive and although I didn’t realize how much it had affected my performance; I appreciated the reactions and the feedback. The reactions and the feedback were in my opinion a product of the guidelines set by you. In the past, I feel like when reading a book there was no long-term purpose which is why a lot of the time, I didn’t care to finish the reading assignment. With this story I appreciate the long-term impact I feel the lesson from this story will have. The story along with all the unpacking and the different real world connections such as the integrated learning showed me how connected the real world is to the learning process. One discussion that really impacted the way I viewed situations was the integrative learning. As Steve Prince said in the video “the most important part of this project is not the product, it’s the process.” With that this lesson reminded me that there is a different process for everyone. Everyone’s journey is going to be different and when working with another person it’s important to take into consideration that people might be having a harder time than me, but their experience only means a different point of view. The point of view wont me anymore or any less than another individual but it will be a unique view that all participants can learn and grow from. What I appreciate about the learning process this semester was it taught me that sometimes you have to look at things how you don’t want to look at things. There’s always going to be different views and some of the new ideas might make me uncomfortable to think about but it’s important to be understanding because it will allow me to grow as a learner. 

The conversation with robbie routenberg really reminded me about what the syllabus had touched on. They spoke about the responsibility in the commitment when agreeing to be apart of a partnership. Sasha Eloi-Evans had said it was important to her to put students first and make students feel valued. When students feel that was it is able to make partnerships. I think what Sasha is able to bring to the conversation is a perfect balance between the students, the faculty and the administration. Sasha mentioned a student who was completely in the wrong when it came to their academic work, Sasha made it clear that she was a support system for the student, she wasn’t there to make excuses for the student but there to make them feel like they had someone although they were away from home. To me, what she was saying and what she does is very comforting. It’s nice to know that there is someone like that at the school especially as a first-year student. A part of becoming a successful student is having a great support system. It’s comforting to know that although I’m away from home and if I were to have no friends or feel like I have no one on this campus there is someone whose job is literally to make sure my experience is enjoyable and most doable. 

The thing that I believe is absolutely necessary for me to continue becoming a better writer is unpacking. I may be wrong, but I feel like it’s better to over explain than to under explain. For the future papers I’ll have to write it’s important to explain my point along with give examples for what I mean. If I were to write a paper on a specific subject, it’s important that whether or not the reader agrees with my point they will be able to understand my point. With that being said as a learner I have to make sure I am always open the points that others are making. Like I previously said everyone is unique and everyone bring something different to the table. My job is to at least be open minded towards the points of others being made. It’s important to be that I am not ignorant, because if I were to explain my point about any topic to someone, I wouldn’t want them to have a closed mind. Coming into this INTD class I had said I had negative expectations based on my previous INTD experience. Although I don’t think my expectations affected my work ethic coming into this semester, it is very possible that another negative experience can affect my work ethic in the future. So, moving forward I need to keep an open mind and not base my future on my past experiences.  

Reflecting on Academic Partnership and My Journey Within INTD-105.

 “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This is the epigraph that set the initial connections between Octavia Blake’s Bloodchild and us students in INTD-105. When I first began my course in INTD-105, I expanded my knowledge and applications of such through my goal setting essay. After not even delving too deep into the class, I already was having to speak about the partnerships I was about to be having with Professor McCoy, my classmates, and even more so, the partnerships that Professor McCoy would choose to bring into the light. As I stated in my goal setting essay, myself and thousands of other students have embarked on numerous kinds of partnerships since the day they have applied to SUNY Geneseo, but many of them have not even realized it.

The epigraph from Bloodchild forms a through line for the conversations we have had this semester, especially since we’ve have had to frequently relate the book to our own establishments of partnership. Through our discussions as a class, we have analyzed the different risks and rewards within a partnership, having to identify them, elaborate on them, and reflect on them. On the first day of class in INTD-105, we, as a class, looked at the syllabus and talked in groups about what it was going to mean for our class, and that was just the start of our reflective journey.

To begin to reflect, we first had to be given information. Professor McCoy had carefully selected three guest speakers who are a part of SUNY Geneseo to aid us in the initiation of our reflective learning process. Through verbal conversation, we had the ability to ask these speakers questions, throwing “what-if” scenarios at them in order to gain a better understanding of the risks and rewards of their partnerships in order to better understand our own. From the outside looking in, we do not see every process gone through within a partnership. But these processes are important, as they can unknowingly affect us. In saying this, our guest speakers frequently touched on the topic of knowing and unknowing consent, and what that means in a partnership setting. For instance, our guest speaker Joe Cope, the Associate Provost for Student Success, introduced to us the idea of a college syllabus as a form of contract. With a syllabus, a partnership between a student and a professor is made. By comparing a syllabus to a contract, Joe was able to initiate us to think about the kinds of risks and rewards this type of partnership could hold. By being a student, you do not have the consent to what does and does not go into the syllabus, but that itself just serves as a risk in that kind of partnership. Even though this risk exists, there is still the found reward that you have all the terms of the partnership laid out in front of you, in which even the professor must oblige by. Another example of unknowing consent was brought to our attention by robbie routenberg, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. During our discussion, robbie had brought up the various plays that students must watch during freshman orientation, which teach about the dangers that could occur at a college campus. To watch these plays, SUNY Geneseo does not receive consent from the freshman students to perform them. Instead, this is just another example of accepting the terms of a partnership to engage in them. Our third guest speaker, Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans, the Director of Multicultural Programs and Services, had spoken about knowing consent within bias-related incidents. When she gets informed of a bias-related incident, in order to have a meeting with the students, she has to first gain the consent of the accused and the victim to continue. She has to gain consent to both parties because if the accused was actually being biased and hateful, and they do not consent to the restorative justice conversation, it leaves room for the victim to become more upset if the accused does not take the conversation seriously. The possibility of these situations told by Sasha is different than the situations told by the other two guest speakers, in that they are allowed upfront consent before even beginning their partnership. Even so, the option for consent coming from both parties makes them aware of their risks and/or rewards, and if they accept, they also accept the terms just as students do with their professors in class and during freshman orientation.

Above I have spoken about different kinds of consent: consent in which you are formally saying that you will engage, and consent in which you indirectly accept the terms of a partnership. In both instances, you are accepting risks and rewards that affect you. Accepting risks is a revolving idea that has emerged from these speakers, and I find that idea reinforced in the class’ epigraph as well. From my own personal experiences from INTD-105 and through connections from the epigraph, I was able to identify the partnership between Gan and T’Gatoi, and find parallels between their acceptance with one another and the acceptance I give in my own partnerships.

Reflecting upon what you learn gives the material you learn purpose. If you are knowledgeable about something, why is that important? If your knowledge cannot be applied, what is the point of it? I am asking these questions because that is what this class has taught me to do. INTD-105 has challenged me to discover the importance of all my ideas in my writing, and to write everything with a purpose behind it. The constant asking and answering of “so what?” and putting my thoughts into the reflective cycle has resulted in many improvements within my writing, and the intricate feedback given to me to make revisions has made writing each time a bit easier, as I learned from my past mistakes. To be well-rounded and thoughtful shows your true understanding of the world, therefore, I fully support GLOBE’s insistence on Geneseo students reflecting upon their learning, as I have first-hand experienced a positive outcome from it.

Final Spring Semester Growth

What: 

Our epigraph from the syllabus “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is a risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” goes to show that from “Bloodchild” our character Gan is afraid and confused about being the host for T’Gatoi’s eggs. T’Gatoi is noticing that Gan is learning to take responsibility and matters into his own hands. This only makes T’Gatoi question his next move, and if he’s not willing to be the host she is willing to find someone else for her eggs. T’Gatoi chooses to do it to his sister instead. This leads Gan to change his mind and take the risk of becoming her host. He was not willing to accept risking his sister in favor of being her host. I believe the epigraph does very strongly form a throughline for the work engaged throughout this semester. It has taught me how this can relate very much to being a college student. As a college student, we have to have the ability to own ownership of the choices that we make in our lives and taking responsibility. When starting college we make the decision of choosing the course of study is in our best interest. Although through time sometimes we are taught that what we learn may not be for us, and it is in our power to take action and choose between changing majors. Every little aspect of our life is considered taking risks. We opt to take risks to reach a certain accomplishment no matter what your goal is. Throughout this course, it has taught me that if my goal was to achieve a better standing grade I had to get out of my comfort zone and reach that level. It taught me to be more open, share any thoughts that I had in mind, ask questions if I was confused, set the tone to everything so that people would better understand what your trying to say. It also taught me how to ask the right questions, and how to respond back regarding our read “They say/I say”.

At the beginning of the semester within this course, I believed to think that this class would be more of just writing personal papers based on what we read, which is true but rather really focusing on how to better express and set the tone in your writing.  I believed this because it was something I was always learned to live by. This course was mostly based upon the structure of building a well-written paper. It was a process of how to get you to think differently about what you read, look at the opposing view, and build a well-written paper on it. I did not expect this at all, but I do believe that this course has taught me how to better strengthen my writing, it has taught me how to further expand my thoughts, and feelings while I am writing. Writing to me was something that I thought of to be a slow and long process, but in reality, it is a process that is quick but thoughtful and caring. You have to show your paper that you care about it. What I mean by this is that it’s just as if you were feeding it like you would feed your pet, you want to show it you care by treating it with kindness and care. It is a piece of art. It really is like a psychological process, your pouring out your heart all into one paper. This is how I have come to think of it all along through this course. My perspective of writing has drastically changed, I used to get lazy about it and bored but I am actually amazed by how writing can be such a huge part of someone. 

My writing before I arrived in this course was messy, not understandable, and underrepresented. It was not clear enough for the reader. I struggled with grammar, run-on sentences, setting the tone, placing commas, etc. In other words, the form of my writing was all over the place. I believed what went well for me was reading more into how to check grammar error checks, when to place a comma, receiving feedback on my most recent papers is what helped me build a much better one. I trust that feedback plays a huge role in one’s writing. One of the things that didn’t go so well for me throughout this course was making connections, drawing it back to the reading. I struggled with understanding the overall idea of what was happening in the book. If I didn’t understand the reading it was really hard to write a good paper. Giving feedback, making connections, and socializing with others was a challenge for me because I felt that I need support and feedback in order to do well on my paper. I needed more advice and suggestions on what should be my go-to for the very next time. The changes that I decided to make to improve the overall structure of my writing, was to continue going back to the book, take notes, or research information to better help me understand what was going on. Relating it back to some of our class discussions with professor McCoy has strengthened the language in my paper. For example, because of Professor McCoy’s feedback “This is much tighter, more clear, easier to follow. It reflects the spirit of the first draft but takes care of the reader and crafts a true, thought-provoking so-what conclusion. Remember this going forward: draft, walk away, get some space, return to thinking, revise” this feedback has allowed me to take a break from my writing and keep on going back into thinking outside of the box. 

So-what?

The feedback that I get often from Professor McCoy has helped to direct me onto a different path. For example, when writing the facilities/Heating plant essay and explaining how integrative learning plays an important role when connecting it to “Bloodchild’, the heating plant, and the facilities page, professor McCoy had emphasized that “As your introduction, teach your readers what integrative learning is. Imagine your writing for someone who says “Integrative learning is STUPID! use a good blend of well attributed direct quotation and paraphrase.” I believed my only issue here was being able to backup my resources. Professor McCoy also states “Can you see a way that you can drag a version of integrative learning as a throughline uniting the facilities, the heating plant, and “Bloodchild”. This allowed me to go back to my resources reread them and apply it to my writing, take any piece of information that was useful to me and connect it to how it applies to integrative learning today. I took this opportunity to apply it to my writing by just using what I already knew and building it up. I got really lazy with putting things into my own thought and explaining it in a different and easier way so the reader can understand. The plan is to get the reader to understand me but think through things differently. I learned to 

want to make the reader dig deeper into what they are reading but make their own connections as well. 

Writer’s Credibility:

In conversation with our guests robbie routenberg, Sasha Eloi-Evans, and Joe Cope has given me the opportunity to connect to inside of SUNY Geneseo as well as in the outside. It has led me to think of how the many roles being played within the campus can be played with many other factors. Such as what it is like as a college student, applying consent, holding responsibility, commitment, trust, and more. The conversations have prepared me enough for the future on what I plan to do when it comes to an open opportunity. It guides me to think about the reasons that drive me to such a commitment, or how I am showing up. robbie’s conversation has guided me on how to understand resolution and how to progress in things. In order to progress it requires a much slower process in order to understand and learn. I’ve learned that you have to be willing to be present, ready to learn, take notes, and apply to be part of any conversation. This has had a huge impact on my understanding of partnership and my own growth as said by robbie, if you are willing to want to be a part of something you got to be willing to want to show up. You cannot commit to something expecting not to show up. This connected so well with applying to college, robbie stated that when a student is first interested in a school and applies when they get accepted they are committing to the school. They are committing to everything the school has yet to offer them. This goes to show that they must be present and willing to learn to bring awareness to the community and succeed. 

In conclusion, according to GLOBE’s insistence on that Geneseo students should “gain practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time” matters because in order to learn and see things differently you have to start somewhere, start small, make mistakes and grow from it. Some of the work and thinking that needs to be done has to come from drafting your work overtime, redoing it over and over again. Once this is done your more able to dig deeper and make outside connections. You must always remain a student in everything that you do, take notes, research, study it, do it all over again, fail a test, and improve. Everything is a working process, you have to be willing to do the work and fail to move forward. You cannot be afraid of doing the work, that’s how I thought of it at first but I realized throughout all of the feedback received, the conversations, the discussions within this course I was better able to do the work and prepare myself to fail. By failing to prepare, you are actually preparing to fail. So don’t be afraid of the process. Some actions I decided to take on recently for myself are to stay positive, and if it becomes difficult to think to write, it’s just like professor McCoy says “walk away and go back into the thinkING process.” Don’t leave the discussion undone, review your reading or notes, and put it together into all in one thought and write it out. If I’ll leave a record for myself ill say that to keep on asking questions to gain feedback even if it’s from somebody you don’t know, and to keep reading and rereading because sometimes the thinkING process may not come to you just yet but it will later. Don’t get discouraged by the paper. Be more willing to listen and share your feedback with others. This is something I’ve known to struggle and hold back more on. To follow up with this something I would advise myself for future references is to be more willing to be open, and share what others can take into effect even if you think it is a dumb response. I may be more willing to learn a thing or two from the conversation.

The Pygmalion Effect

At the beginning of the semester, we were supplied with our course epigraph, the quote that would guide the remainder of the class. Derived from Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”, it reads, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” After reading this, we began the first of many group discussions. To no real avail, we came to the realization that in order to get the full picture, we had to first put the quote into context. Spoken by the story’s protagonist, Gan, is a plea for T’Gatoi to give him transparency and respect within the partnership, even though she has power. It was from the epigraph that we bean to touch on the complexities maintained in partnerships. The epigraph remained crucial to our semester and served as roadmap for all our discussions and assignments, most recently the facilities and heating plant essay. Using the epigraph as a through line and changing our perspectives, we were able deepen the understanding of the relationships and the world around us. Similar to T’Gatoi, my new perspective on the world has changed me for the better.

Although I have grown throughout this semester, it is important to reflect on where the process began. Even before stepping foot into Room 212, I had already had an insight on Professor McCoy and the course itself. By calling on the precious experiences on upperclassman and my advisor, I learned that by the end of the semester they would have expected growth as a person and as a writer. But prior to this class, I believed I was already a strong writer, and therefore I had little room to grow. Being involved in clubs that depended on strong speeches like Mock Trial and Model United Nations put me in a closed mindset. Because I had always performed so well in both activities, I believed strong writers would always be strong and vise versa. I believed I had reached my peak, but after my first few assignments, I began to see how crucial growth mindset is. While I performed well on most essays, I kept receiving the same comments, “work to reduce wordiness” and “fix mechanical issues,” which was at times frustrating. In the beginning, I found that I wouldn’t take the time to properly edit my essays. After repeating my mistakes and seeing the comments enough times, I realized I needed a change in my perspective if I wanted to see real growth.

As the semester progressed, I found myself paying closer attention to the details and expanding my writing. I have to be honest, receiving the amount of comments from Professor McCoy was jarring at first but now I am in a place where I can thoroughly appreciate them. There came a turning point in my writing, and it happened during the Boodchild Essay rewrite. I used my growth mindset to not only fix my mechanical errors, but I really began emphasizing the “So what?” of my essays. I found in my writing that I would get close to relating the topic back to a real-world example, but I would shy away out of fear. Either fear of offending someone or receiving a lower score because I made it personal.  However, with my new perspective I found myself taking a risk, one that paid off in the end. In the facilities and heating plant essay, I stressed the importance on reducing the stigma of certain professions in our society and our perception of essential workers. It was time for me to address my perspective of the world around me and it would hopefully encourage someone else to do the same.

I find that in todays world, with a surge of information, it is imperative that we also add our own insight because you never know the impact it may have on someone. Being in this class has taught me that no one else in this world has your experience. This is a powerful tool because when you use a creative space, such as your writing to talk about your experience, you can be shaping someone else’s perspective on the world around them. I find that sometimes, we can underestimate the impact we can have on someone’s life. Ultimately, developing the growth mindset was crucial for me because I see that even our best skills can be improved, and I am grateful for the perspective change.

Throughout this course, we bore witness multiple perspectives concerning academic partnerships. These new perspectives were offered by some of Geneseo’s very own faculty. Having their perspective was important because it showed me that the complexities of academic partnership can be seen anywhere. We first had a conversation with robbie routenberg who acts as Geneseo’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. This conversation yielded insights on the balance between being “prosponsive” or “responsive.” The former calling for an open conversation about certain experiences on campus before an incident has occurred, while the latter is the response to an incident. robbie focused on striking the delicate balance on issues like your right to freedom of speech versus someone else’s freedom of religion. robbie explained that the best response is to have a meaningful conversation in which you try to educate and cast a new perspective. We also spoke to Joe Cope who acts as the Associate Provost for Student Success at Geneseo. His discussion opened our minds to the syllabus that frequently acts as a contract between student and professor. While some students may feel powerless in this partnership, he insures us that a Professor can be held accountable for making arbitrary decisions. For example, if a Professor never mentions an attendance policy but fails you for missing two classes, you can appeal your grade, this option maintains the balance necessary for academic partnerships. We lastly spoke with Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans who acts as the Director of Multicultural Programs and Services. She provided insight to her navigation between the relationships of her students and colleagues where she emphasized the importance of open trust and consent. Successfully navigating consent, trust, and open conversations like the Geneseo faculty is imperative for every partnership.

At the beginning of this semester I remember hearing that Professor McCoy demanded greatness and growth from her students. But now, as my freshman year comes to a close the submission of this essay, what’s next? Who is going to help me grow, who is going to challenge my perspective every Monday and Friday? Well, this is when I pass on what I learned earlier this year called the Pygmalion Effect. It is the phenomenon whereby others’ expectations of a target person affect the target person’s performance, or more simply put, when you demand greatness out of someone, they perform greatly. I would then argue that this semester we were pushed to greatness by Professor McCoy, who made us revise essays and expand our perspective on a number of issues. But as time goes on, I think that we should demand greatness from ourselves. Geneseo’s GLOBE tells us as students we should, “gain practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time.” Being able to look back at my mindset and writing from January and compare it to now surreal. From this point on, we should begin assessing our own growth from time to time, in order to keep ourselves accountable for our growth. That’s why I hope you’ll join me by marking this date in your calendar to serve as a reminder to come back and re-read this essay every year. This course has given us the tools necessary to change our perspective, to grow and to ultimately never stop thinkING.

A Look Back at the Partnership of INTD 105

Partnerships have inherent positives and negatives associated with them. Partnerships allow for individuals with different backgrounds and ideas to come together and exchange viewpoints. This melting pot of thought can lead to a product that is better than one member could do on their own. However, there are some drawbacks. When someone engages in a partnership, they inherently give up control. One needs to be able to trust the partners within the partnership. This situation is described in Octavia Butler’s short story, “Bloodchild.” In her short story, she describes the relationship as well as the partnership between Gan., a Terran, and T’Gatoi, a Tlic. Towards the end of the short story, Gan realizes that he has been misled about what his side of the partnership truly is. Gan then confronts T’Gatoi and says “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” By saying this, Gan acknowledges that partnerships do have inherent risks. But, he also acknowledges those risks and still chooses to be in the partnership. I believe that this sentiment has been echoed throughout the semester. The first graded assignment for this class was to look at that same quote and think critically about what our expectations and goals were. We now use the same quote to compare how we have achieved those goals. Our epigraph has been in the background of our work the entire semester, so it is fitting for it to bookend our graded work.

At the beginning of the semester, I was not sure what I was going to gain out of this class. I had already completed Humanities and did not require any other writing courses in order to complete my degree. I also had more college experience than the target audience for this course. With that, I figured I could go through the motions, take an easy class, and boost my GPA. My expectations were further muddled by my peers. Some of my classmates had very informative and positive experiences with their INTD 105 classes, while others thought it was a waste of time. Putting all this together, I hoped to gain some more knowledge on how to craft effective partnerships, but I was defensively pessimistic, to say the least.

As my time in INTD 105 comes to an end, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. I tend to struggle with having a growth mindset, but I think I made some strides in the right direction. The group discussions and reading They Say I Say furthered my knowledge on how to properly engage in an academic setting. I even think that I have become a stronger writer or at the very least a more confident. When thinking about a defining moment in the class, I am drawn to a specific conversation. It was when we were talking about whether or not to describe the general function of the mitochondria when you are writing a paper for a scientific audience. Kevin and I were in a disagreement about the degree of detail. While the correct answer was not ever provided, what I took out of it was your comment. I believe you said “Now that is a great demonstration of how to talk in a group,” or at least something with that same sentiment. I was very relieved that I had understood the material and was able to draw on it at the appropriate time.

However, I still think that I have more to improve upon. I know that I still struggle with some of the finer details when I write. I have a tendency to work in short bursts, unpacking placing ideas on the page as soon as they come to mind. While that might work for a rough draft, I understand that I cannot submit this initial thought-dumps as the finished product. One of these common mistakes is misspelling a word to a different word. For example, I will intent to spell “through” and actually spell “thorough.” The mistake is not caught on editing software because the word is correct. This is directly from speeding through and not rereading my work.   

I believe that my idea of partnership has changed as well. Previously, I did not consider just how intricate the partnerships within the Geneseo community are. This was brought to life by talking with some of Geneseo’s professional staff. Joe Cope is a professor of history as well as the Associate Provost for Student Success here at Geneseo. Our conversation with Dr. Cope focused on the idea of the syllabus as a contract. Many professors view their syllabus as a contract, and that by staying in the class, the students have accepted the contract. We as a class then talked about the flaws in that ideology. We discussed how this approach to a syllabus does not grant the student a chance to have affirmative consent. In this scenario, the student-professor partnership has been shifted in favor of the professor. In turn, this makes it more unlikely for a student to be able to be successful in the class. Consent also plays into the work of robbie routenberg. robbie routenberg is Geneseo’s Chief Diversity Officer. Our conversation focused on how to balance consent and the need to educate incoming students on how to start being socially responsible citizens. There is an interesting dichotomy when you learn about the importance of explicit consent at an event you did not explicitly consent to attend. If someone is to be a member of the Geneseo community, is it acceptable to have barriers of entry the students are forced to go through? Is that not the same as having a minimum GPA requirement? What robbie is in charge of instructing our new students plays into the work of our Director of Multicultural Programs and Services, Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans. Dr. Eloi-Evans works to prevent bias-related incidences and help facilitate restorative justice. An interesting point is that everyone in a restorative justice meeting needed to consent to attend. The hope is that if everyone has a desire to attend the meeting, everyone will come in with the intent to learn. This allows students to work together to think of an action plan. 

Before taking this class, I would see those people as mostly separate entities working on unique projects. However, this course has given me the tools to look deeper into the partnerships that we are all engaged in. All of those departments are looking at the role of consent in the Geneseo community and the fundamental challenges associated with it. Even though they are all in different departments, they all are serving the students here. Through their individual work on consent, the entire campus is gaining a better understanding of the importance of consent in their partnerships, whether it is the professor-student partnerships worked on with Joe, the faculty-student partnerships touched on with robbie, or the student-student partnerships addressed by Sasha.

Looking back, I did not think I would find as much meaning in this class as I have. The reflective process allows individuals to demonstrate to themselves just how far they have come. But it also allows individuals to see what more there is to do. I know that while I have improved my writing through reflections, I still need to work on slowing down and accurately articulating my thoughts in words on a page. When I inevitably read this over again to remind myself what I was like however many years ago, I want to leave this. Partnerships are fluid and things that need to be nurtured over time. But, as I know all too well, there is risk when dealing with a partner.

My Growth as a Writer and a Person

As my second semester at Geneseo draws to an end, I am able to reflect back on this semester. When reflecting on the semester, I find myself thinking about the epigraph that was presented to us at the beginning of the semester in my INTD 105 class. The epigraph is a quote from Butler’s “Bloodchild”, which states, “ If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” In the story of “Bloodchild”, this quote pertained to the two main characters having a discussion of how if one is viewed as an adult, they should be treated like one and should play a role in decisions that will affect them. However, I found that this quote fits perfectly to the class, since my class was all about the intricacies of partnerships, and all the risks and rewards that come with every decision and partnership. This epigraph was the throughline, or as Dr. McCoy would say, “ the string to connect our beads”, of not only our course, but a majority of our conversations, especially in the conversations we had with robbie routenberg, Joe Cope, and Sasha Eloi-Evans. 

As the class had used the epigraph to bounce all our discussions off of, I would think about what it meant to me, both at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester, especially through this unprecedented situation. For me at the beginning of the semester, this epigraph, for me, meant that as people grow into adulthood, they would accept adult-like responsibilities, but weren’t fully viewed as adults by everyone, since there was a risk that everyone feared when someone became an adult. When we first viewed the epigraph of the course, we were asked to use the epigraph as the basis of our first essay, where we were to analyze it and refer to it for our goals of the class. For me at the time my goals were to become more comfortable in publishing my writing, to write more analytically and intentionally, and to achieve all the goals that are common for college students of my age. These expectations and goals came from my need to become more comfortable and confident in my writing since I never felt fully confident with my writing. I really wanted to achieve common goals for college students, since I am a first generation student, so for me, it is important that I met some of these goals since my parents weren’t given the opportunity to attend college. 

As the semester progressed, I found myself not only growing as a writer and reader, I felt myself growing as a person. I feel like I grew as a writer and became more confident in my writing because of the wonderful feedback I would get on my writing, especially over canvas when the class was writing our heating plant essay during the pandemic. An example of this was in the discussion tab under “Step 2 in assembling your facilities/ heating plant essay.” When I posted my paragraph about the heating plant, Dr. McCoy was quick to offer me counsel and help me improve my writing, especially through telling me to “Unpack the beginning,” and bring back ideas that I had at the beginning of the paragraph. This definitely made me feel more confident as a writer because she gave me individualized feedback that I feel would have been difficult to get from any other professor. I gained more confidence when we were working on skills, such as shortening down on words, which was something that I struggled with a lot. Even though I am not perfect in it and still am working on it, just having the practice with Dr. McCoy helped me understand the concept much more, as well as help me practice it more in depth. 

Another way I grew was as a reader, which was important to me since in high school, I struggled to read analytically. As we had read “Bloodchild”, we were asked to read the story analytically, which was a bit of a struggle for me. However, when I was reading the story and being able to discuss in class definitely helped me analyze the story much deeper since we were able to bounce different ideas out loud as well as unpack each idea. This helped me analyze the story since I was able to view it from different perspectives and pull in different views from my experiences and listen to others’ experiences. I feel that doing this with the class also helped me with my nervousness, and it allowed me to get past my nervousness and share my ideas with others.     This is something I have always struggled with since I have always feared people pointing out that my idea or interpretation is invalid, which is what would occasionally happen in high school. I am glad that I have worked on not only reading analytically, but on my anxiety about speaking my ideas. 

As the semester became crazy, especially with the distant learning we would have to do due to the COVID pandemic, we had our conversations with robbie routenberg, Joe Cope, and Sasha Eloi-Evans, which we discussed the risks and rewards of schools. During robbie’s conversation with us, they brought up that the victims who come forward are taking risks. I feel that I did acknowledge this subconsciously, but to have this spelled out to me made me realize it much more since they are reliving the experience by telling their story, which is a huge risk for them. However, if they take the risk they could gain a huge reward of the preparator being reprimanded, but there is also a possibility of them getting away with their actions. When we had our conversation with Joe Cope, he brought up the risks that the administration faced when making the decisions concerning distance learning. This surprised me because he was being very transparent with us which is something that everyone wants in a partnership. When we had our conversation with Sasha, she explained the risks and rewards of balancing relationships between students and administration. This intrigued me because she would fight for students and make sure that their voices were heard when she was with administration. 

When we had these conversations, I found myself understanding the concept of partnership more, especially in an academic setting. This was because I had begun to understand how important it is to balance partnerships that intertwine, to be transparent, and all the risks that people take when they come forward with something. To me this helped me grow since I was able to implement what I learned from these conversations into the partnerships I have at work, at home, in my role as Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester Princess, and in my life in general. This was important to me to learn since I needed to understand what I would have to put into a partnership and the risks I would have to take, to reap the benefits in the end. My growth I feel is something that I need since it will benefit everyone around me in such a positive way. This growth was very beneficial to me since it goes along with part of Geneseo’s GLOBE statement that says that we as students should, “gain practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time.” This is an important idea presented by Geneseo since it reminds me that even though I have grown throughout this crazy and unexpected semester, there is still much more growing for me to do. I will do this by not only practicing the skills I have gained in this course, but also through learning new things and allowing myself to be open to any possible opportunities. I know that I definitely still need to work on my revising, work on my wordiness, and how my essays read off. I am excited for all that I have done in this course and all that I will complete as I continue to grow.

Spring Growth

An epigraph is defined as “a short quotation at the beginning of a book or chapter that is intended to suggest its theme”. The epigraph for INTD 105 is a quote from the short story we studied, Boodchild by Octavia Butler. It reads: “If we are not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner”. Within the context of “Bloodchild”, Gan is explaining the need for trust within their relationship. In my opinion, it is a very well-chosen apigraph for the Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnership. This quote has meant a lot to me this semester, as it opened my eyes to the risks and rewards of engaging in Geneseo’s academic and social communities. If one student fails to do their part, it can hinder the learning of those around them. On the other hand, if all students do what is expected of them,  there is room for tremendous learning as a person and as a student body. 

This spring semester, I took more general education courses than a typical biology major. I honestly had no idea what to expect from the semester. I expected a more holistic education style and one that was not so based on numbers and definitive answers. I honestly saw this as a risk to my education, I was scared of falling behind in my major. In all honesty, I believe that it was the best decision I could have made for my education. Major reward, Gan. I have decided that I enjoy classes based in humanities and writing more than I do in science. This semester has caused me to change my major. This would not have happened if I hadn’t taken the “risk” I saw this as before, which in turn became a huge reward. 

What caused me to make this change? I would say that it was largely my experience in this class. While writing the paper on the Heating and Facilities Services especially, I realized that many of the interactions on campus can and should be handled and viewed in a different light. That sounds like a very bad thing to say, but I believe that a lot of people on campus take advantage of the work of the staff that does this work for the benefit of the students. The staff and the work they do for us on a continuous basis is not as recognized as it really should be. This paper changed my mindset completely. Interpersonal relationships are the main thing that creates the world around us, not science and not numbers. In complete transparency, I have worked harder on the relationships I have with the people in my life since constructing that essay. I am very thankful I had the chance to have that mindset change. 

Another aspect of this course that struck me was the conversation with Sasha Eloi-Evans, who is the director of Multicultural Programs and Services at Geneseo. At one point, Dr. Eloi-Evans talked about social contracts, which are defined as “an implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits”. We are all apart of a social contract, and it more or less defines our role in the community we are in. To connect back to my revelation with the relationship between students and Geneseo campus staff, the social contract would expect each of us to do our job to keep the campus running smoothly. Dr. Eloi-Evans brought up an example of a student not being able to eat because of a lack of money, and she was able to “bend” the contract so she could make sure the student was getting what they needed. This is significant to me, as it shows that social contracts are what you make of them. For example, as stated previously the social contract in Geneseo is that students do their academic work and the staff does their work around campus. That is just the basics of what the real relationship is, and we are not confined to the social contract. 

Dr. Eloi-Evans’ conversation really pertained to my growth this semester. The conversation with her catapulted my already-changing viewpoint on relationships between others. We are not confined to our roles in life, and you also don’t know what is going on behind closed doors if you are not told. I really have gained perspective this semester on the importance of relationships with others, and it made me realize that someone is always there to lend a hand. I am proud of my change and I am extremely proud that I have taken this change and implemented it into my daily life. I believe it had made me a more kind and understanding person. 

This coincides with Geneseo’s GLOBE outlook that students should be able to “gain practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook overtime” because I have changed and I have been prompted to reflect on those changes. I still may struggle sometimes with impatience or misunderstandings, but I have the ability now to reassess the situation and realize that I do not know the full story of someone else. This semester has been a reward of academic partnership with SUNY Geneseo, as it has allowed to open my mind to others and change my outlook on the relationship I engage in on a day-to-day basis.

Growing as a Writer… and a Person

Throughout the semester, this course had a specific epigraph that linked all assignments together. It is derived from Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” and was very crucial to our course. It states, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” It appeared in the short story after the protagonist, Gan, requested an equal partnership from his family friend T’Gatoi, instead of a relationship where T’Gatoi has power over him. This epigraph acted as a throughline and every essay was linked back to it. For example, our “Bloodchild” essay was about how Gan teaches college students about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. My facilities/heating plant essay also discussed how Facilities Services and “Bloodchild” contribute to academic partnership. By using an epigraph as a course throughline, we were able to stay focused and engaged throughout the semester. My initial understanding of the epigraph was quite simple: there is always risk in partnered work. As the semester continued, I was able to develop a more complicated understanding of what risks and rewards actually meant in academic partnership.

I had little expectations of this course in the beginning of the semester. I thought that it was silly to require all freshmen to take a writing course and that it would be an easy A. Afterall, I had been in AP English my junior and senior year of highschool. I thought I already knew everything the course would offer and that my writing skills were already college level. I had so many assumptions of college writing from my highschool that I believed I would receive minimal information from this course. As soon as the semester began I quickly learned that I did not already know everything about college writing. I learned so many different skills that will benefit my writing across all subjects. There were many things from this course that surprised me. I was in complete shock when I found out we would be writing in the first person. My high school teachers warned that we would never do so in college, and always made us remove it from our essays. Because of this change, I was able to properly express my true thoughts on the subject and write to the best of my ability. Similarly, I was also surprised when I was instructed to put a quote into my introduction paragraph. Again, this was discouraged at my highschool. We were taught the introduction should briefly summarize the paragraphs and have a thesis statement, but never have any additional information. Both of these changes encouraged me to become a better writer. While not every essay should use “I”, using a quotation in an introduction paragraph can help enhance the thesis statement. Even these writing techniques can be drawn back to the course epigraph. There are both risks and rewards of contradicting passed instructions to rewrite old ones. While initially this could be confusing, a stronger essay works as a greater reward. 

After this course, I could see a significant change in my writing. Even looking solely at my grades, my essay scores gradually went from an 83%, to a 90%, to a 100%. This is just one aspect that shows how my writing has improved. I have been more aware of wordiness in sentences, which makes my essays sound more concrete and professional. Although I sometimes still struggle with this problem, I am more aware of it and attempt to correct it when I can. I have also been working to add more direct evidence to my work, where applicable. This helps me completely develop my thesis statement and makes my writing easier for the reader to follow. I’ve noticed that adding quotes from “Bloodchild” and other articles allowed properly explain my arguments. Originally I disliked adding quotes because I felt like it was unnecessary and redundant, but now I see that it simply works to enhance my essay. After weighing the risks and rewards of adding quotes into essays, it is better to include them than to not. 

Throughout the entirety of the course, we had the opportunity to develop our own interpretation of the course epigraph. With multiple essays and class discussions, we strengthened our interpretation. We also were able to see several perspectives after speaking with some of Geneseo’s faculty. For example, robbie routenberg discussed the factors that consent plays in the risks and rewards of academic partnership. They explained that consent is sometimes given without always realizing or acknowledging it. For instance, we consented to attend all of the activities at our welcome week when we confirmed our stay. There are risks in doing this, as generalized consent could encourage generalized consent in all situations. This would be problematic, however in this case it was countered by the rewards. The seminars were consented to go to involved sexual abuse, drug, and alcohol awareness. This was very important for college students to hear, so it was a necessary risking for rewarding information. Robbie’s conversation allowed me to expand my thinking and interpretation of our course epigraph by giving me other contexts to work with.

Joe Cope also expanded my interpretation of the risks and rewards of academic partnership. Joe gave a specific example of a relevant situation that had multiple risks and rewards that are often overlooked. With our current remote learning situations, students were given less restrictive measures when converting courses to pass/fail. I originally thought there were low risks of converting a course grade to pass/fail. There were many more risks than I had anticipated. For example, some graduate schools might not accept those scores. Because of this, students who plan on attending graduate school would have to refrain from pass/fail grading. Another risk is the lack of material learned. The pass/fail system might cause some students to slack in their school work because they think it will not affect them. However, it could negatively alter their future years in college or in the workforce. If someone is taking a prerequisite and they do not learn the material, the next class would be overly difficult for them. While the obvious benefits are allowing a bad numerical grade to be removed and not be counted in your GPA, it is important to understand the risks before doing so. This allowed me to see risks and rewards in a different light. If I were to want a course to be converted to pass/fail I would have done so without weighing the risks and rewards. Joe’s conversation taught me that every situation has risks and rewards, and it is important to assess both aspects before making a decision.

Looking back on my previous work in this course, I see a substantial difference. While academic growth in any course is important, it is also necessary by the standards of GLOBE. GLOBE’s learning outcomes include critical thinking as a mandatory learning aspect that was put in place to assist us throughout our careers. The GLOBE website explains, “Geneseo prepares students for twenty-first century challenges through the development of intellectual and practical skills that transcend disciplinary boundaries and are applicable throughout their lives.” This course has helped improve my skills, especially critical thinking. My goals for this course were to “improve on my critical thinking and writing style”, as stated in my goal setting essay from January. As I complete my final essay, I think of my original goals. I have met my goals in ways that I did not know were possible. I was able to improve my critical thinking by digging deeper into tasks and by portraying more than surface level thinking. This will continue to help my writing, but also influences my thinking in nonacademic settings. Even only considering the course epigraph, my interpretation of the “Bloodchild” quote is extremely different than it was a few months ago. My writing style has changed drastically because of the direction Dr. McCoy led us in. In my goal setting essay I stated, “Our academic growth will skyrocket because of the risks we are encouraged to be taking this semester”. This has held true in every aspect of the course.

Growth through Reflection

In the Beginning of INTD 105 our class was asked for our thoughts on the course’s epigraph, a small quote from Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, which states “If we’re not your animals if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” The class came up with several potential meanings due to the ambiguous nature of the quote in addition to the lack of context. However, later in the semester after we finished reading the Bloodchild I feel the quote was brought into focus. In the context of the story, the quote is a plea from the story’s protagonist Gan in which he’s asking T’Gatoi, the antagonist of the story, to trust him to act like an adult and treat him like one. This idea of encouraging open-mindedness can be related to the work we’ve done throughout the entirety of INTD 105 because we’ve constantly been challenged to be adaptable and to look at our perceptions from different angles, but this connection wasn’t always obvious to me.

When I began INTD 105 I wasn’t expecting to be challenged to grow or change my habits in the way that I would be. I believe this can best be characterized by events from early in the semester, especially when we were shown the video about open versus closed mindsets. When I first saw that video, I arrogantly assumed I had a relatively open mindset simply because I could learn new skills, for example using a micropipette or titrating an unknown a base; however, looking back now it would appear more closed than open. An example of this mindset was pointed out to me by Dr. McCoy in her comment on my Goal setting essay because I had identified myself as a bad writer in a meeting with her simply because I’d struggled with writing in the past. Another initial shortcoming was that I failed to see the bigger picture when it came to feedback, more specifically I saw feedback as a list of flaws with an individual essay rather than flaws in my writing habits. To elaborate, I was addressing problems in my writing as they arose rather than trying to fix the source.

My closed mindset resulted in a lack of success and growth. This is shown between two quotes from Dr. McCoy on my goal setting essays “Do you have work to do in attending to detail, especially in mechanics? Yes—but everyone does” and later “mechanically, many evaluators would reject this document entirely. I take no pleasure in reporting this.” These comments show how there was a lack of improvement in regards to mechanics between essays. This demonstrates a missed opportunity to fix a bad habit because I wasn’t fully thinking about how to improve.

 However, once I accepted this fact, I was finally able to move forward by addressing the root of my issues and trying to form better writing habits. This led to me taking the steps necessary to become more open-minded, steps that INTD 105 was guiding me to since the beginning. I think my first major step was my work on my Bloodchild essay rewrite where I finally fully focused on the reflection process by trying to shift the overall theme of the essay to what I was originally thinking but couldn’t express. This was shown when Dr. McCoy commented on the revision “I can’t go back now and look at the original essay, but my memory of it indicates that you have improved it a great deal with some restructuring and reducing of static. You’ve also made a more meaningful conclusion.” This quote shows how I was finally able to fix the issues I had been struggling with earlier in the semester. Additionally, I think I took another good step towards improvement and becoming more receptive to critique was my heating plant essay. This is because as I was writing and revising, I was also trying to apply the feedback from my previous essays which helped in forming better habits. These are just a few ways in which this course has helped me to become more open-minded and adaptable.

Additionally, my time in this course has led to growth as a result of events that haven’t been planned. I am referring to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent distance learning period which has tested everyone’s ability to adapt. This idea is shown during our talk regarding consent with professor Joe Cope when he says “The college has pretty strict rules about pass/fail grading, you have only a certain number of classes you can elect pass/fail, can’t apply them to your program major, and we changed all those rules.” This demonstrates how the Covid-19 Pandemic fosters the growth of adaptability among students and faculty. In addition, this shows the importance of overcoming real-world issues for growth as a learner similar to the idea express by the Association of American Colleges and Universities regarding integrative learning.

I believe the values expressed through this course’s work are strongly tied to the GLOBE`s claim that Geneseo students should “gain practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook overtime” This is because throughout the course we have been pushed to be more openminded and adaptable as a result of both planned and improvised events. Moving forward, my main goal is to continue referencing previous feedback and working on areas where I struggle, like reducing wordiness and losing the focus of my original theme. Regarding my growth, I no longer dread writing essays the way I once would have; I now see them as an opportunity to grow my skill set.

Growing Pains

Surveying the syllabus for INTD 105-03 in the days before the Spring 2020 semester began, I was surprised to see our course epigraph. Previous classes featured quotes or other media that set the tone for our class, but none had an epigraph derived from our seminal text: Octavia Butler’s short story “Bloodchild.” As I would later discover, no class incorporated the epigraph so deeply either. In dialogue that serves as the epigraph, Gan tells T’Gatoi, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” In context, Gan is challenging T’Gatoi to allow him to keep an illegal firearm. But, more than that, Gan is challenging T’Gatoi to open herself to risk, while also sagely commenting that risk is a characteristic of all relationships. Throughout our course, amid all sorts of unexpected disruptions, the epigraph became a roadmap for the growth that we engaged in. At the same time, the essay assignments punctuated and facilitated different points of our advancement. Thus, I will separate and analyze the course epigraph in context with my expectations of the course’s work, my growth, and the unique conversations we had with our guests towards the semester’s end to ultimately reflect on Geneseo’s GLOBE initiative and what steps I can take to keep moving forward. 

In our first major class assignment, we enumerated our goals for the rest of the semester in conjunction with the epigraph and other materials. I chose to separate the epigraph into its comprising phrases and analyze each in context with the essay’s other guidelines. Now, reflecting on the semester, I find that a similar format is applicable to the current thesis, and will be, if only because it’s the clearest way for me to analyze my experience. Different phrases within the epigraph correspond to various points of growth throughout the class. For example, the first two clauses of the first sentence—”If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things”—easily apply to the development that I engaged in with the first assignment. A major topic leading up to our first assignment regarded what it meant to be a college student and some of the challenges we encountered. These discussions related to the aforementioned phrases of the epigraph because the course is intended for freshman, many of whom are just entering into adulthood. First-year college students are experiencing a transition from whatever they were before they started college to a college student, and this transition can be likened to the change Gan asks T’Gatoi to undergo regarding her perception of Terrans, from animals to adults. The phrases also inform that everything we are engaging in on campus, through the college, is an “adult” thing. This means each engagement merits careful consideration. 

The end of the first sentence then reads “accept the risk.” This neatly summarizes what students must do if they want to get anything from college and the course: they must accept the risk that comes with being involved in college-level education. This coordinated well with the goal-setting essay which demanded that we engage in some amount of risk, putting ourselves out there—literally, because we published all essays publicly on the Internet—by voicing goals for the class. My expectations and goals for the class were mixed. I registered for this class expecting to study an exciting science fiction short story and when I found out that it was more—that we would be delving into the academic partnership—I was caught off guard. My expectations had to be readjusted. By the time the deadline for our first essay came around my expectations, and goals, had not yet crystallized into something concrete. As I approached the rewrite deadline, armed with more experience, my goals were more precise and in league with class concepts. I wanted to acquire a more well-rounded view of Geneseo, of how the administration sees its students, of the principles that impacted its chief policy makers. Most of all, I wanted to approach all of the above from an academic lens that I felt was so rarely used when discussing the student-admin relationship. I was also aware that goals can be deeply personal or, at the very least, revelatory of our personalities. Involvement in this course demanded that I accept the risk of vulnerability, which allowed me to experience the growth that this essay explores. 

This begs the question of what actual growth occurred. For me growth happened in subtle unexpected ways regarding my approach to writing. One of the first growth areas include that I’m now significantly more comfortable using the first-person in academic writing when it is required. My first essay was distinctly lacking one word: I. One part of the feedback Dr. McCoy gave me that still sticks with me is “Where are YOU in this essay?” I had, and still somewhat hold, a severe aversion to putting myself into my written works. Until this semester, I was by and large able to avoid doing so; my academic writing could always be spun to not include “I”, to remain an outside party as I wrote, even as I took stances. Now, I have less difficulty inserting myself into my work when need be. Another area of improvement which can likely be attributed to what is one of Dr. McCoy’s signature phrases; that is, I do more “thinkING” about what I intend to write and I’m more cognizant of the fact that readers can’t “get inside my head.” These seem like quite obvious tips, but as a writer one of my persistent flaws include not unpacking an idea enough. Although I did first view the feedback from Dr. McCoy for my rewrites as a checklist, being consistently affronted with calls to unpack and think more deeply about the material I’m covering has ingrained in me an automatic questioning of if I am giving each idea I’m covering its due diligence, if I’m “thinkING” enough about it and being clear enough with my language. 

Other growths have been spurred on through class discussion and feedback. Most notably, I learned to use less all-encompassing language. A large part of the course, to me, revolved around different experiences. From analyzing the mission statements of different colleges to talking in class about our contrasting experiences at Geneseo so far, I’ve become more and more aware that not everyone has the same experience and to use language implying such does a disservice to everyone involved. At the beginning of the semester I remember receiving push back for saying that all college freshman were emerging adults. That experience made me aware, in every instance, that people within a group did not necessarily all have the same experiences and to take care not to exclude anyone from my writing. To do so meant alienating someone as soon as they read or heard my arguments, which would only injure my credibility as a writer. Another improvement, which came primarily from Dr. McCoy’s feedback, is my effort to write more in the active voice rather than the passive I usually lean on. This is an evident benefit as the active voice makes writing more engaging to read. These are growths that will serve me well as I move forward with my learning.

The second sentence of the epigraph—”There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner”—gives attention to the partner and a partnership’s characteristics. These have much to do with the second and third major essays we wrote, about our seminal text in relation to current academic conditions and to essential services respectively. In focusing on the partner, we can engage in more, and different, growth. This development focuses outward, on our understanding of the institutions we are attending and, therefore, engaged in. Nothing accentuated this growth more than our conversations with key members of the Geneseo administration: robbie routenberg, Joe Cope, and Sasha Eloi-Evans. 

For me, these discussions led to not only a greater understanding of the motivations and current focuses of administration, but also a humanization of the people who are involved in policy-making that impacts all of the Geneseo community. We were able to see how the academic partnership—which we spent nearly a whole semester talking about—was regarded by the very people we were commenting on. Personally, this reinforced ideas that several of the administration is earnestly trying to make Geneseo a better place and cares for its student body. The fact that each administrator we met with spent a significant part of the meeting asking about how we were doing only compounds this. What’s more, hearing about the complexities Dr. Eloi-Evans faces in both representing the students and being taken seriously by faculty and colleagues was very moving and made me reevaluate my perception of her role. Additionally, showed the dedication of some admin to ensuring the well-being of the students. The sentiment of these administrators becomes incredibly important both in normal times—when we are on-campus and feel as though administration is out-of-touch and uninterested in student concerns—and when we are in periods of distanced learning, when we feel disconnected from the college and like the administration is doing even less than we were used to. 

At the end of “Bloodchild,” we see Gan reflect on his evening detached from the actual events. He says he “could remember the feelings without reviving them. I could talk about them” (p 29) and, as we approach the end of the semester, we must also remember, reflect, and—most importantly—talk about our experiences in INTD 105. These acts go hand in hand with Geneseo’s GLOBE practices in more ways than one. On a surface level, we are being forced through this essay to look at ourselves and evaluate just how much growth has happened since January. For me, this took quite a lot of effort because I’m not used to introspecting and then translating the discoveries I’ve made to paper. It has been challenging but gratifying and has left me with multiple areas where I can still evolve. The growths that I enumerated came from little-developed skills that still leave much to be desired. As I move forward, my goal is to increase my awareness of the habitual mistakes I make and to correct them, with the intention that if I do this enough, I won’t make the same mistakes. This applies to implementation of the first person in my academic work, of putting myself more in my work, as well as using language that accounts for everyone’s varied experiences. The latter is something I am incorporating more into everyday life, whilst other improvements that I highlighted can only really be exhibited in my writing. All of these are making me more capable to fulfill what I see as my end of the academic partnership I am engaging in with SUNY Geneseo. Learning about the academic partnership as a whole may not have been what I expected when I signed up for this course, but it has undoubtedly been a worthwhile experience.