As college students, showing adversity in times of hardship has become fairly repetitious in our lives. It seems as if the survival of each battle precedes a new, even more difficult, challenge. To stay on top, we must be prepared to weigh out our every option; no matter what life throws our way. This particular ability is especially evident in a character from “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. The character Gan is faced with a challenge that truly tests him as a person. As a teenager, he is put in a position to make a very adultlike decision, on a matter of which he doesn’t fully understand. There are many pressures from others that influence his decision-making, which is why Gan must decide who it is he can trust. To do this, there are a number of tactics he employs, such as: consulting others, doing research, and thinking in the long term. This may be a fictitious world, yet I feel there are many lessons to be learned from Gan’s character. As a college student, I must also make choices of similar severity; fortunately, with less alien probing involved. It seems as if it was only yesterday I was a senior in highschool. Now I’m forming my life, one semester at a time and the decisions I make will follow me for the rest of life. In order to make sure I am making the right decisions, I employ a similar methods to Gan as stated earlier. From the articles and other literature reviewed in the INTD 105 course, I have utilized a number of them to become informed on decisions that affect my life. For example, the Geneseo Student Handbook, which is a book that enlists all of the rules and regulations that the College Board deems necessary. This book has a huge impact on a student’s day-to-day life, yet it still seems most students nowadays are ill informed, even with all of the information within their reach. It is impossible to make the best decision on these problems faced by students without knowing all of the information available. In this way, as a population, we are being led down a path similar to the one in “Bloodchild”, one where our decisions are not our own. This being said, the relationship between Gan and T’Gatoi, with a little imagination, is similar to the one between a student and their college.
Throughout Olivia Butler’s story, we are slowly made aware of the situation Gan finds himself in. In short, T’Gatoi’s species (Tlic) relies on that of Gan’s (Terran) to reproduce. In return, the Terran are allowed to live under the protection of the Tlic. As a teenager, Gan is kept in the dark about what really happens when a Tlic impregnates a Terran in order to spare him. This is not his fault, it is society’s fault. Gan soon realizes that he had little choice in the matter as people long before him had come to an agreement that led to this relationship between the species. Something us students deal with regularly. We must follow rules put into place by our college officials. Be that as it may, sometimes it’s good to question the authority. Gan realized this and began to educate himself on the matter to be able to think from both perspectives. Unfortunately, certain information was withheld in order to protect him until he was of age. Who decided that this was a good idea? T’Gatoi, and she had her reasons, even if Gan couldn’t yet understand. Gan had to trust that T’Gatoi was doing what was best for him. Similar to how students must trust their college to make the right decisions in regards to the student’s wellbeing. With the lack of information however, Gan had failed to see this. T’Gatoi was put into a position that many colleges are put into on a regular basis. She must make decisions to benefit the population as a whole. Even when it will be at the expense of some. Which means some people will have to make sacrifices. In this case, the Tlic “wanted more of us (Terran) made available” to house their eggs. It would seem to the Tlic that this would make things easier. However, it simply was unethical to do to the Terran. The Tlic and the Terran had a mutualistic relationship meaning they had to please everyone within reason. T’Gatoi, as an elder to Gan, decided it was for his best that he be spared the details. As a student, I understand that sometimes what I don’t know won’t kill me. Teenagers are constantly spared the full detail in order to protect them. While I’m sure the people hiding it have their reasons, I feel as one being protected, that I don’t want to be protected from the real problems. It is actually doing us a disservice as we can’t form educated opinions. It is impossible to act in a meaningful way when you are not given all of the information. Especially on a decision that can affect one’s life forever. The omission of a fact still constitutes lying. After a lie is told and discovered, it is impossible for there to be a regular degree of trust between the two parties. The Geneseo’s student code of conduct states as following, “The College is committed to a goal of student maturity and self-direction.” Yet, it has been made evident that we are not being told everything. The college is constantly making decisions that affect us without our knowledge. This does not make me feel very mature. Wouldn’t it make sense to include the students in the decision making since it’s affecting our lives? What would we even do with the information? The latter question was asked by Gan to himself. Maybe the information is too much for us to bear. In his case, the information was too much to bear after he watched what really happens during birth. But what happened after proved my point. Gan started to see his problem from the other side. In the end, he was able to come to his own realization that there was no other way. This is an extremely important ability to have in the real world. Without it, you are missing out on potentially half of the information. As students, we have a responsibility to see from the point of view from others and form an educated evaluation.
Both Gan and students alike, everyone should stay informed. The choices we make at this point in our lives have a lasting effect, so they better be damn good decisions. It’s impossible to make good decisions when you can’t see a problem from someone else’s shoes. I believe it is just as important to understand your own perspective as it is another’s. Maybe they know something you don’t. The solution to a problem may make perfect sense to one and make absolutely no sense to another. There will always be another perspective to a problem and it’s our jobs to open our minds to the possibility that we might not always be right. Nonetheless, nobody’s perfect. The best thing we can do for ourselves is stay educated, listen to others opinions, and think in the long term in addition to the short term.