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.

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