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.  

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