Life as a “Preserve”

In Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild,” there are many decisions made inside of a “preserve.” A preserve is a space where there is power, so much so that it can both make choices possible and set limits on them. In this course, we are almost in our own type of “preserve.” In fact, life in general is in some ways a “preserve.” No matter the choices you make in life, they are your choices, and most will have risks and rewards. The risks are what limits choices in a way that you cannot become too overwhelmed from the power of creating you own destiny. In this course specifically, we are given lots of freedom, yet that freedom can be exactly what sets some limits. A person is always they harshest critic, so the self-evaluation aspect of this course should make me dive deeper into my writing than ever before. The large emphasis placed on care in this course gives me enough freedom that I have to make critical choices, but not too much that I do not feel I have guidance. 

Going along with the course syllabus, the first aspect of care is care for course accountability. This is probably where the most critical choices will have to be made. As stated by Professor McCoy in the syllabus, she will “offer feedback on your work, but you will assess that work, a process that depends on trust, transparency, accountability, care, and acknowledging the possibility of harm.” That alone is so much responsibility, and it needs to be handled with grace and care. Although I can make choices for myself, this almost sets more limits. Although I technically choose how I am graded, I cannot give myself I grade I feel is undeserved. This gives me the responsibility to set my own limits and choose what is really fair for my grade. For example, if I am not keeping up with my work, even though I am self-assessed, I could not in good conscience give myself a good grade. Being held accountable is a blessing and a curse because I can choose when to do my work, but I also need to make sure I am keeping up with all my deadlines. Although the risks are high, the rewards have the potential to be so great that I just need to make sure I make the best of my time in this “preserve” of the course.  

Although this ties into care for course accountability, the care for self-growth is unique and important in its own way. I like to interpret this as the process of learning and thinking instead of just memorizing and repeating. Like Professor McCoy stated in the syllabus, “it is equally important to take care about process.” If I need to learn something, the process of this learning should be just as important as the lesson itself. Self-growth will not just happen overnight, it is a whole process. Although I am being provided the freedom to grow as an individual, the process of growth can be difficult to manage. I cannot just take the easy route in writing a piece, turning it in, and being done right then. I have to make sure I am double and triple checking before I turn in my first draft. Even from there I will have more edits to make and even more I can work on. This may be challenging, but it will allow me to someday have the tools I need to be an independent and hardworking person. Although these limits may seem invisible, they most definitely are not, and they will affect my growth in the future. 

With all this responsibility on myself, the care for peer growth aspect is so important. Although there is some freedom because of the ability to help others with their work, I think the important part of the peer growth is how they will help me. It sets limits for me, it will show me where changes need to be made and how to make them. It gives a level of guidance that would not be received if it were not for all of us caring about peer growth. Our discussions in the forums will be meaningful, not just for that very moment, but to help me grow in a long-term manner. These “discussions are places to bring people together sometimes as an entire class and often in smaller groups to contribute thinkING and get responses from peers,” as stated in the syllabus provided by Professor McCoy. The main purpose of this course is to see improvement as a thinker. With the help of many different perspectives, I will be provided with the clarity I need to become a better writer. I will be able to improve my craft with all the possibilities being provided to me by my peers, while they will also act as an editing tool to help me identify the limits.  

All of this cycles back to this course being a “preserve” in one way or another. I do feel like I have more freedom in this course than most others I have taken in my life, yet there is still a sense of limitation. I don’t necessarily feel like I can just do whatever I want whenever I want. I’ve noticed myself striving to be my best for me, not for the grade. I have found that this course has allowed my brain to flourish in ways I didn’t even know were possible. It is no longer just words on a paper, its thinking through every sentence and analyzing each piece to make sure it is the best it can be, and honestly, right now they never are the best they can be. This is why it is good that I submit it for feedback, because after each assignment I have the ability to go back and make it even better. I do this wanting to feel the fulfillment of doing a good job, not looking to up my grade. Even though I may be writing and editing more than I normally would, which most would consider a limit, I feel free to be the best writer I can be. 

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