The risk of Failure for the Reward of Success

You wouldn’t typically think of taking a class as inherently risky. I think all choices we make, including taking a class, come with inherent risks and rewards. Some of the risks that come to mind when talking about taking a class are embarrassment and failure. Some of the rewards associated with taking a college class are growth and success. Going beyond the choice to take a class, are all the choices that will take place during your time in that class.. Students taking Intd 105 will learn  how to give and take feedback. We will be given the freedom to choose what we write about and be offered the responsibility to self assess  ourselves. Thinking about these choices I will have to make, and the short story Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler helped me develop my goals for this course. 

In Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler impossible decisions are made, and risks and rewards are felt out.  Tlics, centipede-like creatures and Terrans, humans, are reliant on each other for survival. Humans live on this alien planet and aliens take care of them, in return humans must choose 1 male to be impregnated with the Tlics eggs.  The decisions, risks and rewards the main character, Gan, faces are very intense. Although it may not seem like he has many choices, at one point Gan gets told “Would you really rather die than bear my young,” by his Tlic that is taking care of him. Choosing between dying and letting your family down or being implanted with alien eggs, to protect them, is a tough one. Although it could be argued there are no real decisions to be made, because the Tlics hold all the power and the Terrans are at whim to whatever the Tlics want. Gan must analyze the choices he has and choose the best one while considering quality of life, and his family. So instead Gan made the decision to agree to being impregnated with alien eggs, even after seeing a traumatizing surgery to remove the centipede offspring before it ate a man inside out. Though Gan doesn’t have much of a choice about if he has the eggs or not, he can choose his attitude towards his situation. Gan chooses to trust in the Tlics unlike his brother who has a bitter attitude towards them. Gan understands that everyone is dependent on each other.  Thinking about Gan and his tough decisions helped me to think about the choices I had to make for this semester. Although none of my choices are anywhere near as severe as Gan’s. 

One risk students will take in  INTD 105 Risk and reward course, is facing fears. While taking this class the syllabus will provide students guidance on the way the class will work throughout the year. In the course syllabus Professor McCoy informs students that we will be sharing our work and providing feedback to each other. I feel like this is a risk for some students, like myself, who don’t feel strong in their writing abilities. Professor McCoy said in the syllabus “Remember that growth will be difficult if not impossible if work is not presented consistently for feedback;” Sharing written assignments with the class, and opening yourself up to feedback definitely can feel like an academic risk. However, without feedback I know I will never improve my writing skills. Feedback is extremely important especially when it comes to honing in on a skill. Sharing our work with each other and giving comments from our peers is a great thing. The more people to share our work with the more beneficial it is to write.  The fear of putting our work out into the world is outweighed, in my opinion, by the great reward of experience and enhancement.  Writing skills are life long, so any chance to improve on them is a success. I’m delighted to share my work and receive feedback from my peers because it will help me grow. My first goal for this course is to overcome any reservations I have about presenting my work with others 

The choice of what we write about is another risk and reward of this class. The writing prompts found in the syllabus leave the choices up to the writer. Professor Mcoy wrote in the syllabus , “You have considerable leeway in interpreting the epigraph and focusing your essay,”  under the prompt for the final reflection essay. Being able to have choice in what you’re writing about as opposed to extremely limiting essay prompts is both a risk and reward choice for students. This requires students to think critically, analyze important texts and be able to form their own arguments and opinions to write about. Developing the skills to navigatie creating and writing arguments with no direction  this is another objective of mine for this course. 

Perhaps the most notable decisions students will make during this course is self assessment. Students will have to honestly judge themselves and their work. I think this is an ability everyone should have and practice. For some, it may feel odd to assess their own growth because they may feel biased, or feel like they are reversed biased and too hard on themselves. It can be very difficult to calibrate when it comes to yourself. But the more accurately you can assess yourself the better for you. That’s why practicing self assessment is another goal of mine this semester.  Reading Bloodchild by Octavia  E. Butler helped me to create several goals for my course this semester. The short story got me thinking about decisions, choices and the risks or rewards that can come with taking any class. My goals are to work on developing strong writing skills that will help me long after this course. I would like to be able to confront situations where I have to use my annalysiszing text skills, applying feedback skills to my work,  and being able to confidently share work  with peers. I know I will grow and hope I will meet my goals.

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