The Forgeable Destiny For A Student In 2020

It is certainly not news to anyone that the United States is enduring arguably one of the most strange and stressful times in our nation’s history. With uncertainty and fluster at an all-time high, education was a huge question right from the start. How would it be carried out? Could we go back to learn? Will everything be online? The question that scared not only students, but parents, teachers and staff as well. The outcome resulted in a hybrid-learning scenario in most cases, where students could attend classes in person while balancing online courses and completing numerous, if not all, assignments completely virtual. As many pessimists believe this is a disastrous way of learning, there really is no better solution due to the situation at hand. Although I am currently writing from my bedroom at home, taking the course INTD-105 from home certainly has its risks and rewards from the perspective of a freshman in college and a rookie to the collegiate level of education.  

In the short story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler, the main character Gan is located on a “preserve” within an alien planet. This preserve is a shelter of sorts from the other, more hostile alien species called the “Tlic”. A preserve in this manner could be looked at as a place in which although there are benefits in that the “Terrans” are safe within this area, there are laws they need to follow and obey under the order of these aliens. Repercussions will be instated if these laws are not followed. In other words, this means that they are given the situation of power and there are opportunities to reap the great rewards of a task, that being given after the risks are thrown their way. The question remains, do the rewards outweigh the risk? The situation Gan is currently in can relate to that of a modern college student in that they are located within a preserve with a broad number of risks and rewards. 

Located about 6 hours from Geneseo, I am in no reach of any of my professors to say the least. I am an optimist and usually understand that I need to make the best of the situation I am given. The rewards of college being online are in equilibrium to that of the risks. A college course is a prime example of a “preserve” or as Dr. McCoy puts it, a space wherein power both makes choices possible and sets limits on them. In other words, this means that given the situation of power, there are opportunities to reap the great rewards of a task, that being given after the risks are thrown your way. For example, as a fan of writing, I was fully aware that I was walking into a writing course that was completely online. Now for some, they insist that they need a professor with them around the clock to help adjust and tweak their writing following the submission of their work. This was not the case for me. Prior to following through on this decision of taking the class, I not only knew I could be independent if the class needed me to be as I am merely writing and gaining experience regardless if there is a professor to troubleshoot my work or not. This be the case; I also understand that Geneseo has had a colossal block of time to work on their online experience. I was sure this experience had now included communication amongst all my professors if I needed them or vice-versa, a smooth and organized hub for all of the courses I had been taking, an efficient and neat calendar where I could preview my list of assignments and when they are due as well as how they interfere with other due dates, and a source of communication with my other peers to comment and learn from their works of literature. These being all included in not only INTD-105, but for the rest of my other college courses has ultimately resulted in an immense weight being taken off my shoulders and an undeniably less stressful work environment being created. Although this was a major risk, I knew the consequences that I could have potentially faced. In the end, I could not have been happier with the overall result of online learning in INTD-105. Despite the fact that this class has currently stood the tests of time when it comes to online learning and the importance of retaining the information as stated by Dr. Beth McCoy “I had been moving steadily away from linking feedback for growth to stress-producing grades that end up inevitably becoming the focus instead of the learning that is one of the first words in Geneseo’s Mission Statement”, other classes have not so much followed suit.   

With many college teaching styles being completely foreign to upcoming freshman into college, I praise Beth in her understanding that no one alive has ever faced such a pandemic, not to mention the continuation of learning that has to be done along with it. Despite taking advanced placement courses in high school, it is rest assured that no class or preparation can get you ready for college besides college itself. Time management is a completely different animal once you get to this level and in my eyes, that is one of the biggest rewards for such a substantial risk at stake. Certainly, high school teachers attempted to mimic the workload of that course at the collegiate level, but it is nowhere near the same. In my previous experience, high school teachers have the mindset in that dumping work on students will better prepare them for the collegiate level of education. In my eyes, this is a major fault on teachers and ever so simply displays the ignorance they have towards a student’s life outside of school. I had participated in three varsity-level sports in my junior year of high school in hand with maintaining a part time job and keeping up with AP level courses. This was more than a difficult task for me and heavily portrayed the “learn and run” phrase as acknowledged by Dr. McCoy. Given that high school has short term, nightly designed assignments as opposed to long term, weekly designed assignments as college does, teachers give little to no flexibility when it comes to adjusting the time when students can complete their work. This became a risk similar to that of Gan’s in that although I would be challenging myself and solidifying a concrete time management skill, I would ultimately be learning minimal information and wind up failing to retain any useful knowledge for the future of my educational career. Both Gan and I were located within a preserve and were presented with risks that could have potentially led to even greater rewards. 

This being my first ever writing seminar course, I can say confidently, it is one in its own. Beth has taught me a multitude about not just writing, but time management, discipline, and thinking all in the short time I have been with her. With constant mindful revisions of my work, she is certainly a hefty reward for the risk I took in committing to Geneseo under strictly virtual circumstances!  Although I have taken it upon myself to take INTD-105 as well as my other courses online, there are several downsides to not living the college experience that I hope to soon gain. These experiences include meeting new Geneseo classmates, exploring the beautiful campus, and living the campus lifestyle to its fullest.  

As all walks of education slowly adjust to the not-so-easy year of 2020, we can look back upon all the hardships that got us where we are today. Countless risks and rewards play a role in almost everyone’s lives and there are certainly limits that these choices give us to help answer the big question: are the rewards going to be worth taking the risk? In my eyes, life is full of risks and rewards and that is not necessarily a negative thing. With INTD-105 being one of many preserves in my life, it serves as a way I can honestly grade myself based on the effort I have put into the class in addition to having access to Beth who is always there (virtually!) to assist and improve upon my works of literature. Relating back to “Bloodchild”, Gan and I are one in the same when it comes to being in a preserve included with both risks and rewards.  While numerous risks I took included learning strictly through zoom and modules, the lack of college experience, and the struggle of being engaged in the lesson within my prominent setting still remain, the rewards of having a professor’s help at my fingertips, minimum distractions, economic relief, and more time to socialize with my friends still stands. Yes, students in INTD-105 have choices to make in taking risks in turn for rewards, but it is all a part of the process for a modern-day student forging their own destiny despite the monumental issues the nation faces today. 

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