Throughout high school, English was nothing but a grade to me. I believed that it was just another course I had to take in order to graduate, with no intention of pursuing it in the future. This mindset continued into college; this writing seminar class was just a mandatory course for my biology degree. I think that this attitude stemmed from my own personal expectations of myself, where I am constantly acting as my biggest critic. However, when I arrived at Geneseo, I quickly realized this was not the case. In actuality, this class is giving me the opportunity to broaden my limits and work freely to improve my writing capabilities, as well as expand on my everyday thinking. It is allowing me to make my own choices and teaching me how to fully articulate them to an audience. Within my first class of Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnership, I understood the true purpose of the class. Professor McCoy quickly showed me that the purpose of the class was self reflection, where I was going to work to not only better myself as a writer, but as an individual. I think that this course will give me the ability to be proud of my writing and stop being overly judgmental towards myself. Professor McCoy immediately showed her attention and appreciation to all of the minor details within writing, all of the things that students may completely overlook.
Through the course, she is trying to teach the importance of thinking and revising, showing students the significance of taking their time and truly thinking about the impact that each word has on the overall final piece. However, there are some topics that can not be taught, such as accountability and care, which are the key ideas discussed throughout the course. The immense amount of responsibility within this course poses as both a positive and negative factor, as each student holds the ability to decide their own fate in the class. This is also where the objective of risks and rewards take place.
I think that the most unique part of this class is the immense amount of self evaluation. Through the process of grading yourself, it is easy just to give yourself a quick 100 and move on. However, this is not the point of the class. By grading yourself, you have to detach yourself and read from an outside perspective. In addition, every individual has an idea of their own capabilities, so you can be your best judge, as you know exactly what you excel at and what you can improve on. Personally, I would like to work on being less critical of my own work. I fully understand I am nowhere near a perfect writer, so as I work to critique my writing, I would like to also learn to compliment my own work. I believe by doing this, it will guide me to become a better writer and a better version of myself. Overall, I think this is a very efficient process of improvement because it allows you to focus on yourself and truly think about new ways to perfect your own writing. During my time in this class, I would like to build confidence in my writing and learn new techniques to go about communicating my ideas.
I think that a tremendous portion of the class is about taking responsibility. This sounds like a very simple idea, but in reality, they are so many layers to it. Having so much responsibility in a class has its risks and rewards, which is what the class primarily focuses on. While we continue through the semester reading about other people’s risks and rewards in writing, we are going through it ourselves without even realizing it. However, this topic reaches far beyond a writing seminar class.
I believe that the idea of responsibility and setting limits can be displayed throughout the short story “Bloodchild”, by Octavia Butler. In the story, the humans and Tlics have a mutual agreement where each party benefits the other, with the outcome of peace and stability in the world. The humans live in peace with these extraterrestrial beings, with the ability to make their own choices in life. However, they have limits that they must stay within. The humans have a certain expectation to withhold, where they have to help the Tlic to reproduce. Through following this, they can stay within the preserve and also make their own decisions in life. Each individual has the potential to create their own path in life, while staying true to their limits, as do we as students during our college career.
Every day, we must make decisions, it’s a fundamental part of life. Whether these challenges are about what to eat for breakfast or what to wear one day, these decisions can hold their own risks and rewards, no matter how big or small they may appear. Yet, with every confrontation you are faced with, it’s key to take responsibility for every decision you have to make. Especially today in college, students are faced with many new challenges and they have to make difficult decisions. With the majority of students’ schedules filled with online classes, it poses a difficulty to focus and excel with their time management. Mainly with factors such as online tests, students may have the temptation to search for an answer or ask a friend for help. Nonetheless, this is where responsibility takes on an essential role, as they must make a choice. If one decides to cheat or ignore an online lecture, how will the professor know? This may seem like a reward, yet in the long run, it will most definitely pose as a risk. The student will fall behind in the material for future class discussions and exams. When making these decisions it is incredibly critical to understand the risks and rewards of every scenario, as one short lived reward may easily turn into a dangerous risk.
Because of this, the ideas of accountability and care for yourself, as well as others, becomes crucial. According to the syllabus, the three main key concepts to follow are “Care for My Course Accountability”, “Care for My Growth”, and “Care for Peers’ Growth”. By following these guidelines, one can greatly accentuate their growth mindset which can aid them in enhancing their writing skills, while also having the ability to grow as an individual. Through making these daily decisions and taking on any risks in hopes of a final reward, care plays a significant role. Caring for yourself as well as your peers can greatly help one succeed as a writer and overall character. Through caring for your peers, you can expand your ideas and get inspired from other people’s feedback. I believe that by following all of these set principles, the opportunities for growth are limitless.