As a first-year college student, reading the course syllabus was something new to me. I have never seen a syllabus with a class epigraph. This course’s epigraph comes from the book Bloodchild. The epigraph is, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, T’Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26).” This epigraph goes along with the whole story but mainly after Gan sees Lomas’s traumatic birth. Seeing how gruesome it was made Gan second guess having to bear the young of T’Gatoi. His whole life, he knew his purpose was to bear a Tlic young, but he never knew the possible harm of birth until now. Gan is still growing up and learning about responsibilities. He is split between being scared and not bearing T’Gatoi young, doing him harm, or he can grow and have her children even if there is the possibility for harm. Gan realizes he needs to take the risk and bear T’Gatoi young and have the reward of trust in his partnership with her. On pages 26 and 27, it talks about how Gan has two choices to pick from. He decided to change his mindset of being scared and decided to accept the risks. Gan says, “I knew what to do, what to expect.”
Just like in Bloodchild, students in INTD-105 are challenged with risk, reward, and the possibility of harm. The outcome of this course is to produce a growth mindset and grow as a writer. Dr. McCoy built this course as self-assessed. In the course syllabus, Beth states, “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 outcome… one of the first words in Geneseo’s Mission Statement.” Beth McCoy gives feedback on assignments and gives the student the option to improve or ignore her feedback and keep making the same silly mistakes. Having a self-assessed course makes the process more comfortable and less stressful for students. As a first-year student, this was a new concept for me. Throughout all my schooling, it’s been about grades assignments. All I have been taught is the importance of good grades because that is the final reward. I worry so much about getting a good grade that sometimes I forget the importance of learning. At the beginning of this course, I was putting myself into harm by not using the feedback to improve myself. I needed to change my outlook to a growth mindset. Using a growth mindset made me slow down on my work and accept the feedback. I ended this course with the reward of becoming better writer and finally being proud of the work I produce.
In high school, when you would get something wrong, teachers would rarely ever give you feedback or tell you what to do to improve. All they cared about was a grade. My most challenging year in high school was tenth grade, especially in history class. My teacher was very hard on grades but would never explain why he took points off or give feedback so I didn’t make the same mistake next time. This stuck with me – that teachers cared more about a number grade than making you develop to be a better student. The grade was also more important than how long it took you to complete an assignment. So, when I came to college, I came with the “grades are more important than growing as a student” concept. After completing the first assignment in this class, Professor McCoy commented with feedback on my assignment. I took this feedback as a criticism because it was something I was not used to. This is something I had to change. My outlook had to change to better myself. I had to remind myself that the feedback is to help me learn and become a better writer, not as a critique to me as an individual. This is when I started seeing self-growth as a student and even as an individual. As a student, I took the given feedback (like slowing down, re-reading my work) and applied it to my assignments, which made me a better learner and made me change my outlook that grades are more important than growing as a student to the outlook that the quality of work and my growth as a student is greater (more important than) the grade.
One of the many goals for SUNY Geneseo’s students that GLOBE has created is for students to have the ability “to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time; to make personal, professional, and civic plans based on that self-reflection.” Course INTD-105 demonstrates this goal. Like me, I assume that many students came into this course with a set mindset on how they do their school work and how they learn and left with a different mindset. This class helped me reflect on my changes and outcomes of learning. My “lens” has shifted from the beginning to now. At the beginning of this course, I would always rush my assignments to get them done and check them off my long, daunting to-do list. The only fulfillment I got out of doing this was being able to check it off and worry about one less thing. I never found fulfillment in the work I produced. By rushing my assignments, I made stupid mistakes like making grammar mistakes, not having my words make sense, and all-around struggled. I was tired of feeling unfulfilled with my end work and not seeing improvement. I realized it was time to change that. I needed to slow down and put more effort into my work to succeed and become the better writer I always wanted. After changing my “lens,” I instantly saw an improvement in my writing, and I finally felt fulfilled and proud of turning in my work. The biggest take away from this class that I learned was that to grow as a student, you have to do things you are not used to. I came into class without a growth mindset, but I am leaving this course with this new mindset. With my growth-mindset, I learned it is not the end grade that matters the most, but what matters the most is what you take away from an assignment and how it makes you grow and become better.
Coming into college, I had a fixed mindset. A mindset set that grades are the most important thing in learning. This concept has been drilled into my head throughout middle school and high school. To apply to colleges, we send in our GPA – not share our growth achieved in school. In this course, Dr. Beth McCoy stresses that a meaningful outcome of this course is to have a growth mindset and grow as a writer. In the beginning, the questionnaires were hard for me because of my mindset coming into this class. I rushed into assignments and looked forward to completing them. I was putting myself into a lot of harm by doing this and not growing. I had to either be responsible and change my mindset to want to grow and become a better writer or continue to rush my work, get it done, and stay in harm and risk not having a better outcome. I changed my outlook and took Dr. McCoy’s feedback. I have seen tremendous growth in my writing and how I produce my work. I don’t turn in my first draft. I listen to the feedback and make corrections. I am ending this course with a growth mindset and now knowing that learning is more about how you grow than an end producing grade.