It’s Worth The Risk

When given our syllabus in the beginning of the semester it included this epigraph, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” Before reading the story Bloodchild by Octavia Butler it might not be obvious what this quote means. The quote is dialogue between Gan and T’Gatoi, a Terran and Tilc respectively. The Tilc in this story are a species seen as more powerful than the Terran. Even though Tilc are more powerful they have their weaknesses, like not being able to carry their own offspring. They rely on the Terran to carry their next generation for them. To survive, the Terran need the Tilc to protect them and rule over them, and the Tilc need the Terrans to carry out the birth process. They both must trust each other for their partnership to work out, and just like any partnership, there are risks. This epigraph brings up the risks and rewards in the context of Bloodchild, which can be compared to risks and rewards of academic partnership this semester.

Any class you take can have risks and rewards. The amount of work that you put into something is directly related to what you are going to get out of it, or what grade you are going to receive. The syllabus is a great way to outline what happens throughout the semester of every class. In the syllabus for INTD 105, Dr. Beth McCoy clearly states that students “assess their own coursework based on feedback they receive from instructor and from peers.” I am not used to having a class where my grade is not dependent on a test or quiz, but rather how well I can spark a conversation though an essay and how much I have grown over a semester. That said, with allowing us to self-assess, Beth is putting trust into her students and hoping that they will be fair in their grading process. She does this so that we are able to think and express our thoughts during our writings without fear of failing the course. This way of grading takes away the stress on the student, which in my case is the reward but still has that risk of unfair grading opportunities. Throughout the course we must risk putting our writings out for others to read and critique but in working with others we learn how to better our writing skills. Ultimately if we compare the risks and rewards to those in Bloodchild they will be less severe but will still be present. While the decision to stop working in a partnership might cause a species to die off in Bloodchild, not practicing partnership in college might lead to failing classes and getting bad grades. Not practicing the same partnership skills in INTD 105 make it so that you cannot better your writing skills and learn from your past feedback.

   Just like Gan placed his trust in T’Gatoi to protect him and his family, we as students place our trust in our professors and peers for good feedback. Starting with talking about the pandemic and how it has changed college courses, we have concluded that we are all struggling. Not one person asked to be put in a situation where they are forced to work towards their degree online. With this being something that we have not done before it comes with a lot of risk. Many students had challenges with being home, such as no quiet place to study or having attendance issues. While students are turning to professors for help, the professors are still trying to figure out how online leaning should be carried out. With all of us unsure of what to do, until we go back to a sense of normalcy, we must rely on each other to succeed this semester. Our discussion with Joe Cope included new polies regarding covid-19 to help us understand how online learning requires a different set of rules and rewards. The only way that academic success could happen this semester is by placing trust in others and knowing that we are all figuring it out together. This is not as simple as making just one quick change and requires time to get used to.  

We spent a great chunk of time reading and creating conversation regarding both the Student Code of Conduct as well as a list of polices needed to be followed by professors. When applying to Geneseo, a student is made aware of rules in the code of conduct and are required to follow them while attending college. By ensuring that students know the risks of not complying, Geneseo can make sure that its students are safe and protected. Just as students have rules or policies to follow, so do professors. After reading both sets of polices, I found that they were very similar, starting with the ones regarding no “alcohol & substance abuse” on campus and a “smoke free workplace”. For students there are polices such as the “Good Samaritan policy” which makes it so that “in instances of life-threatening medical emergencies related to possible alcohol or drug overdoses”, the student that calls in for help is exempt from sanctions afterwards. By taking away the risk of getting in trouble, Geneseo is making sure that students can still receive help in a situation they cannot handle. A specific policy for professors is regarding nepotism, stating “the College prohibits family members from participating in employment decisions regarding each other”. This got me to thinking about if such a rule was in place for grading between professors and students they are related to. In both cases, the polices made for both students and faculty may have risks such as being fired or suspended by the school, but the rewards are that these polices keep everyone safe. This however only works if both sets of individuals follow the rules, continuing our conversation on academic partnership.

GLOBE (Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education) builds a holistic way to see your experience at Geneseo. This means that we were given the parts and now we must put it all together ourselves. The pieces that we read and discussed were important to show us how partnership works in INTD 105. Without working together, Gan would have died and T’Gatoi would not have been able to have offspring. T’Gatoi took the risk of letting Gan keep his gun, knowing they both need each other to survive, that he would not kill her because it would not benefit him. They both needed to put in effort to benefit. Just like we needed to put effort into this class and others to get a good grade and to work on personal growth. Without taking the feedback of others you just continue to make the same mistakes repeatedly. With this course I have learned there are always going to be risks in working with others or pushing yourself to do better, but most of the time the reward is worth it.

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