Risks and rewards are two important elements that play a key part in anyone’s form of life. In the short story “Bloodchild” written by Octavia Butler, she uses the quote “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Bloodchild, Butler) to explain this concept. At this time in the story Gan had just watched Lomas’s birth. This quote was also the epigraph for this course which I saw in the syllabus when I read it for the first time. Butler uses the relationship between the Tlic and Terrans to show risks and rewards, which is shown in many ways throughout the story. The Terrans (humans) are being taken advantage of by the Tlic emotionally and physically, but in the end both species work together and benefit each other. This course and epigraph show that the more you put into something the more likely chance you have of getting something good out of it, also relates to the fact that anyone deserves a chance to learn and grow from the past.
The Terrans who are humans in “Bloodchild” came to the Tlic planet during a time of crisis. When the Terrans first arrived, after they left the other planet the Tlic took full advantage of this opportunity. The Tlic need hosts in order to reproduce until their eggs are ready to hatch, so the Terrans offer to be hosts to the Tlic and in return they gain a place to live. The Tlic T’Gatoi stated that she must impregnate someone and that it needed to be done as soon as possible. T’gatoi threatened Gan and said if he did not step up and be the host, it was going to be his sister. Gan decided to take the “risk” in this partnership. T’Gatoi impregnated Gan and he became the “host” for her children. “She undulated slowly against me, her muscles forcing the egg from her body into mine” (Butler 27). Although Gan was fearful about this, he did it because he felt obligated and due to the relationship that him and T’Gatoi have in the story. T’Gatoi viewed this as an equal partnership.
In this course we have all taken risks and as Professor McCoy stated in the syllabus “the possibilities for thinkING and learning are worth the risk.” (McCoy) I agree with Professor McCoy’s statement, as I feel like I have grown much more as a thinker, learner, and writer. Throughout this semester I have taken many “risks”, for example I had the ability to give feedback to my peers, this meant that I had to make sure my feedback for my peers was in good faith. I was able to realize what not giving good faith was like from the Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” TED talk. An example of bad faith in the TED talk is when Adichie went to college in America, her roommate asked where she learned to speak English so well. Her roommate continued to judge Adichie and did not respect her own beliefs, it was very hard for the American girl to realize that people (Adichie) have rights to their own beliefs/opinions that are different. According to Adichie “she asked if she could listen to what she called my “tribal music”. After watching this TED talk and seeing bad faith I made a promise to myself that I would always use good faith to help my peers. Another “risk” that I took during this past semester because of this class was trying to change my mindset from fixed to growth mindset. In the beginning this was tough for me because I had to try to tell myself to not think a certain way that I was always used to thinking. After realizing that I was capable of changing this, I became more confident in everything I was doing, and still continue to work on this today. This relates to the through line that everyone deserves to grow and learn from the past. If I was never able to grow from the past, I could have never changed my mindset, but because I took the opportunity to grow it turned out to be a “reward”.
Throughout this course we discovered the risks and rewards of academic partnership and I noticed that if you want something and work for what you want in the end you will achieve a “reward”. The same goes for the short story “Bloodchild”, in this story the Terrans and to “earn” a place to live. Although it was not the ideal way they had hoped, because of the risks they had to deal with in the end a social contract was formed. T’Gatoi held all the power as she is the ruler of the “preserve”. Gan stated “Years passed. T’Gatoi traveled and increased her influence. The Preserve was hers by the time she came back to my mother to collect what she probably saw as her just reward for her hard work” (Bloodchild). The Terrans agreed to follow T’gatoi’s rules and understood her power, if a rule was broken there were consequences. This relates to the SUNY Geneseo student and faculty handbook that we read in depth about in some of the forums. SUNY Geneseo handbook states that “The specific regulations described below should not be viewed as a comprehensive code of desirable conduct; rather they describe the minimum standards of behavior expected of Geneseo students in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the basic mission of the values of the college” (Geneseo Student handbook). As students we are expected to follow and obey all rules, laws, etc. in the handbook to help keep everyone safe while providing the best experience for all. Some people may take “risks” by breaking the rules which than they will face consequences. In my opinion one should be allowed another chance to learn from their mistake. By following the student code of conduct everyone earns a “reward” as everyone is safe and can make the most out of their college experience.
After I began giving feedback to my peers, I realized that I began getting feedback in return from my peers, this helped me to continue working on fixing my fixed mindset to growth mindset. Until this course, I always believed that my peers were giving me personal feedback, in bad faith, because at times I felt like the feedback was criticizing me. Now I can proudly say that feedback is one of the most useful ways to grow as a writer, and I find feedback to be constructive. In the syllabus it says “These questionnaires emphasize growth mindset. Amid ongoing upheaval with no clear end, many of us are likely in varying ways out of our depth and comfort. This isn’t about being good at something” (McCoy). This quote loops back to the idea that overtime the more effort you continue to put into this course, the more you will grow and realize new things. I became more confident in my own work and realized that it was not just about the grade earned. The course epigraph “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Bloodchild, Butler) connects to the overall assessment of this class, Professor McCoy is taking A “risk” by allowing us to self- assess ourselves, but it is also a “reward” to people who worked hard and followed the class syllabus and rubrics. These examples show that there is risk and reward in everything.
This class has given me many opportunities that I never saw coming in college, and I am glad that I saw and now know “risks” and “rewards” of academic partnership. Aside from the main focus of the class, I have been able to grow as a writer, and in personal ways. Throughout the course I reminded myself often, that the more I put into any assignment the more I got out of it, and this turned out to be true for me. The many conversations and texts that we engaged in though out the semester directly connected to the course epigraph “”If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Bloodchild, Butler)”. In life I will face many risks just like T’Gatoi did in “Bloodchild” but in the end if you can have trust within a partner it will lead to a reward. Looking back, on this semester and all of the work I completed I now see the relationship of the end goal of this course which was allowing us to see what academic partnership is all about. I am grateful for all of the “risks” and “rewards” I took throughout this course and will now continue to take knowing all of this information.