The Risks and Rewards on a College Campus

The short story Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler has been a text we return to throughout this semester in the course INTD 105 . In Bloodchild,Octavia Butler wrote, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This is the INTD 105 course epigraph.  This quote is the perfect epigraph for the course because risks and rewards has been the subject of our course discussions all semester. Being a part of a college community and taking courses has academic risks and rewards. This quote can be connected to many of the discussions we’ve had as a class. 

The story Bloodchild, where the epigraph is from, tells the tale of two completely different species that are dependent on each other for survival on an alien planet. Tlics are centipede-like creatures and Terrans are humans. Gan and T’Gatoi , human and Tlic respectively are partnered. They have familiarity and trust between them, Gan has known T’Gatoi his whole life. The preserve is the place they live on this alien planet, in a society where both species are reliant on the other. The Preserve was made by a political faction that T’Gatoi is a part of. Some Tlics did not want to treat the humans well, and saw humans more as surrogates. At the preserve Terrans are safe. Gan grew up knowing he was expected to carry T’Gatoi eggs, in return his whole family can safely live at the preserve. He was okay with this until he witnessed a Human give birth. Gan was so traumatized from the birth he no longer knew if he wanted to be a host for T’Gatoi. T’Gatoi had spent a long time working to ensure humans are treated well, knowing one day a human would carry her children. The quote that is the epigraph comes in when Gan decides he wants a gun. He feels if he is expected to take the risk and trust T’Gatoi , he should be able to have a Gun. Both characters have limited options in this situation, and have to take the risk for the reward of survival. 

The risks and rewards the Gan and T’Gatoi face relate to our college community, and the limited choices we have within it. The community includes students, professors and administrators, all working together to make choices and hopefully be successful together. The similarities between the dire situation in bloodchild and the everyday decisions made on our campus, has been the center of many conversations in our class. There are many different partnerships at play both in the story Bloodchild and in our class. I have been reliant on both Professor McCoy, and other students for feedback. These are both partnerships with risks and rewards. In the course syllabus, Professor McCoy said students will be sharing their work and providing feedback to each other. This was a risk for some students, like myself. The risk that comes with sharing work is trusting my peers have good intentions and that we are all here to become better.  I never have felt I was a good writer, so sharing work with the whole class can be scary.  Professor McCoy said in the syllabus “Remember that growth will be difficult if not impossible if work is not presented consistently for feedback;” Despite how risky sharing work can feel, the reward of growth and stronger writing abilities was worth the risk. The more feedback I have received , the more beneficial it has been to my writing skills. 

Another partnership in a college community where there is risk in dealing with a partner is between administrators and students. Because of INTD 105 I have a new found appreciation for the administrators at Geneseo. I have to trust that they are acting in good faith and making decisions best for their students.  We did a reading of the Geneseo student handbook. The administrators make the rules in effort to keep students safe and successful,and students follow the rules to keep campus running smoothly. As a student I rely on the administrators to make sure the rules are fair and just. That’s why I found the”Article XI – Interpretation and Revision” section of the student hand book interesting. It says that the Dean of Students will review The Student Code of Conduct every two years. I think that is important because new problems can arise and there could always be improvements made. This is one of the things I like about Suny Geneseo administrators. 

Because of our discussion with the suny administrator Joe Cope,I was able to learn a lot about what Joe, and all Administrators at Geneseo do.  Joe explained that like Gan and T’Gatoi, the school had very limited options when it came to COVID . He said the administrators had to balance the reward of monetary gain and the risk of student safety. Not wanting students on campus because of the pandemic, but needing students on campus to take in money to be able to afford all the new changes COVID has brought. He explained that some schools decided to take as many students on campus as possible, despite the risks. He explained Geneseo still offers so many asynchronous classes and online classes despite losing money from students not on campus. The students have to trust administrators have their best intentions in mind for the student administrator partnership to work, and the conversation left be feeling trusting in our administration. Much like Gan must be trusting in T’Gatoi , T’Gatoi in Gan.

The different partnerships on college campuses each have their own risks and rewards. The course epigraph is perfect because it connects to almost every conversation we have had as a class. As with the decisions making that Gan and T’Gatoi must face in Bloodchild, students, professors and administrators must make choices when part of a college community. 

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