Final Essay

Throughout life we all have to weigh the risks and rewards of our choices and actions. It can be difficult to make these choices, but as we go through life, we learn the correct tools to help us make the best decision for ourselves. These decisions can be as small as what to eat for dinner or as large as what to do with one’s life. It is impossible to live your life alone, and one must learn to work with others to thrive. This can be at home or in the workplace, or in terms of this course, in an academic setting. In the story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler, the main character, Gan, must weigh the risks and rewards of heavy decisions that will affect not only him, but his family and loved ones. In the society Gan lives in, the superior species, the Tilc, implant eggs into the humans called the Terran. Gan is a human and is aware of the responsibility that could possibly be placed upon him. T’Gatoi is a Tilc that is close to Gan’s family, and she has to choose a human to host the eggs of her future children. Gan is aware that he is most likely going to hold that responsibility, and seems prepared to be a host, but Gan witnesses the torture of being a host, and rethinks his decisions. Gan feels conflicted because he knows that if he denies T’Gatoi, his sister will be forced to take on the responsibility. He feels protective over her and does not want to put that sort of pressure and pain on his sister, so he decides to host T’Gatoi’s eggs. Terran like Gan are not allowed to own guns, but T’Gatoi catches Gan with his family gun, and reaches to take it away, but Gan tells T’Gatoi “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26). T’Gatoi claimed Gan and she were partners, and to prove it to him, she had to let his family keep the gun. Gan weighed the risks and rewards of hosting T’Gatoi’s eggs, and T’Gatoi weighed the risks and rewards of letting Gan’s family keep the gun. They mutually agree that T’Gatoi will not take away the gun and Gan will become the host.

The idea of partnership and the risks and rewards that come into play with partners is shown clearly in “Bloodchild”. Gan and T’Gatoi weigh the risks and rewards and form a partnership. This theme has also come into play throughout this course the entire semester. We have discussed working with a partner, and how risks come with that partnership. The students in this class have engaged in weekly forums with each other. We are required to reply to the responses of our peers. There are minor risks in collaborating with our peers, such as being judged or made fun of. The rewards of collaborating with our peers include further understanding of the course material. By reading the responses of our peers, we learn new ideas and can gain a deeper understanding of the topics we are discussing. Having many different students submit their thoughts and understanding can help widen and deepen other students’ understanding. For me personally, when I have read the other responses of my classmates in the forums, I have thought about the prompt in a way I would not have if I was not able to see their responses. Having students collaborate with one another is vital to the learning of the students and teaches them to be good listeners and opens their understanding of the material. We can all learn something from one another, and I would have liked to collaborate with my peers in other classes as much as I have in this class. 

Throughout the multiple discussion forums, we have participated in in this course, we have analyzed rules and regulations that students and faculty have to follow here at SUNY Geneseo. We have read through the Student Code of Conduct, the Oath/Affirmation of State Employees and Public Officers, the College Policies, Research Compliance and Policies, and the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Participants. After analyzing these documents and websites with rules, we learned about the rules the students and the faculty must follow. It is vital to the stability of the campus to have rules for both the faculty and students. We work together to help the campus thrive, and to strive for academic achievement. The rules are in place for our own safety and success here at SUNY Geneseo. For example, we have new rules in place because of COVID-19 such as required face masks, social distancing, and being prohibited to enter other resident halls. These rules may ruin some of the experiences that make college so memorable, but it is vital for the safety of the students and faculty to follow these mandated rules. In our zoom call with Joe Cope, we learned even more about the process of SUNY Geneseo reopening during a global pandemic, and how the former rules were changed because of the uncertain circumstances we are experiencing this semester. The faculty that decided to host classes in person this semester risked their own health to give students as normal as a learning experience as they possibly could. It is important to socialize as much as we can while still being safe during such scary times. The faculty who taught in person were rewarded by having socialization in a time of isolation. These members of faculty weighed the risks and rewards, and decided they wanted to teach in person. 

Throughout the semester, we have learned and thought deeply about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. There are many examples of this in the readings and in the discussions. We first learned about the risks and rewards of academic partnership by reading “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. We saw the thought process of the main characters, Gan and T’Gatoi, and what helped them make their decisions. Gan showed this by telling T’Gatoi “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26). Both of these characters gained something and lost something by coming to the mutual agreement they did. This epigraph definitely formed a throughline for what we learned and discussed in this course throughout the semester. By working together, we gain deeper understanding of the material, and we learn to possibly think in different ways than we might have if we did not work together. By participating in the weekly discussion forms, the students collaborated with one another to understand the prompt given and the materials we had to analyze. By reading the rules for students and faculty, we learned about the restraints we have that help us keep everyone safe. There are things each of us have to sacrifice in order to protect one another during a global pandemic. We have to work together to help one another thrive and stay healthy and safe during such unfamiliar times. It is more important now than ever to learn about how to work together successfully, and by taking this course we as students have learned how to achieve that goal.

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