The Impossible Year

When I was in high school, I received spectacular grades without studying, and most things came with ease. I had taken several advanced placement (AP) courses and did well on the exams. When I arrived to college, I felt as if things would not be as difficult as they became. I am truly the first in my family to have the real “college experience.” The getting accepted, going away, dorming and having a suite of my own so I could have a taste of living without my mother for the first time.
Despite my excitement and how movies portrayed college life, the first semester proved to be harder than I anticipated. My social life was thriving but academically, I thought I was more ready. Having a very detailed syllabus with all assignments throughout the semester and way more weekly online assignments than in high school was a shock.
I had never done well with mathematics and the sciences. I never had an aptitude for the subjects, but I began to despise them as soon as the common core was implemented in my high school. I was silly enough to sign up for contemporary biology during orientation thinking it would be like my high school living environment class which I passed with ease. I began to struggle with a major required class as well: microeconomics. I feel as if no one told how hard or math intensive it would be. I did not know how to really ask for help because I had never needed it in high school. I felt almost scared to ask for help because it was my major, I thought I should be handling it. If I could not handle it, I felt as if I did not deserve to be in this major. If could not get past a small obstacle like this how was I supposed to travel abroad and help others?
The truth is, because of my actions, I was placed on Academic Probation this semester. I was so ashamed initially. I felt as if I failed myself, my family and the college. When we began modifying the academic probation letter and trying to connect with how the recipients would feel when they received the letter, it was not difficult for me. In a way, it hurt to see the letter again but changing its language and the presentation of the letter became sort of rewarding for me.
I do not want others students to feel the failure and shame I felt when I received it. I do not want them to feel alienated from the other students, to be on a different “status.” Modifying the letter so future students would not feel inferior was crucial to me. I felt like this whole semester I had to keep the secret that I was on academic probation from all my friends. I am really close with my suite, but they had no idea. I felt as if I had to hide everything because people would be shocked and act differently towards me. I imagined they would say: “you? This must be wrong” or “how? You’re such a smart girl” or “you’re joking, right?”
My story however is not a sad one; it is one of resilience.
I worked as hard as I knew I could and put forth my best effort to change bad habits that had nearly dragged me down. I recall us discussing in class intelligence is not a set thing rather it is something that grows with you. My GPA by the end of this semester will be well above the required 2.0 and it has not been an easy road.
When I was first introduced to GLOBE, it meant little to nothing to me. I did not really see the significance and I did not think it would really impact my life. Throughout this semester I believe I have found out the true purpose of GLOBE and how it will stay with me for the rest of my life. I had to realize GLOBE did not ask us to be flawless robots incapable of error, and it does not demand perfection of each student. They want individuals. GLOBE emphasizes the growing process. The growing process is certainly not without fault, and it is full of mistakes and lessons, but the most important part is learning from the experiences and obstacles.

Consent and the Classroom

I recently was rereading part of Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild.” It reminded me of our classroom discussion earlier in the semester of consent. When we hear consent I think we automatically consider it in a sexual manner, and this course changed my perspective on this. The formal definition of consent is: “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” Yet I had never considered it in my education.
There are many new rules, regulations and programs that are implemented throughout ones primary education. In high school I recall when common core was introduced in my Freshman year. No one ever asked about how the students felt, whether the common core or the old method is better for students. I realized I had little to no control over my education. Everybody in my high school despised the common core, and even the teachers were scrambling learning how to teach the new and hasty program. Several teachers expressed their dissent with the program with the students and yet, it was implemented in my high school although no one seemed to like it. This reminds me of my point in my “Bloodchild” essay that there is an education hierarchy. In this hierarchy, each person is hounded from those above. Although teachers may not believe a program is the best for the students, they have a duty to administrators and institutions. Teachers often must listen to those above them because they have no choice. I argue that institutions are flawed in my essay and the weaker groups must have a voice for a more efficient system.
It reminds me of “Bloodchild” because the Preserve was established years before Gan was born, a system that he forced into. He did not consent to participate in this institution however it is expected of him to follow the rules and be a willing participant. T’Gatoi represents the “teachers/faculty” in this system. She has power however she is still subservient to the Tlic officials above her, as faculty are to administrators. “Bloodchild” is not only a commentary on the relationship between students and faculty but their relationships to institutions as well.

To unpack

I first heard the term “unpack” in our INTD class I could easily figure out what was being asked of us on the surface. Of course, I had no real idea of the deeper meaning of the term when the semester first began. I had ‌ never heard the term before so it was very foreign. Throughout the semester I assumed it was a term exclusive to our course because I had not heard it mentioned in any of my other courses from this semester or the last.
As finals approach, I have to write a ten page research paper for a mandatory political science course I am taking for my major called Developing World. I picked a topic I enjoyed: a comparative study of Russia and Nigeria and recently I had to pick sources. So when I began reading an article about a fragmented Nigeria and it mentioned that to understand the dire situation for the country they had to “unpack” several layers before getting to the root of the issues. I immediately recognized the term we often used and was surprised; the term was more well known and used than I anticipated. Then I realized that even GLOBE had asked us to “unpack” things as well. It is their first point in Geneseo’s Learning Outcomes. “Students will demonstrate critical thinking..” and this is identical to unpacking. When we unpack we take bigger ideas and dig deeper until we get to the core of the idea, what we’re looking for. GLOBE encourages “investigations” and to evaluate the underlying assumptions. If I remember correctly, when we read Descartes he claimed to never believe anything or make assumptions unless he knew them to be undoubtedly true. This is the method of unpacking I have learned that is utilized in several disciplines and is crucial to them.

A New Skill

My friend Becca had encouraged my suitemate and I to sign up for this free paint night in the union because it claimed it would “de-stress.” I had so much fun with my friends painting and I had forgotten what it felt like. The instructor was kind and clearly knowledgable, and the makeshift art class was doing sunsets. She said no one had to follow her instruction so I immediately painted what I wanted, so I painted sunflowers and I was the only one to go “against the grain.” When I was younger, in Elementary I used to receive art scholarships to a performance camp on Long Island named Usdan for my drawing and painting skills. One day when I was younger someone in my family told me that me doing art was useless because artists don’t make money till they’re dead. She claimed it was better to be a doctor or a lawyer, that is where the money was. I was only ten and that was enough for me to stop drawing immediately and focus on other things I was interested in, things I would believe would make me more money in my lifetime.
She made me believe that art in society was so useless and I only recently rediscovered my love for art last summer. I have come to realize my family member was wrong, art and creativity does have a place in my educational journey and I can see that now from it’s place in GLOBE. There is a place that asserts the goal of “creativity and creative thinking.” I realized that without creativity, a great deal of inventions or movements we revere today would not be here. Without those who “go against the grain” or the status quo, society would be worse off. Without artists like Monet and Renoir who rebelled against the traditional painting techniques of the “masters” we would not have many Impressionist masterpieces. Without early literary rebels such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf with modernism and their new “stream of consciousness” technique that became classic novels I studied in AP Literature. Without the visions of Martin Luther King and Susan B. Anthony. Without the bravery to break the traditional mold where would society be? 
Creativity and academic greatness can mix to create a better tomorrow. Creativity and education seem to be in a partnership together as well, one that surely has a permanent place in the classroom. 

A New Culture

I recently wrote a blog post about how there was a “culture shock” when I arrived upstate and I wanted to further unpack the differences I have experienced.
The environment itself is very different from what I have grown up knowing. Geneseo is a village, and it is barely a town and it has a very “small town” feel. The speed limit seems extremely slow, and there is barely anything around that is open past four or five at night. Main street is very quaint and it does not take more than ten minutes to walk all of it. I know it sounds as if I am bashing Geneseo but I do enjoy it, but to explain the difference is to explain the rural environment here and the suburban/town feel of my home in Long Island. Around my town it is very commercial, I do not mean I have a highway in my backyard, but almost any chain or place you can imagine is around me. Not to mention, New York City is only half an hour to forty-five minutes from me. This especially juxtaposes the idea of Rochester as a “city” to many Long Islanders because honestly, all of us do not consider Rochester to be a city. It is all very different Rochester is very independent rather than commercial and it simply seems small so to Long Islanders it’s like a town, and in fact it‘s similar to a town called Mineola. I also was not aware that there is more to upstate than just calling it upstate. I always assumed everyone above the Long Island/New York City area was upstate. That is definitely not the local sentiment. I have learned that there is western New York (where we attend college), central, upstate and northern New York.
Next, the food seems to be a little different. Downstate treasures iconic foods such as pizza and bagels, there is also a great variety of ethic food that is just amazing because of the great diversity of New York City and the Boroughs have to offer. A lot of Long Islanders have expressed their disappointment in the lackluster pizza as well as the bagels. I once had a conversation with my suite mate when she claimed bagels were supposed to be “chewy” rather than the great bread consistency they are on Long Island. I also tend to miss a lot of food from my favorite local places like Chinese, Spanish and Indian.. Etc.
I have also noticed besides certain areas, upstate has an especial lack of diversity. Not to be political either, but there tends to be an abundance of republicans and guns. Back home, I would never see guns in a Walmart or see so many people who enjoy hunting. Many Long Islanders joke that upstate is like the south, just way colder.
I think Geneseo’s GLOBE recognizes that Geneseo is a community with many people of diverse backgrounds and differences. There are many differences between all of us, even me who lives in the same New York state has experienced an opposite upbringing. One of GLOBE’s goals is to work effectively in a “pluralistic society.” This also reminds me of GLOBE’s goal of global awareness and engagement that recognizes there are many different individuals in our community but that is not a negative aspect, but how we may all foster cooperation through partnerships and understandings. This also reminds me of the Tlic and Terran relationship in “Bloodchild.” They are both very diverse to each other and they cooperate peacefully. They use their differences to each other‘s advantage and see their diverse backgrounds as a positive in the partnership rather than a hindrance.

Learning for a lifetime

The transition from high school to college was a more significant one than I expected. Taking college courses and being in college are definitely two different things. I realized that way more is expected of you in college and if you submit work that is below par, then professors certainly have little to no sympathy for you. There are not usually second chances given and Professors are right to do so, there is a standard and there is no room for careless mistakes. There is far more work you must put in as an individual and your work is held to a higher standard. 

In high school, I had always considered myself “fine.” Good grades without editing much or using WriteLab were easy. I rarely edited in fact, rarely read my work aloud to check it over. In college, I have learned the importance of editing.  A part of me felt scared of editing, it’s a daunting process. Writing an essay itself feels like a marathon so editing after seemed to exhausting and in high school, it was often unnecessary. But as we have discussed, writing is a process. It is not a one step method and then you are magically done.  It is multiple steps that may be repeated over and over, it is a learning process. So I have come to learn I was wrong. I believed I acquired all my writing skills from high school and that was enough to sustain me for the next four years and beyond. I attempted to stunt my growth before I really began to grow as a writer. The experiences from college have only helped me grow not only as a writer but as an individual. This is a lesson to never stop growing, changing and learning. When I anticipate I know it “all” or have learned it “all” I am not now naive enough to believe it. True education and continuous growth throughout your lifetime. 

A Lesson to keep for a lifetime

To be completely honest, when I began this course I was not sure what to expect; I knew group work and collaboration between groups was important but I was unsure why. Of course I always cared for the importance of good relationships, it is part of the reason my major is International Relations. My love and passion to comprehend the International system and how countries work together in an international partnership and why these partnerships sometimes falter or even dissolve interested me.

I think my dream job is to work with United Nations to assist failed states so I could complete humanitarian work and work to heal some partnerships in the internal aspects of countries such as institutions and government. Part of the appeal for this class was exploring the aspects of the risks and rewards and academic partnership. In this class I have learned the value of group work from this class. I used to stray from group work, a stigma being attached to working with others and how exhausting it can be. However, I think the stigma is misguided and exaggerated. I find it to be rewarding. From our group work, I have found self-growth which is something I never expected. I never thought reading GLOBE or Geneseo’s Mission statement would ever really mean anything to me; I thought they were just frivolous statements. They have become so much more to me.  I was not sure how group work could ever really benefit me but this course has taught me growth through academic partnership itself.







The Risks and Rewards of Leaving Home

I recall when in my senior year of high school when all my classmates were committing to college. All of my closest friends had decided, based on certain circumstances, that they had to stay home on Long Island. In fact, a lot of graduating class decided leaving familiar Long Island was too much to bear so many attended colleges near home. Yet, I was determined to leave my town because I was sure I could not grow and really challenge myself without leaving the familiarity I relied on. I knew Geneseo was the right place for this, especially with GLOBE ambitiously seeking to create a “holistic student experience.”

Continue reading “The Risks and Rewards of Leaving Home”

Bloodchild rewrite

I recall the Bloodchild essay and prompt being announced and being absolutely stumped. I had no idea what academic partnership or the bigger conversation it was a part of. When I signed up for this INTD, I was fascinated and yet completely clueless to what the risks and rewards of academic partnership truly meant.  I was enticed to this INTD partly because of the reputation of the Professor but simultaneously interested in expanding my learning and my mind. I felt as if the class would speak of cooperation between people and this interested me as an International Relations because my major, in my opinion, is about fostering  international cooperation and peace between partners for equitable relationships. 

I never thought I could feel confident with my Bloodchild submission because I was not truly thinking when I wrote the first draft. Professor McCoy told me I often circled because I did not know where I was going with the essay and that was absolutely true. She commented on my essay that I had five different “kernels” that could grow into essays. I was lost on how I could possibly make one essay connecting a story like Bloodchild to Geneseo’s GLOBE, because initially I found them to be vastly different. Through thinkING and looking over Beth’s comments as well as thinking of the “they say” I finally comprehended what I was writing. I have “delighted” myself as Beth has said we would in our syllabus and I have definitely made myself feel good. 

Anxiety and the classroom

When we assigned to complete a blogging assignment I was very unsure of what to expect. I did not ever have to do an assignment like this for a class and I was beyond nervous at the thought. Compiling coherent thoughts concise enough into a blog scared me a little because my thoughts often tends to race and I would expose my thought to everyone. There is a level of vulnerability to blogging like this, I guess that it took me a great deal of time to post.

Although being scared has deterred me from my fair share of challenges, this class certainly helped me grow as a writer and student. I feel as if our classroom is a very open environment where I can share my thoughts and I am not really worried about “backlash.” Our classroom is an open, ongoing conversation that I am glad to be a part of.