Take the Risk and Grow

Octavia Butler’s short story “Bloodchild” shows the protagonist Gan’s decision making as he makes problems requiring risks and rewards of his actions. Growing up, Gan knew he would have to bear a child for T’Gatoi, their family friend and superior because there are two species; the Terrans and the Tlic. Gan was born for the purpose of being T’Gatoi’s carrier. After a deal was made that Terrans, Gan’s species, had to provide someone to carry for the Tilc species because they were offered land and protection many years ago. Gan witnessed a birth gone wrong and heard other stories, he began to question being the bearer. He realized the risks associated with giving birth and the unfairness that they just expected him to have T’Gatoi’s children when so many dangers can occur. In time, he agrees to carry the child, so his siblings do not have to. However, Gan makes sure that he offers conditions or rules for his relationship with T’Gatoi. In order to set these rules, Gan said, “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). Gan explains how everything you do has a consequence attributed to it. In life, there are many risks and rewards but you have to weigh your consequences and go with your gut. 

The quote from Bloodchild, forms a through line for our conversations that we have engaged in throughout the semester. The main focal point for the course is risks and rewards, hence the name of the course. When discussing risks and rewards, the main idea of conversation is advancing our thinking to include deeper and more complex thoughts when tying it back to scenarios in Bloodchild. This quote has weaved its way in creating a throughline and building the core idea; risks and rewards, through all the work this semester and has provided a basis of conversation in the forums. Even if we didn’t notice the epigraph at first. Partnerships exist everywhere in life. For example, could be a partner for a group project, your relationship as a student with an instructor, or your relationship with your boss and coworkers, or even your relationship with your school. Every time you make a decision there are risks and rewards. Everything you do has a consequence attributed to it. Just like becoming a student has a tremendous risk but also amazing rewards. Every time you submit an assignment there are risks and rewards. Did I really do all I could? Did I prepare as much as needed? We have to take risks in life in order to learn more and be more. College can be scary and stressful but we have to be able to accept when we’re wrong and see what we can change. If you are not willing to accept the risk or take risks you cannot grow to be the best version of yourself. 

Throughout the course, understanding the epigraph, has made a pathway for us to connect to our thinking. The epigraph illustrates that risks and rewards can be understood many different ways and thus forms a throughline for discussions for everyone through our semester in INTD 203.  

In each of the forums, we opened a new level of partnership and development. Our conversations are essentially dealing with a partner, but not always entirely the same partnership as Gan and T’Gatoi. In this course, students depend on each other to share ideas, opinions, and feedback from one another. In the syllabus, Dr. Beth says, “You have the opportunity to care for the course, for yourself, and for others.” We focus on not only our own growth but our peers’ as well. This happened in the second module, unlocking our ability to take care in what we do in our writing. “To the Forums! 2: Foundations for Care and Good Faith,” Dr. McCoy motivated us “to commit now to conducting ourselves with each other in good faith.” We use this when doing our “Care for my…” sections, acting as checkpoints in our growth and understanding. We empower ourselves with regard to thinking due to being in an academic partnership. Accountability is critical in order to improve our writing skills. Helping others with feedback and connecting ideas was all part of our accepting the risk, we could be wrong when giving feedback. But we accepted the risk to see the rewards of deeper thoughts.

In module five, we met with Dr. Cope, Associate Provost for Academic Success. We engaged in strong conversations. He provided us with information on understanding our academic partnership and how we use it. Dr. Cope explained how one of his buckets is to work with other divisions to achieve student success. We have to take risks in order to grow in our academic partnership. For example, participating in TA’s Zoom hours to get help or using professor office hours accordingly. The help you need is there. Use the resources provided or continue to struggle. He works closely with people to demonstrate the importance of partnerships and connections in our future. Dr. Cope understands the risks and rewards of his job. If he does not do a good job, he has to understand that he did not help a student or caused them more pain from a situation. Also, if the student is lying or not truthful about a scenario at school and he helps them, he could lose a colleagues trust. Understanding risks makes you grow as a person, with failure makes you stronger as a person. When we unlocked modules six and eight, we discussed and learned the rules for partnerships affiliated with Geneseo. This clearly ties into our epigraph with partnerships and knowing how to stay on track for our academic success or head into trouble. We examined rules and regulations students and faculty have to abide and also saw the risks if we do not follow the rules. By doing this, we looked into the academic partnership between students and educators. Everyone has rules they must abide by depending on their partnership. We accepted the risks and learned the rules, so we could get a higher education.

Connecting Bloodchild to our work has become routine. In Forums seven, we associated Bloodchild and rules for students at Geneseo by connecting the rules for the characters to our rules in our academic partnership with the school. I previously stated, “In time, Gan agrees to carry the children. However, Gan offers circumstances that make their relationship seemingly equal in status, as “there is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26). Gan needed to understand what he was in for. He agreed to do it, he accepted the risk. This is because it had to happen for both people. Meaning Gan or a sibling had to bear a child and T’Gatoi needed someone in Gan’s family.” I also wrote, “I believe it is important to follow the rules because they are in place to keep students and other personnel safe. While some of the rules are not as significant as others, it is good to follow the rules in order to stay safe. In Bloodchild, problems with honesty and hierarchy contribute to Gan becoming more aware of problems in his life.” Even though at first, Gan did not want or give permission to carrying a child. He now understands the rule was put in place to benefit both species, similar to the Code of Conduct for school. It exists to benefit both the students and the school in keeping the community safe and to understand his or her responsibilities and duties as a Geneseo student. The rewards for following responsibilities help benefit the people around them. 

The power dynamic is exhibited again when comparing what we learned about Geneseo with the rules in Bloodchild. In Forum 9, I wrote, “I said this sentence in my first essay, “There is risk in any partnered work”, this is relevant in this conversation because my academic relationship with the school has risk in it. For instance, if I don’t do well academically, I may not graduate, this is a risk. In Bloodchild, Gan has a deal with T’Gato and he could lose his life due to this deal from the birth of the eggs, this creates a risk in their relationship.” In many of the writings this year, we connected the throughline into much of our work. It can all circle back and connect to the epigraph. During the forums, we accepted the risks and continued to grow and try our best while pushing to become the best versions of ourselves. Gan and his species also accepted the risk of giving up their bodies for the Tlic to empregnant them. This epigraph proves that both Gan and T’Gatoi place trust in each other and both have risks and rewards, which we wrote about in the beginning of the semester. Ultimately, accepting the risks associated with making decisions, makes you understand yourself and be the best person you can be. 

Resulting from our thorough conversations, I believe that the epigraph has formed a clear path for our discussions throughout our semester in INTD 105. In life, if you are not willing to accept risks or take risks, outside your comfort zone, you cannot grow to be the best version of yourself. In quarantine, we accepted responsibility and took risk of learning new activities or accepting the risk of being exposed to covid- 19. SUNY Geneseo’s “GLOBE” allows for us to see our college experience through a holistic approach. Under learning outcomes, in GLOBE, it says, “Reflection- To reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time; to make personal, professional, and civic plans based on that self-reflection”. Reflecting upon this epigraph and understanding and making connections is very useful in critical thinking. Allowing you to get deeper in your thinking and see the through line in different ways with different writing styles and prompts through work. Over time it creates a deeper meaning and makes meaningful connections through work using an epigraph. Overall, reflections make time for mistakes and corrections. We take risks when we get reflections from our peers but ultimately creates a better writer and better students. Every student should be given the opportunity to practice in the ability to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time. Students need the option to grow and learn from their past, mistakes and even what we do right. GLOBE gives a great opportunity for students to work towards something and get a reward out of hard work. 

Turning Risks Into Rewards

In “Bloodchild”, a short story written by Octavia Butler, Gan encounters risks and rewards by adjusting to difficulties and unknowns in his life. T’Gatoi is a more powerful species than Gan and his family. Gan was aware of being given an option of lesser power. This short story states, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” This dialogue was after Gan requested an equal partnership from his friend T’Gatoi, rather than of a relationship where T’Gatoi has power over him. Gan was only born because all Terrans must provide someone to carry the Tlic’s children because they offered Terrans land and protection many years ago. When Gan found this out, it did not annoy him or bother him in the beginning. After seeing a birth gone wrong and hearing many stories about it, he began to change his opinion. This emphasizes to me that there is a risk in any partnered work. 

By attending college, you are faced with an abundance of risks and rewards that can be presented on a daily basis. This way of thinking has never been presented to me before. Thinking about my own thinking is challenging and hopefully rewarding. Dr. Beth McCoy’s writing seminar course for the risks and rewards of academic partnership helps push students on their journey of self growth. In this course, using an epigraph as a throughline, we can be able to stay focused throughout the semester and on track with work. This course demonstrates that I will be more well versed in getting to know my thoughts and writing more than just scratching the surface of it. A few weeks ago, I quickly learned that I hardly knew anything about college writing. I assumed my AP English class in highschool would have prepared me for college writing. I was wrong. In highschool english, we barely scratched the surface of writing. By being expected to write about one thing and everyone’s paper looking very similar to it, normally. Due to this we can conclude that a high school education’s emphasis on summary as opposed to analysis. In high school, getting an A and doing the essay 2 hours before class go hand in hand. Although I know better by now, english was only a grade to me, in highschool. Just something you needed to take in order to graduate. However, this college course demands we dig deeper into what we’re being asked to write about. In highschool they give you a prompt and you complete the assignment. In this course, being able to loosely explain what your brain is thinkING and not writing what the teacher wants to hear is a big reward.

Gan, from “Bloodchild” demonstrates and teaches college students about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. Also, he teaches how students have the ability to understand how trust and power relate to consent. In addition, some actions that appear negative may actually be helpful. In high school, an academic partnership can be observed between the students and the school. On one hand, students engage in an academic partnership with teachers in high school. However, this relationship in college is more meaningful due to the greater risks and rewards. Due to the greater consequences of risks and rewards in college, the relationship needs more work and thought. When in college, you are working toward specific goals. Your major, your future, your life, not what highschool wants you to take. What you learn in college sets up a basis for the rest of your life. By creating the building blocks to use in your career path. Throughout high school, most students complete work in order to get a grade. This changes in college because we are working to adulthood and becoming a full time member of the working class. Risks and rewards in college create a stronger academic partnership. 

In this course there are many risks and rewards. There are many things in place to help you in this course. For instance, the class rubric serves as guidelines to follow when grading your assignments. The rubric states, “Demonstrates a central through line. Provides and unpacks evidence from course texts to illustrate/support claims. Furthers thoughtful conversation. Makes clear how it connects to larger course questions and concepts.” Also, “Have I taken as much care as possible with proofreading and mechanics?” and, “How consistently have I looped back to early material, texts, and activities and applied them to current material, texts, and activities?” The rubric is a tool that can prove to provide many rewards. By knowing what Dr. McCoy is looking for in a certain piece of writing. 

According to the syllabus, an area of growth in this course is the ability to assess or grade your own work. Following the structure of three; “care for course accountability, care for growth, and care for peers growth” will allow me to develop the ability to grade my own work. Being able to grade your own work can be a big reward or a big risk. As a reward, it can make students move away from doing homework just for points to making them more aware of why and how doing the work helps them learn more. When you do something just for a grade you do it extrinsically, by only doing it for the end result. But when you know you have to self- grade yourself you are more intrinsically motivated, by performing an activity for your own benefit. Any partnership involves risk and responsibility. Anytime two things are connected, there are risks and rewards involved. An academic partnership creates risks when you grade yourself. By focusing on reading the rubric and grading it the “correct” way. Grading your own work focuses on making sure your work is personable and you are thinkING. 

If students grade their own work, they see exactly where the mistakes are and how to fix it. Especially with Dr. McCoy’s detailed notes showing where we need to improve. In fact, in the syllabus, it states, “meaningfully, thoughtfully, and honestly assess their own coursework based on feedback they receive from instructors and from peers.” There are risks when you grade your own work.  You are more critical of yourself. Moreover, when grading yourself you have to be aware how you grade yourself because it could appear you’re cheating the system. Are you giving yourself enough credit or are you giving yourself too much credit? These findings have consequences for the broader domain of learning more about yourself and grading based on your effort and your willingness to do the work. Risks of negative feedback from Dr. McCoy can give you more motivation to become a stronger writer. 

By learning about risks and rewards, I understand that everything you do has a consequence attributed to it. Attending college in person and living on campus is a big risk that many of us took during a pandemic. While it is true that in person classes are a huge risk in this current time, it is one that is important to me. Even knowing that learning online is very difficult for me, being on campus is important. Specifically, learning and being in class is the way I am used to learning, like many others. Seeing the professor’s hand movement and gestures helps in many ways to understand the material. Being in class is important, although it is dangerous too. As scary as risks can be sometimes, they can also be a positive thing. Risks could possibly lead to failure but feedback and thinkING can help you in other classes as well. Throughout the duration of this class, my goal is to expand my knowledge of a growth mindset and be very open to help me grow into the teacher I hope to be one day.