How I’ve changed as a student in INTD-105

As a first-year college student, reading the course syllabus was something new to me. I have never seen a syllabus with a class epigraph. This course’s epigraph comes from the book Bloodchild. The epigraph is, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, T’Gatoi, in dealing with a partner” (Butler 26).” This epigraph goes along with the whole story but mainly after Gan sees Lomas’s traumatic birth. Seeing how gruesome it was made Gan second guess having to bear the young of T’Gatoi. His whole life, he knew his purpose was to bear a Tlic young, but he never knew the possible harm of birth until now. Gan is still growing up and learning about responsibilities. He is split between being scared and not bearing T’Gatoi young, doing him harm, or he can grow and have her children even if there is the possibility for harm. Gan realizes he needs to take the risk and bear T’Gatoi young and have the reward of trust in his partnership with her. On pages 26 and 27, it talks about how Gan has two choices to pick from. He decided to change his mindset of being scared and decided to accept the risks. Gan says, “I knew what to do, what to expect.” 

Just like in Bloodchild, students in INTD-105 are challenged with risk, reward, and the possibility of harm. The outcome of this course is to produce a growth mindset and grow as a writer. Dr. McCoy built this course as self-assessed. In the course syllabus, Beth states, “I had been moving steadily away from linking feedback for growth to stress-producing grades that end up inevitably becoming the focus instead of the learning outcome… one of the first words in Geneseo’s Mission Statement.” Beth McCoy gives feedback on assignments and gives the student the option to improve or ignore her feedback and keep making the same silly mistakes. Having a self-assessed course makes the process more comfortable and less stressful for students. As a first-year student, this was a new concept for me. Throughout all my schooling, it’s been about grades assignments. All I have been taught is the importance of good grades because that is the final reward. I worry so much about getting a good grade that sometimes I forget the importance of learning. At the beginning of this course, I was putting myself into harm by not using the feedback to improve myself. I needed to change my outlook to a growth mindset. Using a growth mindset made me slow down on my work and accept the feedback. I ended this course with the reward of becoming better writer and finally being proud of the work I produce.

In high school, when you would get something wrong, teachers would rarely ever give you feedback or tell you what to do to improve. All they cared about was a grade. My most challenging year in high school was tenth grade, especially in history class. My teacher was very hard on grades but would never explain why he took points off or give feedback so I didn’t make the same mistake next time. This stuck with me – that teachers cared more about a number grade than making you develop to be a better student.   The grade was also more important than how long it took you to complete an assignment. So, when I came to college, I came with the “grades are more important than growing as a student” concept.  After completing the first assignment in this class, Professor McCoy commented with feedback on my assignment. I took this feedback as a criticism because it was something I was not used to. This is something I had to change.  My outlook had to change to better myself. I had to remind myself that the feedback is to help me learn and become a better writer, not as a critique to me as an individual. This is when I started seeing self-growth as a student and even as an individual. As a student, I took the given feedback (like slowing down, re-reading my work) and applied it to my assignments, which made me a better learner and made me change my outlook that grades are more important than growing as a student to the outlook that the quality of work and my growth as a student is greater (more important than) the grade.

One of the many goals for SUNY Geneseo’s students that GLOBE has created is for students to have the ability “to reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time; to make personal, professional, and civic plans based on that self-reflection.” Course INTD-105 demonstrates this goal.  Like me, I assume that many students came into this course with a set mindset on how they do their school work and how they learn and left with a different mindset. This class helped me reflect on my changes and outcomes of learning.  My “lens” has shifted from the beginning to now.  At the beginning of this course, I would always rush my assignments to get them done and check them off my long, daunting to-do list. The only fulfillment I got out of doing this was being able to check it off and worry about one less thing. I never found fulfillment in the work I produced. By rushing my assignments, I made stupid mistakes like making grammar mistakes, not having my words make sense, and all-around struggled. I was tired of feeling unfulfilled with my end work and not seeing improvement. I realized it was time to change that. I needed to slow down and put more effort into my work to succeed and become the better writer I always wanted.  After changing my “lens,” I instantly saw an improvement in my writing, and I finally felt fulfilled and proud of turning in my work.  The biggest take away from this class that I learned was that to grow as a student, you have to do things you are not used to. I came into class without a growth mindset, but I am leaving this course with this new mindset. With my growth-mindset, I learned it is not the end grade that matters the most, but what matters the most is what you take away from an assignment and how it makes you grow and become better. 

Coming into college, I had a fixed mindset.  A mindset set that grades are the most important thing in learning. This concept has been drilled into my head throughout middle school and high school.  To apply to colleges, we send in our GPA – not share our growth achieved in school.  In this course, Dr. Beth McCoy stresses that a meaningful outcome of this course is to have a growth mindset and grow as a writer.  In the beginning, the questionnaires were hard for me because of my mindset coming into this class.  I rushed into assignments and looked forward to completing them. I was putting myself into a lot of harm by doing this and not growing. I had to either be responsible and change my mindset to want to grow and become a better writer or continue to rush my work, get it done, and stay in harm and risk not having a better outcome. I changed my outlook and took Dr. McCoy’s feedback. I have seen tremendous growth in my writing and how I produce my work.  I don’t turn in my first draft.  I listen to the feedback and make corrections.  I am ending this course with a growth mindset and now knowing that learning is more about how you grow than an end producing grade.

Risk and rewards of College Essay (Draft)

Octavia Butler conveys the risks and rewards of decisions made on a preserve in her short story Bloodchild. Bloodchild is narrated by a young human named Gan. Gan is ‘Terran’ (human living on an alien planet), dominated by the Tlic, insect-like species. The Tlic can not reproduce of their own, so the Terran are carriers for the alien species eggs, and in return, the Tlic protects them. Gan does not question his role as a carrier first; being a carrier has its risks and rewards. Students have risks and rewards in school. In Professor McCoy’s course “WritSem: RisksRewardsAcdPart” exhibits this.

Students can assess their work. Self-assessing your work is “a process that depends on trust, transparency, accountability, care, and acknowledging the possibility of harm.” (McCoy) This is a massive reward for students because students focus less on the end-producing grade and more on their thinkING and self-growth (Professor McCoys biggest takeaway from this class). As a student, I stress my grades, so this class will help me grow as a student and person. I can focus more on my thinkING and applying it to my work than my actual grade. With rewards come risks. A risk you can encounter in this course is not taking given feedback and using it to your following assignments. Professor McCoy and peers provide feedback on assignments in good- faith practice. So If a student does not apply the feedback, they will have a difficult time growing in this class.

A considerable part of self-growth in this course is self-assessed assignments. Self-assessed assignments are “graded” using “care for course accountability, care for growth, and care for peers growth,” as shown in the syllabus. Making sure you hold yourself accountable to your work comes with responsibility “process that depends on trust, transparency, accountability, care, and acknowledging the possibility of harm.” Sometimes you are your harshest critic. You probably are tougher on yourself than others, making it difficult to see others’ work and not compare your work. With the responsibility of self-assessment comes with a lot of risk and reward. Just like how students self-grow in this course, Gan in Bloodchild also self-grows. At the beginning of the story, Gan does not understand the real sacrifice he has bearing T’Gatoi offspring. After witnessing the birth of Bram Lomas, he is filled with horror and dread, but he considers his feelings with everyone around him and can face his fear and bear his weight responsibility. He upholds his duty making him come of age and leave his childhood behind.

The most crucial reward of self-grading is not having to stress about making sure everything is “correct” to get a good grade but instead putting your focus on making sure your work is personable, and you are thinkING. While performing self-grading, you learn your strengths and weaknesses, which will help you define your own goals/steps to improve yourself while meeting your expected level of educational achievements. 

A self-assessment risk is accurately grading yourself (are you giving yourself enough credit or giving yourself too much credit). As scary as risks can be, they can also be a good thing. You can take Professor McCoy’s and peers’ positive feedback into consideration. However, not taking feedback and applying it to your other assignments can make it challenging to grow your mindset.

Along with self-growth making sure you set goals for yourself is also vital. My goal for this semester and course is to speak up more, especially in group discussions. I struggle a lot with a class discussion. I feel like other people’s opinions matter more than mine. Sometimes I think that my perspective on the material is not very valuable, so there is no sharing point. My feeling for this stems from my social anxiety. I have to face my fear and participate in class discussions so I can self grow. This relates to Gan’s situation in Bloodchild. Gan is put into a position that he is not used to, but he faces his fear and self-growth.