Partnerships have inherent positives and negatives associated with them. Partnerships allow for individuals with different backgrounds and ideas to come together and exchange viewpoints. This melting pot of thought can lead to a product that is better than one member could do on their own. However, there are some drawbacks. When someone engages in a partnership, they inherently give up control. One needs to be able to trust the partners within the partnership. This situation is described in Octavia Butler’s short story, “Bloodchild.” In her short story, she describes the relationship as well as the partnership between Gan., a Terran, and T’Gatoi, a Tlic. Towards the end of the short story, Gan realizes that he has been misled about what his side of the partnership truly is. Gan then confronts T’Gatoi and says “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” By saying this, Gan acknowledges that partnerships do have inherent risks. But, he also acknowledges those risks and still chooses to be in the partnership. I believe that this sentiment has been echoed throughout the semester. The first graded assignment for this class was to look at that same quote and think critically about what our expectations and goals were. We now use the same quote to compare how we have achieved those goals. Our epigraph has been in the background of our work the entire semester, so it is fitting for it to bookend our graded work.
At the beginning of the semester, I was not sure what I was going to gain out of this class. I had already completed Humanities and did not require any other writing courses in order to complete my degree. I also had more college experience than the target audience for this course. With that, I figured I could go through the motions, take an easy class, and boost my GPA. My expectations were further muddled by my peers. Some of my classmates had very informative and positive experiences with their INTD 105 classes, while others thought it was a waste of time. Putting all this together, I hoped to gain some more knowledge on how to craft effective partnerships, but I was defensively pessimistic, to say the least.
As my time in INTD 105 comes to an end, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. I tend to struggle with having a growth mindset, but I think I made some strides in the right direction. The group discussions and reading They Say I Say furthered my knowledge on how to properly engage in an academic setting. I even think that I have become a stronger writer or at the very least a more confident. When thinking about a defining moment in the class, I am drawn to a specific conversation. It was when we were talking about whether or not to describe the general function of the mitochondria when you are writing a paper for a scientific audience. Kevin and I were in a disagreement about the degree of detail. While the correct answer was not ever provided, what I took out of it was your comment. I believe you said “Now that is a great demonstration of how to talk in a group,” or at least something with that same sentiment. I was very relieved that I had understood the material and was able to draw on it at the appropriate time.
However, I still think that I have more to improve upon. I know that I still struggle with some of the finer details when I write. I have a tendency to work in short bursts, unpacking placing ideas on the page as soon as they come to mind. While that might work for a rough draft, I understand that I cannot submit this initial thought-dumps as the finished product. One of these common mistakes is misspelling a word to a different word. For example, I will intent to spell “through” and actually spell “thorough.” The mistake is not caught on editing software because the word is correct. This is directly from speeding through and not rereading my work.
I believe that my idea of partnership has changed as well. Previously, I did not consider just how intricate the partnerships within the Geneseo community are. This was brought to life by talking with some of Geneseo’s professional staff. Joe Cope is a professor of history as well as the Associate Provost for Student Success here at Geneseo. Our conversation with Dr. Cope focused on the idea of the syllabus as a contract. Many professors view their syllabus as a contract, and that by staying in the class, the students have accepted the contract. We as a class then talked about the flaws in that ideology. We discussed how this approach to a syllabus does not grant the student a chance to have affirmative consent. In this scenario, the student-professor partnership has been shifted in favor of the professor. In turn, this makes it more unlikely for a student to be able to be successful in the class. Consent also plays into the work of robbie routenberg. robbie routenberg is Geneseo’s Chief Diversity Officer. Our conversation focused on how to balance consent and the need to educate incoming students on how to start being socially responsible citizens. There is an interesting dichotomy when you learn about the importance of explicit consent at an event you did not explicitly consent to attend. If someone is to be a member of the Geneseo community, is it acceptable to have barriers of entry the students are forced to go through? Is that not the same as having a minimum GPA requirement? What robbie is in charge of instructing our new students plays into the work of our Director of Multicultural Programs and Services, Dr. Sasha Eloi-Evans. Dr. Eloi-Evans works to prevent bias-related incidences and help facilitate restorative justice. An interesting point is that everyone in a restorative justice meeting needed to consent to attend. The hope is that if everyone has a desire to attend the meeting, everyone will come in with the intent to learn. This allows students to work together to think of an action plan.
Before taking this class, I would see those people as mostly separate entities working on unique projects. However, this course has given me the tools to look deeper into the partnerships that we are all engaged in. All of those departments are looking at the role of consent in the Geneseo community and the fundamental challenges associated with it. Even though they are all in different departments, they all are serving the students here. Through their individual work on consent, the entire campus is gaining a better understanding of the importance of consent in their partnerships, whether it is the professor-student partnerships worked on with Joe, the faculty-student partnerships touched on with robbie, or the student-student partnerships addressed by Sasha.
Looking back, I did not think I would find as much meaning in this class as I have. The reflective process allows individuals to demonstrate to themselves just how far they have come. But it also allows individuals to see what more there is to do. I know that while I have improved my writing through reflections, I still need to work on slowing down and accurately articulating my thoughts in words on a page. When I inevitably read this over again to remind myself what I was like however many years ago, I want to leave this. Partnerships are fluid and things that need to be nurtured over time. But, as I know all too well, there is risk when dealing with a partner.