Learning Everyone’s Name

Procrastination at its finest, as I write my last blog, I am lost for words to see how freshman year is almost over. Looking back at the first class, I can see how much I have changed not only as a writer, but more importantly, as a person.

I am so happy that Dr. McCoy  made us learn everyone’s name on the first day of class, because it has helped me develop my communication skills. For example, instead of trying to grabs someone’s attention by making eye contact, you can call out their name and have a normal conversation. As a result of this, I made an attempt to learn at least five kids’ names in all my classes. This attempt was successful, as I made new friends outside of my core group of friends here at Geneseo. As my dad has said to me countless times, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I have not told my dad about this little social attempt I made, but I know he would be proud of my “networking”.

Learning people’s name has made it easier for me to do “school”. What I mean by this is that I now look forward going to class instead of dreading it, because I have developed new friends through just learning their names. On top of that, it made it easier to reach out to them outside of class to work on homework or group projects together. For example, instead of emailing someone who you have never spoken to asking for help on homework and getting a response, “Who are you?”, I now receive helpful and personal answers when I ask for help.

I can’t help but think how much different my second semester would be if Dr. McCoy did not make us remember everyone’s name. Imagine a parallel universe where Dr. McCoy did not introduce to each other. I believe as a result, I would be antisocial in INTD and in all my other classes. This would lead me to not to reach out to other students asking for help. Overall, in this parallel universe, my grades would be worse. Also, I would like to point out that in this parallel universe, our collaborative writing assignments would not be as good as they are now because of the lack of communication between each student without knowing everyone’s name.

Ultimately, I believe learning everyone’s name in a single class is not only beneficial for that one class in particular, but for other classes as well.

The Rewrite…

Over the course of this semester, there was only one thing I dreaded besides finals: the Bloodchild rewrite. I wasn’t nervous that I would get a bad grade; I simply thought I would not write an essay to Dr. McCoy’s standards. Dr. McCoy expects alot from her students, as she pushes us to be the best writer we can be. As I talked to other students in the class, they explained to me that received similar feedback to what I recieved. This made me feel better because it showed i was not the only one in my current situation.

Dr.McCoy pushed back the due date of the Bloodchild rewrite to three weeks later and first I was overcome with joy, but looking back, I procrastinated way too much on this essay. As it was two weeks out from the due date, I decided to give the essay a look. Looking back at the essay after a month of growing as a writer, I realized how raw my essay was, and that I needed to further explain my ideas. Dr. McCoy told me in an email that sometimes it takes an essay to write an essay, meaning that sometimes writing down all your ideas on paper the first time will help you formulate an idea upon which you can rewrite your whole essay. For example, Dr. McCoy picked out a piece of my rough draft, calling it the “popcorn kernel”. In this case, the “popcorn kernel” represents the idea on what I could base my whole essay about. This metaphor illustrates the idea that one idea can lead to endless possibilities.

I would be lying if I said I did not struggle with this essay rewrite, as it really showed me my flaws as a writer. For example, it showed that I jump from one idea to another idea without explaining the first idea fully. It also showed me that my writing tends to be choppy, meaning I jump from from place to place. The last flaw it showed is that I need to further explain my evidence and how it connects to the prompt I am writing about.

This rewrite process has allowed me to work on my flaws as a writer. Looking back, I feel silly that I dreaded an essay rewrite so much, because now I have grown so much as a writer.

How Technology Can Help Us

As the last day of classes and finals week approaches, it seems like everything is just piling on top of itself. Personally, I lose count on what I have to do and what is due which day. Another thing I lose track of is what day my exams are, and exactly where and when the actually test is coming. It seems to me every student on campus is battling spring fever. For example, it is getting extremely hard for me to focus on my school work because of the nicer weather. I think spring fever is having a bigger impact than normal because of the harsh winter we experienced in Upstate New York.

Believe it or not, I have used my phone to keep me on track with my school work. Never in a million years would I have thought I would use my cellular device to keep me focused, because for the past couple of years it has been the source of my distraction, and the reason why I have procrastinated so long on most of my school work. Over the course of the past two weeks, I have used the calendar app on my phone to write down what assignments are due on which day. Also, I downloaded an app called “My Countdown” that sends you a notification every morning that tells how far an event is out. For example, I wake up every morning to see how many more days i have left till I take my astronomy, calculus, and theater exam. This little daily reminder helps me stay motivated. This simple reminder has helped me not to procrastinate too much on my exam studying. Another habit I have started to develop is that when I sit down and do homework, I set a timer for an hour on my phone and once that hour hits, I get up for 10 minutes and walk around and text my friends as a little distraction. Once that 10 minutes is over, I go back to studying for another hour. From past experiments with myself, I have learned that the most I can study at a time is 2 hours, but I can do this two or three times throughout the day. This is how I plan on attacking finals week.

In conclusion, I believe there is a silver lining to using your phone: it can help you become organized, but on the other hand, it could come at the price of distracting you and not letting you get your work done. As we are freshman, I believe it is important to develop healthy habits that will allow us to succeed during finals week here at SUNY Geneseo.

The GLOBE goes beyond the webpage

One part of Geneseo’s GLOBE is a learning outcomes section. Lately in class, we have been working in groups to produce a well-rounded paragraph discussing about the article “The Power of Realistic Expectations”. One can see how Dr. McCoy has made an effort to incorporate the GLOBE in our overall course work. For example, in group work we use critical thinking, communication, and leadership and collaboration.

In the GLOBE, critical thinking is defined as “…to establish and pursue systematic and valid methods for collecting and evaluating relevant evidence; to draw soundly reasoned and appropriately limited conclusions on the basis of evidence; to relate conclusions to a larger body of knowledge”. In the beginning of our group work, we set up a plan to reread our paragraph individually, then discussed what we should keep and what should we discard, or what we could make stronger. For example, after everyone was done rereading, we came to conclusion that the paragraph was very wordy, and that we deleted many parts of our paragraph to make it more concise. Also, our group went back to the article to pull out information to strengthen our paragraph. Kevin pulled out a quote which we connected to the overall theme of the paragraph, which is that making the academic probation letter more narrative and less harsh made students reach out for help faster. Critical thinking is a learning outcome that SUNY Geneseo strives for because afterwards, students realize how much progress that have made over the course of 4 years or, in this case, a class period. Continue reading “The GLOBE goes beyond the webpage”

The Difference One Class Makes

It is amazing how much of a difference one class can make. When perfecting our well-written paragraph, you can see how each group developed a partnership. For example, it easier to talk to each individual; last time, we were just throwing out ideas out on the table. This time, it was more finalizing our ideas and making sure we had text evidence to support our claim. This class period dealt more with editing. Each member of our group was rereading our paragraph searching for grammatical mistakes or looking for places where we can elaborate more. For example, Matt asked if we should place a comma somewhere in the sentence and the group came to a vote, that it made sense to do so. On top of that, Anderson was asking if we should delete a certain part of first sentence because it was wordy and made more sense to make the opening sentence more concise. Lastly, Sandra stated that we should find more textual evidence for our last quote to describe what Chipman was discussing. That lead me, Theresa, and Amber to find more textual evidence to back up our claim. Another difference between the two class periods that I am sure made Dr. McCoy proud was that we were thinking so much more. What I mean by this is that we were having more of an intellectual discussion on what to put into our finished product. One point we made is that we have to assume that the reader knows nothing on the topic. This lead us to have a very strong paragraph.

I believe Kevin made the best point at the end of class. He said that being in a room with everyone working on the same thing is very motivational because you hear everyone talking. If I was a teacher, I would do the same thing because I think it is very powerful to see students pushing each other because when you hear other groups discussing about their paragraph. For example, today was when everyone registered for their next semester classes. For a little bit that was what everyone was talking about naturally, but once one the whole group started talking about their paragraph, it got the whole room focused on the project again.

This leads to me to my last point: Dr.McCoy’s goal is that she wants to become irrelevant by the end of the semester. If Dr.McCoy told me the first day of classes that this was her end goal. I would have thought she was crazy, because in this class we are supposed to learn how to become an overall better writer. That would make me think how are we supposed to do that by ourselves; however, as the semester comes to an end, I can see how that is a realistic goal for Dr.McCoy, because each student pushes each other to become a better writer. Also, in this class, I feel as if we become better writers over time. Since we are about 10 weeks in now, I can see how we improved to the point where we do not need Dr.McCoy in the room to learn or to even stay on task.

Overall, I consider myself lucky enough to be in a class full of bright students in this INTD section that push me to be a better student. This makes me realize that SUNY Geneseo is more than a college, it is a community of friends.

The Process of the Future

This past Wednesday, we had the pleasure of having Dr. Easton come to our INTD class to talk about SUNY Geneseo’s academic probation letter. Over 500,000 students across the United States are in academic probation. Being on academic probation isn’t necessarily the issue, but the real issue is getting off of academic probation. Almost 33% of students never get off, and eventually drop out of college. This leads to the question being asked by colleges: what can we do differently?

The main goal of the academic probation letter should be to let students know where they are going wrong and how they can improve. I believe SUNY Geneseo’s academic probation letter is incomplete because it simply states how the student managed to get on academic probation, not how the student can improve. Sandra made a great point in class in which I think the academic probation letter can improve: she suggested that the letter should include what department that the student is failing in. To further expand this idea, the academic probation letter should include what class/classes you failed and the number/email of the department you need help in. For example, if you failed calculus, the letter should include the math department’s number and email and what they offer for extra help (math learning center). This applies for students who fail their INTD or science classes; when they get an academic probation letter, that letter would include information on the writing learning center, the physics learning center, etc. I believe syntax plays a huge role in the academic probation letter because it could intimidate a student from trying anymore. Hannah stated that the word “fail” in the second sentence of the academic probation letter makes the reader feel that it is the end of the process, which is why students are afraid of reaching out. On the other hand, you want the letter to seem somewhat stern and serious, so it grabs the student’s attention. If the student doesn’t believe academic probation is serious, then they will more than likely not act at all.

I believe SUNY Geneseo should rewrite their academic probation completely because she said our current letter was based off a template which was written about 30-40 years ago. To me, that seems outdated. One thing I would keep from the current academic probation letter would be the last three paragraphs because of the syntax and information provided in both. For example, the third paragraph states that you can set up a meeting with your academic adviser and discuss strategies on how you can get off academic probation. On top of that, the fourth paragraph suggests that how you can boost your GPA most efficiently is by retaking classes you did poorly in. This gives the student enough information to be proactive about being on academic probation and how you can succeed by getting off academic probation. The last paragraph to me has the right diction and syntax because it gives the student hope. Hope is what gets students through the toughest of days because with hope, anything is possible.

In conclusion, the main point Dr. Easton made to me is that the academic probation letter is a living document that is and always will be changing for the students. The academic probation letter should not come off as a scare tactic, but rather as a motivational and informational piece of writing.

Today in class, I thought we demonstrated what our INTD section is called. The risks and rewards of academic partnership. For example, we worked in 3 different groups to come up with a paragraph response to what the problem and solution of the article “The Power of Realistic Expectation” were. It was interesting to see the risks and rewards of an academic partnership in a first hand experience. One risk was if we would ever going to agree on what to write about. With the help of our notes from last class we started to identify what Chipman’s main points were. After that is was “smooth sailing” from here. For example, Anderson threw out the idea of how underprivileged backgrounds have a negative effect on a student’s academic performance. This lead to Gianna and Matt bringing quotes from the article to demonstrate this problem. This further lead to where me, Amber and Theresa came up with the solution to this problem and further explained it with text evidence. On top of that, another risk was if we would be able to communicate our ideas in a respectful manner to one another. I could not be more impressed with my group on how respectful they were. This risk soon turned into a reward because it is a very rewarding feeling when you work as a team and get the task done. Another reward of academic partnership I experienced was seeing how other individuals inferred the text compared to me. This opened my eyes more because it allowed me to take another perspective on the article.
The expression “there is a method behind the madness” occurred to me after class. What I mean by this, is that is that I thought Dr.McCoy was a little crazy for making us know everyone’s name in the beginning of the semester because in my first semester not one professor made us do this. Not in just in today’s class, but it really pays off to know everyone’s name because it makes it easier to communicate.To further explain why I thought the expression “there is a method behind the madness” after this class was because all the reading we did outside of class started to connect to the course. For example in chapter twelve of “They Say, I Say” it talked about about how to have a class discussion and how to add on to one another’s comment. My group demonstrated this perfectly. For example, Anderson stated “Underprivileged backgrounds have a negative effect on a student’s academic performance” and I said “I agree with you Anderson, I also believe the problem could be the student’s mindset on whether they are intelligent or not and that intelligence is a not a given trait.” .On top of that, I used lessons we learned in “reflective writing” such as the stairway to critical learning. The stairway of critical thinking gives you a process on how to think and gives you your “AH-HA” moment on what to write about. This lead our group to format a paragraph that completed the assigned task.
If I was to repick my INTD all over again, I would pick the same INTD because this section has made me realize that positives always outweigh the negatives in life in general but especially in an academic environment.

The Best Class Ever

Best class ever, you must be wondering to yourself. On February 12th, we drew in class of what we thought T’Gatoi looked like. I thought this activity was very amusing because never in a million years I thought I would be drawing in a college course let alone with crayons and markers.  Considering that the last art course I took was in 8th grade, it was safe to say my drawing was definitely not the best.

When Dr.McCoy told us to draw what we thought T’Gatoi looked like, my mind went to pac-man ghosts for some reason. In my head, how Octavia Butler described how Tlic move very swiftly, I connected it to how the ghosts in pac-man cut around the corners very quick. On top of that, I also thought a Tlic could look like the monster in Stranger Things 2. For those who know what I am talking about it is the shadow monster.  It was interesting to see what my fellow classmates thought a Tlic looked like. For example, Roisin thought a Tlic looked like a human but with a lot of limbs with a exoskeleton look to it. On the other hand, we have Anderson who interpreted a Tlic as a worm like creature with a lot of limbs. Anderson’s illustration stood out to me the most because how creative it was.

After my group was done talking to each other, we googled “tlic” and Anderson’s drawing was the most accurate. Looking back at the text, one can see how a Tlic is illustrated. For example, Gan describes what he sees when Lomas is being cut open by T’Gatoi  for the birth of baby Tlics. He describes them as “large worms”. Also Gan describes T’Gatoi as boneless when she moves fast and states T’Gatoi has a long spine. Dissecting this text now illustrates to me a worm. I do not believe Dr.McCoy’s main point of this activity was to show that you can read the text better but that is what I got out of this activity.

In conclusion, I titled this blog as “The Best Class Ever” because a simple activity opened up my eyes that I can understand Blood Child even better. Even though we are college students it does not mean that we should lose sight of our creativity. At the end of the day creativity is what makes us different.