A Different Deadline

While getting my weekly amusing fix of Twitter, I came across a Tweet from one of my favorite authors, Jonny Sun: “if life didn’t have a deadline we’d never get anything done.”

As a student I’ve learned that with deadlines comes stress, exhaustion, and frustration. Most importantly, they also come with finality. Consequently, upon receiving Dr. McCoy’s feedback on our final “Bloodchild” essays, I was confounded when she included a suggestion to revisit the essay over the summer. Deadlines give us an excuse to abandon the thinkING the assignment required; once they pass, there is nothing else to be done. After 11:59 PM on May 23rd I had no intention of looking over the essay again. I’d barely considered revisiting my original rough draft, except my grade seemed dependent on it. Continue reading “A Different Deadline”

Who Do You Think You Are?

In my Child Development class, we recently watched a Ted Talk by Caroline McHugh. In this Talk titled, “The Art of Being Yourself,” McHugh discussed individual identity. Specifically, one part that really stuck with me was her view of the word “just.” A frequently used phrase for advice is “just be yourself.” McHugh points out several things she sees is wrong with using the word “just” in that phrase. First, she claims that just implies that “being yourself” is easy, and second, the word “just” claims that this is an “original piece of advice,” as if someone couldn’t think of it themselves. I never thought about it before listening to her Talk, but after hearing her view I would agree; the word “just” seems to change them meaning as if it is something that can be easily done. Is interesting to me that using the word just can change the meaning of the phrase.

This reminded me of our class work with the academic probation letters; specifically, in Ian Chipman’s “The Power of Realistic Expectations” Urstein’s and his researchers revised the letter given to students placed on academic probation from saying Academic Probation to academic probation. Urstein shares that by not using capital letters they reframed being on academic probation from a “status” to a “process.” By changing the letters, students began to see their position as a situation that can be changed, rather than as a “fixed” position. This change caused student report “lower feelings of shame” and be more likely to ask for help. It’s crazy how simply changing letters or words around can completely change the way one perceives advice or information given to them. Continue reading “Who Do You Think You Are?”

The Process

Courtney recently wrote a blog post called A Process and made an attribution to something I said while we were working on the Collaborative Writing assignment in Dr. McCoy’s class. At the time I said what we were working on was a process. After saying this I have been constantly reflecting on the process in which we have progressed and have realized it can be applied to other aspects of the class. Continue reading “The Process”

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.

Collaborative Writing

Earlier in the semester in Dr. McCoy’s class, we looked at different Geneseo documents provided to students and were going to have to work on a collaborative writing assignment eventually. I hadn’t realized how significant these documents and this assignment were until recently, as I was reflecting on the year. The collaborative writing assignment in Dr. McCoy’s class has allowed those of us in class, to learn and work together. Geneseo’s Globe (Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education) addresses leadership and collaboration. More specifically saying: “To engage others in developing collaborative solutions; to experiment, take risks and learn from mistakes; to enable, encourage, and recognize contributions to collaborative efforts by all group members; to manage and share work fairly and respectfully; to envision, promote, consider, and respond to diverse viewpoints.” The Globe statement is significant for Geneseo student because they will develop practical skills that are applicable throughout our future and promotes students to engage with one another and make mistakes and learn from them. Continue reading “Collaborative Writing”

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. 

Experience as Evidence

I remember a while ago reading in Reflective Writing the section on “Reflection for Career Planning.” This section shares how you can use the information in that book and apply it to real world situations. Specifically, it included improving job applications, sharing the need for “evidence” in an application or interview. Until reading this, I didn’t fully realize how experience isn’t just an item that looks good on a resume, but how it can provide evidence of whether someone fits certain qualities that an employer is looking for.

I fully understood what the little green book was talking about when I went on a research interview a few weeks ago. When looking through the research on the internet, the site noted that qualities they look for included “experience and comfort interacting with children” and “willingness to work as part of a research team.” Through reading Reflective Writing, I realized that it was not enough to simply say that I love children and am a team player; I needed evidence. As Reflective Writing claims, my “evidence” was my experience; during the interview I provided specific example of when I was part of a team, running track and working in a restaurant, as well as examples of when I worked with children. Furthermore, as Reflective Writing suggests, I discussed how these experiences shaped me to be a better team player and want to work with children more. I realized that this is what Reflective Writing means when it says, “through examples you justify your claims.” Continue reading “Experience as Evidence”

Developing Time Management Skills in a University Setting

“The early bird catches the worm” is a common phrase I’ve heard throughout my life. The meaning of this phrase can be interpreted by many that getting an earlier start will allow one to be more successful. As the semester comes to an end, I have realized how important time is and this phrase could not be more significant. The semester went by quick and I’ve learned it is easier to say you’re going to complete a task, than actually completing a task. I have always been organized in life, but as we know life doesn’t go as planned. Continue reading “Developing Time Management Skills in a University Setting”

Parental Partnerships

As our INTD class nears the end and I continue reflecting on the semester, I’ve noticed that college has changed my partnership with two very important people: my parents.

To be honest, I did not think the transition from life at home to college would be too challenging. I’ve always been a very independent person; I hate asking for help. So, I was surprised when I found myself calling my parents the very first week of school, asking how to do something as simple as laundry. Even reminding myself to go eat three meals a day was hard; at home food was just there. Instead of walking to the dining hall, I simply walked over to the fridge. I started talking to my parents weekly, but it was the same annoying questions I would receive after high school every day“how was school?” and “was practice hard?” being their favorites. It wasn’t until our second semester here that I noticed our relationship was different.

I knew that entering college brought me into an agreement with Geneseo, in which I must uphold certain expectations as a student, in exchange for an education. However, I didn’t know that the time away from home would cause me to see my parents from a new perspective. When they visit and we discuss my life at college, I realize they were once college students too. They had to figure out how to do laundry, love the questionable dining hall food, and learn a new meaning of the word “independence.” It’s strange to think of them as naive, young students like myself. Continue reading “Parental Partnerships”