Collaboration and Communication

 

A large part of Geneseo’s curriculum is based of the Geneseo Globe (Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education). This is a list of what Geneseo hopes their students get out of their classes. A few weeks ago, in Dr. McCoy’s class, she gave us an activity that was closely related to the GLOBE.

After being separated into groups, she asked us to write a paragraph together, explaining the problems and solutions in Ian Chipman’s article, The Power of Realistic Expectations. Out of all the group projects I have done, none have been similar to this activity. Usually, in group projects, the work can be divided and each person is typically working on their own part, but it is essentially impossible to divide work up when you are working on a single paragraph.

This activity related directly to points two and four on the Geneseo GLOBE- Communication, and Leadership and Collaboration. Both of these deal with group work, being able to communicate ideas effectively and engage in conversation with others. But six people working on one short paragraph can be a challenge since everyone has their own opinions. When Dr. McCoy asked us what writing in a group felt like my classmate Anderson portrayed it very well by stating, “there were too many cooks in the kitchen.”

While a group project like this can be challenging, I can easily say that it is very rewarding. This first project was an initiation for the group work we would be doing for the following weeks, a much more detailed project. Without this first project, I feel as our groups would still be lost, with less of an idea of how to collaborate effectively and communicate.

So while, “too many cooks in the kitchen,” is an accurate description of the initial struggle groups had, without this we would not have had the ability to step up and overcome the problem. And I personally feel like this is what the Geneseo GLOBE is hoping for- a little bit of struggle to encourage us to push through toward our success as Geneseo students.  

 

New Numbers

Yesterday, SUNY Geneseo hosted its 13th annual Relay for Life fundraiser. I walked in expecting to stay the hour to fulfill my obligation to my lacrosse team. I did not know, however, that I would walk out in tears, reminded how short life is, and just how much of an impact a person can make.

When I was just a baby, my father was diagnosed with cancer. My mother, her hands full with two young boys and now a newborn, was forced to find strength within her I’m not sure she knew she had. For months he battled and underwent rigorous treatments that cause him to still endure the side effects to this day.

During the time I spent at Relay, Geneseo’s President, Dr. Battles, made a moving speech. She mentioned how a family member had battled cancer and wrote a blog series throughout her journey. One particular entry she quoted was entitled “Numbers.” It discussed how everything in life seems to be in terms of numbers. But now, with cancer, numbers took on a whole new meaning. They were no longer birthdays, or days until Christmas, but doses for her treatments, or how many days since she was diagnosed.

I started to think about strength in numbers. Continue reading “New Numbers”

Relay for Mom

As I mentioned in my previous post, coming to college was a major struggle for me personally. Soon after I figured out why I was struggling, I decided that I needed to become apart of something and get involved. Gianna urged me to join the club Colleges Against Cancer. At first, this seemed like a wild idea and she probably asked me ten times before I gave in and went to a meeting. 

For me, cancer hits very close to home. When I was in 8th grade my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My mom is my best friend and hearing that she was in this position made my world stop. She is also one of the smartest people I know and she was able to quickly and efficiently deal with the disease and kill it. She went through 3 major surgeries and thankfully she never had to undergo chemo or radiation. It was not easy, but she faced the disease head on and was rewarded in the end with her life. My mom beat cancer and I could not be more thankful and proud of her to this day. 

Thinking about my mom, I joined the club and actually caught myself having a good time. It gave me something to do every Monday night and made me get out of bed. It is so rewarding to do something to honor my mom and the numerous people that have fought the same battle. I hope to see lots of you tomorrow night at our Relay for Life event at the Wilson Ice Arena!  

From Personal Experience

In class a few weeks ago when we were talking about “The Power of Realistic Expectations”, it made me stop and think about my own experiences at college. One part of the conversations that really stood out to me was the fact that so many of us have so many other outside influences affecting our experiences at Geneseo and in our daily lives. 

I’ve struggled a lot my first year in college. It hasn’t been easy, for any of us. But, for this moment I’m going to share with you my experience and then maybe you can share with us. 

My senior year of high school my parents told my brother and me that they were getting a divorce. Soon after, my dad moved out and I don’t see him hardly ever. When summer rolled around my mom let us know that we were moving. Leaving my home, my friends, my town, was probably the hardest part of it all. I knew I would have to leave eventually when I went to college, but it all came so quickly and before I knew it I was 30 minutes away from everything I loved. I work at Wegmans and commuting 30 minutes to work everyday didn’t make much sense so I also had to transfer stores. Not only did I have to transfer stores, but leave behind my managers and coworkers I had grown to know and care about. 

Now came the time that I had to leave for college. Summer was over and growing up was coming, whether I liked it or not. I’ve always been a mommas girl and leaving my mom was probably the hardest part of it all. Move in day came and I feel like it all went fairly smooth (if anyone doesn’t know, Gianna is my roomie). 

The first few weeks of school hit me like a ton of bricks. No matter how prepared I thought I was, I wasn’t. Since I can remember, I’ve struggled with anxiety. But, when school started my anxiety sky rocketed and I started feeling lower and lower as the days went on. It started becoming harder to get out of bed and force myself to go to class. Nothing seemed interesting and I felt alone. Soon I found out that I had depression… dun dun dun. 

Once I figured out that I was depressed, everything moved fairly quickly. My mom got me appointments with different doctors and I started talking to a therapist weekly. I started feeling better and feeling more and more like myself again. It’s an everyday struggle, but theres so much I have to experience and hiding out is not an option. I’m still not completely 100%, but being able to do things and not always be in bed has been such an improvement. 

There’s a lot going on in people’s lives that we don’t know about. Before we all jump to conclusions, get to know people. Know their struggles, before you walk away and judge. I hope my story makes at least one person reading this feel better about a struggle they themselves have dealt with. Theres always a solution and people supporting you, you just need to accept the help.  

Response to Hannah’s Post

Hannah Sharkey wrote a recent blog post about tragedy and the reality of tragedy. This blog post inspired me and I was reminded of my team and the support they give me. I believe that life is all about connections with people, and as tragedy happens we must come together.

There are so many struggles and adversities students go through while at college; we need a support system to survive it all. What about our administration, professors, and coaches? Yesterday at the end of a productive practice we gathered in a huddle to close practice. We do this after every practice as a ritual. Everyone is energized after practice because it’s our outlet.  The huddle yesterday was different, my coach stopped us from laughing and had a serious face. Everyone looked around confused; we had a great practice. Are we in trouble? Completely vulnerable before the whole team, she started crying. We immediately knew what this was about. Coach recently lost her mom to cancer. She doesn’t talk about it often, because she wants to be strong for us. Coach told us she sold her childhood home recently. Yesterday was closing day of the house and she said her final goodbye with her sisters. She kept wiping her face and explaining how much she needed practice today. She had been crying all day and couldn’t wait for practice to cheer her up.

Continue reading “Response to Hannah’s Post”

My Response to Courtney’s Blog Post

I want to put a disclaimer at the beginning of this blog post that: The class I am referring to has a male and a female professor, whose identities I don’t want to reveal. As I refer to them as the male and female professor that does not reflect how I view different genders. This blog post has nothing to do with gender differences; it’s about different teaching styles.

Courtney Ciardullo wrote a blog post about some of the effects of different teaching styles. Her blog post reminded me of my biology class first semester. The class had two professors and they alternated each unit. I never had two professors split one class before. After my experience in Biology, I believe that teaching style does affect the student’s performance.

Continue reading “My Response to Courtney’s Blog Post”

Confidence is Key

Group work can be very rewarding, there is an abundant source of brain power that can come together to work on a certain activity. However, with group work you must keep an eye out for some risks.   In her short story titled “Bloodchild”, Octavia Butler mentions, “accept the risk. There is a risk Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” (Butler, 26) These risks can include things such as; one person taking charge of the whole activity and not listening to what anyone else has to say, others might feel as though they don’t have to contribute because everyone else in the group can do it for them. Other people might sit back and choose not to say much because their scared that their ideas aren’t good enough and that they might get shut down; that’s where I come in.

I have a hard time trusting my abilities as a writer. I touched a little on it before in my last blog post when discussing the confidence of my writing abilities and my past “training”. This lack of confidence becomes more apparent when working with a group.  I don’t trust my strength as a writer enough to make strong contributions. Obviously when working in a group, I want to contribute as much as I can as well as having it be at a high quality. However, because my confidence in my strength as a writer is not where I need it to be, I am unable to contribute to the group with that quantity and quality.

These past four classes have pushed me out of my academic comfort zone. Three weeks ago, we started a project to rebuild the letter that students receive when put on academic probation. We were all put into groups to work on this said letter. The first class that we worked on this activity was terrifying. I sat there and didn’t say very much, I was incredibly intimidated. The other people in my group seemed to have it all down and they knew what they were talking about. They just kept suggesting ideas that I didn’t even think of. I felt very out of my league being in that group. The second day was somewhat better, I had a better understanding of the task at hand. I contributed more often but I was still not confident in the things that I suggested. Once the third and fourth days rolled around and we switched up groups, I had an even better understanding of the assignment and I started to feel a lot better about my contributions to the group.

Then today when we rearranged again into different groups and were told to combine two letters, my participation increased even more. I wrote about it in my reflection at the end of class discussing how I felt this sort of confidence with this group that I didn’t feel with the other groups. My suggestions were used almost always, and I felt as though I knew what I was doing. Personally, I think it’s because I became more familiar with the activity, so I had a better understanding of the task at hand and was able to contribute my ideas much easier. I also think that it’s because my grade on my previous blog post was significantly higher than it was on any of the blog posts before. I finally realized that I had the ability to write well and that my ideas were good. For this reason, I didn’t hesitate to share those ideas and enjoyed the activity much more. If I had not had that quick shift in confidence, I then would have never have contributed as much as I did, and I would have not understood the importance of the group activity.

Receiving a high grade on my blog post as well as becoming more comfortable with sharing my ideas as a writer in a group setting have made me realize that my confidence doesn’t have to be so low. Therefore, I count on my confidence to grow exponentially from now, until the end of the semester

This Really Happens?

It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are above tragedy. On the other hand, it is easy to spend excessive energy awaiting tragedy, coming up with endless scenarios in your head. I tend to identify more with the former. Of course, I have worried about tragedy happening, thinking a headache is a tumor and such, but I usually dismiss the intrusive thoughts with a “that would never happen to me” kind of thing.  

Continue reading “This Really Happens?”

The Dreadful Letter

Receiving a letter of academic probation can have varying effects on students. The majority of letters of academic probation tend to make students feel ashamed and discouraged because of the choice of words. There is a need to change and reword academic probation letters to reduce the emotional impact on students. Our INTD class has worked on recreating Geneseo’s letter of academic probation. Throughout this process, we have read “The Power of Realistic Expectations”, an interview with Ian Chipman and Rob Urstein and we also worked in groups to create a better letter for Geneseo’s campus community as a whole.  In addition to this, The Dean of Academic Planning and Advising, Dr. Cecilia A. Easton came into our class and agreed to take our criticism of Geneseo’s academic probation letter into consideration. Through this process, Dr. Easton places a strong value on the academic partnership between faculty and students. 

Having a group of students, that attend Geneseo, rewrite the letter of academic probation can have a multitude of benefits. These students can put the letter into perspective and give feedback on the impact it has. When reading and rewriting Geneseo’s letter, our group considered how we would react to receiving this letter and thus came together to construct a more productive letter. Through this thinking, I’ve realized how important it is to be considerate of all students that come from different backgrounds. Also,  many students have to overcome diverse challenges that could affect their academic performance. In my opinion, the letter doesn’t consider that many students have other variables that affect their grades and that is the number one thing that must change. In addition to this, the letter doesn’t encourage students to get back on track but rather threaten students that they will be dismissed if they don’t fix their grades. Geneseo’s letter of academic probation needs to have a stronger value on the importance of students and staff working together to better each other. 

In addition to our group work, reading “The Power of Realistic Expectations” by Ian Chipman has mentioned major issues within academic probation letters. Chipman interviews Rob Urstein in this article; Throughout this piece, Urstein elaborates on the idea that the bulk of students that are put on academic probation are ashamed and feel alone. Academic probation should not be something to be ashamed of but rather a motive to achieve and do better in the future semesters. Universities should be encouraging Chipman’s idea that “intelligence, rather than being a fixed trait, is something that grows over time and can be developed with effort.” Chipman and Urstein emphasize important issues with the majority of letters of academic probation. 

Since these letters have negative effects on the motivation and emotional state of a bunch of students, it is urgent for schools and universities to implement these changes and advocate for a stronger academic partnership between students and faculty to better the entire campus community. 

Over the past few classes, we have been revising Geneseo’s academic probation letter, keeping in mind the findings presented the in article The Power of Realistic Expectations by Ian Chipman and Rob Urstein. We have been searching for ways to craft the letter so as to strike a balance between convening the seriousness of academic probation, and reassuring the student placed on probation that he or she is not a lost cause. It seems that as a class, the consensus is that the most effective way to stress the latter is to provide suggestions of resources that the student can take advantage of, and to reaffirm the college’s commitment to the student’s success.  Once we split up into groups to actually begin rewriting the letter, my group were able to make a new letter that I believe did indeed find a good balance. Now, I understand that we will be presenting Dr. Easton a revised letter for her to consider. That made me wonder, however, what exactly is the process by which the academic probation letter is changed? Does it have to be approved solely by Dr. Easton, as her name is on the letter? Or is there a committee that reviews it? The answer could have implications for the letter, as what Dr. Easton thinks should be changed about the letter may not be the same as what someone else or a group believes should be changed. Another question that I had developed was: in the past, had there been any student input into the content of the letter? If not, then I would have to say that the project we are working on in class is an important step in the foundation of real academic partnerships at Geneseo.