Procrastination At Its Finest

I told myself that wasn’t going to wait until midnight on the 30th to do finish these posts but… here I am.  I have a huge problem with procrastination (as you can tell from the abundance of blog posts) and this assignment did not help that at all.  Granted we had all semester to do them and we are being graded on how well we space them out but that didn’t fix my habit.

At first, I wasn’t too worried about the assignment because I had the same type of work assigned to me in high school.  We were given prompts and we had to choose from a list of about twenty prompts to answer.  So, when Dr. McCoy first told us about these blog posts I thought it would be like my previous experience, I could not have been more wrong.  She didn’t give us anything, no prompts, no heads up on what we could or couldn’t write about.  She gave us total freedom and that scared me.  I thought that needed to know what I had to write to get a good grade.

My first blog post was a disaster, it was cluttered, rushed, and didn’t make much sense.  I remember thinking to myself, “she can’t give me a poor grade because there are no guidelines, no help”.  I didn’t know what she wanted from me so how would we know how to receive a good grade?  She left comments on that first post so, for the next post I followed them with the hope of receiving a better grade.  I received a higher grade, but it was still one that was no where close to where I wanted to be.  I kept trying and trying but I never knew what to write about.  Up until recently, I was very frustrated with myself and the assignment.

I hadn’t realized until my sixth blog post that this assignment helps us as writers to look back on our work and mark the progress that we have made.  For me it has been a place to vent, for others they use the blogging space to make sense of what we had just discussed in class or compare something that they had previously experienced.  Now that these blog posts have come to a close, I can reflect on the semester that I have had as a writer.  I can document my improvement throughout the semester and reaffirm my growth.  Although I did not see the purpose of the blog posts at the start of the semester, I now see the benefits and they are very refreshing.

True Marks of a Leader

Leadership has played a great role in my life. Most people believe leadership is synonymous with authority over others. A leader is someone who is willing to make sacrifices it if it means the betterment of their community. In my life, I have had many role models who have gone out of their way to give me direction. I am very grateful for all their help as I surely would not be where I am without assistance. The sacrifices we make on the behalf others to ensure the good of the commonwealth is, in my opinion, the most defining characteristic of a leader. A leader must have the willingness to assume responsibility for a difficult situation. It’s easy to take credit for the good but it’s another to accept the blame for the bad. As humans we are not infallible, therefore we need leaders who can maintain order in times of doubt.

Great leaders dedicate themselves to a life of service Service is the active process of creating change that benefits the community. Service is a very important part of my life. I believe we are all as strong as our weakest links, therefore we should all take steps to help one another. In Geneseo, I observe the practice of service through my work in Geneseo First Response(GFR). GFR for those unfamiliar is the on-campus EMS service coordinated and perpetrated by students. In doing so I play an active role in maintaining the safety and well-being of all Geneseo community members. It has given me the opportunity to create a real difference in the lives of those around me. We can all contribute to the service of others if we take the opportunities allotted to us.

 

Lastly, a leader must have the ability to empower. I think of empowerment I think of education. There is nothing more empowering than seeking out an education. Advocating for the education of oneself and others is extremely important. The learning process is continuous,  the quest for education is a lifelong journey. It is my personal mantra that if armed with the proper knowledge we are capable of achieving any goal we can imagine, and or reach any level in society that we dare to aspire to despite the expectations of others. Education gives access to a world of limitless possibilities. Nothing in this world will keep one from obtaining their goals if well educated. There is nothing more empowering than that.

Being on GFR

One of my favorite things about joining Geneseo First Response has been picking up a new identity. People come up to me saying “I didn’t know you were a GFR”.  Not “I didn’t know you were apart of GFR.” As if it is my whole being is summed up in that acronym. I’ve come to terms with my identity as “A GFR”. When you wear the uniform you embody the role of the organization. I am fortunate enough to a part of GFR. GFR for those unfamiliar is the on-campus EMS service coordinated and perpetrated by students. In doing so I play an active role in maintaining the safety and well-being of all Geneseo community members. It is a rewarding experience as well as a taxing one. When on duty for 12-24 hours I am prepared to uproot my daily activities for the benefit of others. This includes possibly missing instructional class time which is to my detriment. I am happy to do it if it means a safer campus. It is very probable that you may one day need an ambulance at one point or another. It is my sincere hope most of you never have to utilize my services.

I am unable to mention specifics of my work and it’s beneficiaries due to the HIPPA laws. I will say that GFR has had a profound impact on the lives of everyone in Geneseo, myself included. Everyone at some point in their time here will be affected if at all at least indirectly by the work my colleagues and I do. I have benefited so much from my work at GFR. I have gained so much practical experience in the career I intend to pursue. It has given me the opportunity to create a real difference in the lives of those around me. Academically it has been very sobering. Life is not to be taken for granted. That is becoming more and more apparent. Now more than ever I am dedicated to making the most out of my education. It also helps to have good role models with similar mindsets and aspirations.

Tales of a Young CNA

Since before middle school I knew I wanted to be a doctor. In high school, I knew I could start gaining some experience in health care. I was lucky that my Anatomy & Physiology teacher recognized my dedication to medicine. She introduced me to the Geriatric Career Development (GCD) Program. Though GCD I was able to obtain certification as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). GCD exposed me to what it truly means to be a healthcare provider. Through the program, I was able to gain a lot experience in patient care. I am blessed to have had that opportunity at such a young age. Most people only become CNAs when they go to seek full-time vocational training at a community college. I was able to do it in high school without taking a gap year. I learned many things about the intricacies of human interaction.

I was able to see amazing things in the nursing home I worked in. I worked in the physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation floor. It was a very sobering experience seeing people some of which were athletes who have lost their ability to move. There was a young woman about my age now who was almost completely paralyzed due to meningitis. There was a 36-year-old biology teacher who was a single father trying to get back to his daughter. Those are some of the types of patients I helped treat. I also worked in the Alzheimer’s and dementia unit. The contrast between the two so different. One one hand you have people desperate to reattain their normalcy. On the other, there are people who are so far gone lost in their fragmented memories the can no longer function.  

As a CNA you play a vital role in the care of elderly and or injured patients. We help care for the essentials, giving dignity to those who can not care for themselves. Caring for someone’s basic needs is a very intimate thing: feeding, ambulation, perineal care are all essential tasks I performed. The practical training and real-world experiences have been an invaluable step in realizing my goals. When patients are admitted to a nursing home, they tend to be defensive. They are often not there of their own volition but rather familial pressure. People are prideful, which makes them unable to come to terms with their physical and mental decline. I have learned that acceptance is a gradual process, and we must show compassion to those seeking it. Through my experience as a CNA, I have learned not only the value, but the difference compassion can make when healing the sick. Above all I learned how to be objective, providing equal care to all in spite of racial hostility, disability, or mental illness. I learned that despite age or background or sexual orientation we are all people who long to be cared for and reassured by a sense of security.

Writing and Class Reflections

Well, we have reached the end of classes for this semester, and I can’t say that I’m not glad they’re over. It’s not something I really would have thought about at the beginning of, or even throughout the semester, but after reflecting on it now, I definitely have growth as a writer, a student and even a person. After taking classes such as this one, after presenting research, after writing papers I have definitely changed in way that I can recognize within myself. All of these things have allowed me to better realize my strengths, and especially my faults. I’m well on my way to fulfilling learning outcomes prescribed by the GLOBE, fulfilling the colleges vision and adhering to its values, as well as adhering to my own. In some ways I have become a better writer, and a better critical thinker; in other ways not so much. But what is most important to realize, what I have realized, is that like writing, becoming a better person is a process. It’s not something that’s quick, and it’s not something that’s easy, it takes hard work and dedication, but it does happen, and it is achievable. If there is anything I will take away from this class, or from college at all, it’s that I always have the potential to be a better version of myself, I just have to put in the effort.

Gen Ed’s

As part of every college students curriculum are general education requirements. These usually take the forms of history, english, science, maths, a language, arts, and humanities. Many students tend to see these as obstacles preventing them from learning what they came to go to school for. For example, last semester I had to take both creative writing and film studies to fulfill fine art requirements. Neither of those classes were ones that I would have chosen to take had I any real choice. They were also not classes that I really enjoyed. I would have much rather taken classes relevant to my career path, like astronomy or anthropology. Why then do we take these classes? To fulfill the outlines of the GLOBE and row as students. There is a reason Geneseo is known as a liberal arts college, because all of its students must be versed in a variety of topics. By taking these classes, learning a variety of topics, and meeting and interacting with a variety of other students, we can only hope to grow as students and people.

The Disillusion of the Underprivileged

 

“Why are you talking in a British accent ?” When I was in the 5th grade, I was suddenly asked this question. At first, I confused as to why I would be asked this. I was most certainly speaking American English just as plainly as one would hear anyone speak in the northeastern United States. I asked my classmate what he meant by “British accent,” although I was sure I already knew what it meant. He was implying that because I am a minority, as opposed to being white, I could not be well spoken let alone educated. It was one thing when I was underestimated by people of a different ethnicity, but it was particularly disheartening since he was a fellow Hispanic. He was trying to say that because I am not white, I am therefore not educated. In his eyes, the only way to be educated was through the color of my skin. As if the only criteria that qualified being educated was being white, implying that the two terms were interchangeable and synonymous with each other. That level of ignorance and prejudice truly opened my eyes to the society we live in today, where we are taught self-hate and are criticized for the things that make us unique. I was terrified of that dangerous mindset and, although it was disturbing, that clash of ideologies gave me greater insight into my future prospects. I would not let my self-worth be defined by the misconceptions of the weak-willed, who would allow these stigmas reign with unrivaled deference. Even so, I could not find myself feeling any malice or ill will towards this boy. He like many others, fell victim to a lack of self-regard, belittling others due to lack of their own self-esteem and shortcomings.

“Stop acting white,” he said as if to clarify, further justifying my beliefs. I later found out that his bigoted views are clearly shared amongst many, as this was not the last time I heard a similar sentiment. People often assume that my culture and socioeconomic background tether me to racial stigmas. I am perceived as “ghetto”, “uneducated”, and “inarticulate”, simply because of where I come from.

Once I became cognizant of my situation, I began to resent the overarching stigmas that set limitations on my success. As a child, I was always taught to be proud of my heritage, but I was disappointed to discover that others viewed it as a hindrance to my education. It was upon this realization that the fanciful idealism of childhood, was shattered. I grew to be cynical about humanities fixed views. I made it my mission to become the aberration that would not only supersede, but prevail societal stereotypes. Education would be the vessel in which I overcame this societal mandate.

Through the accumulation of knowledge, I was able to edify myself to the point at which failure was no longer an option. This, in turn, has given me the drive and determination to overcome any obstacle and or barriers that attempt to deter me from accomplishing my goals. Education would give me access to a world of limitless possibilities. No longer, would I be restrained by the false barriers and platitudes of those who would condescend me?

           The more experienced I become, the more I realize that life is a continuous learning process and, that the quest for education is a lifelong journey. I firmly believe in the power of education. It is my personal mantra that if armed with the proper knowledge we are capable of achieving any goal we can imagine, and or reach any level in society that we dare to aspire, despite the expectations of others. I would not have come to this realization, if not, for the boy in 5th grade, who asked me, to “stop acting white”.

Joining GFR and Feelings of Doubt

I remember just how excited I was when I got the email. “Congratulations you have selected you to become a probationary member of SUNY Geneseo First Response. Welcome to GFR!” I was in utter shock. 135 applicants and I was one on the 13 to make the cut. Me a lowly freshman. There are people who apply every semester until their senior year and never get the opportunity. Somehow I got in. I was practically skipping. It may not have been the most prudent thing to do, but I wanted to tell the world. I was really excited. I told my RA “I got into GFR”. His response was “I love eating there”. I was so confused. My first thought was we don’t serve food. In my excitement, I completely forgot the restaurant existed. I clarified “Not Geneseo Family Restaurant. Geneseo First Response.” We laughed it about for a while. Then he congratulated me. I told all my friends I got in and they were all happy for me including the ones who didn’t get in themselves.

I felt I was on top of the world. Things were great. However, I found myself relating to Chipman’s The Power of Realistic Expectations “Think about starting a new job. You’re trying to figure out the landscape. It was a really competitive search. You feel fortunate to have gotten the job, but then you’re really worried about whether you’re going to fit in. What happens if you stumble? We all make mistakes on the job” I realized the achievement gap is a mental battle more than anything else. Like in most of Geneseo I find myself an outlier in GFR. Not many people look like me. In fact, I am the only Hispanic male in the organization. I began to feel doubt in my abilities. I’ve reached my goal of getting in, but what about fitting in? Getting in is only half the battle. How do I prove my worth? What if I mess up? If I do I reflect badly on more than just myself. I know it may be irrational, but what if I’m just a test run. Could I harm someone else’s chances of getting in? These were all thoughts circulating in my mind.

 There is no need to feel uneasy. The thing that no one tells you when you stand out is that it doesn’t necessarily paint a target on your back. Much of what you may fear is only in your mind. As I took more shifts and got to know everyone a bit better my fears dissipated. My mentor is super supportive and I get along with just about everyone.

From High School to College

Something that I heard a lot about college during high school was how much different classes are. Upon entering college I had come to expect to be furiously writing down everything my professors said, and reading textbooks for hours on end. Luckily, that has turned out not to be true, by and large classes are still very similar to that of high school. Granted, there are still a lot of notes to take, and there’s much less in class socializing, but most class periods feel very much the same. Although, I will say that having classes scattered throughout the day, unevenly throughout the week has taken a while to get used to. Instead of having just seven straight hours of class, classes may sometimes have hours in between. The one thing that stands out in my mind as living up to the ‘hype’ is that no one cares what you do or if you even go to class. That, combined with being expected to manage your time and homework effectively on your own is very different. Sure, in high school we were expected to do our homework and manage time effectively, but that was usually for only a few days in advance. Now, there is less homework, but we’re still expected to understand the material as well as if there was. I’m currently enrolled in art history, a class that has no homework, and no textbook reading. Final grades are only determined by three tests throughout the semester and that’s it. If we as students had that kind of schedule in high school, I  believe that many of us would be unable to handle it. As it goes know, this added responsibility is something else we have to deal with, weather we want to or not. In that sense, that sounds like very good practice for the real world, sometimes we have to deal with things we’d rather not. Other times (all the time) we’re expected to manage time effectively, because failure to do so can have grave consequences. 

Reflecting on the Blogging Process

When I first entered my INTD 105 class, I was apprehensive towards the blogging requirement that Dr. McCoy assigned. When we were told that we would have to write ten posts without a set deadline or a prompt, I was presented with risk. I was unsure of how this process would turn out. Although after reflecting on it, I have recognized the rewards that have arisen from this task.
 
Beginning the blogging process made me nervous because I did not know where to begin. I had never written a blog before and did not how to format it. Taking the writing advice of Beth, I decided to consider my academic standing and write about coming to college as an undeclared student in my post “The Positives of Being Undeclared.” As stated in Geneseo’s Mission Statement, the college “community works together to advance knowledge.” This took place in the form of feedback from my professor on my posts. Based on the feedback that I received for my first post; I needed to learn to connect my writing to textual evidence and fix grammatical errors.

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