Taking Care: In and Out of the Classroom

Integrative learning is a type of classroom behavior that emphasizes time outside the classroom just as much as time within it. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) created a “framing language” to better explain the purpose of integrative learning and how it can be carried out. Dr. McCoy supplemented this vision in a video interview regarding this learning and teaching style. Integrative learning is “cross-disciplinary”—as Professor McCoy put it in the video—and reiterative, focused on connection beyond what the AAC&U calls “academic boundaries.” The ultimate goal involves creating people who can function as participating members of our global society. A key part of integrative learning also includes exploring subjects beyond the classroom and connecting them to course material. By enabling students to see links between SUNY Geneseo’s Facilities department and heating plant, and our current perceptions of the academic partnership and Octavia Butler’s short story “Bloodchild,” integrative learning allows me and my peers to reevaluate our class through a new lens, more oriented towards care and providing for other living creatures, both on a regular basis and in times of emergency.

The Department of Facility Services is an integral part of SUNY Geneseo, yet students and faculty don’t often consider it as such. It’s all too easy to forget about how critical this department is when students gripe about their residence hall’s shortcomings or when faculty and staff bemoan tech issues. At the same time, the academic partnership is traditionally regarded as two-sided: between students and faculty or administration. However, nothing that happens in Geneseo would be possible without Facilities. In the first seconds of a video on the Facilities’ department web page, the narrator explains that the department’s mission is “to ensure that the college runs smoothly.” This is absolutely crucial; without the hard work of Facilities, there would be no physical space for the college to exist in. As the recent COVID-19 situation demonstrates, not having a physical space where students can go to college can be quite demoralizing. That being said, I believe that Facilities adds another level to the broader academic partnership between a student and their college. Facilities is one more group of individuals that students can make connections with. For example, Brandon Schmitt, an employee, discussed how rewarding it was to be able to do something that the students would recognize almost immediately. At the same time, Karen Rockhill—Academic Head Custodial Supervisor—explained that Facilities was an environment that always invited questions and was eager to teach others about the jobs that it encompassed. These two statements highlighted for me that Facilities is an underappreciated section of the college that is filled with possible connections that students can create and nurture. Thus, Facilities is a department that supports what we consider to be the traditional academic partnership between students and administration, while also being a part of the greater, and ever-evolving, academic partnership between the student and the college.

Another integral function of maintaining SUNY Geneseo is the heating plant. Most people on campus have passed by it—and its billowing smokestack—countless times, without knowing what it is. However, the college would not be able to function, much less house its students, were it not for the heating plant. In this way, the heating plant and its staff play a crucial role in the academic partnership. Admittedly the academic partnership is not a singular association; everyone involved with the college has a different view of it and how they relate to it. Nevertheless, everyone from the president to the students are impacted by the heating plant. The plant’s website enumerates the many services it provides, including providing the entire campus with hot water. What’s more, the website points out that the plant’s staff are responsible for responding to all “after-hours maintenance emergencies.” I see this as impacting the students more so than faculty; but nonetheless the service and dedication of staff is incredible. This is considering that “after-hours” consists of so much time, both on weekdays and weekends, and there is staff stationed there twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week. Yet, as a tour guide, I point out every building on East Campus, West Campus, and South Village, but never mention the heating plant. 

The plant also proclaims a commitment to sustainability—as the website indicates a close partnership with Environmental Health and Safety departments—which is impressive and appreciated in the wake of increasing climate change. However, this comes slightly at odds with the smokestack building, which I’ve seen active on occasion, and makes me question the levels of sustainability practiced. Such information could definitely impact one version of the academic partnership, with regards to environmental sustainability and preservability, towards not only students and faculty but to the greater Geneseo area. That being said, this doesn’t do much to detract from other academic partnerships the heating plant upholds, wherein the plant and its employees do so much to create an environment where students can learn, and faculty can teach. This dedication to providing so much for the people who rely on Geneseo in one way or another simply shows that anyone associated with the college ought to be more appreciative and knowledgeable regarding the heating plant and its employees. 

After investigating Geneseo’s facilities department and heating plant—and seeing just how much they do to keep the college functioning—we can return to Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” with new eyes. This new sight is more focused on care and providing for the sentient beings around you. The first observations to come to mind were several parallels between the roles of these Geneseo institutions and of the Tlic and Terrans. At the novel’s beginning, T’Gatoi is providing Gan’s family with eggs that sustain their good health and youth, much as both facilities and the heating plant maintain Geneseo’s campus in ways that no other group can. To that extent, the role of the Terrans take an entirely new viewpoint. T’Gatoi herself mentions that the proliferation of her race would not have been possible without the arrival of the Terrans, making them as indispensable as facilities and the heating plant. Furthermore, throughout all their web pages and videos, facilities and the heating plant employees seemed extremely kind and eager to help. This bears some resemblance to Gan at the end of the novel, as he decides to bear T’Gatoi’s children, out of love, despite other possible resolutions. On another note, the heating plant in particular stood out in conjunction with Lomas’ unexpected emergency. The heating plant is meant to ensure a plethora of essential services are provided to campus, much like someone who is pregnant is expected to provide so much for their child. Similarly, the heating plant houses staff that deal with all emergencies after-hours. This sense of always being ready, especially on off hours mirrors T’Gatoi’s reaction when she found Lomas, analyzed the situation, and decided what needed to be done. In many ways, Geneseo’s facilities department and heating plant helped me reevaluate “Bloodchild” through a lens more focused on care and providing for other living creatures, both on a regular basis, and in times of emergency.

Throughout the paragraphs above, I have explored the very essence of integrative learning. It is reiterative and multi-disciplinary. As students, we’ve put into action the words of the AAC&U’s framing language in our connection of academics with our campus and community life. While it might not seem obvious, it certainly didn’t seem so to me at first, each paragraph of this essay has achieved the goal of integrative learning. Each has included critical thinking, connection-making, between an aspect of campus life and a feature of this course. At first it was the connections between the facilities department and heating plant, respectively, and the academic partnership. Then it was between these two institutions that allow our campus to function and “Bloodchild,” this course’s seminal text. This has allowed us to broaden our horizons regarding institutions many of us knew very little about yet do so much for us—often by quite literally caring for us—and the general community, as an employer and place of growth.  We’ve also had the opportunity to reflect and be in discussion with our work and others’ in ways that hark back to the AAC&U’s statement encouraging reflection and contribution. All of this allows students to become more well-rounded individuals that will better contribute to our societies after we graduate. 

A Steep Price To Pay?

According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) integrative learning is “an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus”. In simpler terms, it is making connections between different curriculums. One can look at it as a through line between different academic fields. This type of learning accomplishes many things. At first glance it simply connects different academic fields, but if one looks deeper it can reveal through lines between seemingly unrelated topics. For example: the through line between Octavia Butler’s story Bloodchild and SUNY Geneseo’s facility staff. Although the story of Bloodchild and facility staff are literally worlds away there are important connections that Integrative learning reveals. There is a through between the lessons of academic partnership learned from Bloodchild and the Tlic, and how it can be applied to real world partnerships, such as the facility staff. This through line is in the vital services both the Tlic, and the facility staff provide, and the price their services cost.

Geneseo’s Facilities Services webpage features a video that illustrates the services that Geneseo custodians, locksmiths, and others provide and illuminates their experiences at Geneseo. It is here that locksmith Rick Canarvis says, “I also like the satisfaction that when I come to work, I have a part in the safety and security of the students that work here”. Here one can see the community mindset, and care that the facility service community has for Geneseo. Canarvis continues: “Even when I was a custodian, I knew that just my little part that I was doing helped”. The care and dedication which the facility services provide is vital to the success of the student body. If doors were left with faulty locks, rooms were not clean, grounds left unkempt, the success of Geneseo students would be at great risk. Students would be forced into an academic community that cannot foster academic success purely because the facilities are falling apart. The care that the facility staff conducts while performing their job is a perfect example of how if one gear is busted the whole machine will not work. That is to say that Geneseo could not function if the facility staff was conducting their services without the care and attention to detail that they possess now. Canarvis himself recognizes the importance that his role plays in the success of  the entire school community when he says, “I have a part in the safety and security of the students that work here”. That “part” that Canarvis plays exemplifies the community mindset that is required when performing the not-so-glamorous jobs that custodial, construction, and other jobs entail. Although some of these jobs may not be glamorous, they are a vital lifeline to the success of the students at Geneseo.

Geneseo’s Heating Plant is also a vital part of the success of Geneseo’s students. According to Geneseo’s website, the Geneseo Heating Plant is responsible for “for the management and operation of the Central Heating Plant, Campus Satellite Boiler System, campus-wide energy consumption and conservation, and the operation and maintenance of utility distribution systems throughout the College Campus”. In simpler terms the Geneseo Heating Plant provides all of the energy (heated water, electricity, etc) that a student may require while living on campus. This lengthy list of critical responsibilities requires competent and dedicated staff. This is something that Geneseo’s site itself acknowledges. According to Geneseo the Heating Pant staff is composed of highly trained engineers who are on site “twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week”. This kind of dedication is crucial in the pursuit and maintenance of the type of academic partnership that Geneseo attempts to offer. If academic scholarly work was attempted to be conducted in an unheated, unlit room, then the scholarly pursuit would be compromised. Some of this is speculation, but if students were told that they would not have working electricity, many of them would find themselves lacking in the motivation required for academic success. One can see this is the response to the news that Geneseo’s library was closing. Heated and powered facilities are a necessity to make a successful academic partnership, because without such things the balance of commitment would be skewed. Students would be expected to commit themselves to a school many times living there, put in hours of scholarly work and then never being provided warm water, power, and heated buildings. Without the heating plant and those who dedicate their lives working as a part of it, a successful academic partnership would be nearly unobtainable.

 The services that the Geneseo facilities provide are related to Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild. In Butler’s story, the Terrans (humans) have long ago moved to a planet inhabited by a native species called Tlics. There is a partnership that unfolds between the Humans and the Tlic; in exchange for working power, land, and protection the Tlic asks that Humans become hosts for their children. The Tlic can no longer have children themselves so they must use other creatures to harbor their child as it develops. In exchange for this service the humans are allowed to remain on the Tlic planet and live their lives. One Tlic named T’Gatoi strikes up one of these deals with the narrator, Gan. “ Only she and her political faction stood between us and the hordes who did not understand why there was a Preserve – why any Terran could not be courted, paid, drafted, in some way made available to them”. It is clear that T’Gatoi offers a great service but at a price, Gan’s body. This partnership, though unconventional, has a parallel to the facility staff here at Geneseo. The men and women who work in the heating plant, and the other general facility duties, provide a great service to the student body at Geneseo. Without these workers Geneseo, and its student body would not be able to function. In a similar fashion, without the work and protection of T’Gatoi, the Terrans and Gan wouldn’t be allowed to live their independent lives. However, there is a cost to these services, for Gan he must become a host for a child, for the students of Geneseo it is the price of tuition. One might ask: is this steep price to pay?

By asking this question one risks going down a much more complex discussion on whether collegiate education in the U.S is worth the bill one must pay. However, if one looks at this education within the context of Bloodchild it is a small price to pay. Gan had to pay for his family’s safety by giving his body to T’Gatoi, that is a much worse price than paying in cash. We have the privilege to have an excellent education for a reasonable price here at Geneseo. Although this education is still expensive to the average person, the fees are necessary in order to pay people like Rick Canarvis, and the other facility staff to perform excellent, and dedicated work. It is clear that the lesson learned from Bloodchild is a lesson that can act as a through line to public education. Every service comes at a price.

The Value of Integrative Learning

Integrative learning allows students to use their outside knowledge, such as books they have read, and relate them to what they are learning at the current moment. Integrative learning as defined by the AAC&U is “..occur as learners address real-world problems, unscripted and sufficiently broad, to require multiple areas of knowledge and multiple modes of inquiry, offering multiple solutions and benefiting from multiple perspectives.” Integrative learning plays an important role in daily life as people learn more about different concepts and allows them to relate to previous knowledge that they have, as well as use it to understand the concept. As I have written this essay, it allows me to practice integrative learning using different sources and different perspectives to think and write about, especially by using the Facilities Service and the Heating Plant web pages, and Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”.

There are many elements that Geneseo has helping contribute to the academic partnership between the school and the students. One of those elements is the Facilities Services. The Facilities Services contribute a lot which some students don’t even realize, such as vacuuming all the buildings everyday, making sure that everything is clean for the students to use, and making sure that everything is safe in every way.  As the web page for the Facilities Services states, they provide “…quality maintenance services that assure safe, reliable, aesthetically pleasing buildings and grounds.” This plays a large part in the partnership since the department helps keep everything running and operational so that students can use the resources to their full abilities. As well, the Facilities Services, as Karen Rockhill states, enjoy seeing the students of Geneseo grow and graduate, as well as getting to know the students they see on campus. This is an important aspect of the partnership as well since it allows the students to know who is running the campus behind the scenes, out of sight of the students on campus,  as well as how the students respond to how things are fixed through the trust the Facilities Services acquires through the relationship. As I develop a relationship with Facilities Services, I begin to notice the small things that these services do such as clean the bathrooms everyday and help clean the trash rooms to make sure that it does not become a nuisance to the students. Not only do the Facilities Services contribute a lot, they are hand in hand with the Heating Plant on campus. 

Being right in the middle of campus, behind the most frequented building, the Union, I have never fully noticed the heating plant. According to the heating plant website, “The Heating Plant unit is responsible for the management and operation of the Central Heating Plant, Campus Satellite Boiler System, campus-wide energy consumption and conservation, and the operation and maintenance of utility distribution systems throughout the College Campus.” Not only is what the heating plant responsible for important, the location of the heating plant plays a large role into how it runs. Due to the fact that the heating plant is in the middle of the campus, it is able to monitor all of the different areas of campus all in one area. According to the webpage, the heating plant has a staff that is working 24/7. This is important to the relationship that the students have with the institution because the staff is constantly working on several things, including power to the campus and the use of hot water in every building. This relationship was seen when the power outage had occurred on the North Side. It was also shown when the staff from the heating plant had been working around the clock to ensure that the repair had been fixed, that an outage would never happen again, and the North Side had electricity and power to do all that they had to.Not only does the Heating Plant work on its relationship with the students, it is also working on its relationship with the environment through “… the Heating Plant unit monitors the energy management system, calculates combustion efficiencies, tests chemicals used to treat boilers and responds to after-hours maintenance emergencies throughout campus.” This relationship is important since the work at the Heating Plant does impact the environment and could make it better or worse. I feel that I never fully noticed this building since it is hidden and not talked about as much, even though it is one of the most important buildings on campus, in my opinion.

When one thinks about the relationship of the Facilities Services and Heating Plant, they can relate it to “Bloodchild”, by Octavia Butler, as well as to the relationship a college student has with the services available to them. According to Butler’s story, there was an agreement signed several years before the story took place. This idea was implied throughout the entire story, especially when stated that “… my mother promised T’Gatoi one of her children.” This showcased an important role since it showed that this agreement was done before Gan was born and he played no part in it. It was later supported when it was stated that the only reason that Gan’s mother promised a child to T’Gatoi was because it was better than her child being paired with a complete stranger. However, as Gan saw new information come to light, the relationship changed with T’Gatoi and it made her realize that Gan deserves a say in every part of the relationship. This can relate to a student’s relationship to the Facilities Services because this relationship was established years before my class, which we agreed to be a part of this relationship, however students are not presented every aspect of the agreement. There is importance in pointing out that students who attend the university agreed to the relationship and dynamic, while in the story, the agreement wasn’t a choice for the Terrans, and they had to comply with it despite not knowing fully what it is. This caused an issue between Gann and T’Gatoi, since it was expected of everyone to be okay with everything despite not knowing the full story. As I learned more about the role the Facilities Services play, I feel that my perspective and appreciation changed since it allows me to understand and know what they do to help students succeed at Geneseo. 

When someone thinks of the Heating Plant and Facility Services, they may not automatically think that these services play a role in the academic relationship between a student and the college they attend. As one looks at this relationship, they may look at different sources such as the Facility Services information page and look at the responsibilities of the Heating Plant. When I first looked at the webpage, it was surprising how much these services do for the student body, yet do not get the recognition that I believe they deserve. Also, while I was reading the web page for the Heating Plant, I felt amazed that the Heating Plant is doing their part in helping the Earth through the monitoring of energy usage on campus, as well as the conservation efforts they make. I now have a different outlook on the Facilities Services and the Heating Plant, which allows me to appreciate everything they do for the students.

Life’s Integrative Lessons : SUNY Geneseo Edition

According to the video of the SUNY Geneseo’s Facilities Services Department, they provide “quality maintenance services that assure safe, reliable, aesthetically pleasing building and grounds.” To me that means their services are essential towards the functioning of the school. Brandon Schmitt, a cleaner who works at SUNY Geneseo, mentioned how he has a future in the cleaning position which he wasn’t expecting when he first got involved. I feel like the image that is given by the Facilities Services is they give people a chance to have an opportunity at a life of a secured position. They create the impression of an organization that is willing to give help when needed and teach to anyone who wants to learn. Teaching students will give them the opportunity to focus on something productive as well as having a successful career in that field, if they choose. 

The employees contribute to academic partnership by first being great human beings and with that they help students find them self by allowing them room to grow as individuals. According to the Heating Plant page “The Heating Plant unit is charged with the responsibility of providing service utilities in an economic, efficient, safe and timely manner.” The workers of the heating plant dedicate twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week to monitor the heating plant making sure that us students are able to have a safe and comfortable living space. I had noticed the heating plant building before, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it simply because I thought it did not concern me because I had no classes there. Now learning about it, I feel it was an ignorant thought, but ignorant due to the fact that I didn’t take the time to learn about my surroundings. But since learning I can say I am incredibly grateful for the time put in from all the employees and commodities involved.  

When I think about the connection with the partnership with facilities planning at Geneseo it makes me see “Bloodchild” in a different light. I realize that the Facilities Services at Geneseo are willing to give any student, willing, a chance to learn and become something more. It made me realize that’s what T’Gatoi lacked. She lacked certain aspects of being a good leader. “I chose you. I believed you had grown to choose me.” The conversation to me shows the great aspects of a leader that T’Gatoi showed which was choosing someone to teach. Just like the Facility Services choosing young adults to work alongside them and eventually branch out on their own. But unlike the Facilities Services T’Gatoi didn’t allow Gan to lead for himself.  If I were to join the Facilities Services community, after going through training I would feel more confident in myself and more welcomed if I were able to do the job I learned on my own. At first T’Gatoi didn’t allow the person she chose to lead, if T’Gatoi had continued with her controlling and defensive tendencies it might have eventually crippled Gans growth and ability to learn. However, Gan stands up for himself by expressing, “There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” (Butler, 26) After he expressed that, T’Gatoi took a step back. As Gan noticed the reasoning behind the irrational decisions as well as the lack of dependence on him, was because of the fear T’Gatoi had developed because of her own experience with the world. As an educator, teacher, or anyone in an authoritative position, it is important to let the student/observer to grow and learn on their own. 

To integrate means to unite, bring together as well as incorporate. As a human race we would not be where we are today if it weren’t for integrating all aspects of life, whether it’s music, dance, films or anything else; the question of does integrative learning have anything to do with the process regarding this heating plant essay, yes. As Steve Prince said in the video “the most important part of this project is not the product, it’s the process.” It’s important to keep in mind everyone does everything for a reason, we are all different for a reason and because we are all unique individuals, we bring something different to the table. Though we may not see eye to eye and may even disagree with what another person has to say, we must at least be conscious of the way we react.

Bloodchild Essay Rewrite

As college students, we are given vast amounts of information about everything from scholarships to changes in clubs and programs. When you factor in our academic responsibilities, the vast topics of discussion among the college administration can become quite overwhelming. While greatly impacting our academic and daily lives, it is not always reasonable to expect us to be able to have well informed opinions on every one of these topics. On occasion it is best to delegate these decisions to someone we trust. For instance, the transition to online education has led to many tough decisions. Yet, I trust the college because it is run by well-educated staff that specialize in making the best decisions for us as college students. The President of SUNY Geneseo, Denise Battles writes in an email addressed to the students, “We believe these difficult decisions represent the best way to minimize the potential spread of the virus within the campus community and keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.” The statement shows that SUNY Geneseo’s mission is to make decisions with the student in mind, further exemplifying why us students have trust in the system. While it is still important to stay relatively informed on these matters, sometimes it is best to leave it to the professionals; a lesson learned by the investigative character, Gan, in the story “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. In Butler’s story, the teenager is put in a position to make a very adultlike decision, on a matter of which he doesn’t fully understand; the impregnation of the males in his own species by the Tlic. He does his best to educate himself, but he does not fully understand the gravity of his decision. His relationship with the persuasive character, T’Gatoi, shows many similarities to the one shared between a student and their school. T’Gatoi has a position of power that allows her to fully understand the situation that Gan is too naive to accept. Gan realizes in the end that this decision is bigger than himself. As a college student, I find Gan’s ability to trust T’Gatoi very similar to the trust I have in my college. Knowing when to delegate a decision is extremely important in order to get through life. Yet, knowing who to put your trust in is even more important.

In the story, Gan must make an incredibly difficult decision for someone of his age to make. The decision about the impregnation, however, is of much greater consequence than he realizes. Part of this is due to his inexperience in the world; Gan has only recently come of age of maturity, according to the definitions of adulthood in his society. He judges the situation at hand with the experiences and information he has received up to that point. Unfortunately, this includes the witness of a botched birth. When the Tlic mother is not present for the birth, it is an extremely painful, and gruesome experience for the Terran. With this image in mind, Gan is terrified which leads him to make the decision of not going through with his own birth. In his own words, “I knew birth was painful and bloody, no matter what. But this was something else, something worse. And I wasn’t ready to see it. Maybe I never would be.” As a college student, I can relate this back to my own experiences of enrolling in college itself. I utilized various sources to gather the information I could on the college. For example, from this excerpt from the Geneseo mission statement, “The entire College community works together to advance knowledge and inspire students to be socially responsible and globally aware citizens who are prepared for an enriched life and success in the world.”, I was able to generalize the college’s expectations of a student. After visiting a great deal of other websites, I was able to get a good understanding of how the college is run. However, after coming to college, there are new concerns that I didn’t know to look at before. Such as, do the building have air conditioning? How is stress and depression among students dealt with? How are exams split up? After being enrolled at SUNY Geneseo for almost two semesters, the concerns I had before enrolling and after enrolling are different due to my experiences, similar to Gan. I have my opinions on how all of those questions should be answered, yet there is obviously information that I’m missing in order to make a good choice. This is where students benefit from the expertise of college officials.

 The trust put into the college officials is due to their ability to make the best decisions for us students. In Gan’s case, his “college official” is represented by T’Gatoi. T’Gatoi is a Tlic politician who possesses information that Gan is missing in order to make the smart decision. While the Tlic do use the Terran for the birth of their offspring, the Terran also need the Tlic for protection on their alien planet. As Gan puts it, “Only she (T’Gatoi) and her political faction stood between us and the hordes who did not understand why there was a Preserve.” T’Gatoi makes decisions for the Terran people in their best interest, even though the humans, especially Gan, do not see it this way. T’Gatoi’s ability to weigh the risks and rewards of the rules in place comes from her vast knowledge of the topic. For this reason, she was chosen to be the political leader of the relations between the Terran and the Tlic. College officials are similar in this way. These officials are hired for their ability to think out the options and using their vast knowledge on topics that regard college students. As previously mentioned, the transition to online school has been uncharted territory for everyone. The college has been put in charge of lessening the impact on our education, while ensuring everyone is taken care of. In order to do so, the college needed to weigh out their options and make important decisions, even if they are unpopular. One of these unpopular decisions was to not allow people to come back to campus unless absolutely necessary. As students, we see this as extremely unfair considering we paid for room and board. Nonetheless, the decision to not allow students to come back was made for our own good. The college recognized the risks, which included the fear of spreading the disease, and compared them with the rewards of allowing students to come back. The outcome of the debate was that it was not a good idea. The college recognized that they would receive backlash from this decision; nonetheless, it was still the right decision. To keep the students somewhat happy, they transferred our room and board to next semester.  The trust I have in the system comes from this ability to make the tough decisions. As Denise Battles, the president of SUNY Geneseo, puts it,  “the safety and well-being of our college community continues to be our highest priority.”

T’Gatoi and the Geneseo college officials gain the trust of Gan and the students, respectively, by showing concern for their success in life. There is a degree of tough love in both situations, but in the end the decisions were made for our own good. As young, inexperienced persons in our societies, it is not always possible for us to see the bigger picture. With the limited experiences we have in comparison to T’Gatoi and the college officials, we need to know when to listen to the people we trust. However, the importance of choosing the right people to trust may be the most important lesson of all. Gan came to realize that T’Gatoi only wants what’s best for him, which is why he took her advice to go through with the pregnancy at the end of the story. The lessons learned by Gan can be used by every college student in regards to the academic partnership between them and their college.

Bloodchild Essay

As explained by the author, the story Bloodchild is “a story about paying the rent.” (Butler, 31) However, the story shows a rollercoaster of emotion and growth form main character Gan. At the beginning you see Gan of the story I noticed how Gan was more timid. He’s shown to be very observant, but towards the end of the story Gan showed growth by speaking his mind and making choices he wasn’t able to fathom at the beginning of the story.  The older I get; I take into consideration the responsibilities that come with every decision I make. Although I am still young, I’ve had important life lessons involving the different people I’ve bumped into. Like T’gatoi, there may be people who recognize my loyalty and try to take advantage of a round persons innocence and use it for their own happiness. But as I become more mature like Gan, I’ve learned to weigh risk and do what is best for me while still being the best young adult I can be. 

Everyone has something that defines them, also known as their own identity. Throughout the story “Bloodchild”, we see the main character and narrator Gan, working to find his own identity.  After being chosen by T’gatoi, leader of the preserve, Gan finds himself in a complicated position when T’gatoi controls him. Although Gan seems to be her first choice, T’gatoi seems to excessively exercise the loyalty in which Gan has towards her. We see Gan constantly being pushed past his limits. When Gan sees the experience, he will soon take part in going badly, it makes him question his future choices. He becomes unsure of how he would pursue his upcoming task. “I knew what I had to do, so what to expect. I had been told my life. I felt the familiar sting, narcotic, mildly pleasant.” (Butler, 27) He is able to come to terms with the responsibilities that come with becoming older.  

I believe an important lesson Gan learned was standing up for himself. There will be times where an authoritative figure tells you what to do and going against that will be a hard decision, but it’ll eventually mold you into being a better version of yourself. For me, the process of picking a college was difficult to say the least, and there were a lot of opinions. I’m grateful for all the help that I received but I’m also proud of myself for being able to simply listen and take into consideration what everyone had to say, but ultimately make my own decision. When it all comes down to it, it’s important to know what you want, and if you don’t know what you want it’s important to know what you don’t want. It’s important to stand for something. Gan stepping up and taking responsibility is the moment in which he showed the most growth. 

Coping on College Campuses

For most students, going to college is an experience unlike any other they have had in their lives so far. Students are faced with a myriad of new choices and decisions that they can make, usually on their own, for the first time. For many this freedom is exhilarating, and there is no shortage of clichés citing college as the “best four years of your life,” or as the place where students can grow up and transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. As these students are learning and developing, it can occur that these higher education institutions act as students’ parents in order to facilitate their moral growth in ways that the institutions approve. This doctrine is called in loco parentis. While its prevalence in colleges has significantly decreased in recent decades, some of its principles still appear in contemporary pieces of legislation and literature within higher education. For example, analyzing SUNY Geneseo’s Student Code of Conduct (S.C.C.) shows that the college is not completely divested of this ideology. At the same time, recent actions of other institutions wherein they use students’ cell phones to track them (Harwell) demonstrates more willingness to continue the legacy of in loco parentis. These events can be points of contention between college students and their institutions’ administration, with some students feeling uncomfortable in wake of such invasive technology. In turn, this strife can cause tension in the academic partnership that both students and admin are engaged in, as students surge up to defend what they perceive to be infringed rights. In seeking a solution, or at least guidance, students can turn to the protagonist of Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild,” Gan. While the title’s circumstances are very varied from those that college students encounter, many face similar struggles with regard to their relationship with authority. For Gan, it is his—and his race’s—relationship with the Tlic alien race. For college students, their institution’s administration is the authority. In attempts to reconcile with the troubling authority perceived by college students through the SCC, cell phone tracking, and in loco parentis in general, Gan’s experiences throughout “Bloodchild” can be a useful guide due to the similarities he experiences and the conclusions he realizes.  Those conclusions ultimately being that by consenting to join institutions, some freedoms are inherently being given up; however, that is no reason to not practice self-advocacy. 

            The first piece of legislation that poses perhaps the most concern is the SCC, particularly because we are all students at Geneseo. It has clear displays of in loco parentis, by explaining which rights and freedoms students are divested of as soon as even apply to Geneseo. The earliest examples are in Article I. There, it explains that the SCC is based on “behavioral standards and expectations,” (para. 3) in line with the college’s mission and values. Later on, in Article IV Section B, it enumerates behaviors deemed “antithetical” to Geneseo (para. 1). While many of these prohibited behaviors are also local, state, or federal crimes, the language here—as well as in earlier cited sections—implies that the college wishes to mold its students into adults with certain ethical values of which the college approves. This can trouble many students and is not dissimilar to the manner that the Tlic treat the Terrans on the Preserve. On page 8, Gan explains his relationship with T’Gatoi and how it could extend to all Tlic-Terran relations. Gan was promised to Gatoi before birth, admitting that she wanted to be involved in all his “phases of development” (p 8). In other words, she wished to have an active role molding Gan, a statement which reads as caring at best and manipulative at worst. Later in that paragraph, Gan extols the benefits of Tlic adopting young Terrans. Thus, in the beginning of the story, Gan seems appreciative of being ushered into adulthood with an overarching guiding hand, in the same way that higher education institutions enforce in loco parentis. Yet neither Gan nor the students of higher education, at this point, have a very developed concept of self-advocacy and how to enact it.  

            However, Gan’s views and opinions change in the wake of Lomas’ near death. This shift, especially when applied to other acts of in loco parentis perpetuated by colleges and universities, can be particularly useful to college students. One example was the subject of Drew Harwell’s article in The Washington Post; therein he detailed the increasingly widespread use of apps like SpotterEDU and Degree Analytics on college campuses to track students’ locations (Harwell, 2019). This information is used for attendance, and sometimes to calculate if a student’s mental health is declining (Harwell, 2019). Students in the article explain that this tracking is obliged, lest they want to face repercussions, and some fear self-advocacy because of the risk of ostracization (Harwell, 2019). This tracking software harks back to “Bloodchild” quite literally because Gan and Lomas are both forced to carry armbands with their names and those of the Tlic they belong to (p 11). What’s more, it is brought up throughout the narrative that Terrans are restricted to the Preserve unless they are brought outside by a Tlic. Both limitations on free movement are similar to the what students at colleges that employ tools like SpotterEDU and Degree Analytics must face. In all cases, there is a higher authority dictating where people can and cannot go in a manner that goes beyond solely law, and in both cases the impacted party has a limited capacity to promote their own well-being, lest they wish to be put in some endangerment. For students, not participating in programs like SpotterEDU could be disastrous for their education (Harwell, 2019). For Terrans, Gan is quick to note the “desperate eagerness” (p 5) that Tlic gazed upon him with, and that it “could so easily swallow us” (p 5). 

            Both the SCC and Harwell’s article describe how higher education institutions are attempting to enact the principles of in loco parentis, and the similarities between Gan’s experiences and those of college students have been enumerated. This begs the question of how Gan’s narrative can help college students, with understanding the rights they have given up, how to cope with that, and ultimately how to turn towards self-advocacy. The answer to this question lies within Gan’s existential crisis in the story’s last few pages. He questions whether he wants to bear Gatoi’s children after all, and even contemplates suicide with a banned firearm. First, it is important to recognize that, on some level the institutions, and their regulations, were ones that college students chose. Similarly, Gatoi explains that the Terrans fled from a situation where they would have been killed or enslaved by others (p 25), that the Terrans chose to settle with the Tlic. Butler herself propagates this in her afterword when she calls this “a story about paying the rent” (p 31). These excerpts mean that when entering a partnership, there are some rights that you must give up. Just as public school students have fewer privacy rights in school, colleges expect students to give somethings up. This is the risk of an academic partnership. That being said, some schools, like the ones Harwell writes about, ask students to give up more than SUNY Geneseo. At those institutions, there are some students who are willing and undisturbed by the actions of SpotterEDU, while others are deeply uncomfortable (Harwell, 2019). What’s more, some institutions allow students to opt-out of the programs (Harwell, 2019). These choices and behaviors are reflected throughout “Bloodchild,” mostly between Qui and Gan’s opinions and life choices. In the end, Gan consents to Gatoi and the role that was set out for him before he was born.

            However, Gan’s ultimate acceptance of his fate does not mean that for college students they should simply take all of their institutions’ policy and act on it happily. When Gan is still holding the illegal gun, he tells Gatoi that it should remain in the household to “save my life someday” (p 26). At the same time, when Gatoi advocates that Terrans should be prevented from seeing births, Gan dissents, arguing that everyone should be exposed to it. These examples demonstrate perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from Gan: the importance of fighting for your rights and beliefs. When students are faced with legislation and rules that are too restrictive, that seem too much like colleges’ taking a direct hand in their moral growth, they should contest and make strides towards a better situation. In “Bloodchild,” this self-advocacy is seen in two examples: Gatoi lets Gan keep the gun—effectively the authority figure is allowing the existence of something illicit because the argument in favor was well crafted—and Gan plants the idea in Gatoi’s mind of more public examples of Tlic births, by pressing the issue when it comes up. These are the rewards that Gan incurs for the risk he’s taken. 

            Gan’s experiences throughout “Bloodchild” can be analyzed by college students to help them understand more about the risk and rewards of an academic partnership, particularly in dealing with in loco parentis. In the face of authority on college campuses, it is important to first acknowledge that there are certain rights that students have given up by choosing to attend particular institutions. These are often enumerated in codes of conduct and are frequently more restrictive than what one would find outside of a campus. The severity also varies based on college, as Drew Harwell’s article explains in his investigation of tracking applications. Second, Gan’s story demonstrates that even if you do consent to the situation, it remains important to advocate for what you believe in. For SUNY Geneseo, this can come to fruition in many different ways. There are student organizations, like Student Senate—which creates, passes, and presents resolutions to College Senate to enact tangible change of campus legislation—that give students a legitimate outlet for grievances. At the same time, there has been an upcropping of social media accounts where students can lament their woes about anything regarding the school. Both mediums serve their individual purposes. In summation, “Bloodchild” and Gan’s growth throughout the book provide good lessons for emerging adults in colleges and universities of how to cope in the face of authority and seemingly unchangeable norms.  

The Strength of Transparency

As one signs a contract or makes an agreement, they want to be as specific as possible, as well as transparent. However, in society today, the ease and habit to be vague and unclear means that the one being unclear will benefit the most in the end. This idea flows through the Geneseo Mission Statement. Geneseo’s Mission statement is rather short and broad compared to other institutions and only suggests that Geneseo is a public, liberal arts college that commits to helping inspire students who will be ready to take on the world when they graduate as, “ socially responsible and globally aware citizens who are prepared for an enriched life and success in the world.” Geneseo’s statement being vague and unclear leaves a lot up for interpretation when a student is reading, and may cause confusion among the student body and faculty. This is very important especially when agreeing to something that is going to affect several generations in the future as demonstrated in Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler. As the story develops, Butler argues for transparency through Gan and T’Gatoi, where Gan argues that people should be involved and taught about events that happen in every stage of life in clear and explicit details, instead of having vague explanations of events, which can be argued for today in the real world, where the world faces many situations that details are being hidden from us.

Octavia Butler wrote the story of Bloodchild, as a way to help face a fear of hers as she was to adventure into the Peruvian Amazon, which she mentions in her afterword. Also, she states that the purpose of this story is that “…it’s a coming-of-age story” that utilizes all the information available to help Gan “…make a decision that will affect the rest of his life.” The idea of decisions affecting your life is visible since Gan is becoming old enough to make the decision on if he wants to become pregnant or if he doesn’t want to. This can change Gan’s life forever since it includes becoming implanted with an egg by T’Gatoi and him giving birth to new Tilcs. This becomes a tough decision for Gan because he had witnessed the trauma of a Tilc birth gone horribly wrong, which causes him fear. The decision that Gan has to make also plays into the partnership that he and T’Gatoi have with each other because Gan is meant to be seen as an adult, however,  can not make adult decisions in the partnership that he and T’ Gatoi have. This leads to Gan pointing out to T’Gatoi, that risk follows in every partnership that one partakes in, which appears when Gan states, “‘If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.’” (Butler 26) This shocks T’Gatoi to realize that Gan can finally think for himself and make the decisions that will impact him for the rest of his life, which allows her to come to terms that Gan is ready for implantation. As well, it makes T’Gatoi realize that Gan will fight for what is right and just to all Terrains throughout the Preserve.

This story can connect to how society expects several things that seem unreasonable to many people and populations, especially because of contracts that were signed generations before. This idea radiates in both current day society and in the story of Gan and T’Gatoi, since everyone in society expects that high school graduates go to college, based on an idea that became ideal generations ago, while Gan’s family expects him to serve T’Gatoi, because that is what has become normalized in society, which is shown in Bloodchild. This idea becomes more apparent when T’Gatoi states “‘We wait long years for you and teach you and join our families to yours.’” (Butler 24). However, the expectation of the Preserve leaves many Terrans in the dark about the process of birth the males must go through, which causes more fear and hesitation to those who want to be hosts. Gan realizes the fear himself when he witnesses a live birth of a Tilc, which had gone terribly wrong, which left him feeling fearful. 

The feeling of fear causes Gan to come to the conclusion that he does not want to participate in this practice, however, he changes his mind to make sure that his sister does not have to go through this. To T’Gatoi however, she feels that Gan has no reason to be feeling fear and hesitation since T’Gatoi has been explaining the process to Gan his entire life through both diagrams and lectures, which becomes apparent that they are not enough for Gan since it leaves him in the dark and leaves him asking for more in the partnership. Which someone entering an agreement wants, to have a fair share and to have transparency. These demands are met towards the end of the story when Gan states that Terrans should be, “‘Shown when we’re young kids, and shown more than once.’” (Butler 29) To many, they feel this expectation of how society should be especially when it comes to the national government, corporations, and especially institutions, such as colleges, since students do not want to enter into an institution and pay for it if they feel that the university is being transparent with them. 

As students long for transparency when attending a university, whether public or private, since they are taking the risk of spending a lot of money on education, which could provide amazing rewards at the end. When fighting for transparency, they use other college mission statements to show the transparency they want, such and the Citadel. The Citadel’s mission is very transparent and specific as it states that they are a college who has a mission to “educate and develop our students to become principled leaders” through the implementation of their core values, as well as provide an unique experience through their South Carolina Corps of Cadets program, which gives the students structure through the military lifestyle that the college has. The Citadel wants their students to leave with the best skills and helps prepare them for leadership positions they may receive in life, which is through the use of their four pillars. Also the idea that flows through Bloodchild, connects to universities expectations of students since administration expects the student to act as adults, however do not give the students enough space to fully grow into adults and take on risks, which will allow students to experience the world. This connects because when students agree to go to the university, they are signing a contract that has very specific ideas, yet these ideas aren’t fully explained or exposed to the students, which leaves them asking for communication and transparency. 

 

The Power of Conversation

The Geneseo Code of Conduct, while not on its surface, portrays the ideal learning process for its students. The Conduct Board represents the best situation for learning as noted in Article 4, “The conduct proceeding requires an open discussion rather than an adversarial debate.” The conduct board reveals that Geneseo creates an environment where the students and the board can have an open discussion. Even if the student’s actions do result in a consequence, the conversation was had that will promote deeper thinking and deeper reflection on behalf of the student. To the naysayers that still see this as a burdening process, I implore you to consider the statement, “The College is committed to providing due process to all students involved in the College conduct proceedings.” Due process is defined as the right to be heard. If the college truly wanted to punish its students, they would not create a space for open discussion wherein the student is encouraged to convey their side of the story. The lesson here is that you must be willing to take the less convenient route in life if you want to develop a deeper understanding of your feelings and the world around you. After all, we aren’t here to do what is easy, we are here to do what is right. By the same token, Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” argues that it is important to never underestimate the power of a conversation in which both parties are listening and are willing to delve deeper.

The learning process for the student is comparable to that of Gan’s in “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler. Similarly to Gan, as students we must peel back the surface layers to gain a deeper understanding of a situation to eventually learn from it. Before we seek to understand the learning process of Gan, we must first understand the world in which he lived. Gan and his family identified as the Terrans, or humans. Although there was a presence of humans, the planet that the Terrans inhabited was not Earth. In fact, this planet inhabited an alien-like species known as the Tlic. The Terrans were desperate for a place to live and the Tlic were desperate to reproduce their species. In light of their situations, the Tlic government and Terrans entered an agreement. One that provided the Terrans with protection given that they would provide a child to act as a host for Tlic reproduction.

In this scenario, Gan was responsible for hosting a child and was partnered with a Tlic government official by the name of T’Gatoi. Initially, Gan was excited to be a part of T’Gatoi’s life, and even saw it as an honor. While this may have been true, Gan had a different interpretation of this situation compared to his other family members. On page 6 it says, “T’Gatoi’s limbs closed around her… I had always found it comfortable to lie that way, but except for my older sister no one else in my family liked it. They said it made them feel caged.” With this, Gan reveals to the audience that he didn’t feel trapped with T’Gatoi, he was actually accepting of his relationship with her and in turn was ready to become the host for T’Gatoi.

Gan’s belief that he was ready to be become “pregnant” with T’Gatoi’s children was short lived, as he bore witness to his first Tlic birth when he had to aid Bram Lomas. It was during the birth that Gan became aware of its gruesome and painful nature, “His body convulsed with the first cut… I had never heard such sounds come from anything human” (15) This process frightened and scarred Gan, “I knew childbirth was painful… but this was something else, something worse… closing my eyes didn’t help.” At this point, nothing could reconcile Gan’s feeling about the childbirth. Directly following the birth, he had an argument with his brother Qui regarding whether or not he had a choice in being a host for the Tlic. This argument resulted in anger surrounding T’Gatoi and childbirth to arise in Gan, an anger that wasn’t present before. Allowing that resentment to build, obscured and clouded the conversation’s original purpose. The original purpose being a discussion, where both sides could voice their concerns and heard, similar to due process. But when Gan allowed anger to enter the conversation, he made up his mind what T’Gatoi was, and at that point there was no longer a space for both sides to be heard. At this point he believed T’Gatoi was dangerous and would ultimately hurt him, just like he witnessed with Bram Lomas. No true resolve can be reached when you put up a wall, you must be willing to express your emotions and engage in an active conversation.

In the argument Gan struggles with the possibility of childbirth and considers allowing his sister to fill his place. Although Gan ultimately decided to have T’Gatoi’s children, he carries some of his reservations and resentment into the impregnation process. During the impregnation, he made an inadvertent movement that harmed T’Gatoi, “I expected to be caged… When I wasn’t, I held on to her again, feeling oddly ashamed.” (Butler 27) This reveals that even with no prior experiences of feeling caged by T’Gatoi, he was holding on to his perceived notions and fear which ultimately left him feeling ashamed of himself. So, this begs the question, are we allowing our preconceived notions and suppressed emotions to corrupt our life experiences? After this process, T’Gatoi and Gan have a conversation that reveals Gan’s true feelings. “It wasn’t hate. I know what it was. I was afraid.” (Butler 28) Upon further reflection, Gan was able to peel back beyond the surface, and it’s worth noting that Gan’s realization about his true feelings only emerged from a conversation he was having with T’Gatoi. This process bears a striking resemblance to Conduct Board hearings. The hearings open the door for a conversation to be had, and by actively listening, you may be able to understand why you acted the way you did. And it’s through understanding these actions that we can move forward.

Through Bloodchild, we were able to bear witness to Gan’s learning process which included the convenient measures Gan was willing to take. Regardless of its subconscious or conscious nature, by and settling for what emotions lied at the surface and not initially unpacking his feelings, Gan embarked on the easy path. Some of you may be asking yourself, “Can someone really be held accountable for their subconscious behavior?” The answer is yes, because when you plan to engage in an agreement, you owe it to yourself and the people around you to reflect on the emotions that guide your decisions. In this case, Gan exchanged the convenience of avoiding his true feelings with hurting T’Gatoi with his preconceived notions.

The sentiment of doing what is right, rather than what is easy is prevalent in today’s age more than ever. In a world where our opinions have become polarizing, is it important to maintain an open conversation that both parties can learn from. Today, it is very easy to surround yourself with likeminded people, listen to the same news stations and bury yourself deeper into your own ideas. But its here that I urge you to stay informed, branch out, and enter a conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint than your own and be open during the conversations. If we continue to avoid the important conversations, we will become rooted in our preconceived notions that may ultimately insight fear and resentment. Do I think that we will all share the same opinion one day? No, and we shouldn’t because our ideas and beliefs should be ever changing as engage in meaningful conversation. But I do believe that those conversations and a willingness to listen will change the world around us for the better.

Bloodchild and its Influence on Students

“Bloodchild”, a short story written by Octavia Butler, shows the reflective process of the protagonist, Gan, as he adjusts to hardships and inequalities in his environment. The lack of trust and abuse of power from those around him alter Gan’s thought process and cause him to analyze the reasons for the disruption of power. Similarly, Drew Harwell’s article, “Colleges are Turning Students’ Phones into Surveillance Machines, Tracking the Locations of Hundreds of Thousands”, was written to describe the inequalities between a college administration and their students. Both sources discuss a lack of trust and an issue with power, but ultimately teach college students about the risks and rewards of academic partnership by acknowledging that some activities are necessary, although not ideal.

In “Bloodchild”, issues with trust and power help Gan become more aware of larger issues. Gan grows up with the knowledge that he will have to carry a child for family friend T’Gatoi. T’Gatoi is a more powerful species than Gan and his family and Gan was given no option in this matter. In fact, he was born for the purpose of being T’Gatoi’s, as all Terrans must provide someone to carry the Tlic’s children because they offered Terrans land and protection years ago. Although this situation did not bother him initially, this all changed when Gan witnessed a birth gone wrong and heard stories from other experiences. He realized the dangers associated with giving birth and how unfair it was to expect him to deliver T’Gatoi’s children with so many risks involved. Eventually, he agrees to carry the children but offers conditions that make his relationship with T’Gatoi equal, because “there is risk in dealing with a partner”(Butler, 26) . Gan’s reflective process involved acknowledging the reasons for not wanting to bear T’Gatoi’s children, but ultimately allowing it because it was necessary for both parties. Gan’s people had agreed to surrender their bodies to help the Tlic reproduce and he knows that someone will have to complete this job. Although Gan initially did not consent to carrying children, he understands the rule was put in place to benefit both the Tlic and the Terrans.

 Drew Harwell’s article, “Colleges are Turning Students’ Phones into Surveillance Machines, Tracking the Locations of Hundreds of Thousands” discusses an incident that occured at Syracuse University, where students were being monitored from their cell phone in an effort to increase attendance in the classrooms. Most students were unhappy with this behavior and thought of it as lack of privacy. Like Gan in “Bloodchild”, the students saw a lack of trust and an abuse of power when it became mandatory to use the monitor app.  If the administration trusted the students, they would allow them to attend classes on their own time. In this scenario, the administration is using their power to benefit themselves. Tami Chievous, an athletic director at the university of Missouri, explains, “Students today have so many distractions…We have to make sure they’re doing the right thing”. The administration is clearly showing a lack of trust within the college and is enforcing their power onto the students. In addition, the students also were being forced to use this tracking app without their initial consent. If they decided not to download it they could lose credit by being counted as absent. This most likely was not made aware when they committed to their school. Like “Bloodchild” suggested, there are always risks when dealing with a partner. Administration faced a risk by requiring this app, but not without weighing the rewards.

By using Gan’s learning process, students have the potential to understand how trust and power relate to consent and how some actions that seem negative may actually be considered beneficial. Gan realizes that although he does not want to carry children, he must do so in order for the Tlic to repopulate and continue to protect them. Students can model this behavior. For example, the students in Harwell’s article deemed the tracking app to be a result of lack of trust and disliked it because they did not consent to being tracked. However, the app does bring in positive ideas. It can help people who suffer from mental health issues and also encourage students to attend class more regularly. The college would be more likely to help students who need it and ensure everyone is getting a quality education. There are many other scenarios where the people in power might set guidelines that are not ideal but very necessary. Homework, for example, is not enjoyable for most students but it is required because of the rewards of it. Every situation has varying degrees of risks and rewards, especially in academic partnership, and Gan can teach college students how to understand and analyze them.

            The character’s in “Bloodchild” are useful when recognizing the risks and rewards of academic partnership. By analyzing Gan’s reflective process of a hardship he faced, Gan offered advice to college students in multiple ways. His choices are ones that could be modeled by students to promote adequate conversations and decisions.