With a couple of Home Depot boxes, ranging in sizes, a white laundry hamper (which I purchased at the Clearance aisle at Walmart) and a suitcase full of aspirations, I embarked on a 6-hour car ride to a place I would call home for the next 4 years of my life. Coming from an underdeveloped high school for inner city students, I placed expectations of how college life would be. I envisioned all the things that college brochures are so good at promising and the immense amount of freedom to decide the path I found fit. Immediately, I could see the difference between high school and college. I enjoyed the ability to pick my classes, live on campus, and interact with my peers in a way I could never do with my past classmates. I felt intellectually challenged by those around me which pushed me to think beyond my original aspirations for the first semester of my freshman year. Despite having a memorable semester, I have also learned from the struggles I encouraged as a result of the decisions I made. I remember the words of wisdom my mentors and advisers gave me before departing for college. While most of them had to do with avoiding procrastination and mastering my time management skills, the reality was far from that. It all started with my inability to start.
This was mostly portrayed in Dr. McCoy’s Blackness, Love, and Justice English course. In the beginning of the semester, I looked forward to the things I would learn and the skills I would inquire as a result. I did not take into consideration the immense amount of thinkING it would involve to produce quality and rich assignments. My main struggle was keeping up with the “floating” deadlines that lingered at the back of my mind at the end of each day. To this day, I ask myself “Why did I choose to start the beginning of what I believed to be great at a later time”. It all comes back to the fear of starting which was mostly influenced by my procrastination and time management issues. I feared that what I would produce would not make sense, let alone connect to N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy. But, I was wrong. Throughout the duration of the semester, I successfully created blogs that encapsulated the social issues that are important to me as well as referenced examples in The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. It was an enlightening experience to share with my peers who also inspired me to think beyond my own ideas. In the middle of the semester, our midterm focused on writing about how N.K. Jemisin’s literature helped us fulfill the Geneseo’s GLOBE learning outcomes. At first, I was completely confused on what I would write about as I thought that I had accomplished nothing. I was honestly dreading the beginning of my essay (again my fear of starting overpowered my will to begin). It wasn’t until Dr. McCoy would call a group of student to the front of the classroom after class to remind us of the important of feedback that I realized the “start” of everything began now. With the help of my peers, I learned that we were all in this together (yes, I just made a reference to the High School Musical trilogy). I found comfort in the work of my peers and the conversations I would have with the majority of them about our common struggles and aspirations. This encouraged me to give up on my fears and deal with the overwhelming amount of tasks at hand.
One of the GLOBE learning outcomes establishes that Geneseo students should gain practice in “integrative inquiry,” defined in part as the ability to “synthesize multiple bodies of knowledge to address real-world problems and issues.” Through my blogging, I believe I have accomplished my mission interconnecting aspects of the trilogy to real-world issues that I am particularly passionate about. For example, in my first blog I talked about the environmental issues showcased in The Broken Earth trilogy. I asked myself if the Earth could really heal itself from all the human-inflicted damage it has experienced. After reading Dr. McCoy’s feedback, I learned that it could but it would also leave a scar behind. This got me thinkING about other issues that Jemisin incorporates in her writing. This inspired a blog about systematic oppression in the United States which reflected the experience of Orogenes in the The Fifth Season. Going off of that, I continued to write about prevalent topics that I found a personal connection to such as immigration, women empowerment, reproductive rights, and of course a lot of sustainability filled pieces. One of my favorites included research about Solarpunk which got me thinkING about the future of our Earth in a more hopeful manner than usual. I wrote about the nearby future than the present issues at hand. With the help of my peers, I was able to work collaboratively work towards new additions to my blogging page which I am specifically proud of. Those include my response to Sarah Bracy’s “the Connection Between Rocks and Social Justice”, LIVE IN ART, and GLOBE and Us. This course has opened the door for more academically challenged adventures to come. From the looks of it, my remaining 3 and a half years at Geneseo are looking bright and promising!