so what?

For my Women’s and Gender Studies 310 class this semester, Race, Class and Gender, our final essay prompt asks us to discuss the importance of intersectionality and the course material in relation to our major(s) and our academic discipline(s). Although I spend a lot of time in that class thinking about the real world implications, I had never spent time reflecting on the ways in which it connected to my major. I was excited by this prompt, because immediately, so many ideas came to mind. When I sat down to begin writing this paper,  I was struck with the countless connections to this English 101 course. It was very clear to me that conversations about social justice and intersectionality connected in many ways to my English major and my goals in regards to it. Something I have appreciated about my major from day one here at Geneseo was its awareness of the value of interdisciplinarity, and understanding that disciplines are more connected than people often acknowledge. 

Although this is an English course, there are deep connections to many other disciplines around campus in the material that we are discussing and covering. This is something that I have noticed within many courses within the department as I progress through the major, but it is a big reason that I chose to enroll in this course in particular. I knew that this would be a course that I would value for reasons other than the growth it would provide me within my major. I knew that there would be value outside of the skills that I would gain within English as a discipline, and I knew that exposing myself to literature that discussed things people often shy away from talking about would allow me to learn information that my education may otherwise not expose me too. This semester certainly exposed me to ideas and conversations that I had not yet encountered within my education, and in many ways, this was problematic to me. Realizing that the history I have been exposed to avoided the harsh realities of the way that medicine’s history has horrifically harmed and abused black and minority communities was a wake up call. It made me question the education system and has made me feel that I need to continue to seek out courses that will provide me with perspectives I have not yet been exposed to. 

In class today as we were working on and discussing our final reflective essays, some of my peers with majors in STEM shared that although they entered this course expecting it to just be a requirement to complete, it ended up really shifting their perspective and understanding of the medical field. In my group, we discussed that science is often only seen in an extremely positive light, and that the dark past of medical history is pretty much ignored and erased as people progress through their schooling in these disciplines. Although a few people shared that they had entered this course to fulfill a requirement, it ended up opening their eyes to something incredibly relevant to their intended careers.

We have been talking about the importance of getting to the “so-what?” within our essays. Something I am grateful to this course for is the way that it teaches every student who takes it the importance of acknowledging information that is often ignored. My major is something I love and am extremely proud to be a part of, and this prompt I was assigned in my Women’s & Gender Studies course made me really reflect on why. Every student that enters a course like this one comes out with a new perspective and understanding of not only the material they have worked with, but of the attitudes with which to approach their own disciplinary, academic and career goals.

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