Final Self-Reflective Essay

Throughout this semester, I have had a lot of time to self-reflect. How do I focus on key course concepts and relate them to the real world? What brings and binds people together? How have I developed my habits in thinkING? I think that this is the first course that I have taken that puts strong emphasis on the way that I think. Most classes encourage thought, but not necessarily expand your thinking to a deeper and more meaningful level. In terms of academics, the expansion of my thinking process has led me to question what the author is trying to portray and why it is striking my interes. I have learned that my thinking can expand past the initial thought and be more than just a fleeting moment, not only in academics but also in life. By this I mean that when having a conversation, I should not necessarily blurt out my initial thoughts, but present my side of an argument or topic from a more expanded and meaningful way, while simultaneously understanding someone else’s perspective. My thinking can also expand in regards to absorbing information. Instead of just analyzing the information laid in front of me, I can further my thinking process by deepening my thought process. By this I mean further questioning why the information is important, why it was included and how it can be beneficial to my learning and thought processes. 

This course has taught me quite a bit about the process of bringing and binding people together. Interactions between human beings with similar mindsets usually result in connection, or a binding or thoughts.  When learning about interactions between people and how these interactions bind them together, it has always been presented in a way that it was a primary source, a story from a person about how they connected with people. In Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” podcast is a reflection of her understanding of how people are torn apart by stereotypes. She says “they had become one thing in my mind” (9:18) in respects to creating a media fueled stereotype of a specific ethnicity. This single minded thinking will not allow people to come together, but rather separates us with our differences. I believe that this has broadened my perspective of bringing and binding people together by allowing me to see how thinking with stereotypes in mind will not allow me to truly connect with people beyond my initial thought of them. Another example of a way that this course has taught me more about bringing and binding people together is the discussion post “To The Forums! 2: Good Faith”. This discussion post narrowed down good faith practices to allow for more interactions with people unclouded by judgements or ill intentions. In the discussion, Beth McCoy includes a long list of good faith practices to keep in the back of your mind that allow for healthy interactions as life progresses. “Acknowledge without shame that which you don’t know. Once you do know that you don’t know something, that is when your responsibility to learn kicks in. ” This quote left in the discussion prompt by Beth McCoy has really changed the way that I interact with people, especially in my new college environment. To be able to understand that you do not understand something allows for room to ask questions and learn. This quote helps in regard to bringing and binding people together because if you do not know something about a culture, a sexuality or how someone identifies themselves, it allows room to acknowledge the fact that you are unaware and then learn in order to better your interactions with people. 

The concepts of harm and care have become more clear to me after taking this course. I have obtained a better understanding of how my thoughts and actions can either inflict harm or care based on how I consciously handle a situation. The To the Forums! 7: Disinformation and Harm, Information and Care discussion post in class allowed me to understand the differences between harm and care. The article that was in the discussion post, “5 ways to help stop the ‘infodemic’, the increasing misinformation about the coronavirus” gave great examples of differentiating harm and care. In the many months that this pandemic has taken over, misinformation about health safety and guidelines could be most harmful. This idea of misinformation connects with my real world adaptations of harm and care. If someone is misinformed in the real world, not just relating to the Corona-Virus, it could cause more harm than care. This basic set of rules when it comes to differentiating harm and care has given me the tools to be able to assess myself before an interaction or argument and be able to approach it in an empathetic and productive way in order to avoid creating a harmful situation. It is better to be informed rather than misinformed. In regards to Lilith’s Brood, I believe that harm and care play a large role in the beginning of the novel. With Lilith’s  lack of information regarding the Oankali, it creates a negative image of their people in her mind, because they are entirely strange to her. 

As I continue on into the void that is my college education, I think I have no other choice than to ‘prepare to change and be changed’. The habit of getting prepared to change and be changed is more so how willing I can be when it comes to change, whether or not I will stick my nose up in reluctance or allow for different views, thoughts and opinions to change my mindset. I feel as if in more recent years it is more likely that students across the country attending liberal arts schools are taking classes, much like this one, that address different types of controversial topics that face the world. Taking these types of classes can be incredibly enlightening if you open yourself up to the idea of learning these topics. This class in particular has allowed me to prepare to change and be changed by giving me a better sense of thought, especially when approaching controversial topics. To use empathy rather than react in a negative fashion. I also believe that the key course concepts circulating in this course have also allowed me to prepare to change and be changed. Ultimately, I feel as if it is very much so either sink or swim. Be progressive with thought, or remain close-minded. 

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