Writing this essay was something I’ve never had the chance to do before. I was completely stumped and couldn’t really think of any ideas to write about. I was stressed, but realizing that I am in a situation where I have to make my own decisions, I can’t rely on anybody helping me without taking the initiative to help myself. I decided to set up an appointment with Beth and go over the essay. Beth and I had a discussion, not just about my questions about the assignment, but also checking in on me as my college journey is just beginning. It has been overwhelming at times, and challenging to be in a new environment. After our meeting, I felt less concerned; I understand better what is expected of me. I was feeling more comfortable as a college student, and also as a student learning in her class. I wanted to put this out first, because I am still learning and adapting to my new environment. It’s going to take a while for me to get used to my new world, but recognizing the challenges and being open minded to suggestions will help make the rest of my writing more comprehendible. With that being said, something that was very new to me as a student was having a course epigraph. Not knowing what that meant, hearing it being brought up in class had me confused. I had analyzed the course epigraph over 50 times. The number 50 might seem high but as I’m writing this, I still am looking over the course epigraph trying to fully get a better understanding each time I read it. The course epigraph states, “My job is to notice…. and to notice that you can notice.” I didn’t really understand this epigraph until I spoke one on one with Beth. I believe that making that arrangement to speak with her about this assignment helped her understand that I am aware of how difficult college can be, but also that I am not alone. I was always afraid to go up to the teachers when I was younger to ask questions. I would just hope that people would ask questions in class and usually they did but now I am older and I have to start making my own decisions and start to find out my own curiosities, my own questions, and the only way I can solve problems is by making an initiative to go talk to Beth. Finding the confidence and being willing to be vulnerable will only help me throughout my college career; I must search for the answer and find help in getting it. Being proactive and a go-getter is something I will be doing more often in this class. I am ready and willing to ask those difficult questions and to be ready to grapple with the topics I might find challenging in this course.
As a multi racial student, I’ve been put into a new environment where my class is extremely diverse, something I’ve never witnessed before in education. This had me thinking all the way back from the September 8th notes, when the word “race” was being used. I hear about race a lot, not just in my own personal life, but also in my classes as well. Every class I’ve had at SUNY Geneseo has brought up and mentioned the definition of race, and it all being the same open ended answer. Some teachers used less details than others, but what had me curious in this class was what definition would be used. I noticed that Beth said she would provide us with the working definition of “race” that would be used in class. “Race, of course, has no basis in scientific fact, but that doesn’t mean that some scientists weren’t trying to use science to establish it as such.” This is derived from Heng, who was an author who specialized in social literacy and cultural encounters between societies in the period 500–1500 CE. Heng had a lot of credentials but so do a lot of other people who believe they know the definition of race and the issue surrounding it. As a student not knowing what race is on its own but also what this entails for the rest of the class had me being curious. Race is such a complex concept, and with Heng’s definition being given to us later on in class, it will be interesting to find the connection from Heng and use it with modern understandings. These discussions I believe will lead into the bigger question of Heng, race, and other concepts like faith, and tie that into medicine and literature. My curiosity in this class will always be high, as I get to learn something new every day, but I also get questioned at my own ability to comprehend such material. Being more than willing to be wrong and to be challenged will help me truly feel like I am a part of this class. I will always take what is being said and appreciate the constructive criticism, as this will help me graph the situation. I feel very comfortable showing my vulnerability in class, for example, Beth asked me a question to help answer the class discussion topic. I was so lost as I had no idea what the answer would be. Being called on and feeling comfortable to say I did not know instead of standing there, actually gave me confidence to communicate in a positive setting. I’m curious as to what this class will entail, what we will learn and how our readings will tie into the whole study of medicine. The real goal for me is to discuss and uncover the hardships of racial discrimination. My entire life has been based around issues with race and how my family has dealt with it. I’ve dealt with racial discrimination and prejudice from an early age. I’m hoping this class can teach me a better understanding of race and not only what it is but also see it from another perspective. This will hopefully teach me valuable lessons that I can use to help separate positive and negative interactions. I look forward to listening and learning from this class, so that I have the ability to use the information in real life settings. I cannot wait to see what is in store for me and staying curious and inquisitive will help me learn and also adapt to my new environment.