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"The Times They Are A-Changing"

LizJ's picture

 A Self-Evaluation

Where did I begin?
I came into this class without having explored gender and sexuality academically. I was scared to experiment with my writing and had no idea of what I wanted to pursue as a major. That was my beginning.
How have I contributed?
I came into this class as a hand-raiser. Hand-raising has been ingrained in me ever since I can remember. Being a part of a class that encouraged open discussion without hand-raising was a very daunting task for me. At the beginning of the semester, I set a goal for myself. The goal was to speak up at least once every class. As I look back, I am pleased to say I was able to accomplish my goal. While, I may not have contributed something provocative or inspiring every time I opened my mouth, I was sincere in my spoken thoughts and ideas. As the semester progressed, speaking up became easier and easier, and even when I did not get a chance to say what I wanted to in class, I was able to post on the forum.
What role did I play?
I came into this class as a passive listener. While in our group dynamics I assumed many different roles, in the beginning, I was a follower. I listened to others intently and expressed the occasional question or comment directed to a peer or professor, but I did not initiate conversation. By the end, I like to think I became an active listener who got to know those around her through lively conversation that was both intellectual and entertaining. The role in which I am the most proud to have fulfilled is one of a leader. Though my role as a leader did not manifest itself in class, I came into it at our final group presentation meeting. The reason I am so proud to have led our group is because we ended up working cohesively, and all we needed was a little guidance!
How much effort did I give?
I came into this class not knowing what to expect from a scholarly online community. To be honest, my web postings were varied. Though it is apparent I put more effort in my postings from the weeks in which I found the subjects more engaging, I always felt I had something to add on the forum that I was not able to further explore verbally in class. There were some days when I would leave class and immediately post something on the forum because I was itching to keep the discussion flowing. I have spent anywhere between fifteen minutes to an hour on web postings. As for my essays, I was able to put a lot of time and effort into them because I cared about what I was writing. At first, having such open ended prompts was frustrating because we were asked to write about what we were interested in while at the same time encouraged to experiment with our writing styles. Therefore, the process in which I thought out my essays with what I was going to say and how I was going to say it took me much longer than I anticipated. I feel that my first essay reflects my irritation with my institutionalized writing style, but once I had talked to Anne and figured out a plan for my second essay, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I felt with the rest of my writing.
How was the quality?
I came into this class never fully satisfied with the quality of a final project. I am still not always completely satisfied, because I always think that if I had more time I could have made improvements. Interestingly enough, I thought most of my final paper and project submissions were well done. There’s nothing more delightful than to put out a finished product that you would be proud to have others read, which in the case of the Serendip website, is what it’s all about.
What have I learned?
I came into this class a strict follower to the traditional five-paragraph essay. I have learned that my writing does not have to be contained in a rigid structure to effectively get my point across. I have learned that the process of thinking through what I want to write, is just as, if not more, important than the writing itself. I have learned that generating ideas through questions can lead me to answers. I have learned to look at more than just words, and that images can sometimes tell stories that words cannot. I have learned that if I open myself up to new ideas, new people, and new methods, I can enjoy my learning, not be scared of it.
“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon

For the wheel's still in spin

And there's no tellin'
That it's namin'.

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin”
-“The Times They Are A-Changin” by Bob Dylan