Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Self Reflection

Lavender_Gooms's picture

Elena Luedy

Professor Cohen



Self-Reflection/ Evaluation

            At the beginning of the semester, I was unsure of my writing, unsure of my classmates, and unsure of the professor. The transition to college was a big one, and I wasn’t 100% sure I was doing it right. I first warmed up to the class (including the professor), and later began to realize how exactly one was supposed to write an essay. In addition to the other classes I took this semester, I learned an incredible amount not only academically, but of myself as well. My classes connected well, learning about the beginning of human evolution, how the built environment affects the people that live in it, and how that shapes who we are today.

            The initial silence that greeted our class on the first day quickly evaporated, allowing room for us to bring in each of our unique experiences and formulate ideas based on what one another had been saying. I myself feel I was one of the people who had a lot to say in class, however I learned to allow others to speak as well, to listen to what they had brought to the discussion as well. I found this very useful for my writing, as often times I would be able to use the ideas someone else came up with to expand on in my essays. Towards the end of the semester, I began to go from E-SEM to lunch with my peers. I enjoyed being able to get to know my classmates out of the context of class, and to see what they were interested in. This was an easy way for my classmates and I to become friends, and I hope that we continue to have the discussions on ‘hot topics’ that we had in class.

            I’ll admit that the readings we had in class were not always the easiest to get through. One of the first readings we had were Bloodchild and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. These stories were just about as wild as they come, and I was starting to wonder if I had picked the right class. We started to move into the thought of slippage, something that made a bit more sense to me. Going on the Black at Bryn Mawr tour was truly an eye opening experience. They seem to gloss over the historic racism of the college when you are applying to the school, and then barely mention it once you start your classes. I found myself looking critically on all events, trying to find any slippage that I or others might have been a part of. As we started with Wild I was confused, this was a story very different to what we had been talking about in class. I found Cheryl Strayed a difficult person to relate to, she had gone through things that I could never imagine. I found this book uninteresting, almost like a reality TV show that was too painful to watch. As we moved on from Wild, I found the other articles becoming more interesting. Starting with All Over Creation, I found the class much more interesting. The book blended personal relationships and the environment that you sometimes forgot the message of the book was environmentally focused.

            Coming into the class I had never written a paper longer than a page or two. In high school, my teachers had always told us what to write, giving us an outline of what we should say in our essays. Coming into E-SEM with this as my only background was difficult. Writing a three page paper every week seemed like it would be the end of me. I would sit down and try to write the essay in one straight shot, often ending up with a hodge-podge of ideas that didn’t quite relate to each other. Meeting with my professor every other week was immensely helpful in figuring out how to really write an essay. I learned it was better to first outline what I wanted to say, so that I could make sure my essay followed a logical progression. Taking several writing intensive courses was difficult, however once I learned how to properly get my argument on paper I found this task much more manageable.

            E-SEM has taught me invaluable lessons in terms of in-class discussion and essay writing. These skills have already helped me in other areas of learning, and will continue to in my career at Bryn Mawr and beyond. Without E-SEM I would have struggled with many of my courses throughout the semester in terms of participation as well as essay writing. I hope to further expand on what I learned to become the best student I can be and maximize my potential at Bryn Mawr College and in life.