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Bdragon's picture

Dear Anne,

      I want to first thank you for being such a great professor, who wants to see their students become better students and people. You were the type of professor I came to Bryn Mawr for because you would challenge me, but at the same time you were understanding and supportive. I was nervous coming into this class because I always had a hard time in my English classes. My classes in high school were composed of usually 35 students, so I never had to participate that much. When we already told to sit in a small circle on the first day, I quickly felt intimidated because I assumed that I was already behind. I was very afraid of participating because I did not want to offend anyone and get a wrong impression of me.  When we told that we would have to turn in an essay every Friday it stressed me out, because I usually took much longer to write compared to my peers.  Then after writing the first essay, even though it was a personal one was liberating because I felt like I had a voice. Especially after meeting with you for our first conference I was excited to write more because you were interested in what I had to say. The reading was difficult for me at first, because I had mainly analyzed novels.

   While writing the essays at first it was difficult having to write a new essay every Friday, and it took me a while to choose a topic that I wanted to talk about. Then I learned that instead of creating an outline before writing the essay I should think while writing. Once I had all my thoughts in writing and I took a step back, I went back made my arguments more concise. I came to realize that made my writing more interesting because I did stay on a strict thesis allowing me to explore new different ideas. I have gotten more confidence in participating and voicing my opinion. This could be a combination of getting to know my classmates, but also because I’m slowly gotten rid of the irrational fear of talking in front of a group of intellectual people.  

   I learned so much about the flaws of western civilizations that I almost wish I had not in the first place. I usually knew that there were many things that America had to improve on, but it had never affected me personally so I brushed it aside. It has made me feel hopeless that I now see what is wrong in our society, but not able to do much about it.  At the time, it has inspired me what to create change, and I won’t save the world but I can still make some change. Writing the essays has to voice my opinion and be a more critical thinker.

      This class has also shown me the importance of education and creating contact zones. I think that the 6-week project was the best part of the class for me. Having to interview people that were first generation students allowed me to realize that I was not alone. This project got me involved with Adelante, and I found a passion with connecting with younger students to empower them to get a high education. I am now in the process applying for an internship with a non-profit program in my hometown that mentor high school first generation students into college. I don’t think that if I had done this project I would have realized how great of an issue this is and seen the lack of resources to address them. Meeting with the President of the First Goers club also showed me that there needs to be an institutional change for the lack of outreach to first-generation students on campus.  Not only did this class help me grow as a student, but also as a person as I have become more open-minded. Despite it having lots of essays and reading it has been one of my most rewarding classes this semester. It was a great way to begin my college journey and will carry on what I learned in this class in my education but in life as well. I look forward to keeping in touch with you!

Thanks for everything,