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Self Evaluation and Reflection

aclark1's picture

End of the Semester Self-Reflection

       As an incoming freshman from the Philadelphia School District, I didn’t think I would be able to grasp every concept thrown during class. I expected everyone else to come from prestigious private schools and to have everything they needed in order to succeed at Bryn Mawr. But, through my ESEM, I was able to learn that everyone felt just as vulnerable as I did. Everyone was coming in at different levels. It was an interesting process learning about the contact zone, while swimming in a contact zone, which is essentially Bryn Mawr College. 


      Our ESEM involved many readings from some of the most influential writers, who included readings from Teju Cole to Paulo Freire. Each class, we would literally ground ourselves into the topics of ecological intelligence and identity. Through class discussions, focused on the readings, we would question how identity shaped the piece and how it affects the social world. I think the discussions really helped me learn to appreciate the exhilarating moment when my mind engages with an author's thoughts and a fellow classmate’s thought. The class itself taught me a lot. I learned a lot about my peers through personal testimonies, webby posts and main posts. I thought that we were going to just dig in the text until we found the one and only "true" meaning of a text (i.e. author’s purpose for writing the text) , however, I have grown to realized that solving isn’t void. There’s no doubt that the text provided weren’t complicated, but it was the individual interpretations from my peers, which brought the pieces to life. The varied insights to a work made everything so interesting and helped me to evolve personally. 


     I’ve never struggled with developing ideas or new concepts. I’ve always been a thinker and I think, personally, presenting the 10 Week Project showed that. I love learning and presenting what I’ve learned to I can teach others. So, having the project was actually something I looked forward to setting time aside for weekly, other than my weekly conferences. But, it was a different learning experience than my project with Farida. During my conferences with Professor Cohen, I was able to contain all of the small ideas and sharpened them into one main claim. I was also able to strengthen my critical analysis skills. Instead of just focusing on meanings, I was able to take the risk of thinking out the box and having more provocative thoughts which asked deeper questions revolved around “why". 


     While taking ESEM, I challenged myself to dig into the text we were reading, which helped me to learn to identify different types of writing styles and to make connections and develop deeper understandings. Writing has always been something that was very difficult for me. But, after taking this course with Professor Cohen, writing is no longer something that I fear, instead, writing has greatly opened my mind. My thoughts are now fluid and are more complex because I have learned how to sustain a solid claim. Another improvement is my ability to gather multiple arguments that support the same claim. Furthermore, learning how to properly cite credible references has significantly widened the scope of my research for stronger claims and arguments. To say the least, my writing is much more interesting than it used to be because my skill has been enhanced tremendously.