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Final Reflection

abradycole's picture

I’ve been putting off writing this reflection because it means I’ve come to the end of this incredible experience. But seeing as it’s due in a couple of hours, I guess I should begin the end. Wow… I’m sitting here tearing up. Good lord, you guys are always making me cry.

How do I even begin to express my gratitude?

Each one of you has touched my heart. Each student and professor has played a role in this cluster that could not have been filled by anyone else. We’re irreplaceable because what we’ve created and what we’ve done this together this semester has come from us. I’ve never seen a group of students (or professors for that matter) put so much of themselves into their work. The experiences we’ve shared and the stories we’ve told have helped us build the trust and intimacy we needed to get to the emotional places we reached. I’ve struggled to find the right words to explain to other people what this 360 has meant to me. It’s been the most challenging semester emotionally, academically, and personally, and thanks to you, I have had the best support system with which to conquer it. I’m so grateful for the struggles we’ve gone through together. I know I’ve come out of it stronger and wiser.

The integration of these three courses has been life changing for me. The collaboration of our three awe-inspiring professors has been key to creating a collaborative and dynamic learning environment. Being in Sara’s class and being pushed by the social work students to think in a new and applied ways has broadened my learning in huge ways. Working with Kristin has given me the language I previously lacked to talk and write about things I’m passionate about. Riva gave us the tools to examine the ethics of representation in a way that has influenced my learning in all three of our courses. Anne has given me the confidence to put myself out into the world without fear of failure. The flexibility and responsiveness all of our professors have had to the group's needs has also been indicative of the value of the students' contributions. Having a plan and being willing and excited to adapt and change that plan depending on the evolving needs of the cluster makes it possible for the whole group to bring life to the curriculum.

I’ve never been so inspired to speak up everyday in the classroom. Even when I have valuable thoughts in other classes, it doesn’t always feel worth it to share them because I know they won’t be received the way I want them to be. Contributing to class discussions this semester has meant so much more than getting a good participation grade. It’s meant collaborating with people I care about to make the spaces we need to get to the places we want to go. It’s never felt so important to bring my whole self to a classroom, and it’s never felt so wrong to have an off day and not be able to be fully present. That guilt is a reminder of how important we each are to the success of our group. I think that’s why it’s felt so insular to me. Together we’ve invested so much, that bringing other people in is disappointing when they don’t have the same tools we have. I think part of the reason why we’ve resisted opening our cluster up to the world around us is because we recognize the precious thing we’ve created and we know that we probably won’t have another experience like this in our time at school. I’ve also realized that my drive to protect and keep this thing close to us can and should be transformed into the drive to share it. That’s what we should be doing in future semesters --- sharing our tools of listening by widening and deepening our bowls to create spaces for other people in our lives. By practicing the skills we’ve learned together, we’ll set the standard for other classrooms.

Anne sent me an article about pedagogy as midwifery and I’ve been reflecting on these two quotes in particular:

“Socrates tells him that his worry and frustration are “pains of labor”; Theaetetus is not void of a definition of knowledge but pregnant with one. Socrates then explains that he is the son of a midwife and that he is a midwife as well, except that he delivers young (wo)men of brain-children instead of delivering pregnant women of babies.”

“Socrates claims that education is not only about questions and answers (or any other methods that a teacher might employ) by which the student’s thinking is refined. It is just as much about creating the right conditions for education. Specifically, Socratic midwifery entails the principle that chief among those conditions that ‘prescribe the best soil for planting or sowing’ is the match of teacher and student— their relationship.” We’ve been matched so well together. The conflicts we’ve struggled through and have been so worried about, have given us important insight into ourselves that will help us move forward and go forth into the world in bigger and more profound ways.


Thank you so much for a semester that has challenged me and stretched my mind and fed my soul. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

<3 Amelia