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

You are here

Self Evaluation and Reflection: Rebecca Cook

rebeccamec's picture

Rebecca Cook

360 Cluster: Identity Matters

December 17, 2014


Self Evaluation and Reflection: Rebecca Cook



            This meeting was important for me-- I needed to decompress and review an experience like this one, which has altered my perspective, seemingly, forever. This course cluster is what I had hoped for in college, mainly developing interpersonal relationships with professors, finding a group in which I felt comfortable enough to express all of my thoughts and encourage others to express theirs, and using academic theories and perspectives to get a better sense of my own identity at this point in time. I wish all students in the liberal arts could find a sense of self through a group and project like this one.

            Perhaps the most important theme I discussed in our meeting was coming to terms with my ability to speak and to be silent. In these spaces, I felt comfortable calling on others and making an effort to maintain the classroom as a productive and positive one. I felt a lot like the photographer, not in the main action, but instead capturing a picture of the current situation, and feeling able to step in when needed. Because I’m not always as verbal as others in our group, I had the opportunity to look at the whole picture and notice if someone was uncomfortable or left out. In maintaining this identity, I also found time to look introspectively and write about matters that are, and especially were at the time, very important to me. They will kick me out of here next semester, but I am thankful for this renewed perspective on social situations as well as my own needs and inner thoughts. I can now take the space to think by myself without feeling guilty for not maintaining my extroversion and spending time with others.

            My perspective has also changed in that I have the facility of language and the historical knowledge to question and engage with controversial subjects. My passion for respecting identities can now be realized with a force for change--instead of getting angry, I know historically how stereotypes have emerged and how to best point out a new perspective in order to make someone feel dynamic and not insulted for their misunderstanding. With the concept of a listening bowl in mind, I can conceptualize conversations I have much like I can observe the big picture of social situations and adjust accordingly, in order to suit my needs and those of others.

            These courses have opened my eyes to new methods of communication through silent discussion, sharing quotations, allowing for silence, writing personal feelings, drawing feelings and identities, and not privileging any method of communication over another. While I gained a lot of skepticism throughout the course of the semester in institutions as a whole, especially after learning more about Bryn Mawr’s complicated past, I also feel accomplished in knowing all these ways to queer and crip the institution and classroom, reclaiming it and reversing the definition to serve who the institution inherently marginalizes. I aim to use these skills next semester, in the workplace, and, ideally, globally. I feel well equipped to be an actor for social change, more aware of my privilege than ever before.