As the semester comes to an end, I have been reflecting on what I have learned over the course of the past couple of weeks. For one thing, I have learned how difficult it is to balance work, school, and taking care of my little brother – ultimately giving me a great sense of respect for working parents who decide to go back to college. The overall intensity of this semester has been well worth it, however. When I first sat down in the classroom on May 11, I had no idea what to expect. I looked around the room and did not recognize any faces (an unsurprising situation since I transferred). The awkward silence was shortly broken by Noel, who easily transitioned us into a comfortable setting where we could laugh around and joke while simultaneously be discussing something important. For me, an atmosphere such as this is much more conducive to learning and growing as a student. I feel as if students do not feel the need to hold back a question or comment; the fear of what other’s will think of them is greatly diminished by a sense of camaraderie as a class. And that is exactly how I felt among my peers and professor in this course.
In regards to the course content, I was challenged in many ways that I have not been challenged before. For starters, I have never had to write a memo, white paper, make an infographic, and an audio essay. Literally every assignment was something new and I am so grateful to have had an opportunity to experiment with these forms or writing for the public. I felt that with each new assignment, I was being more and more challenged. The audio essay, for example, will be the most difficult assignment for me strictly because I have never made one before and want to do well. Overall, I hope to take all of the information that I learned from what we did in class and apply it to other courses and even potential future careers.
Spending the semester focusing on one main topic was difficult at times, yet I learned a great deal about an issue that I had previously known little about. I had heard about adjuncts earlier this year around National Adjunct Day, however the extent of my knowledge was very shallow. Discussion, readings, and research enlightened me in many ways and I have found myself discussing the adjunct crisis with my co-workers, friends, and family. Interestingly, my parents were unaware of the term “adjuncts” and had no idea what the job entails. Showing them my white paper and infographics helped shed some light on the growing adjunct issue and I am very proud of the work that I have done in this class. Doing my research and for for the assignments has reshaped the way that I think about college faculty and higher education. While I found myself frustrated about how things are at times, I also felt a great sense of admiration for adjuncts. Their hardwork and dedication goes without notice and it really is a shame. I hope that their pay grade and conditions improve in the years to come, allowing them to provide the skills and education that they are so capable of. Additionally, then college students will get the education that they are paying for since adjuncts would be able to dedicate their full time and attention to their classes.
I owe a great deal of thanks to Noel and my classmates for making me think in ways that I had not touched before. Hearing the perspectives and opinions of my peers pushed me to understand things outside of myself and my own beliefs. The readings in general played an important role in doing just that, as did the blog posts.
Thank you all for your discussions and company over the past couple of weeks. I for one, learned a lot from you and Noel and found this course to be challenging in many ways, yet enjoyable. I hope that you have a great summer and maybe I’ll see you around campus sometime!