The Ring Species

kobieta's picture

There is nothing I hate more than being proven wrong, and that’s exactly what Lit Kinds did this semester. Several times. Although I hate to admit that the class proved me wrong on several occasions on what I thought were my opinions and what makes me, me, these instances only made me a better thinker, a better writer, and overall a better learner, who is more open to changes.

                I also hate to reuse this metaphor, but in my final self-evaluation for my bio class with Wil Franklin, I mentioned that I was like the ending species in a ring species. Ring species are animals—mostly birds—that migrate in a circular pattern in a course of a time frame, like a year. During this migration pattern, they evolve into several different species until the time comes that they return to their starting point and find that although they resemble the creatures that started the journey, they are completely different species. I am that final species in my Bio class as I am in Lit Kinds.

                Gone is the girl who absolutely rejected the notion of horizontal learning, replaced by a student who doesn’t just accept it, but realizes she needs it. Gone is the girl who liked binaries and classifications, replaced by a woman comfortable in realizing that the lines will always be blurry and it’s ok to not be completely sure, to not be definite; that Science and Humanities have more in common than generally perceived. That too, is a great example for my ring species concept. I started the semester wanting to attempt to distinguish science and humanities, and ended up writing my final web event on the same topic, but with a different opinion.  In the past semester, I feel that I have learned and grown, in many aspects of myself as a student.

                I’ve never been shy at class discussions; I always find myself to be a prominent figure in these. This semester, however, I feel that I learned what it means to keep a conversation going. In my experiences in high school class discussions, the teacher is never part of the conversation and everyone has to talk; the conversation is always going. This semester, I learned how to be quiet when needed and let others talk, or similarly, talk when I feel extremely passionate about something. It seems to me that I tended to take an extreme side, no matter the subject or topic. Because of this, my contributions were always followed by others’ and in this way, I feel that I have initiated not only my own learning, but others’ as well.

                Similarly, during this semester, I found that I was first to submit many weeks and my posts often kicked off conversation. I found writing the posts and comments to be a great way to learn. Initially, I didn’t like them, mostly because I felt obligated to read all the posts and comments—something I was so not into. However, as I got to know the class participants, as I got more comfortable with the topics being discussed, as I felt more comfortable sharing my thoughts, and more importantly, as the topics got more and more interesting to me, I found that reading others’ posts and comments became easier and easier. It was no longer a chore, but sort of an unbreakable habit. It’s from reading and writing these posts that I did most learning—when I’ve had time to really think about and digest the topics being discussed. Ultimately, it's when I got comfortable breaking out of my comfort zones.

                In terms of reading, I learned how to read and analyze titles. I learned that I don’t mind reading online, but I still prefer reading physical books. Most importantly, I like sticking to books because I don’t appreciate radio shows that trick you into thinking the Earth is actually being attacked by Martians, HG Wells.

                Finally, I have grown as a writer. I started my semester by writing a paper that was completely in first-person point of view—something I was told never to do. From the beginning, I was already stepping out of my comfort zone. Although my next three papers were all in formats that I was very comfortable with, I like to think that the topics I wrote about were not. Additionally, I have never had to write a twelve-page paper before; that was something new, and something I found quite challenging, but was able to do. The writing I did this semester were all challenging—because they were topics that I was not comfortable with, because they were public, because my hand wasn’t held in the steps that led to the final drafts—but a challenge that I faced and finished regardless.

                I have come to enjoy this class way too much, as evident in my final presentation. There is still much to learn, but I have come a long way from the start of the semester. I have reached my starting point and have become a new species.