The technical definition of risk is doing something that has the possibility of an unwanted consequence. These undesirable outcomes will never happen as long as one remains risk-averse. However, neither will any benefits. In reality, this mentality creates stagnation in your life. You begin to miss out on potential learning experiences and new ideas. Fears and anxiety creep into your life and become overwhelming. Such as caring too much about what others think and disappointing them. Unsure of who you are and where you want to go, and where you should be at this point. The anxiety increases until it is all-consuming. And now you are stuck.
You can only become unstuck by taking chances. This philosophy is best described in the course epigraph. “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” –Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild.” Trusting others is in itself a risk. It is challenging to let someone in and jeopardize your pride. However, a partnership will enhance your growth tenfold. During hardships, you must let people in and have a partnership.
In March 2020, the pandemic reached the United States. It affected SUNY Geneseo, and the university moved all classes to an online form. Tim Horton’s, a large Canadian Cafe and my workplace was shut down indefinitely due to low business. The pandemic affected millions more and some even worse. These outside forces made life feel more chaotic than ever. I have been struggling internally long before. However, this year felt different and was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Shutting down was the only option that felt safe. It felt like a part of myself genuinely died. The persona that I upheld throughout high school and part of freshman year fell. I did not know who I was anymore. I felt lonely, which is different from being alone. I expected everyone to understand what I was going through without me explicitly telling them. And when they did not, I felt slighted. Too embarrassed to ask for help and overly fearful of disappointing others, I felt stuck. This directly reflects the behavior of Gan’s brother Qui in the story “Blood Child.” Qui witnessed one of the Tlic during a birth eat and Terran and save their offspring. This was traumatizing for him.
After this, we see him frequently inebriated. He shut down and was not in tune with his emotions. His behavior was similar to their mother, who was on the opposite side of the spectrum. She was never intoxicated but did not like to express her feelings. In fact, she was upset when T’gatio made her get drunk. Gan knew not to mention her affectionate nature towards him while she was drunk. Neither one explicitly expressed their emotions or asks for help. I believe both characters did not have trust in the partnership. They felt alone and had terrible coping skills with the harsh realities. This can happen when you do not accept collaboration and cooperation in their life. In a situation such as these, it is essential to simply take a risk. A partnership is a risk, and so is trust. No one wants to appear dumb or weak. Society pushes for the individual to appear strong and optimistic. This sentiment is amplified in an academic and achievement setting such as college. No one wants to portray incompetence. Adding the social media aspect, this is drilled down into a struggling student’s psyche. Giving up on work seems like the safest option. But the assumption that everyone is better off and you’re the lowest on the totem pole is not correct. You may need to accept help and give yourself time. This will help you become unstuck and move forward. Sometimes life is hard, and you keep living.
This year was tough. I learned lessons from INTD 105 besides grammar, of course. When I was struggling, INTD 105 gave me the space to fail to look dumb and not give up on me. I taught me how to be the right partner and accept help. Partnership and community is something that should be valued more in our society.