Below are two major reflections of mine within Lib100 and in regards to the class itself. I am really proud of how my thinking transformed, so I thought why not use my final blog post to embrace it.

This was written, with no intention of being submitted (I was embarrassed of my negativity) after the first few weeks of class:

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve entirely neglected my evidence journal. I didn’t feel like the formatting worked for me, particularly because it overwhelmed me each time I visited it, hoping to add something. Every time I came back to my evidence journal, I scrolled through it, and just stared at my computer until deciding to complete another assignment. When I was first introduced to the unconstrained nature of this class, I truly felt very excited. My high school was very forward-thinking and rejected the rigidness of traditional learning, so I felt that this prior experience would help me to succeed in this class. Surprisingly, I haven’t welcomed this approach as best as I initially intended to, or better yet, as best as I thought I would. Instead, I have been feeling so anxious. Observing my behavior and approach to my academics, I recognize that I struggle to apply different methods to different classes. It has become difficult for me to accept and embrace the flexibility of this class when my other classes insist upon such contrasting practices. I think this is especially because this class began halfway into the year, so I wasn’t able to acclimate to the differing demands of all my classes simultaneously. I have become dependent on Canvas because this is the only platform I have used to connect and check up on my class. After big chunks of time pass and I remember that I haven’t checked Slack or the class schedule document, I get overwhelmed, realizing that this means I’ve missed assignments or that I’m behind in some way, which causes me to feel guilty and anxious. I realize that Dr. Denlinger would discourage me from feeling this way, but I also understand that this self-criticism is engrained in the fabric of my thinking. As a high-achieving person and student, I’ve trained myself to aim for the best grade, not realizing that in doing this, I’m using these assessments to quantify my worth or competency. Without any way of measuring how “well” I’m doing in the class, I have found it very difficult to work on the assignments consistently and record evidence of my progress. Mainly because I’m not sure how to. I feel like there are so many sections of the evidence journal template, and I know that we don’t have to use the template in the exact format that it was given to us, but generally, I don’t know how to record my progress when all I’ve been doing is listening to my podcast, jotting down questions, and reading articles that relate to it. It seems like there are so many more things I should be doing based on the 12 pages of reflection noted within the journal template. I feel like there are also so many different resources that I’m supposed to be checking, all spread throughout different platforms that it becomes difficult to keep track of what to do. I have to check the google document schedule, and then also check slack, and then I have to visit the website to post blogs, but then I also have to do my weekly reflection, and then after that add to my evidence journal which is essentially a novel of weekly reflections, entirely separate from the google form. I love the tone of this class but this structure doesn’t feel supportive to me at all yet. It seems kind of impossible to make up work since so much is reflection oriented when there are weeks where I don’t feel like I have anything to reflect.

This, which sounds like a completely different person, was written earlier this week:

This class jolted me into reality in a way I would never have expected. I was overwhelmed by the structure of this class, and for quite a while, I denied these feelings. This resulted in a tremendous accumulation of my stress. My response to this was complete and utter anxiety. Having always aimed for the highest grades and for academic prosperity, I felt as though a part of my identity was invalid, causing me to feel disconnected to myself. These feelings that I was so uncomfortable with began to evolve, and I became more cognitive of my own approach to thought––specifically the way I have thought about myself both in the past and present. In doing so, I learned to take ownership over my inner monologue and appreciate myself for all that I could. I grew able to accept my discomforts, seeing them as components of who I am and how I was given the opportunity to learn more about myself as a student. This knowledge will do me infinite favors in my academic career, and in my life as a whole. At first, I saw my incompatibility with the class model and structure as faults of mine, but now, I feel so much more acquainted with my strengths and weaknesses. This is something I could not be more thankful for. Earlier on in this class, I kept feeling an anticipatory worry, like an impending doom, when I thought about the idea that I would have to grade myself. I was thinking so negatively and being so hard on myself, mindlessly assessing myself off of the non-abstract benchmarks I’ve grown accustumed to, thinking only a C or lower would be fair. I struggled to complete all of the assignments and fulfill all of the demands of this class, not because of their level of difficulty at all, but because the structure was incompatible with my learning style. Now, though, I have a completely different perspective, and feel more proud of myself and my work in this class than in any other class of mine purely because it challenged me to confront parts of myself that were deeply taxing. I can utilize this information in every aspect. I had to be vulnerable and honest with myself and accept that I felt lost. Verbalizing that, for me particularly, is anything but easy. However, I was forced to and in doing so I grew far closer to myself and looked inwards with a lens that was far more accepting. I also learned to reach out, and not to deal with my anxiety alone. In the past I have prioritized independence, and have neglected to ask for help in all contexts. My own self-judgement stifled my capacity for growth. At the point where I felt I had failed, feeling guilty, incapable, and needing guidance, really, I had succeeded. I found myself achieving self reflection, without being tasked to, letting go of my pride and of the standards I’d held myself to. I realize now that my discomfort in setting goals may have stemmed from my intuition that these goals would be inauthentic. In all honesty, the ones I wrote definitely were. I was completing items from a task sheet. Yet, in Lib100, reached an abundance of goals without a conscious awareness of having set them. This is something I’m very proud of. 

I’m happy I took this class. I learned a lot, beyond the bounds of research.

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