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Thank you, class

I just had one of those “I just need to start over” moments. My post was all over the place. I don’t know how much more together this one will be, but I’ll do what I can. I wanted to briefly talk about this class and how valuable it has been for me. I will always remember it in the ways it was challenging and interesting and confusing and overall one of the best experiences I’ve had. It could have been better. It could have been a lot better. If I had started the semester better in general, I might not have had my month-long February nervous breakdown. I might have contributed more in class, written more posts, and done better on those oral reports.     Not being able, really, to use excuses, my weaknesses stared me down. I felt intimidated by JGB and by the intelligence and eloquence of my classmates. I have the tendency to compare myself to others and therefore felt inadequate. But I’ve learned that this does absolutely nothing except waste time and energy. If you spend time feeling inadequate, then your chances of succeeding and improving decrease significantly. I’ve learned that it is better to remind yourself that you do have good ideas and you do have the ability to adequately articulate them.

It just takes willpower, diligence, and practice. It’s not easy for all of us, but it’s definitely possible. I was so thankful for Maria’s post about the lessons we can take from this class. I had had thoughts about most of what she said, but it was so nice to have clearly explained. Here are her main points, so we can see them again!

—Listen, form an opinion, defend it, and don’t be afraid to change it.

—Never, never, never, say, “I don’t know,” especially after you’ve said something that clearly indicates otherwise.

—Every presentation is a chance to take command of the class. Don’t let it go to waste.

—Say what you’re thinking, even if you’re not sure it’s a good idea, and recognize when you’ve said enough.

I feel as if I can relate to everything she wrote in that post. At first, as usual, it made me feel a little inadequate. But then I just decided that it’s so much better to just take it all as a learning experience. Maria’s list will always be there for me–for all of us. I can take it with me wherever I go and refer to it and I can add to it. Every failure or falter is an opportunity for growth. If your very intense teacher is asking you on the spot to articulate your ideas, to challenge yourself by taking a stance and defend it, it’s because he knows you are intelligent. He wants you to see it, too. He wants you to show him what he knows you’re capable of. And we should all want this for ourselves. We should want to do our very best. It is, though, easier said than done, and it is a constant battle.

This class will forever be remembered. It was my favorite in this crazy mess of a semester. It was the most interesting and exciting and caused me to have reading experiences I might never have had. And it opened up the gate to discovering related books that I want to read. It gave me a book-list–thanks again, Jenny! It gave me some of the most memorable discussions I’ve ever witnessed, so thank you, class.

(I’ll be posting more today, I promise.)

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