So this is my last blog entry and I face it with some regret. There’s a lot left to talk about – we’ve only just scratched the surface. Hopefully these conversations will carry over into your classes and you will continue to make deep connections to the material and to those around you.
But I thought now might be a good time to reflect on my thoughts on this whole experience – the blog, your amazing reactions to posts, the school year, and what comes next. And I will end by making you a promise and asking you to make one too.
After two months of focusing on Blink I think we can all see the benefits – and negatives –in thin slicing. We’ve covered quite a range of areas. There was a lot to dig into.
I found the blog to be inspirational in its own way. (Yes, I know I’m a geek.) It was wonderful to see students engaged with the material and each other, and the depth and number of posts was exciting. It was nice to see you all fully invested in this project and your own academic career. Some of the posts were mind-blowing with their insightfulness; their connections to society and self were wonderful to consider and contemplate. You helped me see the world through your eyes and I thank you for that.
And I greet the school year with a bit of trepidation. It is the end of the summer after all, and who likes that? In just three weeks, we’ll be back to work, churning through new material and barreling toward new goals and deadlines.
But I will also consider this oncoming semester as a new opportunity. Blink changed the way I think about things, the way I see things. I’ll let you in on a secret – though it’s probably not as much of a secret as I think.
Your instructors thin-slice you too.
We look at the students sitting in the back row, slouched in chairs, hoodies pulled down over faces, and think those students don’t care about school, grades, etc.
We look at the students who sit in the front row as the good students – only over-achievers sit in the front row, right?
And we look at students who never speak up in class as disengaged; we think their minds are a million miles away. They are happy to muddle through, caring enough to show up, but not enough to fully engage.
In other words, professors thin-slice too. We make snap judgments that are not always right. We are only human.
I’ve been fortunate to go through enough semesters to realize my assumptions are not always right. I have had straight A students who slouch their way through the semester; I’ve had amazing work come from the middle row; and I’ve had students who dutifully sit up front leave with a less than stellar grades.
So as I wrap up blogging for this year, I’ll make you this promise: I will NOT thin-slice. I will not put my biased judgments on you. I will not let previous experiences dictate the way I see you.
Will you promise me the same?
I hope so, because that is the only way we’re ever going to get beneath the surface and become the people – the scholars – we want to be.