Growing… COVID-19, Technological Difficulties, and Becoming a Digital Humanist

This year has been a year of immense growth for me. I challenged myself with new extracurriculars, a heavier course load, and more difficult classes. I am proud to say that I have learned something new every day- whether I realized it or not. One of the classes that helped me grow the most was English 340. Before taking this class, I thought that every English class was discussion-based- that was the only experience I had- and did not realize the individuality of each three hundred level class. In 2019, I was unaware of the depth beyond the surface of my laptop. Little did I know regarding the effort and hard work that went into creating one of the most integral pieces in my Geneseo career. Overall, I am not a tech-savvy person, but after taking English 340 at SUNY Geneseo, I truly have felt more confident in my technological abilities. I am a sophomore childhood education major with a concentration in English, so I am used to group work, presentations, papers, and circle discussions. Because of my background, I was absolutely shocked at what I had signed up for. Last semester, I took a class that had the final project of creating a physical artist book and having a technological aspect and blog post. I struggled to create a technological piece for my book, which is located in the Wadsworth library and felt helpless when attempting to create an advanced piece of digital content. If someone were to tell me that I would be looking at the inside of my computer, navigating Anaconda, exploring terminal and my GUI, I would have said they were crazy. I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge regarding technology at the beginning of the semester, and now I am proud to say that I have taken an untraditional computer-based English class where I have grown into a digital humanist. 

My growth did not happen overnight. With every class, I struggled. I felt that I was always one (or ten) steps behind. Part of my progression into becoming more technologically savvy and growing as a human being was learning that it is okay to feel confused and that asking for help is not something to be embarrassed about. As the semester went on, I stopped saying “I’m sorry to bother you again…” and started saying “Thank you so much for helping me.” This was just one way my thoughts and perceptions changed throughout the semester. I also started to look at difficult tasks in a more positive light. Instead of seeing them with aggravation and confusion, I saw them as new challenges and ideas I would learn. 

This year has been a year of patience and pushing limits. I feel that I am not alone when I say that adjusting to online learning has been difficult, to say the least. After saying goodbye to my suitemates and friends, I had to pack up all of my things or have my parents drive back another seven hours to collect the rest of my belongings. This was an extremely stressful situation and I wish I had more time to cope with all of the madness around me. However, I have focused on the positives of quarantine and have used this time to my advantage. I am reading more, going on walks, painting, and even showing my mom my newfound technological skills thanks to English 340. I am extremely proud of my growth this year given the current situation we are in and encourage everyone to take time to learn new skills and do something to benefit themselves and others. 

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