Intercultural Extraneity

Week 1: Some reflections on this week's prompts

Think of the best college course you’ve had. What made it so?

I believe that the makings of a great college course have to do with both subjective and objective aspects. Objective factors are what the lecturer brings to the table, and they include the following: their love and enthusiasm for the subject, unquestionable mastery of the area (which is evident in the ease with which they give explanations), visible effort and devotion to provide the best classes possible, great pedagogical skills and empathy.
The latter, subjective aspects, have to do with how the student feels about the course. These include the student’s attitude towards the subject matter, how they perceive the lecturer, how willing they are to work hard to achieve goals, and others; that is to say, intrinsic motivation plays a huge role in how we perceive a course, which is exponentially increased if we personally take a great interest in what is being taught.
Personally, even though my motivation and interest for the English language studies has weaned off, I find that there are at least as many great lecturers at our college as there are mediocre ones.

In general, what role, if any, do you think other students have in your own learning process?

I think that we are constantly, though mostly subconsciously, affected by the people around us, and that this especially holds true at places where merit is constantly measured, such as college. Firstly, we feel the need to strengthen and satisfy our ego by showing that we are as capable and as proficient as other students. This provides additional motivation for studying, learning and performing well, albeit it can have a detrimental effect in some cases where individuals experience insecurity.
When faced with daunting tasks, the sense of camaraderie and the knowledge that we are not alone in facing those tasks can also provide additional motivation and strength needed to overcome the challenge.
In a more direct way, properly collaborating with other students, functioning in a system where each individual’s weaknesses are mitigated by others’ strengths, and being a part of an information (when, what, how?) network are indisputable benefits. They provide a sense of security, greater motivation to take a risk, and motivation to contribute to the group’s cause.

College is a __________.

In my mind’s eyes, college can be seen as a filter. The image I conjure up is an image of a frequency filter, used to amplify or attenuate certain frequencies of a sound wave, but this can be elaborated in a simpler way.
It is an institution that forces us to shape ourselves so that we could achieve our goals and gain knowledge. Through this process, we are molded so that certain characteristics we have (parts of a frequency spectrum), which are considered positive by the societal sphere we belong to, are amplified, whereas others which are considered less beneficial are attenuated.
For example: aversion towards authority, disorganization and truancy get attenuated, while punctuality and perseverance get amplified. Going through such a process makes us more fit to complete goals which have been set before us, and makes us more alike other members of the community. The more discrepancy there is between our characteristics when we start this process, and the features we need to display when we complete the process, the more painful and harder this process is.
This could be worded in a much more eloquent way, and the intricacies of what I am trying to write about are much greater, as there are no purely positive or negative traits, and their causes and consequences are extremely complex.

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