Bonds Formed on Tuesday Afternoons

BCM311, you have been the toughest class I have ever taken.  No exaggeration, no word of a lie.

When I stepped into my first BCM311 class I could never have predicted the turmoil that was to follow.  The truth is, this semester has been the hardest so far, regardless of my classes.  To combat increased mental illness, increased responsibility and a number of time-consuming opportunities as well as my regular university work, not to mention my paid work outside of uni, you could say it’s been a full-on semester. BCM311 has managed to make my class time both harder and more bearable all at once.

I would say I’ve cried in at least half of my classes, and they were just the ones I managed to turn up to.  It’s been exhilarating and draining, but overwhelmingly cathartic at the same time.  It doesn’t shy away from the big issues; in fact, it asks us to confront them in a way that we feel comfortable addressing them.  And for me, this was writing about them.

Writing was encouraged by my teacher, Kate, who emphasised and taught us about the power of narrative and the importance of sharing stories.  It supports and nurtures empathy, and it’s something I discovered first-hand through the class and its teaching methods.  Shying away from the traditional university format of “we talk, you listen”, Kate encouraged us to interact, discuss and even argue her teachings.  She gave us an avenue to bring our own interests into class and focus on what was important to us, and write about them in an academic setting.

The class and Kate also showed me how the system and I don’t always have to be at odds with each other.  Ever since primary school, we have been indoctrinated to believe that we are constantly at loggerheads with the system as we face looming deadlines and challenges.  How many kids have said that they hate school?  From what age?  No child, or adult for that matter, should look at an environment of learning and feel a sense of dread.  Whilst other classes in my BCM degree also carry similar values of throwing out the academic rulebook (including BCM112 and DIGC202), none have fought as actively against it as BCM311 has.  I’m so grateful to Kate for accepting me and all my issues as important enough to bend the system to me, rather than bending myself to fit the system.

Have you gathered by now that I’m not a fan of the system?

I’ve also had the most unexpected outcome of all – the formation of friendships.  New people have become close to me, teachers have become like family, and old friendships have been tested and become stronger.  I’ve learned how important it is to listen to friends, as they can see yourself in a light that you’ve never seen before.  Listen, learn and be supportive – it’s what I need, what my friends have taught me, and what this class has instilled into my very work ethic.

Thank you, BCM311.  I’ll see you next spring.


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