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Carlos Figueroa

March 2, 2015
E-Porfolio
Reflective Essay
Throughout my first two terms in Freshman Inquiry
courses, I have experienced and learned about things that had
never crossed my mind before. I was also able to make
connections with the ideas I had already thought of before, for
example, several of the claims made about schooling in some of
the readings are characteristics of school in which I have
experienced.
One experience unique to my FRINQ class were the
observations I gathered by observing learning in the classroom.
This is something I had never done before and also helped me
understand how data is gathered, analyzed, and interpreted in
the social sciences. I realized that objectivity is often blurred and
hard to acquire in the social sciences as practices and the ideas
they entail are interpreted differently. Part of the objectivity in
social sciences is understanding that there is no one right way.
This was hard for me to understand because I also had never
heard the term ethnocentrism. I realized that I was judging
people and their cultures and practices based on my own cultural

values and traditions. It was interesting for me to note how most


of us like to believe that our culture practices are the right way to
do things. By learning about ethnocentrism and other cultures in
general, I was able to more fully appreciate the entire scope of
the diversity of human experience. One of the orienting concepts
of the social sciences is the understanding that all cultural
practices fit together and are coherent in the context of their
respective environments.
Spring term taught me how to critically analyze literature,
art, and poetry within the text itself. I learned to understand the
difference between connotation and denotation. Also, I learned in
literature and art that there is no right interpretation or
necessarily

viewers/readers

hidden
give

meaning

the

piece

and

that

meaning,

by

we

as

the

interpreting

evidence within the piece. I really liked this term because of all
the literature and art. And it helped me understand the
importance of aspects of literature and art such as word choice,
description, color, shading, and a lot of other tools used in these
forums to develop a certain experience within the reader/viewer.
Also, the Chris Burden pieces made me think about how I define
art and even how I believe art should be defined. I think the most
important thing I took away from this term is the idea of the

working thesis and in general how to write an essay. By not


following the rigid structure of an essay commonly used as the
standard it opens doors for more thinking than is done in the
standard essay. Also, the idea of a working thesis was new to me,
I always thought it about like you have a thesis and you stick to it
and the rest of the essay simply relies on evidence.
One thing I learned about my own academic goals and
values over the year is that I valued grades too highly. I was
always so worried about producing the numbers that would get
me good grades instead of just focusing on learning the concepts
that were presented in class.