Black and White Thinking

By Yamila García

I have the tendency to think in extremes. “Black and white thinking,” as they call it. That is why when I don’t like something, I typically don’t like anything related to it and it blocks me completely. I totally lose interest and find it impossible to focus on it. It has happened to me several times, with people, activities, classes, etc… The last time it happened was during a recent semester and it was really challenging to pass the class. It was a class that I liked. It was a subject that I would typically enjoy. But I didn’t get to adapt to my professor and from there everything went uphill (it was a really hard climb). Not being able to adapt to my professor sometimes means that I am not able to follow my professor, adapt to their class format, or focus on the class for different reasons. It is never a quick transition, from one moment to the next, but more progressive, until I cross the door of the blockade, and there is no turning back.

When this semester started, I felt that I was on my way to that door in one of my classes. I couldn’t understand my professor and my first few weeks of learning were blank (just like my first quiz). I panicked of course but always proactively. I contacted my professor. I explained that I was not understanding and we talked about what I needed to understand. In the next class, I was very surprised to see that my professor had humbly taken my comments to make his class more understandable to me. I’m a fan of my professor now. Yes, “black and white” thinking again. It felt so good to be heard! Look how easy it is to close that door and make the semester something less overwhelming for people like me. I know I was not the only one in that class with the same difficulties.

I just want to say thank you to all the professors who listen to their students and allow themselves to grow from criticism because those are the ones that become unforgettable for us students. Not only do they teach us academic concepts but they also teach us by example, showing that we can always learn from everyone. Thank you for listening and not letting us through that door. You can’t even imagine the relief your flexibility gives us.