One of the communication challenges during the semester was that my DBC advisor seemed not to know anything about our independent study. This made it challenging to ask for accommodations or communicate when my individual expectations did not align with those DBC had for its students. It made me more hesitant to reach out to my DBC advisor for simple coding help when I was struggling because I felt like DBC and my advisors’ expectations were so much higher than what I felt like I could manage and I did not want to justify or feel insecure in the expectations I’d set for myself. Often I would turn to the DLRD folks because they were the most accessible for course and coding concerns, but then I worried I was putting an extra burden on them since surely there was someone more direct or appropriate to ask questions of. It was frustrating to try to discuss as a cohort ways to minimize the less meaningful parts of the DBC course – like the written reflection aspects which we also had to do in-person already – then have my advisor email me about incomplete/insufficient work, and feel like I was failing to meet expectations. And it was challenging, when I decided to not finish the work week 6 and not take the week 7 assessment, to feel responsible for explaining the plan or the new set of expectations when I did not know and did not feel like it was in my control to be making decisions. All I knew was that I could not commit more time in the next two weeks and I would have to simply deal with the consequences. I knew it was my responsibility to communicate that much information to him, but that did not feel like enough information for him to be able to do his job fully. He seemed to want to know what it would mean for me not to take the week 7 assessment, how he could support me and make it work for me, whether I was planning on taking it later and I was running on assumptions.
One of the recommendations I made during the semester that I think could help in this area was to keep the cohort together with one DBC advisor who would also understand our situation and unique engagement with the curriculum better. As I wrote in another blog post, I do, however, think it was valuable to be able to peer pair with other non-Davidson Devs. I would not want Davidson students clustering for advising to keep us from opportunities to engage with non-Davidson students.