Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.
Many times throughout the semester I reached out for feedback from not only my friends and family but from my professor. The best example of this would be while working on my Definition Rewrite. It was the first of the three small essays we had to create and I hadn’t written since the year before. After my first conference with Professor Hodges, I found parts of the paper where I repeated myself and many times where I sounded unsure of my stance on the issue. This lead me to make sure that whenever I made a claim, I backed it up right after. I didn’t wait to do this later in the paragraph or never at all. I also got rid of any words that made me sound like I disagreed with my own beliefs so any readers were completely aware of the things I valued. I had a hard time detecting what was wrong with my essay by reading them in my head so I would ask my mom to read them out loud to me after I finished them. From there, I’d find obvious mistakes that I was surprised I didn’t notice before.
Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities.
While writing my Rebuttal Rewrite, I had to look into many views that differed from mine and try to put myself in their shoes. To argue well, you have to understand the other side as if it is your own. My topic, which was that high school should begin later, was extremely hard to find opposing beliefs on so I had to think outside of the box. Instead of researching articles that directly disagreed with me, I thought about some of the arguments I’ve heard against it in real life and decided to tackle those instead. I found studies where people tried to prove that waking up earlier is more beneficial or that after-school activities would be thrown off by later school start times. From there, I found ways to prove them wrong and further push that schools begin way too early. I am glad that I learned to value other people’s opinions in my essays by taking this class and I found out how to debate with them while also respecting them.
Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.
I had never written an essay based on a video before, so when I first received the Visual Rhetoric assignment, I thought it would be impossible. I knew that if I listened to the sound in the video I chose, I would never be able to write the paper as if I never heard it, so instead, I decided to complete the assignment without volume and then play it when I was finished and update anything accordingly. This took me by surprise because, by the time I was finished, I did not have to add much. Most of the instances I described were exactly what was occurring in the commercial and I was able to capture the message without any issues. I did this by taking the purpose, audience, and context clues into mind while analyzing each second of the clip. I could tell it was targeted toward fathers since every scene included dads and their daughters, so I assumed the lesson would be directed at them. From there, I put together why they were showing them these scenarios and what they would gain from it. Now I have a deeper understanding of the importance of every part of a video from costumes to the setting.
Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.
My 3,000-word Research Essay was created to convince readers that schools should start later for teenagers, and to do so I had to cite a lot of evidence. Not only did I have to back up each of my points with facts so I was credible, but I also needed to disprove the opposition and find sources that disagreed with them. Some of my claims were hard to prove and required me to think outside of the box to find articles with evidence that supported them. This was a challenge for me since the research has always been my least favorite part of writing an essay, but now that I took this course and found out easier ways to do so and how to correctly utilize and cite my sources, I’m not nearly as scared of it anymore. All of my essays in the future will be of better quality because I had this experience and I will continue to exercise the skills I have learned.
Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation.
Whenever I’d written essays in the past, I have always dreaded citing my sources and somehow constantly did it wrong. No matter what I typed into the citation generator, or even worse, came up with on my own, it never looked how it was supposed to. Well, because my Bibliography had to be full of every source I used, I was forced to not only learn how to correctly cite them but explain how I used each one. It was really difficult for me but I managed to not only improve my citation skills but understand the importance of each site that contributed to my essay as a whole. The more I practiced this, the easier it became and now I feel like I give my sources proper credit.
AT, I absolutely love your Reflective Statement. So many that I read are generic repetitions of boilerplate phrases that give no indication the student ever attended the course at all. Not yours!
Yours offers details of your personal experience that clearly illustrate your journey. Citing your own frustrations, fears, and ultimate triumphs, you give us a compelling argument for the value of having core values.
If you had found all the Core Values pointless, I’d have been just as impressed with your persuasive narrative, but the fact that you endorse their value is doubly satisfying. Thank you so much for taking the time to chronicle your semester’s work so transparently.
I’ve been honored to assist you in fine-tuning your voice. That’s all I can reasonably expect to accomplish in one semester. You leave here not just a better writer but a writer more confident in her own abilities. That makes me very happy.