After finally leaving high school for college I realized that writing papers was no longer just a two-day process. The way I have learned to articulate myself while writing at the college level is much higher than I could’ve previously imagined. Throughout each paper that I have written in my Writing Rhetoric and Discourse class it has taken me quite a few days, to a week, in order to get enough feedback. Then again I also feel that the professor has pushed me to go deeper into a subject rather than just skim what is off the top. Albeit my college writing career has just begun I feel as though I have moved leaps and bounds above my expectations, but still have plenty of room for improvement. DePaul University has taught me a great life long skill in such a short amount of time. Back in high school most assignments were reactionary. We would read a prompt and explain how we felt about it. Even with interesting topics I felt as though I was not actually accomplishing anything because who cares what some teenager has to say.
Well in college it is no longer the same, I am given a topic such as with the “It’s All About Chicken’s” paper and have to take all emotions out of it and build an argument without reactionary statements. This was challenging in the way that I had to think outside of the box. I had to present how Mark Lewis felt as though chickens were smart and amazing creatures while Susanne Langer felt that they are just animals who don’t think. It took a couple weeks to put the whole paper together and not just two nights of half effort. Not only though did I put in a lot of effort but so did my peers, who don’t even per say care what grade I get, helped me make my paper better. They help find those small errors in grammar and spelling while also asking questions if I didn’t explain enough. The peer edit process at the college level is much more in depth than high school. Most of the time peer review was just to make sure that everything was spelled right and you have proper punctuations but now it is more about the actual topic at hand. Your peers make you explain exactly what it is your trying to convey to your audience about the subject.
Beautiful writing just won’t do like it used to in high school. People actually want content over fluff. This new process of edit and review has dragged papers out to be much more time consuming and elaborate. I will remember each piece I composed, not just write to later on forget about it. Not only has the editing procedure made my papers much more interesting, but also I learn to choose useful words in writing. During the first couple weeks of school we read a few articles about things to avoid while your writing. I feel as though that really helped me a lot because it keeps you pretty focused on a subject. An example from page 108 of Exploring Language it says “stop when you’ve said it,” which really hit home because if you make a statement you don’t need drag it on and on, just finish it. I do not need to go into a multiple sentence explanation of how blue the water is, the reader gets that it is blue. Another great piece of advice from page 109 is to “be direct,” don’t water down statements to make them sound extravagant and intellectual. Say what you want to say and be done with it. Which again supports the “stop when you’ve said it.”
Lastly I really like the part on page 111 that says “put your ideas in order”, I’ve always just sat down in front of the computer before even writing a plan out. Now I outline what I want to say in each portion of my paper which not only makes it easier to write, but also to read. It gives papers a sense of motion to flow main points together instead of just continuous random thoughts. Probably the most intriguing article from the book was “the case of short words,” it really opened my eyes because big complicated words may not be the best way to say something. When readers have to look up every other word it distracts them from what your point is. Basically this portion of the class has taught me to write with purpose. Then probably one of the important aspects of every course is the professor. She has helped me to become a much better writer. She has encouraged me to not just think about something, but to dissect it in every which way. While writing my cultural autobiography paper, “Dad I’m Gay,” she was at first impressed with the introduction. I tried to push a lot of information out in such a small portion of paper, so when it came to actual body of the paper it was very weak in support and left a lot of information unanswered.
I edited to the piece to incorporate a lot more emotion, which was slightly painful to write, but overall increased the effectiveness of the thesis. On the first day of class, the most absolutely fascinating writing assignment incurred. Although the prompt was reactionary, its provocative nature of “Slave for Hire” caused me to think outside of the box. I did not think that it was a women looking for a man I thought it was a man looking for a man. It allowed me to be creative in the way that I could express myself differently from everyone. Also lastly with the “whodunit” assignment I was oddly mistaken at how hard it would be solve a mystery. Looking at everything presented in the two-part movie we watched I was completely wrong with who was killing the jurors. I had mistaken anger for a motive and thus threw me off the trail of the real killer. When returning to class to watch the rest of the movie the crime had been put together and I was shocked to find out that the killer of the jurors was a juror herself. I feel for the red herring as much as I tried not to. Professor Tilley really challenged my ability to pay attention to every detail.
College has seriously tested my capabilities of writing. Even with all the help from peers and instructors I still have plenty of room to improve. In my writing I have noticed that I tend to leave characters empty. When I introduce someone I give them a name and that is just about it, they have no description, feelings, or mindsets. I need to make the ghost on the page more human and less of an object. Secondly I need to work on my conclusions because they are still weak. I tend to super summarize everything into a couple sentences and leave out some key points that I made in the paper. I also need help with my clincher statements because that is the last thing people read in a paper and I want my work to have a lasting affect. Lastly some of my organizational skills could be improved. Even with an outline, when I am writing I feel as though transitioning through body paragraph topics is choppy and distant. Although I have learned a lot in this class I still have room to make advancements in writing.
College writing has proven itself to be very difficult. High school is in now way comparable to the expectations at the collegiate level. The way that I have learned to communicate with a better choice of words is extremely helpful. Not to mention that my fellow aristocrats are also trying to help better my writing by providing constructive criticism. Finally the professors are teaching me to look much deeper into content of my work. The strides of improvement over my first quarter have been great and I thank the university for the great education.