My experience in this course can be described in one word: stimulating. With every writing assignment given I truly felt I gave my all because I always was writing about something that interested me. From the audio narrative to short writing assignments to the research paper I was given the opportunity to choose a topic that I was passionate about as well as develop a difficult argument that made me think more about the topic at hand. I was no longer just looking on the surface for miniscule details like I had done throughout high school but instead I really got to know and understand the topics I chose to write about. Through this I learned things about the aspects of pop culture I love. In high school, I was burdened by writing about topics that I had little to no interest in and thus my creativity lacked. But with these stimulating topics, I have been motivated to deepen my understanding of the things I love.
Throughout this course I have tried to better articulate my thoughts and ideas. Coming into this course, I had little to no experience writing rhetorical analyses, audio narratives, or research papers. Never before had I written a script to a short movie or show let alone a script for my own life. I saw this as a beneficial challenge to start off the school year. I liked to be able to depict an event from my life as I saw it. It was very challenging to illustrate to a reader the exact emotions and visions I experienced at the moment I wrote about. But in the end I really enjoyed sharing my personal event because it gave the reader a good taste as to who I am as a person. If I was to do this same assignment next time I would not have the audio portion of the narrative, but instead make it a speech because you will be able to see an individual’s emotion and reactions when her or she reads their piece.
I had always been analyzing and deconstructing ideas, commercials, TV shows, et cetera in high school but never before had I had to depict how and why these authors did what they did to portray what they intended. From analyzing Chris Martin in his “Viva la Vida” performance I realized that discovering the connecting aspects between performance and lyrics was much more substantial and significant than simply describing what he did on stage. As a writer, I was able to expand upon the descriptive skills I learned in the audio narrative and apply that to writing in a high style that the rhetorical analysis required. For next time, I do not see anything necessary to change about this assignment as it allows everybody to analyze what the choose.
While I had written several research papers in high school, none of them taught me to incorporate my own ideas into the paper as well as this one. I felt it helped tremendously to have the three page argumentative paper that did not allow any outside sources because it forced me to formulate my own ideas and build my research around that. While at times it was frustrating to come up with things to support my thoughts, I became a better researcher and writer because of it. I think it is essential to push students to develop a more challenging and stimulating topic to write their research paper on, so that they can properly utilize the library’s resources. Overall, however, I do not think anything needs to be changed about this assignment because it is a fairly standard research paper.
While I enjoyed almost every aspect of all the papers we wrote for class, I did not especially see the point in some of the activities or readings we did for class. The “They Say, I Say” book seemed like it was written for a 6th grader. All the skills and strategies they described in that book were things I remember learning in middle school and the presentations that followed them were usually redundant and useless. In addition, some of the papers we read were discussed in the following class but after that we just moved on. A lot of the discussions felt disjointed and I wondered what their purpose was. It seemed like the discussions were just filler in between each paper and almost none of the topics we discussed could be applied to our papers. Overall, though, I thought the class was very well organized; I learned a great deal from the papers we wrote and I am sure that I have become a better student, more prepared for success at Notre Dame because of taking this course.