Reflective Statement- Brianne Waters

The Purpose of This Title is to Get You to Read My First Sentence

As this semester comes to a close, I find myself once again reflecting on all of the lessons I have learned in Composition class. In these past two semesters, I have found myself as a writer and challenged myself to new levels of writing. Writing is a process, a lengthy one at that, that can be very beneficial with the right amount of persuasion in it. This past semester I have learned how to successfully make an argument in a clear and concise manner.

As stated previously, writing is a process. This fact speaks directly to Core Value I: “Understanding that writing is a multi-stage, recursive, and social process.” In this class, this core value is perhaps the most important one. With the help of in-depth feedback from my professor, I was able to revise my essays multiple times in order to make them the best they could be. With the help of my professor’s feedback, I was able to pick up on bad tendencies in my writing and fix them in that particular essay and also in future writings. Even when I did not receive professor feedback, I was able to revise my writing in order to improve each new draft.

Core Value III states “Understand how texts represents meaning and how the process of writing and reading create and interpret meaning.” I achieved this core value in all of my writing this past semester. When you’re writing, you not only want to inform your reader about the information you are presenting but you also want to elicit ideas and opinions out of your audience about the topic. For example, in my “Invention of Money” essay, I did not just simply inform my audience about our nation’s currency or the story of the people of Yep. I persuaded my readers to critically think about our monetary system and question the validity of it all. All of my essays helped create new ideas about each topic whether it was something as concrete as the money we use or was something as mysterious as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In Comp II, I learned just how important it was to have evidence to back up your arguments. When we first began investigating what an argument is and what kinds there were, I found myself questioning a lot of the arguments that were being made in the examples. This constant questioning made me realize that the most effective arguments have lots of information behind them. Weeding through good and bad evidence, I was able to find a variation of resources for my Research Position Paper. With so much information at hand, I was able to write a paper that could be backed up by strong evidence. This clearly shows the successful completion of Core Value V: “Understanding the role and use of information in writing.”

In this class, everything you write is open for the world to see. Everyone in class can simply log on to the blog to see your work and so can anyone else who can access the worldwide web and stumbles upon this blog. With this being said, I know that everything I wrote needed to be held to the standard that I would want everything I read on the internet to be. Making sure I used legitimate sources, I was able to create essays that could  were very reliable and real. I know that my audience can trust that my writing is true and legitimate due to the amount of sources, evidence, and knowledge I had on my subject. This shows a completion of Core Value VII: “Understanding the power and ethical responsibility that comes with the creation of written discourse.”

Comp II has taught me so many lessons in becoming a better writer through much hard work. With vigorous feedback from my professor, I learned to pack such short sentences with plenty of information and argument. I improved simple grammar mistakes that I consistently made. I learned how to find scholarly sources and successfully informally cite them throughout my paper. But perhaps most importantly, I learned to trust the cake.

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Rebuttal Essay – Kenyah King Ho-Sang

Opponents to the matter that rape is not as big a deal in society are termed rape apologists. Rape apologists argue that rape is infrequent, misreported, over-reported, or in some cases “excusable,” in cases such as marriage, or women being dressed to provocatively. It’s also argued that women are to blame when they are raped. Someone with this attitude would see no problem with men defining what does and does not constitute as rape. A rape apologist would argue that it was not really rape, she changed her mind, it does not count because it was his girlfriend or spouse, the victim has sex with the rapist before, or her skirt was too shirt. Even if all of these factors were true, it does not change the fact that her body was violated against her will. And if that is so, then it was rape, no matter how you try to get around it.

Rape is not an infrequent crime and the act becomes increasingly part of society. Rape is also highly under-reported  These rape apologists are actually a contributing factor to the under-reporting of sexual violence. The idea that a man cannot rape his wife is ludicrous. When a woman marries, she does not sign over her body and submit to being a male’s property or sexual slave. No matter how high a woman’s skirt is, it is not an invitation to take advantage of her or her body. Rape is never excusable. In comparison to those who have not been a victim of sexual violence, victims who have, live with increased incidences of PTSD, chronic pain, sleeping difficulties, activity limitation, compromised mental health, and depression.

Other opponents argue that men are in some shape or form the victim. Because rape is also about power and control, they feel it necessary to empower women in the face of rejection. Some men feel it is their right to have sex with women as they please, and when they are denied this, they then are the “victims,” and have to take what they feel is entitled to them. Women are seen as supposed to be sexually available for men, and they are measured by the level of their attraction. Women are not property though. We are all human, and no human should have to suffer that kind of humiliation. Rape needs to be treated as a crime, and not a matter of opinion.

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Rape_apology

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Reflective – Samantha Kovnat

How I Survived Comp II, and Learned to Love the Cake

Samantha Kovnat is a visual learner with tactile learner tendencies, and occasional Auditorial learner needs. If you were to add those qualities up and calculate the easiest way for her to learn, using an internet blog would not be the first choice of methods. Despite choosing a course that so clearly was going to be a struggle, I managed to stick it out, and truly grow as a writer and individual. I broadened my mind through the exposure to many upsetting, yet true counterintuitive in-class articles and subjects matters, such as the invention of money, the failed polio campaign, the many opinions on organ donation, Edward Linsmier’s story about street photographers being comparable to vultures, and many more. I spent hours writing, and editing, so as to improve my work, and improve my grade. The act of doing all of that reading, writing, and editing has helped to truly shape me into a more educated, open minded learner, who has attained a more solid strength as a writer and editor all from the Comp II course.

Throughout Comp II, we have spent a large portion of time reading the work of others, responding, and learning from counterintuitive subjects that they were educating us on. I have written and responded to at least 16 papers, responses, arguments, and essays. This repeated action of continuously writing and editing has helped to keep my mind sharp in relation to the editing process. It has also helped me to be able to analyze my own work, fearlessly remove or add details (my favorite little things), fix punctuation, and consolidate information. As a person that gets easily caught up within the metaphors I create within my writing, I often find it hard to pull my head out of the computer and allow myself to butcher what I wrote while still keeping its initial integrity. That was always my my biggest struggle, the fact that every word I typed felt necessary, every word became permanent to me. As the course of this semester has gone on, I have felt myself withdrawing my emotional ties to each word I type out, and finally be able to go back and edit without hemming and hauling at myself over each and every word. I learned that sometimes sacrificing words that seem to be magnificent can actually make your entire document stronger and more concise, which is a GOOD thing. An example of this could be found within my final research paper. I had one phrase I felt was perfect, but try as I might could not find a place for my little sentence to make a home, so when the last period was typed, it sat on the opposite side of that tiny black dot, and met every words nightmare; the delete key.

Core Valure III is a bit of a tricky one to fully understand, but I interpreted it as the understanding of how every time someone writes, and every time someone is reading, there is an exchange of information. The words or text hold power. When we wrote our research papers we each formulated our own opinions on a counterintuitive subject manner, by writing those papers we took the power of the  pen (or keyboard) in our hands and made the thoughts inside of our head immortalized through text. When someone reads our essay, each word, paragraph, and phrase can effect them. Words hold true power, and regardless of the silly rhymes parents tell their kids about words bouncing off of them, the fact that words even have the power to upset shows how we must be conscientious of how we use them.  When I read articles on aol.com, or the Philadelphia Inquirer, I absorb the authors thoughts and opinions and then have to interpret them in my own way, and decide how his/her words, thoughts, opinions will effect my life.

Within writing lies the genuine exchange of information, plain and simple. If you write something, you can count on that to be full of information, whether its a note to your husband to take out the trash, or a 4 page research paper. The level of information given varies, but the exchange of information is still the same. When writing my research paper, there was the information I shared with readers that was self formulated, and then there was information that I had to research and cite properly. The use of other peoples information within writing of your own, as long as it’s properly cited, can truly be the powerhouse behind any argument, helping to truly convince your audience of the point you are trying to make. In most cases having opinions that support your own make you look even better! In my own case, I had the words of Anne Frank herself aiding in support of my thesis. The silent voices that become sewn into your own help to make your paper, or essay a more concrete and respectable piece of writing.

Anne Frank knew the power of the pen, and so do I. As an artist I have immense respect for artistic expression of all kinds, especially when it comes to expressing opinions, thoughts, or personal beliefs onto the page. Whenever you put words out there for people to see, you have to understand that some people might criticize you, some people might be offended by you, and some people may support you. The chance you take putting yourself out there is always worth the risk. Expression of every kind requires a certain level of ethical responsibility since each and every one of us has the power to spread lies, ruin reputations, and alter facts just with a few words. Knowing the power of words, and understanding how truly delicate each one is, is one of the most important steps in not only writing essays, but writing anything in general. Expression, communication, and language is a gift that not everyone fully understands, but I am proud to say that I hold it with the utmost respect that it deserves and I always will. This is who I am as a person, Artist, and student.

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Reflection – Kevin Buttari

Clever Title

During my time as a student, I’ve had to take many writing classes and write many reflective statements.  Upon examination of my previous reflective statements, one could procure enough bull excrements about the things I’ve “learned” to start a very successful fertilization company.  Looking for actual sincerity about the class would be the equivalent of searching for a needle in a large heap of fecal matter.  On this day, I am proud to say that I can finally write a reflective statement honestly with out saying “yeah, I didn’t learn anything.”

For almost every essay that has come before this class, I would write one draft, and submit it, usually without much, or any revisions.  I learned the hard way how horrible of a tactic that was.  I don’t remember writing an essay this year without being told how horrendous my grammar was.  This has been the first class in which the professor actually cares if I sound like an idiot or not, and doesn’t just check to see that I was on topic.  The addition of revisions and second drafts to my writing has exponentially increased my writing ability.

For some reason, it’s taken until my second college writing class to learn that what I mean, and what I write, need to actually be the same thing.  As an example, using “you” is just wrong.  While I meant for you to mean the reader in a hypothetic situation, I was actually just saying that this is what the reader would do/does.  I would also refer to a single person with no defined gender as either he or they, which is also very wrong.  These two things by themselves have already made me a significantly better writer, because everything that I write, now actually makes sense.

Anyone can just take opinions and turn them into something that appears to be facts, but a good writer just gets straight down to the point and gives the reader the facts.  Not many people care that much about the opinions of a writer.  Anyone can give an opinion to make a point.  There really isn’t anything special about that.  However, a good writer can make a claim, and instead of saying something similar to “this is what I believe, you should believe it too,” say “here is a proposal and enough logical sources and reasons to back it up.”

Overall, this has been, by far the most helpful writing class I’ve had ever.  I only wish students could be exposed to this way of writing at an earlier age, as it would help young writers evolve into full-fledged writers at a much earlier age.  Schools could at least just provide sufficient feedback instead of “Your grammar is wrong. Fix it.”  That helps almost nothing.  Sure it points out that there is a problem, but theres absolutely no guidance as to how to fix it.  Well, I’m going a bit off topic now so I’ll end my last paper for this class with two quotes that can sum up everything else I’ve learned from this class in seventeen words.

“A man who does not think for himself, does not think at all.”

“Everything popular is wrong”

~Oscar Wilde

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Reflective – Steve LeBano

I came into Comp. 2 with a lot of expectations, and I’m happy to say that many of them were proven false. This was my first college writing course, and I’m proud to say that there’s a radical difference in the way I look at my writing. I’ve truly never gotten any criticism that has changed the way I write, and I wasn’t sure I’d come out of this class with anything more than a grade and some credits. My completed portfolio is a testament to how much difference one semester has made for me.

As my individual assignments organized themselves into a collective work, I noticed myself taking an interest in the work of others as well as looking for the input of others. In the past, writing has always been an individual task for me, and once a paper was handed in, I never considered that it would be in my best interest to build upon my past work. Now, when I read a paper, whether it be my own or someone else’s, I’m able to interpret it on a deeper level. Getting a point across may be important, but it’s just as vital to engage the reader, and I’ve learned to revise my work accordingly. As the great Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.”

Stronger comprehension of how writing creates meaning is another valuable lesson that I’ve been able to take from this course. It is amazing how two statements can have very similar meanings, but leave a very different impression on the reader. Here’s an example:

  1. Because of rising gas prices, many consumers have chosen to downsize their vehicles in favor of smaller and more fuel efficient cars.
  2. Consumers are downsizing their vehicles in response to rising gas prices.

In both examples, I’m giving the reader the same general information, but in example 2, they’re getting the information in a concise and direct manner. In comparison, statement 1 feels a bit more bogged down by word choices like “have chosen to.”

Of course, it’s important to have a strong knowledge of your topic as well. This ties together core values five and seven especially. When you write from a decisive and well-informed stance, you’re able to reach the reader successfully and convey a valuable message to them. I’d like to end with a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

 

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Reflective Statement- Jodi Dziedzic

COMPOSING COMPOSITION II

Going into College Composition II, I was somewhat confident that I would be able to pass through the class and finish on a good note. As soon as my professor started off the first few classes by having us question the true essence that is the meaning of money, I was beyond excited for what was to come in the future. The fact that my professor was opening the semester with something so enriching excited me for the upcoming assignments. Although, with the first assignment, I struggled in fulfilling the requirements necessary and my writing was poor in quality. When I realized how much of a growth I was about to experience in this class, my mindset altered and things became challenges I was more than willing to take head on. In receiving an extensive amount of assistance from my professor on how to fix my writing, I also realized I would be under good care. Now that I am looking back at that assignment in the beginning of the semester, I can honestly say that I look at writing in a better and more organized way.

As said before, one of the first few assignments required me to go back and make major revisions. The assignment was for us to teach ourselves to approach the idea of money in our nation differently, and reflect on the history of money in different cultures. We read multiple articles, listening to radio podcasts, and had a fulfilling amount of in class discussions. With this, I was able to revise my final opinion on the topic by using the evidence and artifacts we were given. By spending an excessive amount of time on this topic it made me comfortable with the idea that writing and analyzing a topic is recursive. Sometimes it is necessary to go back continuously and edit your thoughts, to achieve fluidity and assure your writing is cohesive. In this recursive strategy, I also was reminded that writing is a multi-stage process. In no occasion have I ever written something and allowed it to be a final copy. With encouragement from my professor, I ended up making changes to my essays and enhance them. With these lessons, I accomplished Core Value I.

In multiple of the small assignments and exercises instructed by my professor, I was taught how to look at writing differently, sentence by sentence, part by part, breaking each down and understanding it completely. Rather than just reading a sentence or a phrase, I learned how to analyze the sentence for each word used. This way, I could decide if something was appropriate for the topic, correctly worded, etc. A particular assignment I personally enjoyed doing was the visual argument. Being an art major, I am drawn to things that are visually exciting and meaningful. For this assignment, we were told to watch a short clip which was a commercial for an insurance company. After watching the commercial, we were told to in depth analyze the commercial for minor details that all together made the big picture. This was a great lesson for me, because I feel I actually learned to look at things more intensely for what they are trying to depict rather than just waiting for the message provided. Here I expressed a great example to further prove of my understanding of Core Value III.

Core Value V is one of the most important to practice, because while writing our research position papers, it was imperative that a topic was chosen that could be defended with facts and information. When we were presented with the assignment and told we were to choose our own topics, I decided I wanted to research an art oriented issue. In this, I realized that most things in art is totally subjective, in the sense that many people could have opposing opinions and almost be relatable. After I had chosen the topic, “street art and graffiti do not belong in galleries,” I realized it would be difficult for me to find evidence that was factual and not abstracted with personal or bias information. I then realized that I would need to rely heavily on events and artists quotes, I narrowed down my research and got what I needed. Choosing a topic that is so broad and easy to argue either sides made it difficult to find valid resources. In understanding Core Value V, I could decipher the difference in resources and easier construct my paper.

Writing a research paper and presenting it to a group of people reminded me while I was writing that this is partially for the benefit of the group. In writing, there is an underlying importance that the author is the voice, controlling what is fed to the public or not. Choosing a research topic, researching it, carefully analyzing data and selectively deciding what resources to use and what not are all important factors that are a part of the writing process. These factors also are channeled into the part that is the public reading, analyzing and critiquing your writing. The author should be aware that they are educating the public on their topic, and I definitely agree that I took advantage of this idea. I believe that I worked a slight bit extra on my research paper in attempt to describe to my peers the true meaning of street art and graffiti. I wanted my classmates to follow up on my understanding that street art and graffiti is rebellious and not meant to be confined. In this act, I controlled what information I used as a resource, what I decided to define in my definitional essay and what I chose to rebut in my rebuttal essay. Without the knowledge of Core Value VII, I don’t think any research paper is successful, because then the author is not educating himself enough to educate his peers.

After writing this entire reflective statement, I am becoming more and more aware of what I actually have learned from taking this course. I am sure to know for the next time I need to write an essay, that I follow the proper procedures, in order to write a thorough, fluid and cohesive paper.

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Reflective – Billy Kluge

Actually Learning in Class

This semester in College Composition II I have continued to improve as a writer and gained more values to think about while composing a piece of writing. The work has not been easy and each piece has been a multistep process requiring time and critical thinking of each sentence of each essay. I have also realized the importance of every bit of information and understand the responsibilities that come with each thought I have put down into words.

In the beginning of the spring semester I had already been through many years of writing classes. I have known that to form a good final work an author is required to form a draft and then revise. This semester it has become even more apparent to me the necessity of not just having a draft but of having a group of small drafts to form a full final paper. Before creating our final research position paper this semester we were required to compose three smaller individual drafts that each approached the topic in a different way. This was a multistep process that made putting the final paper much easier to write. I was also able to revise these smaller papers on their own recursively to look at them each a small piece. All I had to do was put the three together and I had a well written research position paper that covered everything and then revise as a whole checking for proper transition through the topic. Throughout this process though I also had to engage in the social process, having peers read my smaller works and then larger work allowed me to receive feedback that changed my paper for the better. Hearing another’s opinion on my topic allowed me to realize new things and respond to questions I had not thought about. Once they reviewed my works it would be back to revising until I felt my paper was the best it could be. This entire process of peer review and revising can be done over and over, each time making the paper better.

Each word can be defined in the dictionary separately but when put together they can mean so much more. Once words are put together in a sentence they are given meaning. Each sentence should have a reason for being in an essay. The meaning of each sentence can be interpreted differently if alone, but when together can support each other to come to one final idea. This is the importance of choosing the proper way to put words together to show what you want them to mean. The writer creates the meaning throughout their work. One sentence in my essay can say what something is but with multiple it can allow the reader to understand the effects of this thing, the importance, and an opinion.

Anyone can write their opinion. Forming an opinion is the easy part, supporting that opinion is what is important. To support their beliefs people need information. No one is going to change their current opinion or believe what a person says unless they have information to back it up. While writing my proposal research paper finding information was crucial and was used to back up what I thought. Good information can inform others and change their mindset to agree with what is being presented. Information is powerful.

In America freedom of speech and press allow citizens to create any writing we want. With this freedom comes ethical responsibility. Speech has the power to offend and hurt others; it should not be used in this way. When forming a thesis it is okay to take risks but it is important to consider the audience and the opinions of those opposing your writing. My research proposal paper on self-harm made me think about this ethical responsibility. Controversial topics can offend which can take away from the thesis of the paper. I had to be careful with my word choice and show that I wasn’t trying to support depression but instead show another way of thinking of it.

My freshman semester is quickly coming to a close. I am walking out of this semester with a new way to think of my writing, and a way to analysis my work in similar ways done through this class. I am thankful for my new writing skills and they will be with me for life.

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