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Letter of Reflection

Dear Professor Myers and fellow students,

Looking back on this semester, I can see that this course offered a lot of information. Some of it, I know, I will probably forget, but there are a few topics that I firmly intend to carry with me.

One of the most important pieces of information I learned was the concept of BEAM. While I was taught about the different types of sources in high school, I never developed a good sense of how to efficiently interact with all of them. This course has put me into scenarios that required me to interact with these different sources and to develop a better understanding of what they each look like from a glance, how to sort out the relevant sources from the irrelevant one, and when it is appropriate to use each source.

Most of the papers I have written in the past have been either an analysis of a literary work or summation of historical events and how they are relevant to current events. This course on the “Rhetoric of Science, Culture and Media” opened me up to a new genre of writing, a genre that was not very comfortable for me. This brings me to the second lesson I will take away from this course: how to adapt my writing style.

Writing has been a stagnate process for me: outline, first draft review, edit, second draft review, edit, turn in, repeat. In this course, I have had to change that process to a more challenging order of first draft review, edit, rewrite, second draft review, edit, third draft review, turn in. In high school, the only time I would ever completely rewrite an essay is when my initial thesis was flawed. It never occurred to me that by rewriting an essay from scratch that I could bring out different ideas that otherwise would have been lost in the confines of the initial outline.

For me, this new writing process became most lucid in revising the first essay. I was always told by my English teachers that I needed to work on making m work flow more. So when I was told after my first draft to make it flow (from section to section) less, I was in shock. I tossed around more ideas during that assignment than I can remember, but by the end of the final draft, the finished product had a point that was much more thought out, and much less superficial than what I was initially trying to say.

One aspect of that essay that showed me one of my glaring weaknesses as a writer was my difficultly with capturing a moment with words. With my usual genre of writing I have not had a serious need to develop that skill, but this semester allowed me to explore a style of writing that incorporated capturing moments in great detail. This is an area that I am still neither comfortable with, nor good at. Yet I enjoyed writing in a more creative way and I want to continue to practice that skill after this semester.

As an overall writer, I think I have improved, not by an extraordinary amount, but an improvement nonetheless. As a researcher, and as a self-editor, I have improved immensely. I am now comfortable with my ability to find sources when they are not easy to locate. I am also more comfortable with revising my own work. I feel okay tearing apart my writing and exploring points that I would not have initially thought to explore. I am proud of those improvements, and I hope to keep improving those areas of my writing.

In the end though, in spite of the successes and failures that I have endured in this course, I can say with absolute certainty that my view of the writing process has grown. I have developed a better respect for the revision process, as well as a greater understanding of what it means to be a good writer. I have learned that being a good writer is not about how gifted you are with words or how quickly you develop your point. Being a good writer is about always critically looking at your work and asking, “What am I really trying to say?” and “How can I make that point more clearly expressed and more thoroughly supported ?”

Thank you for a great semester


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