Dear Professor Myers and classmates,
As many other have already expressed, I too felt apprehensive to take a UW 1020 course this year. In high school, my teachers had always taught me that the required, freshmen level English courses in college would be a repeat of everything we had learned in high school and we wouldn’t be able to learn anything from them. Now I can say that this class has proven those teachers wrong. In high school I did learn a lot in my English classes, and I became a master of the typical essay consisting of intro/thesis, argument/discoveries and a conclusion. I felt very comfortable writing these types of essays, and I had thought that college could be a breeze because of it. However, Professor Myers and UW 1020, Rhetorical Intersections of Science, Media and Culture did teach me a lot and I learned a lot of new things that I hadn’t expected to.
I learned a lot about writing as a craft mostly by learning that writing is a craft. To me, a craft indicates variations, style, originality and creativity. I don’t think that any of my prior writing classes really treated writing as a craft; instead they used it as a format. I really struggled with the first essay at the beginning, because it was completely different from anything I had written in the past and it was out of my comfort zone. At first, I was disappointed that I would not be able to show off my skills I had learned in high school and created the classic essay for which I had special tricks to make it a high quality essay. Although I was disappointed by it then, I now look back and realize what a meaningful essay that was as it taught me a lot about using different writing styles as well as revisions. I agree with what Jada said in that her old writing styles were inhibiting, and that this class allowed her to break free from that and try something new. I definitely found this to be my experience as well.
My first version of Essay One: Scientifically Speaking was kind of a mess, as I really did not know the direction that I wanted it to go. However, similarly to Lindsay’s experience, I found Professor Myer’s highly detailed and explicit responses to be extremely helpful. I was very surprised at the level of guidance I received from her, it helped me realize that it was okay (and even good) to have to completely revise my essay. I had never spent very much time revising my papers in the past, mostly due to laziness and maybe a little bit of pride. All of the revising that I did in this class was humbling, and it also de-stigmatized the concept of revising. I realized that it was really necessary, and even the best of writers have to do it.
In my second essay, I had to revise mostly due to sentence structure. Although this essay did not require as much revision as my first essay had, it allowed me to really play around with how I said certain things. For example, in my first version of the essay, I wrote, ” It is suggested that the science community requires great amounts of knowledge and research, as well as a forgiving and patient audience due to its constant change.” After Professor Myers replied and suggested that I make this sentence more informational, specific and clear, I changed it to, “Allan explains that the science community requires great amounts of background knowledge and research in order to interpret information, as well as a forgiving and patient audience, usually made up of other scientists, due to its constant changes.” I agree that this is a stronger sentence, and makes my entire essay more clear, which is something I hope to keep improving on in my future writings.
I also found this class to be very fun, and new as I had never really spent time reading or writing blogs in the past. The fact that we were looking at blogs as informational sources definitely changed the way I think of scholarly sources. It broadened my view of what I can use as informational resources, and although I know not to trust all blogs, I now know that some are very helpful for my future research! I can gladly say that this class has proven my high school teachers’ forewarnings wrong, and I am very glad I was able to take this class.
Angelica Florio Roberts