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Final Reflection

Entering UWRT 1102, I honestly wasn’t completely aware that we would be studying
violence so in depth. When I signed up for the class, I was late to register, so it was one of the
only UWRT 1102 classes that fit in with my schedule. However, as the class began to delve in to
the assigned literature, I was surprised at how interesting it all was. Most people in Western
culture choose to ignore or shun violence, and that is how I was raised, to avoid violence to the
point of refusing to discuss it. So, having mature and detailed discussions about different types of
violence changed my perspective on how modern societies, especially ours, deal with violence. I
did enter this class thinking I would be doing some difficult, lengthy writing, but we were given
freedom on what we could write, and were asked to actually think about the literature. One goal I
have exiting this class is to become more open to outside ideas and perspectives, avoiding a
closed-minded approach that is common today. Honestly, I did not even consider violence to be
so controlled in our society, until we began to discuss it. Even when my friends and I have
normal conversations, I have begun to realize how sensitive they are to topics considered
“touchy” or “offensive.” I am guilty of this too, but I want to work on seeing why I find different
types of violence, not physical necessarily, offensive. Is it because I have been victimized or is it
because people have told me it is an inappropriate to talk about? As much as I hate to admit, it’s
usually the latter. I am not referring to making fun of people maliciously, but phrases such as
“most people in poverty are black or Native American” make me uncomfortable, when they do
not have a cause too. They are even statistically proven, but when my friend Jordan hears
something like this, he gets angry and says his people are being stereotyped and discriminated
against, when in reality, that fact is true. I want to become more aware of this, so another goal of
mine is to really focus on what offends me in everyday conversation and figure out why. UWRT

is now over, but I believe I learned how to be a better critical reader than I was entering this
class. Personal reading has become more interesting and meaningful as a result, as I am
subconsciously asking questions about the purpose of a piece, and what the author wants the
audience to feel or understand.
Before we began the study of violence, I assumed UWRT would just be AP English on
steroids, and I was determined to become a better writer, even though I hated my English class in
high school. However, this course was better than any English class I have taken, and as a result,
I feel like my writing has grown to become better quality, as opposed to just following a set of
standards that in no way show my skills as a writer. Besides becoming a better writer, I also
wanted to become a better critical reader, which I believe I have improved and hope to work on
throughout college. In previous English classes I took, we would be given a book and not only
had to read it within a few weeks, we would have to annotate every single page, identifying
characterizations, irony, figurative language, poetic, sound, and rhetorical devices, and dramatic
terminology. I found this to be disruptive and time consuming, and not particularly helpful on the
AP exam. I cannot remember how many times my professor would claim “you will have to do
this and more in college,” but thankfully, that did not happen. In our course, we used different
strategies to develop rhetorical knowledge, and these strategies helped me personally understand
the material much better than annotating every other sentence in a book or article. The first step
was to write down initial observations about the piece and quotes that had special meaning. Then
we identified the audience, purpose, context, and genre, including our personal thoughts and
connections between them. A separate piece was usually included that was specific to the piece
studied, but I found that identifying the audience, purpose, context, and genre were the most
helpful. They allowed me to understand the important aspects of the literature without

overwhelming me with extra work and information. This strategy I will most likely continue to
use in future reading and writing, along with my own strategy of organized notetaking. I usually
write down a main topic with bullet points for each smaller topic, and then take notes about these
subtopics. This is the best way I organize my thought process. I can also make revisions on these
notes by double spacing, but I prefer to type out my projects and then revise them on my
computer, which is a huge change from a year ago. No English or writing class before UWRT
would allow us to bring computers. All brainstorming, drafts, revisions, and feedback had to be
completed by hand. It took up too much time, so I have transitioned a lot of my brainstorming
and revisions online. Using Prezi with our team mind map helped me understand the technology,
although I am still quite bad at computers. But I like using Microsoft word to organize many of
my thoughts because it is much quicker to type and revise and change what I have written, as
shown by my individual mind map. I also found the feedback given by Ms. Morton to be
extremely helpful. I have never really gotten feedback as detailed or specific. Usually professors
write “Weak paragraph” with no guidance on what specifically is weak, and I have no idea how
to revise my paper or project to make it better. I enjoyed being told straight what was weak in my
writing, so I could focus on precisely what I needed to fix.
I chose my research topic because of the Blackfish assignment given in class the fifth
week of the course. Initially, I wanted my topic to be about animal abuse, but I was unsure where
to focus. Some interests of mine were the food industry, pet abuse, and animal testing, but I came
across an article that drew a correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence, and I was
immediately intrigued. Not many people talk about the logistics of abuse (human or animal)
because it is a touchy topic in our society, even though it is greatly frowned upon. I was surprised
that there was so much scholarly literature on the subject, and I did not have trouble finding

research studies linking abuse because of psychological problems with the abuser. My essay
conveyed this topic, and specifically focused on domestic child abuse and political involvement.
Despite some arguments claiming there is no direct causation, there was no doubt through my
research that human and animal violence is connected. I wanted my essay to be my main piece in
my portfolio, which is why it was listed second in my menu and had its own page. The individual
projects I chose showed my progression through my research. My midterm reflection showed my
feelings about the topic of violence and how I hoped my strengths would help me choose and
argue my topic. My annotated bibliography was specific to animal abuse and domestic violence,
and also conveyed a progression of organization and my thought process. My final project was a
poster about statistical proof of animal abuse and domestic violence, and I posted it to Facebook
in order to reach a larger audience. I chose Facebook because it would not only interest my
friends, who are concerned with abuse (some have lived through it), but it would also get my
other followers attention and could be shared to a large audience. The Facebook post was my
favorite project because it actually got people’s attention. A few of my friends actually wanted to
talk to me about it when we were together studying, and I enjoyed seeing my published work get
noticed because I was passionate about my topic. The team project I chose was my team mind
map because that is when I decided on what I wanted my topic to be. Working with my team
members was incredibly helpful, as we were all focusing on the same topic. My team helped me
with my citations, and gave feedback on my portfolio, which I needed. Furthermore, I chose my
process pieces to show my progress to becoming a more critical writer, reader, and thinker. As
the semester progressed, I found my reading to be increasingly analytical. I was putting my
attention towards specific devices, such as audience, purpose, context, and genre, which is where
my writing improved. As I focused on them, my writing was more precise and explanatory. As a

result of improving both of these points, I found my thought process was becoming more
focused. As I read the literature on violence, I began to subconsciously identify this four subjects
and subsequently determine if a piece was biased or not. As I mentioned, the feedback I received
through the semester from my peers and professor truly helped guide my topic. The feedback I
chose to include in my portfolio is decisive and to the point, which allowed me to fix what was
weak in my assignments and improve on my weaknesses in writing, particularly.
I chose to make my website on Weebly because it had a seemingly basic outline with
many options to personalize the site. I am not the best with more complicated technology, so the
simple layout of the site interested me. Initially, I wanted my site to be as simple as possible. I
attempted to create a drop down menu, but not only was it complicated, the pages looked
incomplete. I actually like the menu as it is now, because it is open and easy to navigate with the
name of the page in each button. I also like how the pages flow, because they are simple, but
grab the reader’s attention. My first page includes the biography section, where I talk about
myself, where I am from, and why I chose my topic. I also included a picture of myself, and my
hometown Seattle. I wanted my site to be calm, yet informational and analytical, so the pages
that did not discuss only violence, domestic abuse, and animal maltreatment had basic pictures
on the main page from the Weebly site. My essay and projects section discussed violence, so I
included an animal in a cage and a domestic abuse victim for their main pictures. I wanted to
focus on my research topic, but I also wanted to convey my personal progress through UWRT so
I did not make my site exclusively about my research topic.
I did, however, have an awful experience with the Weebly website. Not only did I find
not many options to customize my pages, but the pages were erased multiple times. I was stuck

with the theme and page layouts once I chose them, and even the pages themselves were a little
boring in their presentation.