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Hannah Tran
Writing 39C
Professor Lynda Haas
1 June, 2016
Reflection
The waste basket is the writer's best friend. These words were written by Isaac
Bashevis Singer, a Nobel laureate in literature, and I have never heard truer words. Writing has
never been my strongest suit, and every time I have had to write an essay, I felt like I lived in the
waste basket. This was most true in the period before I took the Writing series at the University
of California, Irvine (UCI). Now after completing the final class in the series, Writing 39C (WR
39C): Argument and Research, I have embraced the waste basket, and I am more confident in my
abilities as a writer to analyze other works and communicate my thoughts and processes to
others.
The first writing class I took at UCI was Writing 37 (WR37): Intensive Writing, where I
learned about rhetorical analysis and how to communicate my learning process to others through
a writing portfolio. Looking back at that class and comparing it with my writing after Writing
39C, I am now more capable of going more in-depth about details in my essays. Figure 1 is an
excerpt from the reflection essay I had written for WR37. The overall essay is not very specific
and covers what I learned in broad strokes. I provided few examples, and this was a common
problem found in all of my essays and portfolio. The figure below is just an example of this.
Through this reflection, I hope to show that I have evolved past this, or at least evolved in some
ways.

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Figure 1. Excerpt from my reflection essay from Writing 37


Throughout this course (and the whole Writing series), the objective has been to be able
to critically analyze a topic and argue for a particular stance. I would definitely say that I have
grown as a writer, especially because I had these goals in mind. From WR37 to WR39C, I have
noticed differences in sentence structure, research analysis, research integration, and so much
more. By taking the WR39 series, I have been able to take critique of my work and how to edit
my essays around the comments of others. Through all of this collaboration between fellow
students and my own self reflection, I have indeed grown as a writer.
One of the first projects of the class was the Social Media Campaign, where there were
multiple lessons to be learned. The main one, taken from the assignment instructions was to
practice making arguments and using rhetoric in real-life media (logos, ethos, pathos), and the
other objectives also revolved around using social media as a tool to communicate to a large
audience. The other, secondary, but just as important lesson was to learn how to work in a group.
We worked in groups of four to accomplish this goal, and the final product was a combination of
individual and collaborative effort.
As a group, we had to come up with a topic, and we decided to focus on animal abuse in
the entertainment industry. The SMC was a week long project in which each group member had
to create 3 posts a day for our chosen social media sites. We were assigned to use Twitter as our

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primary social media account, and as a group, we chose to use Instagram for our secondary
account. We specifically chose Instagram because we knew that people were attracted to picture
based platforms and that Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites, meaning it has
millions of users who could help us with our campaign. This decision showed that we were
already thinking about how to target our audience. The hardest part for us was coming up with a
name. Everything is in a name, and words for that matter, and we knew our name would
determine our popularity.
Going off of that, we also had to organize what posts we were going to write for each day.
Looking at other organizations social media accounts, it did not seem like a complicated task.
However, we were surprised to find that coming up with engaging posts was harder than it
looked. In an essay, there are pages and pages of information, and small details can get
overlooked. With these posts, every word mattered, especially for Twitter where we were only
allowed 140 characters per tweet. We had to be both engaging and informative, while using the
rhetorical appeals pathos, logos, and ethos. Since we were using social media and appealing to
the mass public, we could be more informal than if we were writing an essay. We still had to be
conscience of every word we put out there. As shown in Figure 2, our Twitter posts were concise
and to the point. On the other hand, we had more leeway with Instagram. Because Instagram
does not have a limit on the amount of characters, we were able to add more information and
hashtags. My Instagram posts had more information, and I saw Instagram as an opportunity to
include more facts or background that could not be done on Twitter. My group mates had less
text, and their posts were similar to Twitter, except they had more hashtags. Both methods
worked, and from this experience I learned that social media can be used in a variety of ways to
ultimately reach a wide audience across the world.

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Figure 2. Instagram and Twitter Post example from @Acting_Animals


I definitely think there were a lot of aspects that we could have changed to be more
successful in our project. We could have communicated more as a group. We really only met up
in class, and after we initially planned out the seven-day campaign, we posted individually. With
more planning and collaboration, we probably could have spread our message to a wider
audience and gotten more attention. Once of the things we did right was following hundreds of
people on both our social media accounts. Although we were following more people than we

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were getting followers back, it was the right step in the right direction in getting our message
across to others.
Another assignment that we had to simultaneously get done with the SMC was the
Historical Conversations Project (HCP). The objective of the HCP was to be able to provide the
historical context for an informed advocacy issue through a literature review of scientific studies
on my chosen topic. Through this assignment, I was also supposed to learn how to integrate
pictures and statistics into an essay to create a multi-modal composition. With this essay, I took a
more logos and ethos approach, rather than the predominantly pathos approach for the SMC.
This was done to make my essay more scholarly and rational.
One of the biggest problems I had when writing my HCP was how to organize everything. It may
have been due to the fact that I had never written a literature review before. Organization was not
much a problem for me in WR37 because the assignment in that class was more about analyzing
the given text. I was not sure at first how to write the HCP. I spent about an hour trying to gather
all my sources and how to relate them all together to construct a cohesive review. Figure 3 is an
excerpt from my very first draft, and this was the part of my essay where I described the flown of
my essay.

Figure 3. Intro Excerpt from my HCP draft

I had highlighted it because this was a definite part I had wanted to change for my final
draft. My introduction as a whole needed to be revised because it is what I wrote first. In the

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beginning, I was lost about how to introduce my topic. After receiving critiques of my essay, I
got a lot of feedback to make my intro stronger by including more detail, and after writing my
entire HCP, it was a lot easier for me to do this because all I had to do was recount what I wrote
and condense it into a sort of preview.
Reviewing the actual studies and relating them to one another was easier for me because
it was my scholarly reaction to what I read. However, the point of the assignment was to create a
historical conversation, and I had forgotten about this. In the beginning of my essay, I included a
lot of details and dates, but I did not do this so much throughout my essay. Most of the studies I
reviewed were done within the last few years, and I did not really understand how to integrate
them into the historical part of the assignment. After submitting my final HCP Draft, this
problem was part of the feedback that I received. I was told that the simplest way for me to fix
this was to include the dates of the studies. Since I had to utilize my HCP as background for my
AP, I took this advice and implemented it in my AP. This can be seen in Figure 4 and Figure 5.
Figure 4 is an example from my final HCP where I did not include any historical context, and
Figure 5 is where I included the dates of the studies. This made a noticeably difference when I
read the essay back to myself because it gave me a sense of the scientific lineage of my topic and
where to place the studies in time.

Figure 4. Excerpt from HCP Final

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Figure 5. Excerpt from AP Draft


Overall, the HCP was a valuable step for me to getting started on writing a project
revolved around research. I also found it helpful because it allowed me to write my AP in
incremental steps. If I had been told that I needed to write a 10-page essay within 10 weeks, I
would have procrastinated until the last week, ensuring panic and chaos. By assigning the HCP,
which was basically a third of the final AP project, I was able to complete my AP, and the project
was not as daunting as it could have been.
With that said, after the HCP was completed, it was time to complete the AP. Here, I was
tasked with using the HCP to propose ethical problems associated with my topic and propose
solutions to those problems. My topic had been on equine cognition and emotion, and the
problems I used for my AP centered around the abuse horses endure in the horse racing industry.
This turned out very well for me because this problem was a theme my group had focused on for
our SMC, so I was knowledgeable about the problems associated with horse racing already. In
the AP, I was allowed to be use more pathos to get the reader to understand the gravity of the
problems, but I was still supposed to lean towards a more ethos and logos approach. It was more
natural for me to do this anyway because when we watched the videos of Gary Yourofsky, Peter
Singer, Richard Dawkins, and Richard Ryder talk about animal rights in class, the videos that
persuaded me the most were the ones with Ryder, Dawkins, and Singer because they were being
more logical, and they werent as aggressive as Yourofsky was.

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The AP wasnt as difficult as the HCP was for me, in terms of thinking about what to
write about since I already had the HCP as a kind of framework. Because I was talking about
problems, I did it find it tricky to find a balance between being scholarly and appealing to a wide
audience. In Figure 6, Professor Haas left comments regarding my final essay and said that I
needed more statistics. I had been worried that I had put too many statistics because I was trying
to find that balance between logos and pathos, and so I had taken some out for the final draft. A
lot of the feedback that I had gotten back from other students said I had a good amount of
statistics, but maybe I should have paid more attention to this area since it was a major
component of the AP.

Figure 6. Comment on my AP Final

Figure 7. Excerpt of my first draft where I combined my HCP and AP


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As for revision strategies I had in mind when editing my AP, my main focus was on my
solutions and transitions. My transition problem is most evident in the example I give in Figure
7. This was the transition between my HCP and my AP, and it is clear even from those two
sentences that these are two different essays. I had given my AP a hook when I had originally
written it when it was its own essay. However, that was unnecessary when I combined it with my
HCP, and I should have made the transition smoother between the review and the problem.

Figure 7. Excerpt from AP Draft when combined with the HCP Final

Figure 8 is my attempt to solve this, and I edited it so that the distinction between these
two parts of the essay was not as distinct as it was before. I referenced the previous paragraph,
and I did this with all the other paragraphs that needed better transitions.

Figure 8. Excerpt from AP Final

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The final part of the AP that I had written was the solutions to the problems. I had not
fully read the prompt and didnt include any social media and grassroots solutions, and my
world-wide solutions were too vague. I barely mentioned any legislations or organizations
helping to fight the problem. I needed to add more detail about what was already being done or
what had already been proposed. This was the largest problem that I had to fix when I was
editing my AP, and when my AP had been peer-reviewed in class, I got mix reviews on what to
do to fix it. In the end, I added more detail overall and added organizations and solutions
proposed by renown experts in the field. I wish I had more time to refine my statements and
overall AP, and the AP taught me not to procrastinate if I wanted to be detailed in my essays.
All of this and my processes were documented in an online portfolio that will help curate
the steps I went through to complete these assignments to anyone who reads my portfolio. The
online portfolio really helped me in understanding my actions behind my writing and taught me
how to integrate images with my writing to really get the point across to a viewer. I took this and
applied it to my essays and SMC, and I hope that shows. Im grateful for the opportunity I had to
take the writing series here at UCI, and after reflecting on my journey from my first writing class
to now, I know that Ive become a better writer.

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Works Cited
Dawkins, Richard, and Peter Singer. "Peter Singer - The Genius of Darwin: The Uncut
Interviews - Richard Dawkins." YouTube. YouTube, 14 June 2009. Web. 05 June 2016.
Ryder, Richard. What is Speciesism? Online video clip. Youtube. 25 October 2012. Web. 9
May 2016.
Tran, Hannah. AP Draft. 29 May. 2016. PDF.
Tran, Hannah. AP Final. 15 May. 2016. PDF.
Tran, Hannah. HCP Draft. 24 Apr. 2016. PDF.
Tran, Hannah. HCP Final. 8 May. 2016. PDF.
Tran, Hannah, Nicole Guerro, Dao Le, and May Han. Social Media Campaign.
Advocate4AnimalActors. Web. 5 June 2016.
Yourofsky, Gary. "Best Speech You Will Ever Hear." YouTube. YouTube, 22 Dec. 2010. Web.
05 June 2016.