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Gonzalez 1 Dear Professor Garvey and DePaul University Administration, The First-Year Writing Program at DePaul University is essentially

described by the famous quote, Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. Being in WRD 103 has really defined the quote for me in terms of becoming a better writer, reader and critical thinker. The First-Year Writing Program has taught me that writing is a process. The writing process can be termed as a cycle that has no end. For instance, the first draft is never the final draft because along the way there are more drafts, peer reviews, and edits. Becoming a better critical reader and thinker go hand in hand in the writing process which is the reason why the doing is more important than the outcome. The doing has become a journey for me and it is a journey that I will remember as I go on to WRD 104 and other writing and reading courses. This journey has also helped me complete several of the First-Year Writing outcomes. Before my journey really began, I wrote Writes to Discover and Reading Responses. However, just because the real journey had not begun, did not mean that I did not achieve and complete some of the First-Year Writing outcomes and did not learn to become a better critical thinker, writer and reader. Writes to Discover gave me the freedom to express my feelings and opinions in an informal manner. Through this, I was able to become a better critical thinker. For example, for the third essay, we were asked to write our expectations of what we were able to read, write and research in college. I had taken this in a different direction as I stated that I would have the liberty to write about things that I had an interest in. However, once the Reading Responses were done, I realized that I had perceived the Writes to Discover in a different way. Nonetheless, my Writes to Discover response influenced me to think about our society without freedom of speech and if that were the case, if I would have interpreted the question differently. Overall, my Writes to Discover were essential because they were the first steps to writing an essay.

Gonzalez 2 My journey as a writer in WRD 103 began with the Rhetorical Analysis essay. The first essay was the beginning of my adventurous, successful journey because I was introduced to the writing process. For instance, WRD 103 introduced me into writing a rough draft, conducting peer review that focused on the effectiveness of the essays and editing. At only the beginning of my journey, I had already accomplished several of the learning outcomes for First-Year Writing. Processes is an outcome that truly gives meaning to the writing process. For example, an important aspect of the outcome is to be able recognize and articulate the value of using multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text. Comparing my first and last drafts of my Rhetorical Analysis made me realize the great, effective changes that made my final draft strong enough to successfully address the prompt. For instance, the first draft of my Rhetorical Analysis was not as effective as it needed to be. As my thesis, I stated, the ending of President Obamas speech to the Democratic National Convention uses pathos in order to persuade America that he is the right candidate for president. This thesis really was not effective because even though I addressed the rhetorical language that President Obama used, I did not include why it was important. However, by my third and final draft, my thesis read as, Appealing to pathos demonstrates how politicians are successful when they appeal to our emotions. However, one must be cautious because our emotions can disrupt logical decision making which is important when voting for the United States next president. The thesis was much longer, but the why took my analysis to the next level. It was not until my third draft that I had an effective thesis that captured the true reason for writing the rhetorical analysis. Not only that, but by the third draft, the thesis was worded better. This is a reason why the doing attributes to success. Without going through my drafts, my final essay would not have been clear. Additionally, Rhetorical Knowledge was an outcome that intertwined with Processes. For example, without going through my Rhetorical Analysis essay more than once, I would have not been able to Define and focus on a purpose or purposes. Going over several drafts has helped me pinpoint the purpose of an essay and make sure that it was portrayed effectively through my writing. By the final

Gonzalez 3 draft of my Rhetorical Analysis, I had defined and focused on the purpose through my thesis as well as my body and conclusion paragraphs. For instance, in my thesis, I emphasized the use of pathos and through my body paragraphs I gave specific feelings that President Obama instilled in his audience. By the conclusion paragraph, I addressed how emotions can disrupt ones logical thinking. This addressed the essential purpose of the essay once again. I learned to be consistent supporting my thesis, or purpose, throughout the entire essay. The second stop on my journey to a successful quarter was the Joining the Conversation essay. Through the second essay, several aspects of the writing process were critical. For example, without peer review, my essay would have had a weak conclusion and my ethos might have been questioned. In my first draft, my peer, Nicholas Lew, noticed that I did not include any limitations of the conversation that I analyzed. By the second draft, I included examples such as the fact Erik, the male in the group, did not speak as much as the women because he might have simply not been interested in the subject of the conversation. This part of the process is essential because, like in my case, peers may be able to notice something that you did not. Not only that, but you are able to feed off each others ideas and thoughts. Additionally, this helps one become a better critical thinker. For example, a peer of yours might have a different idea or perspective on a certain topic, which essentially causes you to think differently as well. This is necessary when reviewing another peers work because we all have different perspectives and opinions. Also, through the second essay, I was able to accomplish another learning outcome. The learning outcome of Critical Reading, Thinking and Writing was met in regards to integrating my own ideas with those of others. For instance, the goal was to form a hypothesis about gender communications, but to also include the ideas of authors that we had read. Preparing for the second essay made me realize that being able to integrate my own ideas improved my critical reading and thinking skills. For example, when I was constructing my thesis, I had to think outside the box. I had to apply what I had read and put it into a real life perspective, which was something that was new to me. The Reading Responses were

Gonzalez 4 essential in this case because in order to form my own thoughts, I had to Respond and evaluate texts in multiple genres and media. Through the Reading Responses, I needed to analyze and understand each of the authors claims and ideas in order to integrate my own thoughts and use their texts as evidence in my essay. The articles on gender communications were relatable, while others were based on data, and others were comical and solely based on personal experience. Through the Reading Responses, I evaluated the texts and later, I was easily able to differentiate between the authors that had similar and different opinions than the ones I had formed. For instance, I found that Deborah Camerons and Janet Holmes claims would help form my thesis for my essay as I stated in He Said What?, My beliefs were based on Additionally, through the second essay, I was able to Employ writing and reading for inquiry, thinking, and communicating. For instance, before reading about gender communications, I was unaware of the topic. I never gave it much thought, but when my assignment was to analyze a certain conversation between men and women, I gained a new perspective other than those that I had read about. For example, I learned that it was not about men versus women, but that communication was about ones surroundings, personalities, and other factors. I created my own opinion about a topic, which demonstrates that I have become a critical thinker. My great journey as a writer in WRD 103 continued as I wrote a blog post that would address the controversial topic of the First Amendment. Writing a blog post helped me take a big step with my writing because it was an assignment that I took chances with. A learning outcome that was addressed through writing the blog post was Knowledge of Conventions. For instance, I was able to apply a variety of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics. My blog post, titled Is This Acceptable Language?, consisted of shorter paragraphs, one-liners and rhetorical questions. For instance, one paragraph consisted of only rhetorical questions. I stated, Is this acceptable? What does it matter? Theyre just words, right? and the next paragraph stated, WRONG. The use of rhetorical questions engaged the audience while the capitalized word emphasized and enhanced my thesis.

Gonzalez 5 Furthermore, writing a blog post made me realize how structure contributes to the effectiveness of language. For instance, a simple one-liner can enhance and strengthen ones argument. Not only that, but tone was crucial for the blog post. For example, I stated, Justin Bird and his parents were justifying his postings by claiming that Bird has freedom of speech. I used a sarcastic tone and quotation marks to stress how ignorant, in my view, the response was which once again, contributes to my argument. My approach to writing in different genres was to take advantage of the different styles because they do make a difference and attract a certain type of audience. This part of my journey helped me overpass other aspects of Rhetorical Knowledge. For example, I was able to Write in different genres and Interpret and respond to different audiences. WRD 103 has helped realize that language, the way something is written, its wording and so on, all contributes to the genre one wants to write in or the audience one hopes to attract. For example, if I had used long paragraphs and very formal writing in the blog post, I probably would not attract the typical blog reader. The final stop on my journey was the multimodal essay on my discourse community. The multimodal essay was so different than anything we have ever done before because it required images, videos, and other media. However, it needed to be as effective and use rhetorical techniques just as in an essay. All aspects of the presentation had to make the central claim clear to the audience. For example, I demonstrated how my Mexican-American neighborhood held beauty besides its negative stigma. To do this, I used colors such as red and green and used images that enhanced a sense of community and togetherness. Additionally, through this multimodal essay, I was able to achieve another aspect of the Process outcome. For example, I was able to Apply a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences. As previously mentioned, like an essay, I had to be as effective and make rhetorical choices through a Prezi presentation. Instead of using adjectives, I used images and videos that would emphasize my thesis.

Gonzalez 6 I also used the Spanish language to put Little Village in a positive light because it accentuates the strong sense of culture in the community. My journey in WRD 103 has ended successfully and I will go on to WRD 104 next quarter. This journey has been nothing but helpful and I feel confident as a critical writer, thinker and reader. I will take what I have learned and soon embark on another voyage.

Sincerely, Valentina Gonzalez