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Valentina Gonzalez Professor Erin Ashley Mink Garvey Composition & Rhetoric I WRD 103 Section 415 October 5, 2012 Reflective Letter

Dear Professor Garvey and DePaul University Administration, The first and most helpful piece of advice that I received from the First-Year Writing Program at DePaul University is that writing is progressive. One can always improve their drafts, revise to make small changes, or even completely start over. The First-Year Writing Program has taught me that writing is not necessarily a step-by-step process instead it is a cycle, a cycle in which there is always room for changes and improvements. I feel that with this being said, I have been more open-minded about writing and I do not feel constrained to follow a certain format; instead, I am inspired to try new styles, use different language and so on. No idea is ever set in stone in your first draft, which is what has made writing more appealing to me. All in the process of becoming more open-minded about writing, I feel that I have truly improved and have met, if not completed, several of the First-Year Writing outcomes throughout my first quarter as a freshman. Firstly, I am confident that I have met several of the outcomes for Rhetorical Knowledge throughout my first quarter. For example, up until now, our writing assignments have all had a specific purpose. For instance, in our Rhetorical Analysis, we had to focus on a specific political speech and make a certain claim about it. Our thesis needed to define the rhetorical language that was used by the politician, and throughout the essay, we needed to make sure that we tied back to our central claim. To me, being able to define and focus on a purpose or purposes means that I am able to generate a thesis and support it through my writing. Besides that, our second essay also had a central purpose which was to answer whether men and women spoke the same language. I feel that I have accomplished this because in my second essay, He Said What?, I generated my own hypothesis, however, I did not lose focus of the question. In the conclusion of my essay I addressed how I women talked more than men which

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demonstrated that I was able to keep focus on the purpose of the essay since I clearly answered the question. Additionally, another learning outcome that I have completed is being able to interpret and respond to different audiences. I have shown this through the introductions of both of my major writing assignments. For example, in my Rhetorical Analysis, I began with, The way language is used in a political speech is very important to a politicians audience while in my second essay, He Said What? I stated, As I walked into the noisy lounge at the DePaul Lincoln Park campus, I saw my friends comfortably sitting on the couches. There were major differences in the writing styles. While both essays are informative and address societal issues, my first essay is more formal than my second essay which demonstrates the different audiences. The fact that He Said What? was more personal and used words such as I and me automatically seemed to set a different tone in my essay which coincides with the type of audience that one is addressing. I have also demonstrated this through my informal writing assignments. For example, Writes to Discover served as an assignment to put my thoughts together and form my opinion about a topic. This was aimed towards a different audience because my writing was no organized and did not have much flow. It was definitely informal compared to the audiences of my formal essays. Moreover, I have also completed several outcomes for Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing. For instance, I respond and evaluate texts in multiple genres and media. I feel that I was able to complete this outcome because of reading response assignments. Throughout the quarter, we have read several different articles from Exploring Language. Our reading responses allowed us to us to analyze and give our thoughts on the writing and its purpose. All of our responses have greatly differed because many of the articles were of different genre. For example, Deborah Camerons What Language Barrier? compared to Tony Kornheisers No Detail is Too Small for Girls Answering a Simple Question were clearly different genres and therefore I had responses that varied. In my responses, I included that Cameron denied scientific findings of having a female and male brain while for Kornheiser I mentioned that he might have been unreliable. For Camerons article I was insinuating that she was

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reliable because she negated the finding of other articles, as opposed to Kornheiser who was much more humorous and informal. In addition, I also integrate my own ideas with those of others. For example, specifically in my second essay, He Said What? I was able to create my own hypothesis based on the ideas of other authors. For instance, I stated, My beliefs were based on Deborah Camerons article, What Language Barrier? as she statesMy claim that men talked more than women was based on her article, however, adding to the idea I proposed that men would still dominate a conversation even in a female dominated environment. I had taken her idea and had expanded it with my own opinion. Furthermore, Processes is also an outcome that I have met throughout the first quarter. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, I have been able to recognize and articulate the value of using multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text. For all major writing assignments, I have had at least two drafts. Through my experience, I have noticed that by my second draft, I have more ideas and have a better understanding of what I am writing. Because of this, I am able to add further details and example. Also, for my Rhetorical Analysis and Gender Communication essays I feel that the first draft served to put all ideas on paper. For instance, as seen in my first draft of my Rhetorical Analysis opposed to my final draft, I had reorganized my ideas in order for them to flow better. Additionally, I have been able to critique my own and others works. Throughout my first quarter, I have realized that proof reading has caused major improvements for my essays. In my essay, He Said What? my peers included several helpful tips to make my essay stronger and more effective. For instance, my classmates told me to include a paragraph of limitations which was important to include because it demonstrated to what extent my findings had been reliable. Not only that, but they also helped me point me in the right direction for my essays. They included comments such as Good example or Nice. These comments demonstrated to me that I could possibly add more of that type of analysis in my essay and so on. Additionally, critiquing others work also helped my writing because reading their essays gave me ideas and helped clarify things that I had been confused about. For instance, I had not been sure if I had been doing my Rhetorical Analysis

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correctly and when I read others essays, I realized that I was. It is also helpful to feed off each others comments and ideas, whether they are simple things like grammar or other ideas about the writing. Also, I have been able to complete some of the outcomes from Knowledge of Conventions. For instance, I have been able to apply a variety of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics. Judging from my two major writing assignments and my informal writing assignments, such as writes to discover and reading responses, I have been able to use different structures and tones. For example, in my writes to discover and reading responses, I include very short, concise paragraphs, my tone is informal overall, and grammar errors are clearly present. However, for my major writing assignment, such as the Rhetorical Analysis, my paragraphs were very detailed and thorough. They were much longer because each paragraph made a particular claim about Obamas speech and then evidence as well as analysis was included. Opposed to this was my gender communication essay. Although paragraphs were still longer than my writes to discover and reading responses, they were shorter but still contained several details. I used a different structure for this essay because I included points as the conversation that I studied went on. Instead of having paragraphs with particular points, such as my Rhetorical Analysis, I just went with the conversation and analyzed the quotes as they went along. The structure I feel was also different because for the Rhetorical Analysis my thesis was the point that I was going to support, however in the gender communications essay, my thesis was my hypothesis which meant that I would use my data to either support it or refute it. Also, different tones were used for in each essay because in my He Said What? essay, I included quotes, and some of the things being said were humorous which entitled the informal tone. However, for the Rhetorical Analysis, a formal and serious tone was needed because not only did you have demonstrate the rhetorical effectiveness of the politician but also of yourself. I had to present ethos in order to demonstrate that my analysis was reliable. Finally, I have also completed several outcomes from Composing in Electronic Environments. For example, I use electronic environment for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing and sharing texts. I like to write using a word processor because I feel that it becomes easier to put it or take out certain

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things. Also, I feel that I am barely beginning to use and compose in multiple modes with intended rhetorical effects I feel that this is true because making a portfolio becomes part of this process. You have to be the one to make choices and to make sure that it explains your text as best as possible. For instance, in my Rhetorical Analysis, I thought that it would be best to include President Obamas Democratic Convention speech. I feel that this is a good decision because not only does it provide an actual visual, but one can also compare my findings to the speech to suggest whether I was reliable. All in all, so far, I feel that I have accomplished so much with my writing. I feel that I have improved and because writing it progressive, I can only improve as the quarter continues.