Andrea Toledano

Rhetorical Theory

April 21, 2017

Reflection

As a student pursuing FIU’s writing certificate, I entered the class with the knowledge

that it was going to be challenging, that it was going to make me think. My problem is, I tend to

take the easy way out of situations; I would not say that I am mediocre by nature, but graduate

schools place so much emphasis on GPA that sometimes we become blinded. We take the ‘get an

A now, learn later’ approach and, before we know it, ‘later’ never came. It is crucial that we stop

taking the easy way out of situations, in turn for learning, because it isn’t just about getting into

your dream school, but about being able to keep up and excel as well as take something from the

experience. Ultimately, becoming critical thinkers is more important.

I am glad that I took this class, even though I am unsure that I will come out of the class

with an A, because I can take the lessons from this class and apply it to my career. It becomes

relevant, and that’s where the value lies. In 10 years, that information will be more valuable than

an A. It’s taken me two decades to figure it out.

My presentation on stasis was a learning experience; we have to create presentations in

our careers or for business proposals, and even though I am often intimidated by digital media

and the like, the presentation had much attached to it. For starters, not only did I play around

with PowerPoint; I also had to practice summarizing what I know, confidently sharing it with the
class, and making sure that I present clean information (and key words, instead of paragraphs). It

is only difficult not to read directly from the presentation when you don’t truly assimilate the

information prior to presenting.

Kairos is possibly my favorite takeaway from the class, because it is the most relevant

term of all. I have been writing since I was seven years old, and Kairos basically led me to where

I am today. In high school, I published a poetry book. A few weeks later, I was mentioning it to a

friend, and one of my teachers, who always pointed out my writing to the class, happened to

overhear me. I saw her standing nearby, and I wanted to mention it to her, but didn’t know how

to. When she heard me, she asked me about it, and she said she was impressed, so she told the

school’s PR woman. They called the Miami Herald, which later featured a story on my self-

published poetry book, written under a pseudonym (though the Miami Herald defeated the

purpose of this). Kairos romanticizes situations.

Kairos played a role in the way that my life has unfolded since. After my teacher

overheard me—because she was at the right place at the right time—I sent an application to the

NFL Players Association, because they were looking to hire a marketing intern. When they saw

my resume, they tailored a position for me, having me work as a freelance writer for the

marketing department, defining concepts. Since then, I have interned for the Navy’s lobby

association, and various other organizations. Each one led to the next, and now, I have that

teacher to thank for everything. And Kairos, of course.

In terms of what the assignments themselves have taught me, I have learned much as

well. In the first definition assignment, we had to organize our many ideas, at the beginning of

class, when we actually did not know as much as we were to know later on. It was a challenging
first assignment because it seemed like a broad topic and we had to learn to condense it into two

pages.

As you know, the first group project was not as successful as I would have liked, because

of the circumstances that my group faced. While I do hope that she is doing better, it was

frustrating to have my texts unanswered, because until the last minute, I thought she was

contributing. The lack of communication led to a misunderstanding, and this taught me a

valuable lesson about life. You have to be prepared for the unexpected, and you cannot blame

others when things go wrong. We must take responsibility for our lives’ outcomes. You also have

to improvise, and do the best you can. In writing the assignment, I learned how to mesh together

the best of my paper and the best of the other person’s paper. Marcela and I collaborated well,

bouncing ideas off each other, and eventually making our many ideas ‘one’. We made them fit.

In the big group assignment, one would think that it would be simple, because there are

many of us, but this is exactly what made is complicated. We all had so many voices, and ideas,

and we had to make so many decisions about how we were going to go about writing this paper.

In fact, we each contributed, but it was difficult to split the work evenly. It was also difficult to

write approximately one page each, because we all had so much to say, and some of our

information overlapped. For the most part, the biggest problem was, again, the organization

factor. It was challenging to mesh all of our ideas together to create a melodic effect—and later

on to decide if ‘chaos’ is actually what we were looking for, whether we were looking to each

add our own voice.

The rhetorical analysis was my favorite, but it had its fair share of challenges. All of our

assignments have forced us to essentially get to the core of the issue, and it has forced us to, in

turn, summarize main points, analyze them deeply, and get it done in a matter of a few pages. We
have had to pick very specific issues, because for the final paper, for instance, we had to write 10

pages based on an issue and rhetorical perspectives associated with it. There are topics that

would require so much more, so narrowing it down was a challenge in and of itself.

In the future, I have so many plans, but I know that all of them will be enhanced by the

lessons learned in this class. This is a genuine sentiment—rhetoric is essential in everyday life,

and the videos that we watched on the last day summed up life’s most important lessons, so at

the end of the day, I got much more out of the class than I thought. I went into the class with a

neutral perspective because I did not know what to expect, but I did know that it was going to be

interesting from the title itself.

This reflection is my favorite type of writing though; it encourages us to think about why

the information we learned is actually going to serve us later on. I am definitely guilty of having

merely memorized information prior to a test and forgetting it immediately after the exam. This

class helps us develop our writing and critical thinking skills (important for the LSAT, which I

hope to take). In addition, the relevance that the terms have and the examples provided in class

and in the textbook made this a more enjoyable experience. What is the value of memorizing

information if it is not going to add value to our lives in the long-term?

Whatever career I ultimately decide on—I am very much a mess right now—I know that

I will need to apply concepts in a real-life sort of way. Our lessons went deeper than merely what

we could get from a textbook. For now, my goal is to pursue a Master of Social Work from USC,

followed by law school, eventually becoming an adjunct professor and book editor. I am also

pursuing an editing certificate from the University of Chicago in the fall. My ultimate goal is to

become a Congresswoman, so I might have to start with a local council in my city of Aventura.
For everything that I hope to do, rhetoric—and knowing how to apply it—is of extreme

importance.