Today I had to pick two essays from this semester, my best and my worst. My worst was pathetically easy to find, my meme project this semester was a sad showing of subpar work, rushed (even more than usual) into an evening two days after its due date. While I had an extension for legitimate reasons, I still underperformed, and I see the meme project as my one great failure of the semester in Writing & Rhetoric. Despite this feeling of distaste with the essay, I still received a ‘B’ for my work, which sees high given my dismal description of the essay. However, in context this ‘B’ is still my lowest grade thus far and I hope to improve my work in this portfolio.
My best work was much more difficult to choose, but discovering which piece I felt earned the title was helpful in discovering how I see myself as a writer and what I have learned and will take away from this course after midnight tonight. I felt I had two options: my movie review of Spirited Away, or my rhetorical analysis of the video game Bioshock Infinite. Each received an ‘A’ and praise from Prof. Matos, and I felt happy with the final product in both cases. I reread both essays, hoping that I could find the answer by considering pros and cons. However, the plan backfired and the end result was my disliking both essays, and believing each to be worse in reality than in memory. Disgusted, I abandoned my plan to finish my portfolio a week early and left my work for a later date.
I didn’t return to the project until this morning, May 1st, the last day of classes. I sat at my desk staring at the two papers and front of me, dreading the decision I was about to make. But then I stopped, stood, and turned my gaze away from the white sheets of torture before me. Instead of focusing on what the essays were, I decided that I would decide based on how the essays had made me feel while writing them.
I normally dislike writing any type of essay, quite often I actually end up despising and hating the professors and classes I attend that require any significant words to appear in a document. I was very skeptical about my enjoyment of Writing & Rhetoric when I walked into the classroom on the first day of the semester, and I remained skeptical for a long time. But then I wasn’t. In fact, looking back, I truly believe that Writing & Rhetoric was the most rewarding class I took this semester. Before this class I would have told you that logos wasn’t a word and that ethos meant something about a courtroom. It was sad. I was a fairly strong writer before this semester, especially in argumentative styles, but I lacked the knowledge of why my arguments worked or why arguments consist of what they do. That has all changed. Now when I look at an argument and see evidence and emotional writing and drawn conclusions, I see the rhetorical devices I have learned during this semester. My confidence in my writing and thinking has also grown over the semester with each successful project. This class has also taught me to analyze many different mediums such as images and audio clips. Additionally, I have learned to write different types of papers instead of just dry research papers, which has been a refreshing change. The infomercial and audio narrative projects were interesting ways to work with rhetorical devices outside of writing, and I enjoyed both of them, even if working in groups was sometimes difficult. In fact, I actually enjoyed writing most of the assignments for this class, which is unheard of in my academic history.
Now that I reflect on my semester as a whole, I find myself wondering where everything changed, when I stopped doubting this course and stated enjoying going to class and writing my assignments. As I tracked my progress and continued further into the past, I suddenly realized it all began after the second project: my movie review. For the first time I can remember, I felt excited to write an essay. So that’s the one I chose.