“College Survival Guide,” Kirsten Drew (2014) — Inquiry 5

Writer’s Reflection

My purpose for this inquiry is to help prepare incoming first years and give them confidence for their first college English class. I believe I have achieved the goal that I set for this inquiry, in helping incoming freshmen. Since I’m speaking of the major concept of audience for this inquiry, I always want to be more in touch with the audience and make the paper more personal for them to keep it interesting. I feel as though this is also one of my biggest strengths throughout the inquiry. I think that I directed the audience a great deal and made a personal connection with the audience by telling them my personal experiences and thoughts. Just as with every paper, I had trouble meeting the word count. I need to learn how to be more descriptive and expressive in my writing, rather than just stating the important aspects and getting to the point of the inquiry. Now that it is the end of the semester, I feel as though I have become a better writer than I thought I could. This resulted from the major concepts that I have learned in class, such as context, audience, genre, purpose, media, etc., and putting the suggestions I have been given into my inquiries. This class has really helped me grow as a writer.


Check out Drew’s Prezi here: http://prezi.com/r3q37havn3ao/college-survival-guide/

Dear Incoming Freshmen,

The conclusion of my first semester at Miami University has come and the beginning of my freshmen year has gone by so fast. It feels like just yesterday I was moving in to my dorm room and it is already finals week. Now that I have successfully made it through the beginning of my college career, I definitely have some survival tips for incoming first years in the coming years, especially for your first college English class, ENG 111. This first English class freshmen take at Miami, is not what I anticipated a college English class to be like. Just like me, you probably have preconceived expectations about what you will do and learn in a college class. I thought that college English would be paper after paper, writing at least ten essays and reading thirteen books a semester. But it is nothing like that at Miami, ENG 111 is actually a lot like the advanced composition class I had in high school. This really helped with the transition from high school to college, so don’t be apprehensive about college classes and go in with a positive, open mind.

Throughout ENG 111, you as students will learn about quite a few major concepts that will help to improve your writing abilities, such as purpose, media, context, genre, etc. At the beginning of the semester I saw myself as being an average writer. I had improved a lot throughout high school, because I was terrible before then believe me, but feel that I have become even better and more confident at writing now that I know these concepts. The most important concept to understand, in my opinion, would be audience and this has helped my writing abilities to progress to the level they are at now. All throughout high school, I thought that the audience of a paper was just

whoever ended up reading it. But now I know that the writer can choose to direct their composition towards a specific audience and still have others read it. Whoever the inquiry is directed towards decides how the writer presents themselves, their ideas, and what their research has found.

Each inquiry is different in who the writer’s audience can be. The audiences could be anyone from peers to important heads of administration, which are some examples of the audiences that I decided to address my compositions towards. For instance, for this inquiry I’m directing my portfolio and this analysis towards students that will be taking ENG 111 in the future. I keep the tone more informal so it is as if I am speaking face to face with my peers. For all of the inquiries, we either had to write to an audience about an experience we had, analyze, or use rhetoric.

The first paper I ever wrote in college was Inquiry 1 for this class. We had to write about an experience where we had to persuade a certain audience through writing. I chose to write about my college admission essay. I did the same thing as I am doing here, writing to my peers, to help them through the writing process that I had gained knowledge about and had gone through. I spoke about how the college admission process can be daunting to high school students in choosing their future, but it really isn’t that bad. “Knowing the direction to take with the paper can slowly ease the burden of the essay and give the writer confidence”, was advice I offered in this inquiry. That suggestion not only holds true for the topic I was writing about, but will assist you in any English assignment. I kept the paper informal, just as in this letter, so that it seemed as if I was speaking to my friends back home.

Our second inquiry was to analyze a music video. The music video I chose was a parody of Blurred Lines by Mod Carousel. This inquiry was different than all of the other ones, because not only is the writer analyzing an audience, but we then had to direct the analysis towards someone as well. In Inquiry 2, I chose to write and analyze the same audience, Generation Y, because whoever saw the video would best understand the analysis of both the parody and the original video. A quote from my analysis states, “The Mod Carousel video is aimed towards the people that have given Vevo over forty- four million hits on the original version of “Blurred Lines”, because they will understand the message behind the parody,” which shows what audience I am analyzing, while it is the same audience that I chose to direct the inquiry towards.

Inquiry 3 was a proposal paper about local issues that were important to us. I chose to write about how unequally the fine arts are treated, financially and academically, compared to sports at Dalton High School, which is the high school I attended. I wanted to direct the proposal towards an audience that could fix the problem. I addressed the administration and Board of Education of Dalton High. Since the audience is composed of adults, the tone and language of the paper was much more formal compared to other inquiries I had written, where the audience were my peers and had a more familiar tone. Also in this inquiry, I learned to directly state my audience throughout the paper. Each time that the writer states the audience in the inquiry, it makes the statements more powerful and personal to the readers. One of the most significant tips I can give incoming first years is to keep stating and directing the specific audience throughout the inquiry.

The most important tip that I learned throughout the semester, which I just stated above, helped me throughout Inquiry 4 as well. For this inquiry, we had to create a video for the same cause, but direct it towards a different specific audience. We then wrote an analysis on the video. The video was directed to the students of Dalton High School from the beginning, literally with a title slide that said, “To the students of Dalton High”. I thought that stating the specific audience right away would give the video more meaning to them personally and create a connection to keep them interested up until the very end. Speaking of the end of the video, I made it even more exclusive just to Dalton High School’s students by creating a picture slideshow of past and present students with captions and music. Using the bright colored photos with the crisp, clear captions that summarized the video once again, created an ending that I hoped would continue to inspire the students to use their voices and be heard to make a difference that could start a change across the nation.

Our final assignment was to compose an analysis essay of this course and choose the form in which it was to be written. As you can see, I decided to write a letter to incoming first year students, specifying the audience. I have found, through all of the assignments, that it is more comfortable for me to address an audience of my peers, although I can certainly write in a formal manner when the audience dictates it. This is especially true when I believe in a purpose and want to get the point across. While this letter is not formal, I want to emphasize the importance of all that you will learn in ENG 111 and how it will prepare you for future writing assignments. This class has taught me to be able to write in an effective and persuasive way and understand the concepts of writing a paper.

All of these excerpts and examples from the inquiries that I wrote hopefully show you how important the major concept of audience really is to writing a composition. Now that I have a better understanding of whom the audience actually is and knowing how it can affect the tone and language of a paper, it has really changed my writing style for the better. I still have many weaknesses when it comes to writing, such as trying to meet word requirements and having organization and flow throughout my papers. However, I believe that I can now add audience to my slowly, growing list of strengths and with any luck so can you incoming first years, or at the very least you will have a head start compared to those of us that had no idea. As a first year, I heard many different stories and was told what I should expect about college and especially about college English classes. But now that I have been through one and made it, I can confidently tell anyone that is worried about it, if I can do it; you most definitely will make it through too. Enjoy college and don’t worry and stress yourself out about it. After all, we are here to learn and meet new challenges. It is a big change to adjust to, but the more I am at Miami, the more I realize how much fun I am going to have here, and I hope that as a first year you will as well!

All the best, Kirsten Drew