“The Road to Success,” Sam Illig (2011) — Inquiry 5

Throughout the academic year I feel that my writing skills have improved a tremendous amount. I feel that due to my college writing experience, my approach to beginning a paper has changed for the better. I have acquired new tools to help me convey my message clearly and without unnecessary details throughout the essay. I have also fine-tuned the skills I had acquired prior to my college experience. In addition, I have become much more confident with my writing style and am not as timid to write how I truly feel about the issue at hand. I believe that throughout my first semester I have not only improved my writing language and skill, but also by the way I convey my message.

Toward the beginning of the semester the manner in which I approached my essay was somewhat simplistic. I often rushed into the writing process and didn’t take enough preparation time to formulate my thoughts and ideas. All too often, I would just wait until I had only one day to complete my paper and then finally start the essay. However, participating in the college composition course seemed to alter the way I approached and set up my paper. After Inquiry 1, I learned the importance of time management and patience in creating an effective essay. In Inquiry 1 I stated, “Many of us seem to be somewhat addicted to texting, while others just aren’t aware that they are doing it”. I wrote this broad statement, however I gave no examples to back it up or to prove my assertion. The first Inquiry really showed me that with time and thoughtful detail an effective essay could be produced. I learned that by taking time to think and plan out details it could increase the effectiveness of the essay. Time allowed me not only to think of many more ideas for the essay itself, but also to perfect my paper by finding good examples and details to support the essay. I started to plan out my paper by free writing and also creating outlines to back up the main points of the essay. These small, yet important habits helped me organize my thoughts and ideas so the essay itself was more thoughtfully prepared.  I also became aware of the importance of forming the paper around the thesis. I learned that by forming my writing style around the thesis it allowed me to convey my message more clearly. My writing style has become more refined throughout this semester, which has really helped me organize my paper and write stronger essays.

During the semester I also acquired many new writing tools that increased the effectiveness of my essays. I first learned the different tools involving rhetoric, such as ethos, pathos, and logos. I learned how to effectively utilize these tools to persuade the reader effectively. I felt that I was able to appeal to the reader through the use of emotion very well. In Public Issue Inquiry 3 I stated, “When a child is laying on his deathbed needing an organ donor, is it right that an illegal immigrant gets a donor first?” I believe that through this quote I was able to appeal to the reader by emotion, which increased the success of my persuasion. Through the concept of ethos I was also able to make my different essays seem credible, which increased their overall outcome for the better. In Inquiry 3 I also stated, “State Representative Courtney Combs of Butler County Ohio is one person that has been actively endorsing new reforms on illegal immigration.” This statement built integrity in my essay by showing that an American State Representative had a similar stance on the issue. By bringing in the thoughts of an American political figure into my essay I was able to increase the credibility of my work.

I felt that I also worked well by taking a logical approach to the different essays. Without being rational and showing all opinions to the essay one could not draw a conclusion off of the essay. These tools were not only used in the rhetoric essay, but they also helped in the many other essays to allow a strong, convincing argument. I believe that rhetoric was one of the most important tools learned during the entire semester, and I feel that I learned to use this tool efficiently within my essays.

Learning how to use effective examples for the thesis was also one of the most important tools I acquired during the semester. My college writing experience really showed me how important successful examples are in an essay. In Inquiry 1 I stated, “One time I found myself even texting when I was at a birthday dinner for my grandpa, he asked me how I was doing and I didn’t give him any attention.” This example was very important because it gave the reader a realistic event to relate to the main points of the essay. I felt that my examples were very effective in showing my topic and point of view throughout my essays. My college writing experience showed me that without examples the essay really doesn’t flow well. The reader must have something to help them understand what the essay is truly saying. I believe that learning how to use examples effectively throughout the semester really helped me not only with my essays, but also with my overall growth as a writer.

My college writing experience has additionally aided me in polishing the writing skills I had obtained from previous years of writing. My experience taught me the importance of proper grammar within a written composition and how your essay cannot be successful without the use of proper grammar. If someone does not sound intelligent throughout his or her essay, the reader will automatically lose interest in the topic. In addition, I learned how to have an efficient introduction and conclusion to an essay. I became much better at introducing my paper and laying out the main points I was addressing throughout the essay. I learned the value in having a good structured thesis to mold the entire essay around. In Inquiry 2 I stated, “Levi’s Jeans Company displays an incredible use of rhetoric and in doing this, is able to convey its message very clearly.” With this statement I felt that I was effective in giving the reader an idea of what the paper was about without giving too much detail about the topic. I gave myself a strong opening point to work with which made my paper stronger overall. Throughout the semester I also thought my conclusions improved a great deal. I was able to summarize the main points of my essays and really give the reader something to think about in the end. My college writing experience aided me in bettering the writing skills I had coming into college.

The most evident change and growth in my writing style is the way I write as an individual. Coming into the first semester of college I was very structured with my writing style. I was afraid to really think outside of the box. I often just stuck to one style of writing for every single paper, no matter the topic at hand. I never liked opening a paragraph up with a question, and was afraid to show any type of emotion throughout my essay. I seemed to have so much structure and no creativity in my paper. However, throughout the semester my attitude toward writing totally changed. The different assignments during the year really taught me to pick a topic personal to me. By picking a topic of interest to me, it made it much easier to focus on the essay, and also to write efficiently. The different assignments taught me to just write how I feel and not to worry too much about being so structured. I learned to just let the words flow like I was almost speaking my mind. In Inquiry 4 I stated, “These conversations may make us feel more in with our friends, but at the same time can draw us out of some of the most important relationships we have.” This statement was just a simple thought I had, however on paper it was very effective in promoting my thesis statement. Before college I would have never used statements like this, however my writing experiences this semester showed me how helpful my actual thoughts could be in promoting the essay topic. My college writing experience really helped assure me to write how I felt. I was able to write on a much more personal level which helped me say what I wanted to throughout the whole essay. My college writing experience helped me write how I truly felt about the issue, which in turn made the essay more personal to me and to my audience.

Upon entering college as a freshman, I was extremely nervous about how I would perform when writing at the college level. I felt I was a good writer in high school, but didn’t know what college would hold for me. Looking back I realize how much I really grew as a writer. I was able to learn many new ideas and acquire new tools that helped me in composing every single essay I wrote. I felt that I took to the new concepts, such as rhetoric, very easily and applied them at the perfect times in my different essays. My essays became more personal to me, which allowed me to speak my mind throughout the essay. I learned to write how I felt, which I think made the semester much easier for me. Overall, throughout the entire semester I felt that I bettered myself as a writer in all aspects.