The past sixteen weeks have been full of countless surprises, but one thing for certain is that I have become a more well-rounded individual from taking this class. Reading and understanding a wide variety of vocabulary has always been my strong suit, but this class taught me to engage in a deeper analysis of any and every work. I always understood the assigned readings when I tackled them by myself, but the class discussions afterwards were what really taught me to venture deeper in my analysis. This higher level of analysis translated into my writing, leading to more unique and complex essays. In terms of speaking, I learned to better engage my audience by reducing filler words and distracting tendencies. My classmates only reinforced my growth with their intelligent discussions and willingness to help others. Their diverse backgrounds opened my mind to new perspectives and molded me into a more educated community member.
Nevertheless, I believe that I can work on becoming an even more educated community member in my time at college. Since I went to private middle and high schools, I felt as though I was always exposed to people with similar views. My perspective remained constant and my views were never challenged. This rhetoric class was my first step in changing that; all of my classmates were outspoken and actually communicated with each other, unlike my other classes. I have learned to be patient with others and respect everybody’s views, both of which are useful tools to aid my growth as a community member.
Possibly my most valuable takeaway from this course is that I need to avoid procrastination and balance my work as evenly as possible. This course was different than my others in that it included assignments with long due dates rather than daily homework. I quickly learned the merits of forcing myself to work every day, something that made me a more independent and responsible person.
Moving forward, I expect rhetoric to impact my academic life as almost every class is centered around reading, writing, or speaking. I plan to do research in the science field, so I am excited to put my writing skills to use in lab reports. Concerning my personal life, I have already started to see the benefits of consciously using rhetoric with other people. I wrote down a list of techniques discussed in Thank You For Arguing—some of my favorites include using the future tense, proposing extreme choices first, and conceding to opponents. Though these examples of rhetoric have taught me that I can bend people to my will, I promise to use them for the good of the human race.