Walking into Rhetoric, I thought I had predicted what was expected of me for the semester. I had heard my friends discussing the speeches they were preparing and essays they were writing for their rhetoric courses and remembered studying pathos, ethos, and logos my freshman year of high. I was surprised, and slightly nervous when I discovered our assignments were not your typical Rhetoric assignments.
Over the past 15 weeks, I have learned a lot about rhetoric, obviously, but also how to put my best foot forward with future writing assignments, speeches, and projects. The number one lesson I’ve learned is the importance of choosing topics that you find interesting and want to research. I feel as though a large part of my success with rhetorical analysis is due to my passion for the topics which lead to a want to do the research necessary to succeed. In another class, I did not do enough research on a research paper topic before choosing, and while I have since grown to find the topic fascinating, I hesitated to begin the research. I started the research for my papers in this class as soon as I could because I could not wait to learn more about the topic I had chosen.
This class has also helped me find my formal writing style. Last semester, my honors seminar was on travel writing, which increased my writing skills immensely, but travel writing is not the same as a formal paper. This class helped me combine the two. Being able to write about topics I feel passionate about in the same way I felt passionate about my travel writing stories helped me keep my voice I found in that class, but the formality of a rhetoric analysis made me transfer that voice to a more formal tone. I can already see that this has transferred into other classes, for my Theatre History research paper had a clearer voice that my research papers from high school.
I have to say I found the transition to online learning quite seamless. While the LDA was a struggle because I had never given a presentation virtually prior to my LDA, I found it to be incredibly useful, for I’m sure at some point in my future I will have to use an online platform to give a presentation or have a job interview. I feel as though we got more experience with applying rhetorical tools due to the pandemic and can already see myself recognizing them in speeches and advertisements more than prior to this class. I want to thank you for a great semester despite the unprecedented circumstance, and I hope everyone has a great summer and that we are back of the University of Iowa sooner rather than later.