As a STEM major the root of this question is perhaps more of a challenge than what most would consider. And to be perfectly clear I don’t mean how I have improved as a writer over the years. No, to answer that question I could simply go on a tangent about how I honed my critical thinking skills in writing or how I expanded my range of vocabulary and grammatical knowledge or even how versatile I’ve become with my writing having explored writing persuasion pieces utilizing different tones. The superseding root of that question is why I should care about my English courses when I know I want to pursue a career in Math and Engineering. For most of life I considered the English subject a nuance in my academic path. It was not until last year that I began to realize how much of a profound impact the lessons I learned in theses English classes had on my life. The culmination of my English knowledge sat in the backseat of my brain until I visited a country where English is hardly spoken at all. During my time spent in the rural villages of Bangladesh, I was made to conversate with distant relatives I had never met in a language I hardly speak anymore. Though I was able to understand everything that was said to me, I failed to pick up on the witty sarcasm embedded within Bengali banter. I remember feeling naked and vulnerable for not being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings elegantly alongside them. For me, the language was a complex yet coordinated dance of expression and I was an onlooker who couldn’t tango. It was there I had an epiphany that this dilemma with language existed back home as well. For all my life I have been on a pursuit to best express my thoughts and the letters of the English alphabet strung together in a particular fashion in tandem to the constraints of grammar were the only tools in my toolbox to help me do just that. Initially steadfast on taking an Art History class, this semester I chose Creative Writing as my elective at the very last minute. Right now, I am on a quest to sharpen the tools in my proverbial ‘toolbox’ in hopes of becoming a better writer and effectively a better communicator. This semester I learned to narrow my focus on a target audience with an essay on a discourse community I am a part of through an informative persuasion piece. I strengthened my ability to write objectively versus subjectively. Most importantly I learned to conduct proper research for an annotated bibliography. Overall, I find myself incredibly pleased with how this class went and look forward to enjoying the fruits of my labor when the overall letter grade for this class is posted at the end of the semester.
Professor: Jessica Penner
Class Meetings & Times: in person Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4 – 5:15 PM in Namm 403
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12 – 1:30 PM. I’ll be available through Zoom and will send an invitation via email that you should keep all semester. Try to join my meeting at the start of the hour, not at the end—since I may be talking to other students or have another appointment after the hour is up. If those times don’t work with your schedule, we can schedule a different time. This means you’ll have to schedule an appointment in advance via email. I suggest you have multiple times in mind, since your schedule may not mesh with mine!
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