Reflective – Jon Otero

Surviving Comp II and Moving Forward

To build, often times it’s necessary to inspect a foundation and discover the essence of its strength. Comp II has proven that the best way to ensure that the foundation is solid is to completely destroy it and rebuild a new foundation. After going through cursive boot camp, I emerged from my previous writing level and significantly altered my entire writing process. I have come to the understanding of the importance of presenting my arguments in a structured, well-supported manner with the goal of contributing beneficial knowledge to the public and academic sphere.  The guidance and critique of my professor has steered me along a path of self improvement which has lead me to naturally practicing core values, especially values III, V, and VII, in everyday reading and writing.

My analytical response to writing, of all sources, has dramatically improved since the beginning of the Spring semester thanks to the proficiency displayed by my professor.  After debating and fabricating an argument of what the essence of money is, I received extensive feedback not only targeting various grammatical errors, weak sentence structures, etc., but also pointing out weaknesses in trusting poorly supported ideas. Core Value III is a about analyzing textual and visual arguments for effectiveness, persuasiveness, and structure. This ability to focus on the slightest of details was nearly nonexistent prior to my development in Comp II. I utilized the skill to break down the message of an argument with no words at all. For this semester’s Ad Council assignment, I chose a video advertising the necessity of being prepared for disasters. The ad was so effective because of the slightest attentions to detail planned by the directors. I spotted out the multiple symbols lurking in the background of the action and understood the logic behind the choices. In the disaster scene, certain objects were affected before others, supporting the total message that in a disaster, all that we hold to be most familiar, loses all recognizable characteristics and becomes the unknown. Elements of the effective use of symbolism would have passed the screen unnoticed without proper understanding of Core Value III.

As the semester comes to a close, I am confident I will continue to analyze arguments based on the use of evidence and structure. While unable to effectively decipher what sources could be trusted in the beginning of the semester, I vastly improved on my analysis skills and truly honed in on critiquing all evidence given in any form of argument. To understand Core Value V is to acknowledge the different interpretations of factual evidence and to distinguish the bias from the fact. The best way to understand claims and the true meaning behind the evidence supporting them is to visit the sources cited. As advised, I explored into subjects being open to all information, rather than just seeking what I had already thought. When choosing a topic for my research paper, I wanted to argue about how simple it is to lose weight and convince people how little drug companies care about the success of their clients’ weight loss. Researching obesity and the history of drugs made to combat the serious medical condition, I learned that losing weight at that state is not at all what I thought it was. Arguments supporting my original stance had no scientific evidence and stigmatized the failure of a few drugs on all drugs. I also researched the complexity of obesity and the toll that such weight has on the body. Using reliable scientific studies, I supported my research paper and the claims within it to reveal the role of chemical imbalances in shaping a person’s body. The abilities needed for Core Value V are all necessary to find reliable information on topics, which is crucial to creating effectively supported arguments.

Above all, writing must be done while understanding the nature of written discourse; it is open for the public to view and should be worthy enough to enter and contribute to the pool of academic knowledge. When forming arguments for my papers this semester, I made sure I researched as much information on the topic as possible to ensure that not only was I knowledgeable in the source, but also that I would be able to effectively rebut arguments opposing my own. In my causal essay, I understood how people could form the idea that eating too much causes obesity based on rudimentary understanding of nutrition. However, I learned that contrary to popular belief, malnutrition was a major cause of obesity. Without diving past all of the shallow understandings of human nutritional needs, I would have never discovered the study linking malnutrition and obesity. My full intention in writing my research paper and its supporting papers this semester was to contribute to the general understanding of health and nutrition. With that in mind, I prioritized scientific research as evidential backup rather than using emotional appeals because of the scientific nature of my topic.

Comp II has been a long journey that has yielded much self-improvement as a writer in regards to effective structuration, proper utilization of scientific information, and most importantly, the development of the proper skills to sort out bias and derive conclusions based on factual evidence in order to positively contribute to the pool of academic knowledge. I am confident these useful traits acquired by adherence to the Core Values will render me a much more capable writer than I ever would have been. Looking back on my writing prior to the semester, it is clearly evident that I have reached a new level of consciousness and confidence in my writing.

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1 Response to Reflective – Jon Otero

  1. davidbdale says:

    I’ve seen the improvement too, Jon. You do a nice job here of tying your theoretical improvements to specific examples of new skills and insights. Good work.

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