Reflective Statement

            Throughout Composition II, I improved as a writer immensely. I constructed three varying essays centralized around the topic of physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia. I enjoy writing about a topic that I felt passionate about, which made writing these arguments intriguing and exciting. I grew as a writer this semester and exemplified the core values that the Rowan University First-Year Writing program stresses. Overall, I believe that the core values were appropriately displayed through my three arguments and annotated bibliographies.

Core Value I was demonstrated by my ability to draft, revise, and edit, through my Composition II course. All of my essays were submitted to my instructor and fellow students for evaluation and feedback. I utilized my instructor’s and classmates’ feedback to make appropriate changes within my rough drafts to submit for grading and the Final Portfolio. I have always had troubles writing and formatting bibliographies so I really enjoyed the fact that I could view my peer’s bibliographies to make sure that mine was perfect. After learning from them, my annotated bibliography was finally formatted correctly. I expected to my classmates to comment more on my stuff, but since there was no requirement for that it makes sense why they didn’t. Throughout my writing I had my friends peer edit my drafts too and they would always leave some grammar changes to my work. I also asked my roommate to edit them for me. The instructor feedback was the most useful when editing and revising my arguments and annotated bibliographies. The instructor comments helped the most with the construction of my essay. I voiced my opinion a lot though out my essays, but a lot of times did not have any evidence to support that. By taking all these comments into consideration, I think that it made my arguments stronger and made me a better writer as well. I also demonstrated open-mindedness in developing ideas from research I read to provide effective support in my writing.

Core Value II was shown in my ability to analyze texts and utilize them to develop my own ideas. For example, in my rebuttal argument, I had to search for an article that was not in favor of my stance on legalizing physician-assisted suicide. I then had to find sources that refuted that information in a plausible and convincing way. Through this process I had to convey that meaning in my sources, to weaken the argument of those who I was refuting. By realizing the relationship between texts and combining them to create meaning, I was able to understand how to evaluate texts of other individuals as well as create my own response. Through this core value, I also learned that arguments are not limited to print texts. This course was the first time that I ever had to include visuals in my essays. By doing so and completing the visual rhetoric analysis, I realized how images could assist my argument in convincing an audience of point while effectively demonstrating a claim and/or position on an issue.

Core Value III was exemplified through my writing being focused on audience, purpose, and context. I learned that texts are rhetorically situated, and viewing writings in a rhetorical way is essential. I always had my audience in mind while constructing my arguments. I realize that not everyone will agree with my argument, but it is important to voice my opinion and support it as best as I can with as much evidence as I can. I tried to capture and sway my audience to my position by providing context using ethos as well as pathos. For example, in my definition argument, I used the perspective of a hospice nurse. In my argument I state, “She talks about one specific patient that she resuscitated twenty-nine times until she asked herself, “What am I trying to accomplish here?” She then said, “When the monitors, ventilators, catheters, and balloon pumps were removed, the nurse in me helped to restore dignity and to facilitate the families’ grieving. The patient became a person.” Her job entails doing whatever she possibly can do to keep the patient alive and experiences death everyday. I think that this was one of my most effective uses of ethos throughout my arguments. In the same argument, I also keep my purpose in mind throughout the entire essay. At the end of my argument, I began my conclusion with “’Death with dignity’ can be defined in many ways, but in my opinion it is a term that provides options for the dying to control their own end-of-life care.” This showed that I kept the definition aspect in my mind, even in the last paragraph. Throughout all three of my arguments, I kept in mind what type of argument I was writing and whom I was addressing. As each argument has its own shape with a specific claim, organization, set of strategies, types of evidence and style, I noticed the options available to me as a purposeful writer.

Core Value IV was shown through my ability to find ten credible and useful sources on my own pertaining to physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia for each of my arguments. At first finding sources in favor of my argument seemed difficult, however once I learned what to search for as the semester went on, it was quite easy to find academic sources as supporting evidence to my own ideas and interpretations. In my annotated bibliography for one of my sources, I stated that “this article is extremely useful in helping me develop and understand the importance of everyone that legalizing euthanasia would affect, not just the individuals who want a dignified death. This can help me shape my argument by being able to appeal to certain stakeholders and not just the individuals who are choosing to die. This article has helped me to understand how to make a more effective overall argument.” By researching information and understanding it, I was able to effectively use the information in my arguments to support my point of view. By searching academic sources through Academic Search Premier correctly, I was able to locate, evaluate, select, and incorporate plausible information to create effective arguments and writings.

Core Value V demonstrates writing being personal, public, and social. I exemplified this core value by abiding and being knowledgeable of the ethical dimensions within the practice of writing. When using sources I quoted and paraphrased their ideas, while citing the author or academic source each time. Throughout the semester I developed a stronger ability to properly read, analyze, and research topics. Last semester, I did not find any viable information that suited my writing, leading me to sources found through the Google search engine. Fortunately, this year I learned just how to search academic sources through the Rowan databases and found applicable information to express my views on my topic. I honored and practiced academic integrity throughout the semester, by citing and not plagiarizing the information used in all three of my arguments. I also made sure to give credit to my sources and accurately represented the ideas of authors throughout my essays.

Ultimately, I feel that I satisfied the requirements each core value emphasizes. I also feel that I have grown immensely throughout this course. Before this semester, I had never written an argument before. Through practice after writing three different types of arguments, I can now say that I have definitely improved and can now successfully write an effective argument. The arguments that we have gone over and analyzed in class also played a role in teaching me how to successfully construct an argument. I think that I prospered as a writer and I will take into account all that I learned throughout the Composition II course. Overall, I believe my arguments appealed to the core values that the Rowan University First-Year Writing program aims to fulfill.

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