“Finally, the moment is here: we’re done! The semester is done. I made it through ENGLISH. Yes! Me, Jo, International student. I made it…”
Yes, this how I actually feel right now as I am finalizing my reflective portfolio. I am not only jubilating because I am done with the semester; I am mainly proud of what I’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time. In fact, coming in to Georgia Tech, one thing that scared me a lot was the language. I was the most afraid about writing: it took me so much time and effort and I could never express my thoughts as I’d like to. I was too stuck in figuring out the syntax and wording that I was never satisfied. However today, looking back to all the pieces I’ve written, I feel proud and confident that I’ve become a competent communicator, who is able to freely express his thoughts and make arguments in eloquent and comfortable words.
In my opinion, my biggest adjuvant in this quest was my website. Indeed, the website we had to manage for this class was the platform who hosted and accelerated my successful transformation. “Science in the public” was our course topic and rhetorical awareness along use the appropriate use of medium were the big outcomes we were searching to accomplish.
In today’s world, Internet is the best tool for communication and information spread. Having a website means being public. It is a medium that connects you to a whole community which is your audience. In the class framework, the website was super useful because having an audience actually had me taking decisions, making stylistic choices: what to write? How to write it? How to make it interesting to the readers? Should I include any media (multimodality *wink*) to make it relevant and appealing? Rhetorical awareness… this is it. Having a website and a true public exposure for the first time stimulated and bolstered my rhetorical awareness as never before. I had to put myself in the reader’s eyes to write my piece.
I had to do this many times: 6 blog entries, an intro, 3 projects, 5 reflections… I practiced different exercises having in mind that my audience wasn’t only my professor but anyone who’s interested in science and this improved my writing a lot. In fact, if you look at my first blog entry, that one was too scholar: sticking to a text, analyzing each element in it and decomposing it… For a literature professor this is interesting of course; however, would any other doctor at Georgia Tech be interested about a text’s rhetorical analysis? I don’t think so.
As the course progressed, my experience in rhetorical awareness evolved and so did my writings. My website forced me to exercise it! I started to realize that liberate myself a little bit from conventions and freely speaking my mind was much more diverse and attracting for an audience. I started taking pleasure coming up with my own ideas and writing them downs in my blogposts. My blogposts became much more personal and actually looked like real blog posts. I basically commented on different texts and related them to my beliefs and thoughts…
To conclude, I believe that the website helped me a lot in liberating myself from perceiving writing as a process full of conventions. Instead, by having an audience and trying to stimulate its interest, I realized that personal insights were more interesting. In order to please my audience, I had to write about me, communicate MY thoughts and forget about cliché scholar work. This is how, in my opinion, my website was the main contributor in me becoming a good communicator.