My mother once told me that there are three things I need to consider if I plan on growing a tree: nutrition, shape, and care. For the nutrition, I need to know what the good condition is to grow my tree, such as finding place to grow as it can receive sufficient sunlight, or cultivating it with nutrients it needs. For the shape, I need to cut, to trim, so that the tree can have a beautiful shape, like a bonsai. For the care, I need to spend time on watering it, to take care of it everyday, and most importantly, to actually love it. You cannot create something impeccable if you do not wholeheartedly care about it. I am telling you about the tree I have been growing this year – my tree of rhetoric, the tree that I never thought that I would water with knowledge I learned, shape it unique with my own voice, and nurture it good habits I started to have when in English 109 class.
It was my first day in college, and my advisor told me that I had to take an English composition course in order to complete my college’s academic plan. To me, English courses had never been in my concern. Since I am a Chemical Engineering major, what would I do with writing essays and analyzing poems? (how could I seems better) Besides, I never am a big fan of reading and writing; calculations and numbers are the only things I am good at. I thought I would just take the class easily to finish my academic plan. However, the day I walked into my English 109 class definitely changed everything.
I got a C on my very first assignment, and it extremely changed my sight on English; I knew it was time for me to grow my own tree with profound consideration and good habits. I finally realized that writing is not only about putting your pen down and filing the papers with your words, but also about determining what goal I want to achieve after finishing my paper, or what message I want to send out through my text. I fertilized my seed from the ground. I started reading all the feedback that was given to me, and I found a big hole in my writing skill that I had never known about it before. My biggest struggle was to trim my tree a distinctive shape as well as to find my voice in my own text in order to make my essays branded with my name. It was my revolution of the semester. I started with the easiest step – defining who my audience is. Being capable of knowing whom I am writing for leads me to a sense of being able to know how I should write my article. Instead of writing things down objectively like I used to do, I am now painstakingly choosing every word I use, or every rhetorical concept I apply in my article, because each word greatly affects the message I want to send out. The level of difficulty of my assignments is constantly advanced. Surprisingly, it does not make things harder, but helps me develop my skills a lot. For every assignment, for every time period of the growth of tree, I was meticulous about determining the materials I want to demonstrate within my text, as I was picky to choose what to feed my rhetorical tree. The more I write, the more I improve, and the better my writing is. It is not merely writing, it is showing me ways to apply what I have learned in real life, teaching me how to persuade and debate – two essential things in communication. The project I remember the most was inquiry 3, which was an argumentative essay project. It took me a long time to figure out what rhetorical concepts I should use to make my article dominant compared to other written ones with the same topic. I created many good habits that I had never had before. I believe that it is a way to grow my rhetorical tree stronger and faster. I stopped procrastinating until deadlines; I drew an outline and detailed it everyday. I asked for feedback from all the resources that I could exploit, and revised my texts repeatedly until I could hear my own voice in my essay.
There was an important nutrition that without it, my tree would not be able to succeed in growing strong – a positive mind set. I would never become better at writing if I did not trust myself enough to think that I can improve, to motivate myself to write more and more. Yesterday, I reread all the essays I have written for my assignments, and I was surprised of how my writing has changed. I still have my own style of writing, but my papers sound more “attractive”. I did not realize that my writing skill has improved a lot within a semester. There is another thing that is even more surprising – I am now into writing. I do not write just to cope with the assignments, I am writing about things that I am interested in, and I find my passion within any topic that I chose to write. I never expected this thing to happen to a science girl like me.
My mother was right about planting tree. I am planting my tree of rhetoric. I water it with the knowledge I have earned in class, with rhetorical appeals, with revision, with composition, and with remediation. I shape it with my own voice, and I wholeheartedly put time and efforts into it. I am not writing because I have to finish this inquiry 5, I am writing because I really like all the experiences I had, I really learned from the struggles I faced in English 109, and because I really want to share my love of writing. To me, nobody is bad at writing; it is just whether or not they are able to find their own voice and style. My tree might not be a fancy bonsai, but it survives and has a great shape.