Dear Dr. Friend,
When I switched over to the new English: Professional Writing program at Saint Leo University, I found out I would be learning Rhetoric in Writing. When Dr. Kasper, who is my advisor, informed me that it is a new class, I just looked at her confused as I never heard the word Rhetoric before. I entered the class with no knowledge of Rhetoric, unaware of what I will be learning, and if this will be beneficial for me in the future along with my career. As I am writing this, I look back on how much I learned from the class discussions, group work, and creating my very own presentation to teach the class. I can’t forget to work on the assignments and visiting you during your office hours multiple times. I believe I gained skills from this class that will make me stand out and marketable compared to others. Rhetoric will help me stand out in the career paths I choose to follow. Although I am an English major with a specialization in Professional Writing, writing is something I never wanted as a career. Rhetoric has taught me to analyze every single thing in the world, catch fallacies in speeches, and pay attention to what Pop Culture is. Who would’ve known that Pop Culture had to deal with Rhetoric?
It was apparent and well known that I would get frustrated and be confused about the lessons in class and even the homework. I would come to your office hours, stressing and overthinking that I was going to fail and never going to understand Rhetoric. I always tried to participate in class even if I didn’t realize what was going on and would listen to my mistakes as it was a learning lesson. The first assignment we had was creating a meme. I thought it was a joke and thought this was childish as memes weren’t intellectual or educational until I was proven wrong. Memes are used to convince people to believe a certain way, especially if you make it write. Creating the meme was the easy part, but discussing how I used the canons was the hardest part. The first try I did terribly and went to your office for help. We sat together, going over everything you worked with me to find a way for me to learn it. When I put everything together, I was amazed. I learned that I used Rhetoric as a power move to persuade people to get what I want and to believe me.
An issue I had with the assignments were I was trying to discuss topics that didn’t interest me until you told me to pick topics I enjoy. Choosing the topic of Rhetoric in Pop Culture was honestly life-changing to me. I would’ve never known that Pop Culture was significant when it came to Rhetoric; in general, Pop Culture is Rhetoric. This was challenging as I had to teach myself before I could teach the class. When you sent me the information to use I was a bit confused. I felt like it had nothing to do with Pop Culture unless I was not fully understanding the information. I took my incitive to search up the data to teach myself. As I did my own research I discovered how Artifacts and Signs were Pop Culture. An artifact is something that reminds people of something else.
An example would be when a place of business has a rainbow flag located outside. The rainbow flag is a symbol for the LGBTQ community, but it’s a sign that the business is a safe place for any person. When you look at the flag, it can remind you of peace and safety. All of this is part of Pop Culture.
The one lesson that will forever stay with me the most will be the Rhetorical Canons and how they can be found anywhere. When completing the assignment for an Ad Analysis, I chose to discuss the two Cindy Crawford Superbowl ads in 1992 and 2018. The Canons are Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery. I never knew I would understand these Canons at all until I did this assignment. When watching the Superbowl, you might think it’s a regular ad Pepsi paid millions to air during the super bowl. It is so much more than that with a lot of thought and planning. Pepsi took a chance using Cindy Crawford, who is known for being a supermodel, to advertise their product. You may think why they would use a supermodel instead of someone associated with food. Sex Appeal. That is what was going into the Invention of the ad. Even when they brought Crawford back for the 2018 ad, they had to hope people’s memory of the 1992 ad will still be in their heads. In the new ad using Cindys, son Presley as well was helpful. We relied on the fact that Pepsi is generational. If your family was only known for drinking Pepsi, and you see Cindy Crawford’s family dinking Pepsi together, it can increase the chance of people to drink more Pepsi. Everything is planned out from start to finish and always happens for a reason.
Now that this class is ending, it gave me a whole new perspective of Pop Culture, Ads, and writing. I think the course didn’t improve my writing but more of my way of thinking. Now I can’t look at or watch something without analyzing what’s the Canons for it. I can’t even look at a sign without thinking its part of Pop Culture and also explain to people what’s going on. This gives me a new view of life and will be helpful in whatever career path I will be taking. Rhetoric taught me to use it as a powerful tool to persuade. It also taught me how to watch out for fallacies from others to dodge their persuasion over me. Rhetoric will even be a great tool when getting into arguments, especially in a workplace, understanding how to get people on my side.
I walked into the class, saying Rhetoric wrong and not realizing it to now ending the course with this new tool I can use for good and everything in life. It gave me a new understanding of where I can use it to help others out and go far into life. In conclusion, Rhetoric in Writing is a class that everyone should take even outside of the English program. If Rhetoric were available to everyone, the world would be a different place, and it’ll teach many to be more aware of things. I can end the class feeling accomplished that I have learned something new and challenging to understand.
See You Next Time,