i Beyond the Writing | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Brock Moldenhauer

There are some things in life that everyone can not escape, one of those things is communication through writing. In a world full of text messages and emails, communication has been simplified and most of the time there is no need to write a well developed paper.  The problem with text messages and emails is that they are basic. It does not require a long or detailed thought process to develop a put together text. In essence, you don’t have to ever stretch yourself and develop a planned out letter or paper that allow you to develop communication skills that are respectable and professional. Understanding the traits of writing is a value that is important to everyone regardless if they will use the traits for written communication or verbal communication.          

Nothing is more frustrating to me, than someone that comes up to you and just starts rambling on and on and you have no idea what they are talking about. That clueless rambling is a lot like a piece of writing without a claim. You throw all this information at someone without telling them what you are writing about. After writing my first blog post, I quickly realized that I gave all this information ranging from why I chose Saint Norbert, to where I want to be after college with no specific claim. My claim from blog post 1, or lack thereof, said I was going to talk about getting a well paying job: “Today in order to have a well paying job, a college degree is almost always necessary.” That claim related to only one of my paragraphs later on and I had a plethora of useless information leading up to that. In other words, I rambled on about the aspects of college. This is where I learned that you absolutely need a clear and specific claim to get your point across early and let the reader know what you will support, as I did in blog post 3. “College athletics teach you skills and lessons that will help you be successful on the job.” After that claim, I went on to talk specifically about individual skills and lessons that all fell within my claim. In conversation, it is just as important to get your point out right away with a claim so that you can set the topic of conversation. If your boss comes up to you and starts rambling off generic instructions and then just walks away without ever telling you what the specific task is, those instructions are useless. The value of a claim is that it sets up the conversation so you can prepare your mind to have a better understanding of what will be following that initial instruction. To present a clear and fluid piece of writing or conversation, a claim is a must.

Once you have set up the initial idea of what you are talking about with your claim, you must then try to convince the reader that what you are saying is valid. Your writing is only as respected as much as you are in your topic of writing. Now, if you are Babe Ruth and writing a paper about baseball, you more than likely will be taken seriously. I’m merely Brock Moldenhauer though, and I am not a professional in anything yet. Therefore, my writing will be much more respected if I can prove to you that what I am saying is true. In order to prove that to you, I must have evidence to support my message. This was something that I caught onto very quickly through the use of quotations. By the time I submitted my blog post 1, I had an understanding of how to setup and install a quotation into my writing. “Edward J. Ray puts it perfectly when he argues that a liberal arts education will prepare you for the wide array of ever changing jobs down the line. He explains, “No one knows what the jobs of the future will be, but a liberal arts degree provides a great foundation for adjusting to new careers and further education.” I was able to add evidence to my post through this quote by including a reliable source, setting up the quote with a summary, and then adding the quote itself. Additionally, the reader of my blog post doesn’t have to just take my word for it. They can click on the hyperlink and read what Edward J. Ray, a knowledgeable and reliable source, has to also say about the topic. It is important to be able to back yourself up with evidence so that you are taken seriously and not questioned. You can be as convincing as possible, but evidence is a necessity in order to generate a well rounded argument. It is no different than gossip. Everyone knows that in the gossip world, rumors travel fast and so and so might have kissed, but none of that can be taken seriously until a picture surfaces. Then it is game over, if you have evidence to prove it then no one questions you.

When problems arise and you are forced to deal with them, the easiest way to solve it is to first acknowledge that there is a problem. After you have established that, you have to take the problem to the drawing boards to develop a response that considers all aspects up to the resolution. The same applies to writing. To get your point across clearly, sometimes you have to tell the reader that this indeed is a problem and a resolution needs to be considered. In my blog post 3, I am supporting college athletics, but I start a paragraph stating that there is a problem within the system, “It is understandable to say that college athletics takes away from student athlete’s education because of the huge time commitment that it requires.” Now that I identified the problem, I went on to explain why that is a problem and how that problem is an opportunity for those student athletes to push past the adversity and create time management skills. This has improved my writing skills because now instead of me writing all positive aspects regarding my topic, I can now acknowledge that there still could be flaws in my argument and add in the response. In an acknowledge and response argument, you don’t always have to solve the problem. Explaining how to deal with the problems and the good that comes out of it can help to refine your argument. Arguments are impossible to elude. At some point in everyone’s life they will get into an argument and have to deal with it. Whether that argument is a problem or just a disagreement, acknowledging it and responding to it will come into play. The rules of an acknowledge and response argument in writing can directly relate to a verbal argument and the knowledge I have gained about this type of argument will always be a process of solution that I could turn to in times of need.

Writing teaches students so much more than just how to put a paper together that is logical. Writing helps develop communication skills that earn you both respect and accountability. The different traits of writing aid you in your ways of approaching a certain topic and making sure what you are trying to express is being comprehended. In both written and verbal communication, using these traits of writing can help you in your everyday communication.

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