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Sydnee Rudolph

M/W, 3-5pm

Metacognitive Reflection Essay

To provide a bit of background before I delve into the reflection, I should begin by saying
that I did not even know I would be taking this class until two days before I had to sign up for
classes. I had never had any intention of taking this class either as I was under the impression
that Id satisfied the requirement already. As turns out, I was wrong, and ended up having to take
this class because we as UCSB students are required to do so before our third year. So here I am,
in a class I didnt really want to take in the first place, and it happens to be my favorite class of
this quarter. That being said, it didnt start out this way. I, like many of my fellow classmates,
believed that I already knew how to write and all that that entailed. English had always been
my forte in high school as well, so I assumed this would be a class I just had to sit through
numbly following along until the end of 10 weeks. If there is anything I am one hundred percent
sure of, it is that I could not have been more wrong.
Beginning with our first lesson, DePiero drilled home the importance of the word
Genre in our everyday lives. At first, I could not wrap my head around this idea. I had only
ever associated the word Genre with music and literature. When we discussed the country
music example, that much I understood because it was what I was used to. It was safe,
comfortable, and familiar to me. When we introduced the idea that genre encompassed far more
than simply music or literature, I became somewhat lost. College acceptance letters are a genre?
Research papers are a genre? And how on earth does this all relate? As I struggled to think these
ideas through in my head, and hadnt been able to follow the in-class examples, I finally decided

to pick up my reader and search for answers there. (Not that DePieros explanations werent
efficient, I just needed to visualize it for myself.) When I did, I was surprised at how quickly the
idea of genre clicked for me. Reading Kerry Dirks Navigating Genres article was what really
solidified the concept for me. Especially the description of how a new genre is created, where
she describes it as follows: when something new happens that requires a response, someone must
create that first response. When it happens again, another person uses the first response as a
basis for the second, and eventually everyone bases their response off of the previous one, which
ends in the creation of a new genre. (This is not a direct quote, but a summary of Dirks
explanation). When I read this, I finally began to identify genres for myself. I could see how all
college acceptance letters shared similar formats, and how they would become their own separate
genre over time, as opposed to a research paper which lies in its own genre separately. I could
also see how the puzzle pieces of conventions played a crucial role in identifying such genres. I
know someone commented on the class saying there was too much focus on the topic of genre,
but I strongly feel that this will be a concept that I will utilize in my adult life often, both in work
and home life.
My next favorite concept we discussed, though it wasnt touched on a whole lot, was the
two different kinds of thinking from the reading by Peter Elbow. Thinking is something we as
humans do instinctively, in fact Im doing it right now by simply moving my fingers across a
keyboard, so making us slow down and literally think about thinking is definitely a challenge,
but a valuable one in my opinion. 1st order thinking, which happens to be my favorite and
probably the majority of what produces this reflection essay, is valuable to consider in a class
such as this because it is something people do not pay much attention to. And therein lies its
value. Within each persons 1st order thinking lies their subconscious personality traits, ideas,

emotions, hunches, instincts, creative muses, and so much more. It is what makes each of us
unique. To think about the things we spew out instinctively on a daily basis is valuable because it
allows us to better understand ourselves and to be able to analyze our own ideas or reactions to
stimuli. Its also like an outline for our subconscious, we jot down everything our mind spews
out in a chaotic jumble of words and ideas onto pieces of paper, and then file the papers into their
correct folders with our 2nd order thinking. This was also an interesting concept to think about,
because this is less instinctive. 2nd order thinking, in my understanding, is like thinking about
thinking about thinking. Which was really fun for me to conceptualize; I was analyzing my own
analyses, thinking carefully about my careful thinking. It sounds redundant, but it helped me
more than I thought it would in my following writing projects and will most likely continue to
help me in my future writing projects for other classes. I wish we could have spent more time on
this subject, it was something I really enjoyed studying.
Moving on to our actual writing projects, I will start with how I felt about the first
Writing project. I thought this project was interesting, at least. It was actually one of the first real
essays I had written of my college career, (Id been either math or econ previously, so there
wasnt much essay writing in those subjects) so things were a bit rocky at first. I thought,
however, that the comparison of genre generators in the project builder really solidified
whatever parts of my genre understanding that I was still struggling with, and made my essay
stronger in its analyses. As Ive been going back over this writing project and revising it, I find it
really interesting to see all that Ive learned over the course of these 10 weeks. When I first wrote
that writing project, I clearly had no concept of a strong, arguable thesis, nor did I pay very close
attention to detail in any aspect. I feel like I didnt truly understand what I was writing about, so I

ended up practically rewriting this WP to reflect the concepts I became more familiar with as this
class progressed. Hopefully, it turned out as well as I feel it did.
The second writing project was the biggest struggle of this class for me, and it reflected
in my grade. The introduction to the project was excellent, and when DePiero elaborated on what
disciplines were and gave examples, that helped me set myself up for what I wanted to talk about
in my essay. However, for all my preparation for this project, when I sat down to write it, it was
like walking through sand wearing ten pounds of mud-soaked clothing. I didnt ever really find
an arguable thesis, I had excellent sources but struggled to represent them well, and for all the
explanation we received on what was required of us with this project, I just couldnt figure it out.
Something didnt click, and looking back I think if I had just taken more time to step back and
allow myself to develop ideas and understanding of what I wanted to prove with my essay, I
could have done better the first time around. I definitely rushed into writing the essay itself, and I
believe that had I used some of those incredibly useful writing tips DePiero handed out, I could
have had an easier time developing solid analyses and fulfilled the actual requirements of the
assignment. Also, I think I just work better with the projects that had a bit more wiggle room for
creativity. I know we cant always expect that, but I love it when it is allowed.
The third writing project was my absolute favorite, and I think that also reflected in my
grade, which was the best one Id received all quarter. Of course, as a teacher, Im sure DePiero
would like our last grades to be our best, as that shows that weve learned something over the
many hours weve spent in his classroom. I truly believe that is the reason my last grade was the
best. I finally understood how to use a working thesis statement that developed along with my
essay, and it made writing the following supporting paragraphs so much easier for me. I also
absolutely loved the creativity I was able to incorporate when transforming my genres; being

able to sit in my room and color in between sitting at a computer typing made time spent on
homework so much more enjoyable, (Also, who doesnt love coloring every once in a while?).
This project also got me thinking about some bigger concepts like style and flow. These were
really important when transforming both my child-focused and adult-focused articles. When I did
research to see how I should go about transforming them, being able to visualize the different
styles between the two kinds of audiences being spoken to made my transformations much more
successful. This project was the one I was most confident in of the entire quarter and I was really
happy to see that DePiero agreed.
To finish off my reflection, there is one thing about me I feel is crucial to any conclusion
Im about to make. When I began this class, I was an undeclared Letters and Sciences student
attempting to pursue a degree in economics. Now, finishing my last quarter as a sophomore, I am
a declared English major pursuing a minor in Education. What I mean to emphasize by saying
this is that when I came into this class, I did not believe that it would benefit me at all in my life
outside college. As my quarter progressed, and as I came to enjoy this class more and more, I
think I began to realize that this was something I could use more than once in real life. And the
more concepts we covered, the more I enjoyed thinking about them and noticing what we learned
in everyday life, and the more time I spent on this class than any of my other classes, (Not
complaining, I did this out of my own enjoyment). When I came to the decision that I wanted to
be an English teacher, I knew that there were concepts we covered in this class that I would
someday teach my own students, if all goes according to plan. I will tell them about the different
ways genre surrounds their everyday lives, how they make moves all the time on more than
just the ladies, and how they can think about thinking about thinking without thinking. I learned
so many valuable concepts, ideas and techniques in this class, and I can honestly say Im so glad

it was a requirement. Id like to thank DePiero for keeping me on task, (even when I was being a
sassy punk as all young adults can be), and keeping things interesting. Hes one of the main
reasons this class captured my interest in the first place, and I seriously mean it when I say that I
sincerely hope one day I can be as efficient as well as intriguing of a teacher as him.
Youre the man, Z.

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