Curious George Says Thank You and Goodbye

Dear Justin,

It has been about sixteen weeks since the semester began and I can not believe how much has changed. Before starting this class you were nervous and had almost no self-confidence in your ability to write. You wanted to find a way to take the freshman writing general education requirement over the summer, so you would not have to take it at Emory. You tried your best, and believe me you tried, you spoke to at least three departments before accepting your fate, that you were just going to have to enroll in a freshman writing. While taking a look at the list of topics that fulfilled the requirement you were interested in a few of them, but the class about games caught your attention. You did not know why, but it did and let’s be honest, this has been the best thing that has ever happened to you. You: learned that writing is not just the traditional five-paragraph essay that you did time and time again in high school. You had major developments in your self-awareness of your writing process, and ability to use evidence not just text-based to support a thesis. I also made a website, where I published my reflections on our assignments from my 2019 spring Freshman English class (you are reading the front page of the site now). Posting on a site helped me practice being part of the internet publishing community as well as giving me more freedom that let me add pictures as I saw fit, unlike in the traditional essay.  

In my English class, we had a podcast series, called playing yourself, this assignment comprehensively covered all of our five learning outcomes for this course. Each student in the class was responsible for being the producer and the assistant producer in an episode. My partner and I took on the task of being the first group to create an episode. Aditya and I decided to talk about FIFA, at first when it was just us meeting we were just discussing aspects of the game we enjoyed playing. After a conversation with our professor, we were able to tease out a more interesting analysis of the game. We spoke about how FIFA has become a “money-making propaganda rather than solidifying soccer’s main value.” We Identified that FIFA has become about how much money you invest in the game, rather than one of soccers true principals: a low cost of entry game and that became our thesis. At the time, however, I did not realize that this was our thesis.

To really be able to dive into this topic, we had to define the terms we learned in Everyone’s an Author a book by Andrea Lunsford. Some of the terms we learned were: audience, purpose, genre, medium, stance/tone, design, and context. To identify something as a game, we had to be able to make definitions for each of these terms. While some of these are obvious in the example of FIFA, they were less obvious when we made Discover Dolley, our Kickstarter game that we made. These terms were particularly useful when we debated if Discover Dolley was in fact a game. In connection to the podcast episode, the “purpose” of FIFA was the most important part, as we said: “on the surface, it’s a soccer game that we can play, but when we dive deeper into it its a money making propaganda.” What we meant by this is that, the game has gone away from being a soccer simulation and turned it into something that just makes money for the developers and glamorizes fame. These are not the ideals that soccer puts forth.

Due to the fact this was the first time I was making an analytical piece that was not based in text. I had to use an even more focused eye when probing the game to help complete the argument. This was an enjoyable experience of creating a podcast episode. It was only after making the podcast, while I was writing my reflection letter, that I realized that we had a thesis all along. This was just like any other high school essay in the sense that it had a thesis but at the same time, it was nothing like anything I had done before. As a dyslexic student, I had developed a hatred for writing assignments, but this homework assignment showed me that writing was so much more than I thought it was. In my reflection, I explained ”the main purpose of writing is to convey ideas, and this podcast did exactly that. After years and years of being graded poorly on the traditional essay format, I began to give up. Through this assignment, I re-learned to enjoy English/writing work. I have learned the traditional essay is not the ideal way to express myself, but that does not mean writing as a whole is not for me, and for that, I thank this unique project for returning my hope.” This assignment was to compose an argument using a nontraditional text platform and for this reason, it was my favorite. It helped me regain the confidence I had lost over the years. I understood I was able to express my ideas despite all the red ink I had seen on my papers throughout school.

I was also allowed to be artistically creative in this process. I made an image that I felt represented the podcast episode. I used our interpretation of the game of FIFA and made a picture, and each piece of the photo had a key element of our podcast incorporated into the collage. This is another example of how we wrote with a different medium other than text-based writing for this assignment. This is image as well as podcast assignment is another example of how I used technology in our class. To build this picture, I used a photoshop software to help me make collages for both of my episodes. In order to record the podcast, we had to borrow a Yeti microphone and download audacity. Audacity is an audio editor that we used to create our episodes.

It is amazing to see how I feel when just sixteen weeks before I had anxiety over a low stakes, short caricature reflection. I have grown so much, along with all these five goals that I began to master over the semester, I reclaimed my sense of self-confidence. Only yesterday I wrote a ten-page philosophy paper on complex ideas. I had to use scholarly sources, as well as film to make my points to prove my argument. The ten pages alone would have had me running for the hills, but Dr. David Morgen’s first year writing class gave me the skills I needed to not only complete the assignment but to write a paper that I am truly proud of. Another assignment I can give credit to for helping me with my confidence would be, the Fiasco quest. We were put into groups and were told to play a game of Fiasco, and the game is a build your own journey type of experience. From this game, I realized one of my strengths is my creativity. Rather, than writing an essay on a prompt our professor gave us, I emailed him and came up with my own original thesis. I saw a similarity in the protagonists of three movies, so I compared and contrasted their experiences. If not for the Fiasco quest I would have not believed in myself to create my own ideas. And as the old saying goes, It’s not where you start but where you finish that counts, and it looks like my writing may not finish in a bad place after all. For this, I wanted to thank Dr. David Morgen and the Emory writing department.