Portfolio Cover Letter

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.”

The Waking, Theodore Roethke


This site and every content published to it are dedicated to the class of ENG 101 at Emory University in the fall of 2020 and remain an archive of the work that I completed for that class. To visit the general class website, please click here.

Dear Readers,

I’m here to reflect on several of the grounds that I worked on this fall. The five learning outcomes of this course are: rhetorical composition, critical thinking and reading resulting in writing, writing as process, collaboration, and digital citizenship/identity. For the last three months, I worked with professor Morgen and my dear classmates to practice the various skill sets defined in the five outcomes.

I gained a deeper knowledge about rhetorical composition by reading Andrea Lunsford’s “Rhetorical Situations” and “Reading Rhetorically”. These readings offered some basic literary perspectives to make us better readers and writers. By reading them, I became more critically aware of what I’m reading and writing. It was definitely easier for me to analyze readings or any forms of texts when I understood their intended audience, points of view, for example. I also increased my awareness by thinking about my audiences as a writer. So understanding the switch of roles, sort of realizing that things go both ways helped me a lot. I found that when I wrote, I started to care about the position of my readers more. And that motivated me to go back and reflect on my rhetorical situations. I was thus powered with this inner drive to write something that brings meaning to others.

On my website, you will see the menus to the top right corner that categorize my writing into major quests, side quests, and reflections. The major quests are big group projects or writing assignments; the side quests are weekly fun adventures and words output; and reflections are the last pieces of writings posted to conclude on some of the major quests. I’d argue that the larger pattern of my writing across the exhibit is story-telling. That is, everything I’d show you is dedicated to be a story because I like to present you with things that relate, or ideas that bring out a piece of memory from both me and you. Feelings, emotions, to me, appear to be the strongest if they are expressed in a story. I’d like my words and stories to carry weight to you, to build our connections in this online space, and even leave you with something that you’d like to take away from here.

I address the importance of making human connections in my Game Comparison Essay, in which I argue that some games do matter because “they boldly talk about issues like trauma and lesbian love, which are in the end, issues about human”. What I’m suggesting is that human connections are becoming more precious and necessary in our world. Hence, I wrote this essay because we should start doing more things that make us human. In fact, many people are hurt and feeling disconnected and lost in this year. The world needs more healing and more attention on the great humanity but nothing else. Ask yourself: when was the last time you heard the phrase: humanism? Words and ideas that are centered around human communications, our core emotions are leaving our sight. I intend to address that it is also important to ask the question: who are we? I believe we can still preach 21st century humanism with the various given tools: news, papers, videos, games, etc…I also want to thank professor Morgen deeply, who has guided me and given me useful advice during his office hour of consult to write revision drafts. In fact, most of my major quests writings are second or even third drafts. He truly supported me to have a complete experience of this class, writing as a process from start to finish, then start over again…

I have multiple other things to take away from this class as well. Take the image below this paragraph as an example. This is a graph of stairs that I drew to represent my working habits. I recognized five typical stages to define how I work through any big or small assignments in this class. In other words, this is a vivid demonstration of me as a reader and writer.

In my Assemblies side quest, I said, “I realize that as a student and also a person, I constantly engage in the switches of directions from horizontal to vertical, and vertical to horizontal. And every piece of writing that I had fits into the 5-step process that this diagram shows. I always started with preparation and ended with stagnation, where it would lead me to either the next project or the second-round of reflection”. I felt that I became more familiar with myself after this course. This graph shows a clean and scientific way to cut any work that I do into specific parts. And I plan to use this insight on my working habit in future classes or work. It will be a valuable tool to remind me which phase I’m at, and therefore help me avoid being confused about the general working process and always stay on track.

What I’ve also learned from this course is that writing could be diverse. Within the last three months, professor Morgen showed us a variety of forms of texts in the real world of writing. I, like many other new college students, were exposed only to the correlation between writing and literature, or writing and history. Boring. Professor Morgen introduced us to the real taste of writing. It was an exciting and mind-blowing experience to analyze, say, the effects of the storytelling in video games. I also wrote about video games as an essay, who would’ve thought that’s possible. To be honest, I’m more confident than ever to explore more genres of writing, based off from my experience in leading and making a Podcast episode on the game Among Us with my amazing group. In my reflection post to this Podcast episode, I said, “as a group leader I was vocal and positive all the time.” Later, I also said I encouraged teamwork as well as learned so much about my team. As always, I’m a big fan of teamwork and collaboration. And this class implements so many challenging and creative quests for us to work as a group, and some of them new to me as well. For example, I never thought in my life ever that I would make a podcast audio of my own, or a twine game, etc. But all of these did happen one by one this semester. They went smoothly because frankly I think everyone was intellectually curious and motivated to try something new.

I recall how badly I wanted my podcast to be great while making it because I did not want to embarrass myself in an online space. This class has driven me to be a responsible online publisher because what goes on there represents me. The fact that we designed our own websites instead of doing typical canvas teaching makes everything I do matters more. Whenever I edit my website, I want to write something that respects others’ visits and time.

For the first time ever, I brought writing to support my back. I felt like it came back to me in a powerful way, instead of the typical writing that’s meant for a grade. Because of this class and the many practices of writing that it requires, I successfully found my rhetorical composition, my voice, and my purpose in writing. After trying so many different genres of writing, I was also able to know myself a lot more than before. Knowing who I am better supported me to write with my own purpose. I’m a more mature and responsible writer now, not fearing any new challenges or publishing some new genres of writing. Because guess what, I’ve already done that. I have a website under my name, with my name on it. And I think it’s a pretty damn good one.

— Jimmy Wang

08 December 2020

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