Self Assessment

May 25th, 2021

Dear Journal,

I’m not going to forget what my initial thoughts were when I first enrolled into the Writing for Engineering(ENGL-21007) course. It’s safe to say I had my doubts. One of the biggest reliefs I had about majoring in engineering was that there wouldn’t be too many papers to write, this was just going to be another english class. However, that’s not true, every single assignment in this class may have been overwhelming and it may have felt like I was drowning in work, but it was all worth it. Now I know that every piece of work I did in this class is going to be utilized in my future profession. It’s not just the work that was assigned that taught me something new, but the approach I had to take in completing them.

Let’s start off with one of the first assignments, the memo. This wasn’t a major assignment but it did teach a few factors that I never really took into consideration before. I’ve never written a memo a day in my life until this semester. It all seemed pretty straight forward at first: address a problem within the campus and provide a solution. Not as easy as it sounds! Before I could write anything, I had to ensure that I knew who I wanted my audience to be. First thing I learned in this class was the importance of knowing your audience because this factor impacts the content and purpose of your writing.

The audience, these are the people that are reading your paper, the individuals whose attention you have to gain, which is exactly why you have to write it in a way that will attract their attention. How did that help my memo? Well, I chose Vincent Boudreau, the President of The City College of New York, and Jerrold Erves, the Director of Admissions, as my audience. The reason behind this is because my memo addresses a problem residing within the admissions office, both of these individuals would be interested in hearing how they can improve this matter. Once I knew my audience, I gained an idea on the purpose of my memo and what information I would include. I wanted to address an issue within the admissions office and propose a solution. If I wanted to keep my audience entertained and still get every point across, I had to make sure to keep everything brief and concise. The purpose of writing my memo was to introduce the problem to my audience so there was no need to include unnecessary information, I adjusted to getting straight to the point. Which in english, you’re usually taught not to do, I used to be told that the more detailed it is, the better. But this wasn’t your ordinary english class, this was a class that assisted in preparing me to write pieces that I would have to write in the engineering field.

Keeping this concept in mind, I developed a well-thought out memo.

The assignment that followed the memo was the technical description. Taking into consideration what I had previously learned about knowing your audience beforehand, was very useful as I dove into this technical description. Like the memo, I never wrote a technical description until now, it took a lot more research and dedication than the memo did. We had to pick an item that related to our concentration and discuss the outer and inner components, along with the purpose of it and how it functions. I chose a RYOBI 18V One+ Cordless Drill. This was the first time I took into consideration the course learning outcomes that were presented to me at the start of the semester. These course learning outcomes are discussed in further detail in the “Course Learning Outcomes” menu, but I want to briefly explain how this applied to me throughout this course.

There were various course learning outcomes introduced to me, almost like goals I’ll successfully meet by the end of the semester, which I didn’t think was actually going to happen until this assignment. One of them included being able to utilize sources properly within your writing, and I have to say that I definitely learned a lot about how to use these sources properly. Obviously I didn’t personally invent the RYOBI 18V One+ Cordless Drill, which means I had to do an extensive amount of research on a product and I’ve never had to do so much research in my life. Every single detail written in my technical description was developed with the help of the research I did. I made sure to properly understand how this power drill was made, each one of its parts and the importance of them. I articulated my own understanding in my writing, when providing evidence on how I knew a certain amount of information, I provided images followed by a brief caption on what is being displayed. Even if I didn’t properly cite my source, I would eventually receive feedback during a peer review session, so that I may learn on how I can improve, which actually correlates with another course learning outcome. As I moved further into the semester, I can say with confidence that each course learning outcome was met. Although it did take a lot of dedication and hard work.

Now we move onto the next assignment, the lab report. When I first read that we would be writing a lab report in this course I questioned the importance of it. I mean I’ve written a significant amount of lab reports before, I was sure that I knew exactly what a lab report consisted of, but once again, I was wrong. This lab report was more detailed, it required me to focus more on the writing portion than the actual science behind it. Instead of conducting the experiment myself, I read about an experiment that was already conducted regarding power cables and how they can be rejuvenated. The research I did to gather information on it, the need to review my own work and ensure that it makes sense to my intended audience, and the peer reviews; all once again traces back to the course learning outcomes.

Lastly, the final project we worked on was the engineering proposal. This project was different, this time it wasn’t a solo assignment but a group assignment. I had to adjust to accepting others’ ideas and inputs and accept that my own thoughts may be contradicted. In addition to that, I learned how to work with a cross-functional team, which is an important factor in the engineering field. However, most of the time, every group member had the same view on how to approach this project, and if the views differed we would have a discussion about it before coming to a conclusion. I do believe we had a minimal amount of time to complete this project but it did teach us how to work on things before a certain time frame. This project was one of the most stressful but educational assignments, in terms of learning how to cooperate with other individuals and how to develop a detailed proposal.

Throughout this course, I was exposed to various course learning outcomes that I implicated as I moved further into the semester. I learned the importance of utilizing the rhetorical elements within my writing, and worked on specific assignments that will be useful in the engineering field. Most of all, I learned that writing is just as important in a STEM field, there will be various situations in which everything I learned during this course will be implemented and I’m glad I got to prepare myself for it.

I must remember the writing skills I developed and that although it may appear impossible at first, it’s not!

Yours truly,

Emily Sanchez