Final Reflection…

This will be my final post on this blog, perhaps forever. I will use it to reflect on my semester in English 1106 with the brilliant Professor Calkins. After busting my butt in this class writing papers, analyzing article and media, and staying up until the wee hours of the night, I can honestly say I have improved as a writer, at least that is what I hope happened. I have learned to analyze pieces of writing and media to a greater extent than before. I also learned new vocabulary words every class period. The writing assignments and essays were not strenuous towards the beginning of the semester, but as the weeks went by, I found it harder to get motivated to complete a writing assignment. This was also a result of lack of sleep and the pressure of my other (in-major) classes.  Even though I have trouble generating the required number of pages per assignment, I think my analyses and sentence structure make up for it.

Some people think that English classes are useless after high school, but I have to disagree. Writing will help you in every aspect of your life, not just academics. Even though I am a biology and psychology major, I will always be writing reports and essays. Lab reports and research reports will be my life. This English class helped me learn to analyze and critique others’ works and even research important topics and integrate them into a coherent and insightful essay.

I’m going to be perfectly honest: I did not take this class as seriously as I should have. But despite my apathy, I still respect Professor Calkins for trying to teach us and to make the class interesting. The lectures were stimulating and class discussions were interesting. I also have to admit that my patience was tested a few times by some students who shall not be named. I don’t know if I could ever thank Professor Calkins enough for putting up with my shenanigans (printer problems, sickness and injuries, and bad excuses). He understood that sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions and I tried not to push him too far with my requests for extensions and apologies for missing classes. I greatly appreciate it and no matter what my final grade is in the class, I had a positive experience in English 1106 (I will not accept lower than an A-).

Preliminary Research Proposal

1.) My research paper will be about medicine’s effect on the human body and mind, physiologically and psychologically. I am talking about how the chemicals in medicine attempts to cure (or change) us by changing things that naturally happen in our body, how some medicine blocks neurotransmitters from binding to neuron receptors, and how medicine and treatments affect people’s thoughts.

Everyone should care about this topic because everyone uses medicine, therefore it affects everyone. Unfortunately medicine and the human body are very complex so sometimes the effects will not happen perfectly and as predicted. There are side effects and that is why this topic is relevant.

This topic is interesting to me because I am a biology and psychology major so researching about the body and the mind is the best of both worlds.

2.) I have a good amount of prior knowledge about my topic. I know the structures and functions of the body and brain, the workings of the nervous system, and some random facts about some medicines.

3.) I honestly do not think this paper will be too difficult because I picked a topic I am interested in. Another plus is that since the topic will always be important and relevant, there is lots of information about it and legitimate references to pull information from. The Web of Science is a good database to use.

My argument is that medicine is not always good for you. It sounds very open ended but the paper is more research-based, rather than argument and persuasion-style. I plan to get an A on this paper and learn from it as well.

4.) I am concerned about the organization of the paper; in what order should the talking points be in? I also have to remember that I cannot procrastinate on this paper. It is eight pages and I still have a lot of research to do.

Ad Analysis planning…

We have an ad analysis due in two weeks, so I guess that means it is time to start brainstorming. For this blog post I will come up with my thesis and five ideas for research to support my argument when I analyze the advertisement. Also, because it is spring break, I will cut right to the chase.

This is an advertisement for AXE body spray and deodorant.

Thesis: This advertisement supports AXE’s famous claim  that women will lust for the men that use their product, except that it also supports a close-minded ideology that gay relationships are unfavorable.

Research ideas:
1. Perhaps look up AXE’s product reviews and revenue that shows how well their products do when their ads air. This will provide me with insight on how ads affect buyers.
2. Trends on homosexual acceptance would tell me if this ad would most likely be tolerated or ridiculed.
3. An interview that uncovers the company’s president’s true feelings about gay marriage. Perhaps he opposes it, that would support my argument.
4. A review or interview of how someone reacted to an ad like this.
5. Examples of other ads by AXE will be useful when comparing how AXE markets their products.

Sample Ads…

Burger King, 2012

KayaKing Peanuts

Nikon- Gossip Girl


A picture is worth a thousand words…

This week I will dive deep into my creative mind and analyze two dimensional media. One will be an artwork and the other will be an advertisement. I will include links to the images.


    In this photograph by Helmut Newton, there is a beautiful, sexual woman with a tissue on her face. She has full lips and thick eyelashes. She is wearing a black feathery dress, almost resembling those of the flappers from the 1920s. Her facial expression looks relaxed yet also sensual. The image in black and white to make it seem dramatic and “real.” In the background there are Japanese words, possibly advertisement.
    This piece makes me feel giggly. The artist’s usual photographs are dramatic, nude women in black and white, and because this picture has a hint of humor in it (tissue as a beard) I found it interesting. The woman in the photograph is beautiful- sexual yet funny. And the fact that she is wearing a beret and a fancy, feathery dress shows that she is wealthy and exotic. The theme of exotic is also supported by the Japanese words on the wall behind her.


    This is an advertisement by Utopolis Group of Cinemas. There is a couple standing on the front edge of a boat, replicating the famous scene from “The Titanic.” However, instead of the romantic image of a bright sky or wind blowing in their hair, there is a bird pecking at the woman and she is crying. In this picture the sky is gray and no one looks happy. Also, there is a caption at the bottom that says “Reality sucks,” along with the name of the company.
    I found this ad very humorous because it is making fun of “The Titanic” by portraying it in a negative way. In my opinion, the woman’s reaction to the bird’s collision is the best part. On the other hand, the way the cinema company is advertising their theaters is ironic. Usually cinemas and theaters would like to portray their pictures and movies as beautiful, colorful, and vivid to attract customers. Instead, this cinema company portrays the “real world” as dull, unfortunate, and it “sucks” so people will want to escape it and watch a movie.

In a future op-ed…

Due in class next week is an opinionated piece called an op-ed. It resembles a newspaper article but it is usually meant for mocking a topic or arguing against it. My op-ed will be about Virginia Tech’s on-campus coal-burning power plant. It is a huge debate between people who believe that we should stop burning coal and move to a more sustainable source for energy, and between people who think that it is better to just keep it as is. I do not yet know which side of the debate I will be on. I am planning to do a bit more research before I decide.

In terms of publications in which my piece will be in, I know I don’t want to write for a newspaper. It is because there are many real articles about VT’s power plant in the school’s newspaper, The Collegiate Times. Perhaps I will write for a magazine, except instead of being purely informative, I could try to persuade and sway readers to agree with a specific side. The audience would be college students and perhaps townsfolk of Blacksburg because this power plant affects them the most. I would use all three appeals- ethos, pathos, and logos- to persuade my audience into agreeing with me. For ethos (credible evidence) there are many well-known researchers that are involved in the issue and I could quote them. Pathos (emotional appeal) would be easy to integrate because people care about the environment and are aware of its importance. If I make it seem like the coal emissions are slowly killing us, people may start to care. Lastly, because this is an informative and scientific piece, logos (logic and statistics) will be used often.

Hopefully I won’t struggle too much with this project. Also, here is a side story: one evening I was leaving a dining hall with my roommate and a fellow student asked me to sign a petition to close down the coal-burning power plant so we decided to help her out. After we finished she asked two other guys to sign it and they declared that they were coal miners back home before coming to school and the three of them continued bickering. This shows that this coal issue is relevant and important.

Who I am as a writer…

Okay, this is my first blog post, so try to keep an open mind.

Honestly, I am not very confident as a writer. I don’t hate it, I just don’t love it. Big writing assignments stress me out and induce heavy breathing as well as the urge to procrastinate. It is very unfortunate and inconvenient because all professors ask me to write. WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE! I dislike research papers and essays with a prompt, but creative writing assignments, notes from lectures, and pieces for the sake of social media are the bees knees. I think I enjoy the little writing compositions because they are simply for me, and not for a big chunk of my grade that may determine whether I fail or pass a class. That, my friends, is what I call anxiety to the max! Another reason why I like creative pieces is because I can add my own voice to it to make it my own. For example, this informal writing assignment about my writing style is purely creative to me. The diction I use is casual and you as the reader can probably tell I am quite the oddball.

On that note, I will end my first blog post with a funny story about my motivation to write, or lack thereof. For my humanities class last semester, we were assigned a four page research paper about a social or cultural issue in Asia. It was due at noon and I procrastinated until the morning of and wrote it in four hours, with research. Now guess what grade I got on the paper? If you guessed an A, you were correct. As hilarious and lucky as the situation was, I know not to procrastinate that much again because I felt like I was going to go into cardiac arrest due to the stress that paper caused me.

Over and out!