Reflective Cover Letter

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Sahira Nayyar
Reflective Cover Letter
Throughout the three units of the UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry semester, I’ve
definitely acquired some new insight and helpful skills on how to approach large
assignments, such as the research paper, group participation/work, such as the
informal and formal group presentations on The Secret History of Wonder Woman
and Radioactive, and how to properly prepare for such things. The annotated
bibliography was an absolutely ingenious way to organize and arrange the sources
of my research paper materials. It allowed me to really analyze a source’s reliability
and strength, as well as its purpose in my paper, so I may actually categorize it in a
flowing pattern for my paper as opposed to just spitting facts to make my paper
sound more scholarly. What I learned, in an unfortunate manner, about group
presentations is that, in college, if you don’t pull your weight, or if someone is absent
from your meetings, it really affects everyone’s ability to perform well on
presentation day, and not only affects the individual who failed to participate
correctly. The consequences for not meeting and discussing presentation materials
with your group is a lot worse in college than in high school, so the necessity of
meeting with group members has definitely been heightened thanks to this course.
I’m very surprised with how easily this research paper was composed due to
the required pre-writing materials we did. The matrix and the annotated
bibliography, when done properly, essentially wrote the paper for me in a very
paced, calming way. The idea of composing an entire research paper filled with
scholarly articles and hard to understand conceptual journals is extremely nerve
wracking, but the preparatory materials set up my entire paper in fragments that
made writing the paper as simple as copying and pasting from pre-written material.
I’m also very surprised with the level of professionalism yet humor necessary for
group presentations to be a hit with an audience as well as successfully informative.
In high school, the need to get information across was enough to get an A. In this
course specifically, charm, wit, humor, intelligent word choice, organization,
composition, confidence, and the ability to not say “um” a million times in a row
were sometimes more important than knowing what was going on on the slide
behind you. I’m really proud and surprised of my ability to fit into these categories,
as my public speaking skills were almost nonexistent before this class.
Some advice I’d give to a rising UNIV 112 student would be to be prepared
before coming to class. It only hurts you in the long run when you don’t do the
required work. It definitely is a heavy course load, and it’s not a class to brush off
into the background of classes you may seem are more dire; this class is not easy.
But reading the books/articles for discussion in class creates critical thinking
improvement as you learn that the way you interpreted something was completely
different from someone else. Not reading the material means you never interpreted
the piece for yourself, so you’re at the mercy of your peers and sometimes it just
makes you look stupid in the end. Not rehearsing for a group presentation, or just
generally not preparing your slides and information properly, are easy giveaways
that you didn’t put much effort into your work. It’s very, VERY obvious who did and
Sahira Nayyar
did not spend at least an hour putting together a few clipart pictures and cue words
to help their project and who spent 10 minutes putting an entire dialogue on a slide
to be read off of in class. Lastly, don’t slack off on pre-paper materials. It takes a lot
of effort to pass something crappy off as gold, and in the end, you’re just screwing
yourself over, because now you have to use the crappy, useless resource in front of
you to write an entire, well organized, scholarly essay. Which means, basically,
you’re not getting above a C no matter how hard you try. So just work hard and the
A will be there.
Something to take away from this course is definitely my ability to receive
and interpret feedback. Coming from high school with a big ego about my writing
due to my inability to get below an A in any English-type classes, it was really hard
for me to accept criticism and negative feedback on my writing because I always
interpreted what I wrote as nothing below an A standard. But I could definitely see
where people were heading with the critiques I was given and it helped me take the
edge off my writing and add more of my own voice into it. As Sammie, Kat, and
Adriane told me, it’s not always about sounding smart and scholarly in what you
present, but that the information is organic and interesting. I will definitely take that
away for my future presentations, papers, and essays for even my STEM classes.