So here I am, in the United States of America. After 18 wonderful and memorable years living in Geneva, Switzerland, my college experience and education starts now, at the University of Michigan. I could not ask to be at a better school; after only two weeks I feel a sense of belonging, as my friendships begin to form and my path becomes clearer.
As far as my writing goes, once I have started a piece, I am absorbed. The toughest part is that first step to start off the process. From then on, I enjoy searching for a logical progression – a “red ribbon” – that follows through the entire body of my essay, linking one idea to the next. Because where’s the joy in hopping from one place to another in a bundle of confusion? However, my English course during the I.B. program at the International School of Geneva did not completely fulfill the kind of writing that goes on in college. That is why I’m taking a transitional course into college writing: Writing 100. This class will help me formulate arguments in an organized and cohesive manner, whilst backing up my points with concrete evidence. The topic that will be focussed on during the course is “Consumerism in American Culture,” so we will be writing essays in the form of consumer reviews, rhetorical analysis’ of advertisements, and open letters with an aim to persuade.
Major Essay 1 is my consumer review about the shop Urban Outfitters. I evaluate this retail store based on the styling of the window displays and mannequins, the immensity of the store, the abundance of items to choose from (not just clothes), the prices, and the quality of the attire. I then come to the conclusion that Urban Outfitters is selling a paradoxical image, so I ask the audience which direction it is headed in the future and which portion of consumers it will pertain to.
Major Essay 2 is my rhetorical analysis of a post-1945 ad campaign. I chose a 2002 BMW advertisement that explores the themes of gender and sexuality. By analyzing the different strategies that the advertisers use to persuade it’s target audiences, there is a clear sense of male domination and female objectivity and degradation. These themes may negatively impact people, especially women, in our society.
Major Essay 3 is a remix of Major Essay 2. I created a Prezi presentation with several slides referring to the different points made in my essay. In order to make it interactive with the rest of the class, hand-outs of different gender or sexualized advertisements were given out to analyze.
Major Essay 4 is an open letter to the CEO of the watch company Rolex. It is based in Geneva so I have grown up in a community where watches dominate the industry and culture. The problem I am addressing is that Rolex’s retail prices are so inflated and the company’s credentials are kept so secret that nobody can know where all of it’s immense profit is going. Is the CEO, Mr. Marini, gaining an unfair share compared to the workers? Are the company distributions corrupted? I address the fear and possibility of inequality amongst the population.
My e-portfolio is an expression of who I am and my interests in the sense that the subjects I chose to write about reflect an aspect of my personality. I chose Urban Outfitters because I used to shop there for it’s edgy and trendy clothes. Now, however, I don’t anymore because it has become too mainstream and frankly, the prices and the quality of clothing are not aligned. Regarding Essays 2 and 3, gender and sexuality have always interested me. I love analyzing the techniques advertisers use to portray women as submissive and objectified bodies and men as the powerful dominators. And, finally, I wanted to bring all of the skills I have learnt together in a letter that concerns an element of my personal experiences in Geneva, my hometown, and link it to a growing and worrying issue in society today: inequality. After reading the book “The Price of Inequality” by Stiglitz for my Sociology class, there was something I had to do to address this problem.
So that’s a little bit about myself and my writing experiences. I am looking forward to developing them further and coming out of college a better argumentative and persuasive writer.