Welcome to my blog!

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     My name is Blair Van Sickle and I am a senior here at Eastern Michigan University. I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I enrolled at Eastern in the Fall of 2008, and am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Communications. Some of my favorite classes that I have taken at Eastern have been Abnormal Psychology, Child Psychology, and Latin Dance. After graduation I plan to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition. It is my dream to eventually work for the University of Michigan Hospital in a clinical setting.

     Throughout this portfolio, I have included three works which represent the different aspects of writing we addressed in the course. In the first essay, we were to describe an object in great detail as it relates to our lives. In the object analysis essay, I describe a bracelet which I received from my mother over the summer that I came to love dearly. I also discuss how my feelings about the bracelet transformed from a small gift to a symbol of my love for my mother and grandmother. In the second essay, we were to write about a rhetorical analysis of a space of our choice. I chose to write about Vie Fitness which is the gym that I attend because it is a place where I spend a lot of time and means a lot to me. I also believe that this particular gym is unique because it is very aesthetically appealing, so this creates an atmosphere of comfort to its clientele, which I discuss in my essay. The third essay in this portfolio is a research essay about vegetarianism. I love researching about dietetics and nutrition and I didn’t know much about vegetarianism prior to this essay. In the paper I describe the different types of vegetarianism, the primary motivations for choosing the lifestyle, and the cultural influences that Americans face when they decide to stop eating meat.

      During the semester I feel I learned a lot about how to become a better writer but I feel I gained the most insight when we read the article titled “Teaching Multiwriting: Researching and Composing with Multiple Genres, Media, Disciplines, and Cultures” written by Davis and Shadle. Reading this article changed the way I had always perceived research essays because it describes in great detail how to better incorporate several different sources into your work. This was the first time I have ever written a research essay in this way that incorporates opinion, so it was a struggle for me at first but I think overall it promotes a much more personal and academic style of writing. It also helped me to learn how to write according to MLA style formatting because previously I have always used APA format. During writing my research essay, there was one particular quote which I found to be very significant. This quote is taken from a book edited by Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz, an independent historian, titled Cultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism and she states, “Perhaps the greatest and most harmful misunderstanding that many Americans have about vegetarianism is that it is a new or even distinctly modern invention…it is both inaccurate and naïve to assume that vegetarianism’s recent popularity in the United States is disconnected from the past.” This statement was particularly important to me when I was writing my research essay because it addresses a common misunderstanding that many Americans have about vegetarianism, that it is simply a fad diet. Throughout my research I not only learned to appreciate vegetarianism but I also learned to recognize that it is a sustainable lifestyle which takes a lot of research and hard work to maintain.

      Overall, I really enjoyed this class. I’m happy that I got to know some of my classmates very well and I enjoyed working in a group setting. I also found the class to be helpful because we were given specific and detailed expectations for each assignment. I hope that by exploring my portfolio you will have a better understanding of who I am and what’s important to me as well as what I have learned throughout the semester. I am proud to say that my writing has improved and I hope to exercise the skills that I have learned this semester in my future work.