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“The first thing I want to say to you who are students, is that you cannot afford to think of being here to receive an education: you will do much better to think of being here to claim one. One of the dictionary definitions of the verb ‘to claim’ is: to take as the rightful owner; to assert in the face of possible contradiction. ‘To receive’ is to come into possession of: to act as receptacle or container for; to accept as authoritative or true. The difference is that between acting and being acted-upon…” ~Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education”
Writing Prompt:This college course teaches more than composition; it teaches personal responsibility. Using Adrienne Rich’s famous convocation speech, “Claiming an Education,” as inspiration, discuss what you did in this class to claim your education, or to “act” rather than to be “acted upon.” In other words, reflect upon how you were you personally responsible for your improvement in the course. Be sure to base your reflection upon more than your grades. Think of at least three specific ways in which you improved as a writer and/or student. Then conclude your essay by indicating what new knowledge or understanding you will take with you as you continue your journey after this class. Aim for 750-1,000 words or 3-4 pages, and target this specific audience, please: freshman college students about to begin this writing class in their first year in college. Writing Tips and Additional Requirements:
o Avoid analyzing Rich’s convocation speech as a focal point. Focus instead upon your personal experiences as these relate to the writing prompt.
o Base your reflection upon more than your grades. Consider how you improved as a writer and/or student.
o Be sure to work through all of the stages of the writing process, including revising and editing, as well as you can in the time provided. Give your essay your best effort.
o Use MLA Paper Format, and use quotation marks for any quotes that you pull from Adrienne Rich’s speech. However, you do not need to include parenthetical documentation or a Works Cited Page unless you quote from sources other than Rich’s speech. I do not recommend that you quote from additional sources beyond the speech unless the additional source(s) are needed to substantiate the claims in your essay.
o If you choose to quote Rich or another source, be very selective. As always, your writing voice is the most important voice in any paper that has your name on it.
Study Guide:Before you draft your essay, consider exploring these brainstorming questions on your own:
o What writing strategies helped you discover new ideas?
o Which class activities helped you improve some of the weaker points in your writing?
o How do your initial course writings compare to subsequent course writings?
o How do you plan to continue developing and improving as a writer and/or student?