I am currently taking one of Penn’s signature writing seminars. This writing seminar is required for all incoming freshman and sophomore transfers, so if you’re looking to come to Penn, you’ll most likely enroll in one of these. The course prepares students for the writing and research that they will do throughout their time at Penn.
Honestly, I came into the writing seminar a little begrudgingly. I thought: “Hey, I know how to write!” After having taken a writing seminar last year, I felt that I wouldn’t get too much out of another writing seminar. I thought that I knew enough about academic writing to carry me through my academic pursuits. Boy, was I wrong.
Penn’s writing seminar is unique to Penn. In this course, I have learned how to properly outline, research for and write a literature review, how to identify and analyze arguments, and how to best create my own explanatory and justificatory arguments. I have come to better understand what is needed to construct a strong, academic argument. Each seminar has a different theme and revolves around an academic book about this theme. My writing seminar is about political rhetoric and tone. I have a friend who is in one called “The Secret Life of the Brain” and another in “TV and the Media Landscape”. Although each seminar has a different focus, every seminar has the same assignments and learning goals.
One of my favorite assignments thus far has been the literature review. Before this assignment, I did not know how to write a literature review, or even what one really is. For mine, I researched gendered political socialization, and how that contributes to who runs for and is represented in political offices. I am currently writing an Op-ed-like piece that is based on my literature review, in which I argue for the implementation of a process of political socialization in America. Of course, I still have more work to do in refining my proposition and bolstering my argument, but I am excited nonetheless!
I always love when what I am doing in one class coincides with what I am doing in another class. After learning how to research for and write a literature review in my writing seminar, I was tasked with writing another one in my statistics class as part of my final research paper. It is so rewarding to use what I have learned in one class in another.