Well, Now What...
Last quarter when a friend of mine took WRD 104, he told me that the major writing assignment of the class was a ten page research paper. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I have self-diagnosed myself with writing anxiety, which is ironic because I want to be a journalist. I have a fear of endless, blank, white space, and I knew I could never do a paper of that magnitude. Even writing this reflection makes me uncomfortable, but I am not one to back away from a challenge as it as part of my college script. Even though the purpose of college is debated in our culture, I know that my purpose for college is to learn as much as I can about myself and the world I live in. I have set extremely high expectations of myself and because of that I take my classes seriously. I see every class and every assignment as a requirement to get the good grades I desire no matter what stress it causes me.
As it turns out, I did not have to write a ten page paper. For our first writing assignment, we wrote an Op-Ed essay on the purpose of college in which I thought about what I am doing in college and what I want to get out of my college experience. In place of the main research paper, I wrote three smaller contextual analyses, in which I contextualized the argument, formed my angle, read articles regarding my view on the topic, and then constructed a well-written paper. I challenged myself the most with my Facebook IPO essay because I had no knowledge of an IPO and why it was a big deal. By the end of my paper, I had a sense of pride in my work because I knew what everyone was talking about, and on several occasions I informed my friends on the news. Even for my other two essays, I wrote about current and intriguing topics: Books and newspapers. In my opinion, my four essays satisfied the critical reading, writing, and thinking learning outcome because I researched each topic in detail, read articles about that topic, and thought about why I should care about the topic.
However, we did more than write analysis papers. Within the first few weeks of class, I wrote a letter to the editor addressing my opinion on the article "Why Europe Is a Dirty Word" by Nicholas Kristof, which was important for me to learn to express my opinion. Towards the end of the quarter, we were asked to remix an article in the New York Times. I found this assignment to be difficult because as an aspiring journalist I have a need to write about facts, but I gave it a shot. I picked an article that I used as part of my Facebook IPO paper. The original was about the advertising of Facebook and selling of users data. I changed the article to read that the American public controlled the company and exploited Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives and investors. In place of doing another remix article, we were given the option of creating five memes about the New York Times. This assignment was a new type of rhetoric because it pokes fun at the truth. These three assignments met the knowledge of convention learning outcome for FYW because I learned to write in different genres and address different audiences.
Narrowing down articles and their purpose and intended audience can be a daunting task, but it turned out to be one of my favorite assignments, if it is even possible to have a favorite assignment: summaries of New York Times articles. Since I chose how to write it, my first summary was rough, but after we learned the rhetorical précis method, summarizing was a breeze; in fact I found it rather enjoyable. I know that my ability to summarize and write a rhetorical précis will be used again in another class because summarizing and contextualizing arguments can be applied everywhere. Those summaries fulfilled two of my goals. One of which was a learning outcome for FYW, rhetorical knowledge, which I also learned by writing my contextual analysis papers. The other was a personal goal. I want to become more aware of current events and issues and by reading those articles I learned about foreign affairs, politics, and business along with national issues such as drinking and abortion. Unfortunately I did not keep my subscription to the New York Times, but I planted the seed to help me become the conscious person I hope to be.
Another goal I wanted to work on was taking more time to write my papers. Even in WRD 103, I found my writing process to be irregular. To be honest, I cannot stand drafting because I find it to be a waste of time, but I tried to do more of it in WRD 104. The first drafts of my papers can be found under the processes tab. A beginning step in my last two essays was creating a contextual map of whom my topic affected. From there I started writing. To go from my first draft to my final, I edited and revised my work often adding new research or rewording paragraphs. A large part of my writing process was my meetings with my professor Michael Moore. When we met, we read over my work and pointed out things that sounded awkward or unprofessional. He gave me honest feedback on my work but left it up to me to make the ultimate decision. I also received some feedback from my peers, which gave me the confidence I needed to know that I was doing good work and my fear of writing was foolish.
As I write this conclusion, I cannot help but cheer because in a sense I am partially ending a scene of my first chapter of my cultural college script. Never again will I take a writing class or utter the phrase, “My English class.” In a way I am not ending but rather beginning. I still have three and 1/3 years left of college. The writing most certainly does not end here. As my professor Michael Moore would say, “I have a quiver full of arrows.” I genuinely feel that WRD 104 was one of the best classes I have ever taken because it developed applicable skills like reading and writing, but it also developed me. I know that I have become a more intellectual person, and I hope that my work in this portfolio reflects that idea.
The options proposed in the reflection paper are intended to help build a broad consensus on how to take on the challenges ahead and to give a fresh impetus to this important debate.
Moving ahead would involve taking steps in three key areas:
- Completing a genuine Financial Union
An integrated and well-functioning financial system is essential for an effective and stable Economic and Monetary Union. Building on the momentum of what has already been achieved in recent years, a consensus needs to be found on the way forward. This includes moving ahead with elements that are already on the table and agreeing on additional steps to take between now and 2025. This will involve completing the Banking Union and making progress on reducing and sharing risks in the banking sector, with measures to make European banks even more resilient. In order to provide more diverse and innovative financing opportunities for the real economy, including through capital markets, delivering on Capital Markets Union is also paramount.
- Achieving a more integrated Economic and Fiscal Union
Already the Five Presidents' Report recognised the convergence towards more resilient economic and social structures in Member States as an essential element for a successful Economic and Monetary Union in the long run. Member States could strengthen already existing elements, such as the European Semester of economic policy coordination or the link of financial support from the EU budget to structural reforms. But Member States could also decide to improve the capacity of macroeconomic stabilisation of the euro area. The paper outlines several different options for this, which the Commission will look into.
- Anchoring democratic accountability and strengthening euro area institutions
For the Economic and Monetary Union to be stronger, Member States must accept to share more responsibilities and decisions on euro area matters, within a common legal framework. This could be through the EU Treaties and its institutions, an intergovernmental approach or, as is the case today, a mix of both. Further political integration could involve a rethinking of the balance between the Commission and the Eurogroup and could justify the appointment of a full-time permanent Eurogroup chair, as well as unifying the euro area's external representation. The idea of a euro area Treasury – possibly with a euro area budget – as well as a European Monetary Fund are also discussed in the public debate, and could be considered at a later stage of the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union, within the EU framework.