“In My Father’s Footsteps” is the capstone project for my Rhetorical Studies class. At the end of the semester, we were required to write a final paper showcasing what we had learned about rhetoric and writing. We could write on anything we wanted and in any way we wanted; our only requirement was that we were supposed to be creative and step outside of our normal writing boundaries and to reference some of our readings. We were, as my teacher said, not supposed to worry about the project requirements like word counts or requirements; we just had to write what we felt fulfilled the prompt of showing what we had learned throughout the semester.
Project Plan and Responsibilities
Rather than consciously plan out my paper through an outline or an argument, I ended up letting my thoughts and fingers take me in many directions. Normally, that’s how I write, through outlines and thinking out the argument. But, I instead decided to try and write in a more feminine way, in circles and patterns that return to each other, almost like a dance (one of our readings in the class talked about the different ways men and women write, and how different cultures write). Rather than trying to fit everything in a linear design of cause and effect, I chose something different and let the words pour out through my fingers as they came to me. It was different, and somewhat worrying when I wasn’t sure what I was going to write next, but it was immensely gratifying to write the way I wanted to in an academic setting for the first time in…well, forever.
In the paper, I chose to write about my father and the influence he’s had in my writing since I was a small child. Hence the title, “In My Father’s Footsteps”. I talked about his innate desire to communicate and talk with others, and his long journey in finding how to do that as a career. I described how I took those lessons with me through high school and later through college, and how his lessons worked with my college classes to teach me how to be a better writer. From him and my Rhetorical Studies class, I learned about my audience: how to think like them, how to be clear and concise, and how to write my thoughts down with emotion and intent to convince them of my viewpoint. I talked about how I learned that different genders and cultures think differently when it comes to writing, and how to embrace that different way of writing I naturally have as a Western woman.
While it isn’t the traditional academic paper I was used to writing, I consider this one of my best essays in my college career. I also consider this to be the most satisfying essay I’ve ever written because I was able to write the way I thought. And while I can’t write every paper or project this way during and after college, it was helpful to me to understand better the way I thought and my personal voice for writing.