Afterthoughts on ENGL119

“Time really flies…” is what I’d like to say. However, a famous person once said, “time does not have wings, but if you don’t utilize it properly, it will”.

Of course, this famous person is me.

I think i’ve utilized this course to the best of my abilities, after all, it’s one of the few courses I have 100% attendance in. In the beginning, I had no idea that I would learn this much material in ENGL119. I remember how mentioned that I really “LOVED” English courses for various reasons in my first blog post. This time, I’m honest… probably. I find this course extremely useful in terms of learning about technical communication in ways your normally wouldn’t experience in other English classrooms.

Looking back to the beginning of the term, starting from the e-mail assignment, my objective was to enhance my technical communication skills to be more confident in the workplace – I still remember how I had to explain what a “desktop” was to someone during my first work term.

Now that I’ve not only reached my goal, I’ve also learned various valuable things such as:

  • how to write a professional e-mail.
  • using rhetoric in professional writing.
  • paraphrasing techniques.
  • how to utilize and ‘abuse’ the UWaterloo online library to do research (I honestly didn’t know that I paid for this in my tuition until now).
  • 25% rule – how to clean up your writing.
  • professional report writing.

Ironically enough, I have never been properly taught ‘how to use the comma’ during my English education career until now. And I never knew that editing a piece of work isn’t just about correcting grammar and sentence structure.

I wonder how I’ve managed this far…

Anyhow, I find the “25% rule” in writing surprisingly useful. At first, it was especially painful to say ‘goodbye’ to hours of work in attempt to meet the word count…

However, when writing the final report, I went over the word count before even finishing the body paragraphs. Although I’m not sure if references should be included in the word count…

As much as I hate to BS (brilliantly script) through writings for English class, I liked the idea of the “shitty first draft”. I used to be one of those people that cautiously write their first drafts as if it’s the final; oftentimes, I spend up to 20 minutes arguing in my head on how to convey an idea in an ‘intelligent’ manner. Now, it’s as if all those arguments are visible on paper for me to organize my thoughts.

The overall experience for this class is quite different from other classes; we had Ted Talks, blog posts, and even report proposal writing. I especially enjoyed the process of walking through the report writing process in class; instead of scratching your head thinking about what to write, nearly half of the report is close to finish by the time you start working on it at home! This is usually something that isn’t present in many English classes, at least not for me. Not to mention that we also get the opportunity to review and comment on other classmates work – something that we don’t see very often in the faculty of mathematics.

One down, one to go. I hope the next communication course I take would be just as interesting as this one, while having a bit less work load.


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