This essay is part of a series I wrote for an English composition class during my freshman year at Purdue University (whole series listed below). While the first big assignment was a short autobiography, we had the freedom to choose our topic for the next four set of sequenced writing assignments. I chose to cover women’s shopping … for obvious reasons. Hope you find them well.
1. A Box of Chocolates: A writer’s biography
2.Women’s Shopping: A personal experience
3. Compulsive Shopping: A literature review
4. Mother’s Words of Wisdom on Shopping: An interview report
5. Organize Yourselves, Shopaholics!
* Her Ramblings… just for fun, and for extra credit.
During my first semester attending Purdue University, I took a preliminary English composition writing class. We have five big assignments to account for this class, and the first assignment was a brief biography of ourselves. The next four assignments are one set of sequenced writing on a specific topic. Mine was on shopping as an activity, and the financial aspects of it as well as the joy of it. Just for the fun of writing, I wrote another piece for extra credit. I hope I can share with you the joy of reading and writing English literature.
Behold the radiance from the mighty sun! Feel the zephyr brushing against your body, and then listen carefully for the message it brings in its whispers. Ho! The waves of Ibiza are approaching your way from a distance, and it sings a song so mellifluous and so lyrical at the same time that you can’t help but heed the words uttered by each splash and thump your feet to follow its rhythm. And it sings: Liiistennn tooo whaaat I haaave tooo saaa– kringgggg, kringggggggggg, KRINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
Good grief! Now you are telling me that it was all a dream? Reality is such a nightmare, I thought. So I went back to sleep again for some time when I realized that it’s a Monday! Then I quickly got off from my messy bed and brushed my teeth so hastily that I still had a lump of white foam sticking onto my peppermint-scented lips when I jumped into the shower. After grooming myself for what seemed like forever, I munched the last two pieces of bagels on the kitchen shelf and gulped my now half-empty chocolate-flavored soymilk, then hie me to the front door before I miss the 9:00 AM bus.
What a luck, I gasped. My speed proved to be worthless. The moment I caught my last breath was the moment the bus rode off from the bus stop. Sigh, how could I forget that it’s a Monday? Now I have to sacrifice some my points for the next assignment, just for being late!So then I tapped my feet impatiently while thinking I had to waste half an hour of my day just to wait for the next bus. Hold on. On second thought, no, I decided to make effective use of the time to continue reading Totto-chan: the Little Girl at the Window, the best-selling novel by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. That way, I would feel like time was flying.
Soon I was so immersed in Totto-chan’s tale that I didn’t realize the bus was waiting for me to hop in. I closed the book and got into the bus, feeling a little relaxed then after the rush earlier that morning.
“Next stop, Purdue Memorial Union.” I quickly got off the bus and ran towards Hovde Hall, the building where I have my College English Composition class for that semester (Spring 2007). That was my earliest morning class, and also the class that I was late for.
Nevertheless, it’s always better late than never. On that day, my generous instructor, Tom Glass, informed us about the extra credits he was willing to give for the class. Although I realized that I had been doing well so far throughout the semester, I still had the urge to write in every opportunity I could have. And so here I am, sitting in front of my Sony VAIO laptop, typing out my reflections of how I’ve done so far for this class while sipping a cup of hot latte. As I am pondering about the five assignments I had done, I come up with the decision to emphasize on the different and similar attitudes that I had to face these assignments.
The first assignment, Writer’s Autobiography, was basically a review of my life as a writer. I was to narrate the story of my development in writing ever since I got to know the alphabets. At the beginning, I briefly described my pre-teenage years when I used to write my personal problems and contemplations into my first journals. This was actually the underlying significance of my life as a writer. It not only cultivated my interest in writing today, but as I grow older, it also triggered me to stop myself from being narrow-minded and expand my thoughts to those topics that have a larger sphere, such as science and politics. Consequently in the field of art, the more an artist receives critiques and suggestions for their artworks, the more he or she will learn from their mistakes and improve in the future. However, to me, becoming a true artist takes more than manifesting your ideas successfully through visual means. I challenged myself to express my ideas verbally as effectively as I draw. Over the years I write more and more, and my sore hands were soon replaced by my energetic fingers that type like a robot on computers. Since then, I have always taken the advantage of my freedom of speech on the Internet, specifically to blog, up till today.
Just as how the first assignment has given me the opportunity to express a huge part of myself, the following assignments, too, has enabled me to write in my very own unique style, except that this time I had a lot more freedom. The assignments that were given since then until the end of the semester were part of a sequenced writing project, of which I would write about one topic that I’m interested in and would like to find out more about it. Since I was given that much freedom, I, without any hesitation, took the chance to write about what every woman loves: Women’s shopping.
The first part of this project was about my personal experience with shopping, when I spent a total of US$600.00 during the first three months I came to America for college. Then I had to interview my mother to ask for information about organizing a proper financial life, which was relevant, especially after the bad experience I described in the preceding assignment. Although the interview have helped me more than enough in changing my shopaholic habits in the future, I still had to do a literature review, where I did my research about how shopping addiction works and ways to control them. In the process, I think that it was fun to know the differences between shopping habits of men and women, especially when I found out that men buy what they are looking for, and women buy what they are looking at, and then ending up buying too many unnecessary items that they later regret. These three leading assignments turned out to be very helpful later on when I was working with my argumentative essay, of which I stood for the opinion: Shopaholics should record monthly transactions of their expenses in shopping for clothes and accessories. This time, I had to add a paragraph of audience analysis that turned out to help a lot in guiding the tone of my essay.
Just by seeing how distinct each assignment from one to another, there is no doubt that I definitely had more or less different attitudes when facing these assignments. One thing that I have practiced throughout the semester was to insert my personality into each of the assignments. Personally, I enjoyed working on the interview report most, as I was allowed to not only exhibit my own shopping habits, and therefore, my personality in the paper, I could also include a brief story of my family, especially my mother. I feel very excited when I can tell stories about the things I love, which includes shopping. But I became more enthusiastic when I can talk about shopping and also about the people I love together. I figured that when we write about what we love the most, it would give extra meaning (…and extra points too! For your information, I’ve got the highest point for this paper) to the essay, just like a love letter.
However, whenever there’s love there’s always hatred. I didn’t hate doing the literature review assignment, but I dislike the idea of summarizing. Although the assignment was pretty straightforward to me, I think that the result was boring. When summarizing, we were supposed to make a paragraph of the important points from an article, so we had to omit the details. To me, the details given in an essay give the most significance to the writing. Without giving specific examples for the reader, he or she would not fully understand our ideas. This is actually why I have always written papers which are longer than the length assigned, just like the one I am writing now. On the contrary, not many people would like to read a long paper just to get an idea, unless they are willing to find out more about what they are looking for and therefore, are willing to read the details of the essay. From my experience in writing a literature review in this class, I now notice the importance of writing a summary.
Now that I’ve talked about my reflections for this class, the attitudes I had when facing the assignments, and also brief opinions about them, I would probably go wash my tea cup and hope to get an A, and then get ready to sleep. Who knows I can go back to Ibiza island to listen to the whispers of the wind and to hear the songs of the waves, tuning up the hymns from Café Del Mar. Ahhh… paraíso! (and let’s hope I will never be late for class again!)