Over the course of the last four days, I have been dedicating a majority of my time to my class. With a little more than a third of the class already completed, I realize that now is the time to work incredibly hard if I want to pass the class. Today, just like the past couple of days, I kept hammering away at my studies and at my projects, trying to secure the passing grade that I came here for. When I woke up, the first thing on my head was finalizing my arguments for the presentation on my art piece. I quickly wolfed down my breakfast and headed back into my dorm room. Here, I made minor tweaks to my arguments and practiced my speech about five times over. I didn't know how strictly this assignment was going to be graded, but I didn't want to take any chances considering that this was about 10% of the overall participation grade. I wanted to make sure that my arguments made sense and that there was a clean line between my claims, my evidence, and my argument. Once I felt that my argument was complete, I headed over to class and hoped that my practice paid off.
I was the third person to present in the class of about 21. This meant that I should try to exceed expectation and raise the bar for future presentations. When my name was called, I was a bit nervous but tried to present myself in a confident manner. In my speech, I said that Barkley L. Hendrick's paining, "Down Home Taste" was trying to portray the African-American man as a person of dignity. In my argument, I brought up the film genre "blaxploitation," which negatively portrayed African-American men and women. I then mentioned that what Hendricks wanted to do in his paintings was properly portray these men and women, rather than the exaggerated figures that were on the movie screens. I believe that my content was good, but at the same time, I think that my presentation left much to be desired. I spoke a little too fast, shuffled my words, and had an occasional brain cramp, which left me feeling as though I had failed to make a proper presentation. I know that I did a good job, but I also know that I could have done better and that it is up to me to improve.
Following about five more arguments on art pieces, Dr. Sharkey shifted the attention away from the art pieces and said that the class was to have a debate using the British Parliamentary style. For those that don't know, the British Parliamentary style of debate is when there are four teams, two on government, otherwise known as the proposition, and two on the opposition. Each side either supports or rejects the motion, but every team is out for themselves and wants to win the debate in a 1-4 ranking system, with 1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest. The motion of the debate was "This house believes that we should stop jailing non-violent offenders." Since Jack, my partner, and I were the opening government, we could use the most arguments in order to steal from the secondary government, which made finding content a lot easier. During my speech, I talked about how jailing non-violent prisoners is a waste of money, how that money can be put towards public education, and how putting non-violent prisoners in prisons and exposing them to violent people might cause them to pick up violence. Again, in this speech, I thought it left a lot to be desired. I stumbled a bit with my words and there was an occasional silence. I cut myself a little slack because I'm not used to having such a little amount of time to prepare, but I still wish I could have done a little better. By the time my tenure at Cornell is over, I want to be a much-improved debater and master of the art of rhetoric. I do understand that in order to achieve that status, I am going to have to work hard over the duration of the next two weeks and I cannot afford to slack off.
|My New Best Friends|
The work didn't stop after class ended. Right when I got back to my dorm, I began to prepare for the quiz that I have on Tuesday. Over the past week and a half, I have been working for hours on end, taking notes on all 18 chapters of the book in preparation of this quiz and I can see that taking the time out was worth it. Now, instead of having to re-read chapters, I can simply look at the notes that I have taken and it only takes me about ten minutes per chapter, in comparison to the maybe 35 minutes that it would have taken to re-read an entire chapter. Although it may be a little easier to review, I'm making sure that I'm not just breezing through the notes. When I study the notes, I want to make sure that I am carefully examining each and every word to make sure that I understand what the book is trying to teach. It's very tedious work, but I would rather over-prepare for this quiz and the final next week than under prepare 10 times out of 10. I like that Debate and Rhetoric is my only class because it allows me to pour all of my time and energy into it without having to worry about other classes. Regardless, I'm going to continue to study and work hard over the course of the next couple of days and at the end of the hard work, hopefully I can walk away with an A in the course.