Journey of Self-Discovery

From writing projects one to three, my writing this semester has been a journey of self-discovery about my intellectual identity. Throughout the process, I was able to discover how I began and what has prompted me to become what I am today. Although there were times when I wasn’t exactly sure if what I was writing was related to my upbringing or my intellect, in the end, I was satisfied as I believe what I wrote best reflected myself. The writing projects served to motivate me to reflect upon myself and realize the role that writing has played in my journey of self-discovery. As someone who was consistently below average in all his English classes, I was apprehensive when I learned that I still needed to take writing classes in college. However, this semester really changed my opinion, especially since I was given the freedom to express myself in any writing format I wanted and not just an SAT standard one. Furthermore, the writing projects this semester has inspired me to self-reflect which, as someone who avoids sharing personal knowledge about himself, made me want to punch my wall from awkwardness. I have never been challenged into discovering myself, causing me to stay up at night trying to answer the why of my logic. Overall, writing this semester has not only helped me self-reflect for my writing projects but also help me as a mediator to resolve my inner conflict.

As someone that doesn’t have a consistent opinion on anything, starting my writing journey with the first project was frustrating. I only ever had an ambiguous surface-level understanding of my thoughts, choices, and actions, never attempting to discover myself beyond knowing my basic pleasures, such as my favorite food, to keep me happy. So, how could I write about my own intellectual journey when I never questioned myself?

Writing project one, or WP1, was extremely hard. The outcome of my first attempt before revision was that it was borderline basic. It discussed and answered the prompt, but had too much anecdote without any personal substance nor a takeaway to captivate the audience, nor myself. While rereading WP1 for my revision, I couldn’t help but cringe, yet be amazed about how much progress my personal writing has made since the beginning of the semester. Compared to WP3 and WP2, my first attempt at discovering myself felt like I had lied to myself for having chosen a safe route that didn’t truly represent my intellectual journey. Hence, I decided to rewrite rather than just make small revisions as everything was just a lie.

My second attempt this time was by far more in-depth, not just serving to answer the prompt, but connecting with my other writing projects into giving my readers an overall understanding of me. My newly written WP1 was about automation. It revolves around how “humans are replaceable” and that “as technology innovation continues to revolutionize society, there seems to be less need for humans” (Tran 2021). This writing was hard to write about because it’s not something I like to talk about since it’s about my fear, which has influenced my intellectual journey. As a mediator, writing really helped ease the process as I kept running into inner conflict, wanting to, yet at the same time not wanting to bring up personal topics about how I have always viewed everyone, including myself, as replaceable. The personal topics, which were about growing up in an engineering family that constantly has conversations about technology innovation surpassing humans, made me realize how insecure I was about holding less value than that of a machine. Not even other people, but machines, made me feel like I was competing for value. I didn’t know about it until after WP2 and WP3, in which both continued to confront me with the word replace. Writing really helped me come to a resolution with my inner conflict about how I was afraid of becoming replaceable, especially since I don’t ever discuss my fears. It was my first writing assignment in which I wrote about one of my weaknesses.

A lot better than my first attempt at WP1, WP2 was really when I started to get personal about myself. In WP2, I had written five posts all revolving around communication. Although all of them were great, the post I like and, at the same time, struggled the most with was Words that Transcend Time. The post revolved around an anime that was way out of my element considering that my last writing assignment before WP1 was about an award-winning novel, Frankenstein. The issue about anime in my opinion is that it’s silly compared to a writing piece with a historical background despite both being fictional. However, as someone passionate about anime, especially the one I wrote about, I had to somehow add it into one of my writing projects.

The anime that impacted me the most, teaching me to value writing, was Violet Evergarden. As the title Words that Transcend Time suggests, it is about “time running out,” and how “writing might be the only method at hand to be able to convey a message ” (Tran 2021). The anime does an excellent job in portraying the ability writing has besides putting words on a piece of paper. Specifically, the ability to transcend time, which was best portrayed with a dying woman who decides to write a letter full of a mother’s worry and love to her daughter for each of her birthdays after death. This was impactful to me as it displayed an example in which I was wrong. I was wrong to preach about writing being replaceable. Although I realized I was wrong after watching the anime, it actually took me until I wrote about it for me to finally admit to all the wrongs I’ve made in calling things replaceable out of anger. As someone that hates challenging himself and creating inner conflict, I’m not used to admitting I’m wrong. However this time, with writing mediating the conflict within me, I was finally able to admit through WP2 that I was wrong. WP2 might not have been the most personal post within WP2, however, it was my first personal writing in which I didn’t just write for the prompt or the grade, but for me as a confession of my wrongs. I really gambled with WP2 as I fear getting backlash from being vulnerable with my mistakes.

Unlike WP1 and WP2, I immediately knew what I wanted to write about for WP3. After having written eight posts plus the two writing projects, I knew I had to write about the main logic behind the word replace in my life. WP3 is about how I am a “systematic viewer” who approaches the world “seeking logic” and “efficiency,” rather than attempting to “define my own individualism” (Tran 2021). In a way, writing the piece was about conveying what I had concluded from my self-discovery journey throughout the semester. It really dissected why I didn’t want to challenge my inner conflict or why I felt like I was choking when I first started WP1. It was because, as a systematic viewer, the individual is not as important as the system, hence I struggle as I’ve never thought of myself as anything more than just a part. And like any parts, the word replace is thrown around a lot as systematic viewers believe what should only be kept in this world are the most efficient things. Hence in WP1, I thought about automation replacing humans, and in WP2, was admitting that there were things that I had labeled replaceable before realizing the truth. Being able to write about my view that I knew, but at the same time couldn’t express nor explain to my peers because of my weak understanding of myself, was liberating as I felt like I had conquered myself. Writing acted as a mediator through the process keeping me from shying away from any controversial or personal topics that I tend to avoid. It inspired me to express something that I usually am conflicted to speak about. If I wasn’t given the opportunity to write what I wanted to, I might have stayed mute throughout the class, forever lying about myself in all self-reflective writing assignments.

Before having started my writing journey, I would never have been capable of answering any of the writing prompts without lying for the grade. Instead, I would have continued to remain ambiguous and avoid self-reflecting. However, going from WP1, which originally was about some surface-level self-discovery, to WP3, which dug deep and truly grasped my identity, I was able to understand the why behind myself. The role of writing as a mediator helped me sort out the personal conflict I had avoided thinking that it was a hassle when, in reality, was an essential part of my narrative. I have never once considered questioning myself until writing projects this semester.

Work Cited

Tran, V. (2021, April 26). Villain’s View. Medium. https://medium.com/writing-150-spring-2021/villains-view-c0a48c841869.

Tran, V. (2021, April 26). WP1: The Journey Begins With YOU. Medium. https://medium.com/writing-150-spring-2021/wp1-the-journey-begins-with-you-e1dc7d9607fe.

Tran, V. (2021, March 7). Why We Need to Learn Different Method of Communication. Medium. https://medium.com/writing-150-spring-2021/why-we-need-to-learn-different-method-of-communication-49d352ce5e53.

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Class, this semester we will write. We will use language to cultivate real VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE. We will share that knowledge with each other to build a working learning COMMUNITY.

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