I chose Rhetoric & Writing as my major because it has the word "Writing" in it. Okay, that's not the real reason, but it's a close enough approximation. Anyone who has been reading this blog must have spotted my love of words. And punctuation. And grammar. And the fun of mixing all those things up into an intelligible piece of writing. It is one of my longest-lasting hobbies (seriously-- only reading beats it. And only by about five years). Even though my blogging isn't as regular as I'd like it to be, I am still so happy that I was introduced to this medium.
Okay, tangent over. I am taking my first class in my major-- Principles of Rhetoric-- this summer. (Is that supposed to be italicised? Well, it is now.) Our first paper was assigned last Thursday. I've spent from last Thursday until yesterday being completely terrified of this assignment, even while churning ideas over in my head.
Yesterday, I went to discuss it with my instructor and we hashed out some ideas, she approved my topic, and even said I had a "cool" way of approaching it. Happiness abounds. And then it got better-- she told me, "You seem to have a good handle on this already. (Really? Sure didn't feel like it!) So, what is your next step?"
My well-drilled, well-trained, late-'90s high school writing education stepped up, flexed its muscles, and bellowed "RESEARCH!!" in my ear. Out loud I said, "Well, I should probably do some research, but what I will actually do is start writing."
And this is where my meeting took a dramatic upturn; my instructor smiled widely and said, "I was prepared to be disappointed if you said 'research', because that's what everyone else has said. You should absolutely start writing first."
Me: "Really? That's great, because I would much rather write than research." In my head, however, the "yay, we're doing this right" party was already starting.
"Well," she said, "how do you know what to research if you don't start writing and see what direction you want to go?"
And that's what I've always thought. I am so, so happy that academia has finally come around to this idea (according to this instructor, they've only made this shift to "write first, then research" in the past 10-ish years). And even happier that I put off university until it happened.