08 September 2009

Composition II.

This fall I've enrolled in a 200-level English composition class, one of two final general education courses I need to round out my degree summary so I can graduate next summer.  ENGL122 is an online course that, according to the syllabus, "emphasizes organizing and polishing steps important in composing expository, evaluative, and persuasive prose", among several other things listed in a detailed outline.

Good thing I like to read and write. I am a little worried that my skills are rusty; the last class that actually graded me specifically on writing was way back in 1994. (Time flies when you're wandering around the country chasing a career.)

Anyway, as part of the introductory online session, we were asked to introduce ourselves on the class discussion board. I was amazed by the diversity of people in my class, ranging from the typical early-20s undergrad to a couple of grandparents, a scattering of single/married young parents, a few people who were taking the class "just for fun", and even a couple of foreign exchange students from China and the Ukraine. It's kind of too bad that the class is held online; I would've liked to see the variation in person.

For our first assignment, where we were instructed to describe a room using our five senses, it wasn't hard to see the more gifted writers (and the non-native English speakers).  We were also asked to start critiquing each other's work, and so far the comments have been positive.  I'm sure that'll change once we settle in.  Here's what I wrote.
Like many other places in hospitals, the temperature of the Nuclear Medicine exam room is kept intentionally cool in an effort to keep everyone alert and help prevent the spread of germs. The occasional sigh of the air-conditioning ducts almost seems to match the labored, raspy breathing patterns of the patient on the table. The spot lights remain dimmed, casting small warm pools onto the polished floor and creating a sense of calm, clashing with the colder, more piercing lights of the monitors and instrument panels scattered around the room.

The entire place is odorless save for the sour medical whiff of the antibacterial hand foam everyone is encouraged to use. Objects in the room are bright, smooth and clean by design, in sharp contrast to the random rumpled sheets and looped oxygen lines attached to our patients. There is a quiet sense of serenity in this room, sure encouragement to those who must undergo examinations here. These are my observations as a student, shadowing the Nuclear Medicine Department.

I cooked that up in just a couple of minutes, but not too terrible I think? We'll see as the semester goes by. I'm excited to write, receive critiques, and polish my craft.

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