Challenge Journal 3: An Opportunity I Wish I Had

I took English 125 during my first semester here and loved it. I had a brilliant and engaging professor and the small class discussions were refreshing compared to my large weed out science courses. Beyond that, I really enjoyed writing the essays.

The one that stands out to me in particular was the redefinition essay. The assignment was fairly simple in that we just had to pick a word and change something about the definition or argue for it to be defined in a whole new way.

Being a very indecisive person, it took me a while to settle on my word. Ultimately, I surprised myself by choosing to write about the word Love.

I say it was a surprise for two reasons:

  1. I’m not a very emotional or “lovey dovey” person, so it was a bit out of character to focus my essay on these emotions.
  2. It was a boring word. When the assignment was introduced I promised myself I would choose a really unique and interesting word, but instead I chose the most classic word to discuss.

But I chose it because I was annoyed by how often “extreme” emotions like this are misused and overused by people my age, and I found that I had a lot to say about it.

Most of my argument was centered around the idea that we tend to use love when we really shouldn’t, and not use it when we really should:

How often do we lose our patience with the ones we love, whether it’s our boyfriend or girlfriend or our family, but give strangers all the respect and kindness we can muster up?

This is something that has always really bothered me, and something that I am often guilty of:

We have over-romanticized the idea of love without actually following through with it. Our actions don’t reflect our words. The quote on my mom’s wall claims that: “Love is patient, love is kind, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails.” There are thousands of quotes like these epitomizing what love should be, and an uncountable amount of words describing what it is to love. But to describe how you treat your family who you love, would you say you’re always patient, kind, and trusting? Rarely does that prove true. What we claim love is often doesn’t match up to how we treat people.

The redefinition aspect of the essay wasn’t as important to me as the idea that our society uses words wrong. We don’t say what we mean and we don’t think about what our words should mean.

I couldn’t really focus on this throughout the essay because it didn’t fit the assignment, but I think I would have had a lot to say and explore if I could have worked on this for longer.

I would have talked about other words as well, not just love, and learned more about why there is a disconnect between our intensions and what actually takes place.

This struggle to constrict what I want to talk about to the perimeter of an assignment’s rules is something we don’t have in the Capstone course. While this was frustrating at the beginning since it was difficult to decide what I wanted to do, it has become really nice to be able to guide the project in whichever way best suits my arguments and thoughts. The conversation I started on love and other human emotions could have been interesting to explore in a similar manner- no rules, no requirements, just deciding what matters for me to say.

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