The plagiarism checker that I submitted the second critical response to was effective. It reflected a 6% similarity index which was assumably ideal as Professor Mary has mentioned in class that it should never reflect a 0% if it actually works. The 6% similarity was from two sentences in my critical reading response. The first one was a sentence that was similarly arranged to one of the sources given for that particular critical response. In order to not have this be reflected as “plagiarism”, I should have rephrased and reworded my sentence a little more. The second one was a sentence that was similar to an article review on Lamott’s article on writing which was published on a website a few years back. I can safely and confidently say that I have never went on that website before and it just happened to be that we had a similar sentence opening. I believe the similarity index does reflect a person’s academic integrity and transparency in certain aspects as it could detect even the most commonly used sentence opening and phrases.
Making a Caramel Pudding: A Metaphor on Writing
The first thing that popped into my head when I had to think of a metaphor about writing as a process, is caramel pudding. A lot of the elements needed in writing is needed in making a caramel pudding.
The thing that is most similar about writing and making a caramel pudding to me, is that I like them both very much. I don’t do a lot of baking or cooking but I have tried making caramel pudding quite a few times.
Patience, practice and finding the right balance are the three elements that I find important, in both writing and making a caramel pudding.
The first time you try to make a caramel pudding, it can be a disaster in the kitchen. The hardest part in making it to me, is making the perfect caramel syrup. The first time I tried making it, I took almost two hours to make the caramel syrup, when usually it should take just about 15 minutes to get it done. It was a kitchen disaster and I used up almost a whole bad of sugar to make caramel syrup for just four servings of caramel pudding. I almost gave up during my third try. Like I mentioned before, patience is vital in making the caramel pudding.
A lot of patience is needed in writing. A lot of things can go wrong and we have to be patient enough to analyze what we did wrong in order to produce a better product the next time.
How the sugar would look like when we heat sugar with some water on a saucepan. This is the process that takes a lot of patience, as most of the time, the sugar would harden right away if we stir it too much or if the stove used is not hot enough to turn the sugar into caramel.
The first time I made a caramel pudding and serve it to my family during a dinner at my grandparents’ place, it looked horrendous.
The picture attached above is the closest depiction of how my caramel pudding looked like the first time I made it. Doesn’t look very edible or palatable, does it? But of course all of my family members tried tasting them and thanked me for my “different” looking caramel pudding anyway. Despite everyone being pleased with me that night, I still was not satisfied as what I made was far different from how I imagine a caramel pudding to look like. During my second try, not a lot of things changed. I still needed a few tries to make the right caramel sauce and not have it turn out to be as hard as a rock and as bitter as gall. The texture of my caramel pudding turned out to look better, with no visible holes as I have learned that pouring the mixture in without getting rid of the bubbles will form those holes. The third time I tried making caramel pudding, I took only one try to make the perfect caramel syrup. As I have mentioned before, it takes a lot of practice to make the perfect caramel pudding, just as it does with writing. The next few times I made caramel pudding, it looked a lot like the picture attached below.
Practice makes perfect, as the common saying goes. Sometimes we think we are skilled enough to produce a piece of writing that will turn our nice and perfect but truth is, most of the time we will need multiple revisions to get a perfect final product. Through peer reviewing, getting constructive criticism from the instructor and making corrections, a paper will we more refined in the end.
The looks of the pudding is not the only thing that matter, obviously. Like writing, finding the right balance is crucial. It is important to have the pudding with the right texture, it can’t be too lumpy and wobbly, but it also can’t be too stiff or hard. This is where we need to find balance in the ingredients that we use, whether we have to alter the amount of egg we’re using or if we need to add more milk to it. After a lot of practice, we’ll find our own balance that will taste right to not just ourselves, but also to the people we are serving the caramel pudding to.
It is vital to find your own balance, and this might be different from what other people would think of balance. The same way we follow recipes in making a caramel pudding, we will also use sources in writing a research paper. Sometimes things will still go wrong even if we follow exactly what a recipe suggests, and we move on to a different recipe and eventually come to our own version of the recipe.
In writing, we can’t depend on just one source, the more sources we use and explore, the better and stronger our arguments will be.
The more we practice writing, the more refined our writing skills will be.
“Malay? Never heard of that before.”
The combination of the six words mentioned above is one of the most common responses I have gotten throughout my time in UIUC whenever I needed to introduce myself in detail. Once in an IConnect Diversity and Inclusion workshop, I went on to introduce myself. In that introduction, I mentioned that I am from Malaysia and my race is Malay. Ironically, I heard one of the girls in the group ask the person next to her if she knows what “that” is and one of the workshop conductors responded by saying that he has never heard of “that” either. I overheard them while I was still introducing myself and I never took it personally but after reading some of the Race Card Project entries, I realize that the response I have gotten is not so rare. I personally understand and avoid as much as I can to think of a person who has never heard of the country where I came from as “ignorant”. However, what makes me furious now that I think about it is that fact that those people in the workshop referred to both my race and my country as “that”. I find that somewhat degrading in the sense that my race and country are not significant enough to be thought of as two separate elements just because they sound similar. However, after getting similar responses after being in UIUC/ America for seven months, I can say that I am no longer shocked to meet people who’d say “Malay? Never heard of that before.” anymore.
In response to the three articles included as this week’s sources, I very much agree with the Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person article. I personally feel that this article gave a more rounded and critically thought of opinion as compared to the Unpacking the Invisible Backpack article. The Invisible Backpack article successfully articulated on the matter in a very formal and rigid way. As much as the author tried to reiterate that privileges obtained from race, class, nationality etc. are intertwined and closely related, I feel like the fact that race is not the only element causing privilege to some is not stressed enough. However, in the Broke White Person article, the author included personal experience and the realization that both the privilege and disadvantage that she has experienced throughout her life is made up of everything that she readily is, from the economic class she was born in to the color of her skin.
At the same time, the Invisible Backpack article included thorough detail in regards to analysis of what could possibly be part of white privilege. Racial/ skin color privilege may be extremely hard to identify as they are not widely discussed and usually considered a controversial topic. The acknowledgment of implicit privileges is as important as it is to avoid using those privileges to demean or neglect less privileged people.
In regards to the the school tradition of celebrating “Unofficial”, I have chosen to go away from campus during the weekend of the event. I’ll be visiting some friends in Purdue and luckily for me, it coincides with the Unofficial weekend. I have nothing against the celebration for as long as no one is hurt through out the process. Besides that, such event is very not relatable to me as in my religion, it is totally prohibited for us to consume alcoholic drinks in any form and in any alcohol content.
In response to the Rethink The Drink post, I believe that although this event is not relatable to me, I must be aware of the ways the event will affect the people around me who will be joining the event. I live in the dorm, so I am aware that some people might be “joining the party” early and start drinking the night before. As suggested in the article, it is important to recognize the symptoms of alcohol poisoning or if someone is dangerously intoxicated. Some of the suggestions in the article is to realize that a person may be intoxicated if he or she is constantly vomiting, looks confused, has irregular breathing and some other symptoms. The nest step to take is to get help from the professionals as quick as possible to prevent further complications. A necessary step to take is to call 911 and stay with the intoxicated person until he/ she is assisted by a medical personnel. The post also gave suggestions on what to do if we plan to drink but I believe this won’t be applicable for me.
In response to the Drinking Culture article, some instances were given on the consequences of drinking. The article heavily circulated around sexual assault caused by drunk individuals. The first example given was that a girl was “sexually assaulted” by a drunk freshman athlete who she met at a party. In the state where they were both drunk, no consent can possibly be given thus causing whatever actions the athlete took on the girl to be of no consent. The athlete mentioned that the girl was extremely flirtatious but the fact that she was almost unconscious gave him no permission to even touch the girl.
From a different perspective, the Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day: The Official Story gave what seems closest to an analysis of impacts of the Unofficial celebration. Impacts include vandalism on university bathrooms, vomit on sidewalks, sober students skipping classes to avoid drunken peers, increase in the need for police services etc. Clearly, the celebration itself brings more negative consequences than good ones.
In the snippet of an interview with Phillip Gerard, he mentioned that he believes in writing what we really want to find out about. I agree with his opinion as it is almost pointless to write only about things that we are familiar with and topics that we have great knowledge on. The topic that I am interested in writing about is regarding the health and wellbeing of sweatshops and poorly regulated factories workers. I am interested to research and find out more about this issue because human rights issues and problems that are currently circulating around the globe appeals to as it seems to be an unresolved issue after so many years. My research question is; how have sweatshops and poorly operated factories affect the wellbeing of the workers? I believe this research question is complex, compelling and debatable. Besides that, I also believe that this is a question that can be answered. A few answers may already cross your head but with research, more reliable and legitimate arguments can be presented with evidences and instances to back up those arguments.
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