Zoe is currently a junior at URI as a double major in Writing & Rhetoric and Spanish.
I had the advantage of being exposed to college writing during my senior year of high school. I had no idea what to expect, really. I just hoped I’d kind of be okay at it. This was the first time I was really allowed to drift away from the 5-paragraph book report that high school drilled into me and forge ahead into more professional writing. It was enlightening.
I read academic works about what people do and why they do those things. I learned how the art of persuasion permeates everything we know–all areas of life. I felt like I was unlocking some secret knowledge of how the world works. Things I knew about only subconsciously were at the forefront of my mind. I became aware of why I think the things I do, aware of multiple ideologies. I learned that people out in the world could observe and notice things that I never had seen before, even though it was all right in front of me in books/movies/TV and verbal and nonverbal conversations and grocery stores and architecture and advocacy and the structure of language itself. And as I learned about all of that, I began to write it down. I realized I could contribute to that collective knowledge.
Through rhetoric, I feel that I have more than just a better understanding of the world I live in; I have several understandings. I can access multiple ways of knowing the world, pick them apart, and even add to them. It’s exhilarating, feeling like you are capable not only of making observations about why people believe, say, think, and do the things that make them who they are–but also being able to synthesize your ideas with those of people who are learning the same things you are. The WRT major exposes me to all these sources of ideas and encourages me to be critical of any worldview I’m presented with.
And this kind of education helps me figure myself out, too. Life isn’t clear cut, and I feel equipped to navigate it by looking at it through all these different lenses. Knowing how to think about life, being aware of how intricate and complex it is, and being able to add your own ideas and experience not only teaches you a lot about the world, but about the impact you can have in it as well.
All of that said, I think one of my favorite things about the major is the other students I meet. The WRT major is so versatile, and that translates into my my classmates’ diversity of interests. Though we all have taken this major for different reasons, one thing I think we all have in common is a sense of curiosity. I’m inspired every day to ask more and better questions because my classmates are often so genuinely inquisitive and enthusiastic. Simply being part of the community has made me a better learner.
Meredith Shubel is currently a junior at URI on a triple degree path of Writing and Rhetoric, Communication Studies, and French.
Meredith has worked in the Writing Center on campus and is currently employed at the Writing and Rhetoric Production Lab (PLab). This summer, she landed an internship at Innovex, a digital marketing company that also delivers in IT solutions. Here, Meredith has the title of content writer – she provides copy for website, edits and proofreads, contributes to digital marketing email campaigns, and writes blog posts.
Her three degrees provide Meredith with vast opportunities once she graduates in May of 2018. She hopes to go into technical writing, and specifically, for the military. Her French degree would also give her the experience to be a technical translator. In her free time, Meredith enjoys biking and playing piano. Her extensive array of skills will surely establish her success in the future.
My name is Zomely Grullon, or Zo for short. I’m a double major in Psychology and Writing and Rhetoric, graduating a semester early in December 2015, and am currently applying to Grad Schools to study Clinical Psychology. When I first arrived at URI, I was completely unsure of what career I wanted to pursue- all I knew was that I wanted to write and work with people. In my quest to find my calling, I stumbled upon the Writing and Rhetoric department during my freshman year. Although I knew little about rhetoric, the program sounded appealing; I had always felt I was destined to be a writer. Through these classes I learned about the power of discourse and rhetorical situations, and realized that what I really wanted was to understand people- their thoughts, behaviors and emotions, as well as my own. It was then that I discovered my second passion, psychology.
Psychology is the understanding of communication, thoughts and behaviors, while rhetoric is the assessment of situations to find what form of communication works best. Writing itself is a cognitive process- everything we do carries meaning and has an effect. Discourse is an act- it carries weight and evokes a reaction. Understanding the relationship between writing and psychology has helped me advance in both fields. Over the past two years I have interned throughout the Northeast in a social services office, as an in therapy sessions translator between the patient and the psychologist, and as a behavior specialist. Working in the field of psychology, it’s crucial to know how to address people in a way that is non-threatening but still effective, and even more important to understand them. By incorporating everything I’ve learned from W&R, I’m able to understand patients more, analyze and record data, and even better understand myself. All of the courses I’ve taken have helped me find my calling.