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The Plunge PowerPoint Presentation

The Plunge

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The Plunge

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  1. The Plunge Jenny Rossbach Professor George Hlavaty College Writing Showcase April 27, 2009 About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned My project: “The Plunge”

  2. About my project and me • I am a Business Administration major from Avon, Connecticut • My project is called “The Plunge” • The assignment was to write a memoir with a clear purpose and audience • The purpose/insight had to be relatable to the audience • I wrote about jumping off a cliff next to the Pont du Gard in France • My audience was people who are afraid to step out of their comfort zones • My insight was that I stepped out of my comfort zone by jumping off a cliff and now I apply that to my everyday life and take risks and reap benefits that I wouldn’t have before My friend Julia and I next to the Pont du Gard in France, Summer ‘06 ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned My project: “The Plunge” Home

  3. English 110 objective: relationship of purpose, audience, and voice • My project taught me about the relationship between purpose, audience and voice. For me, writing projects in high school typically concentrated on appeasing AP Test reviewers and analyzing works of literature. This was the first writing assignment I had received in a long time that concentrated on developing my voice and targeting my audience with a specific purpose. It was liberating to be able to write about an experience from my life and assign a message to it. While I was writing my personal essay I tried to keep in mind the connections between purpose, audience and voice. Usually I consider my teacher the audience of my writing, but when I started writing for people afraid to step out of their comfort zones it made my message a lot clearer. The type of the assignment allowed me to really bring my voice forward. That was really easy because it was a piece about how I felt when I was jumping off the cliff next to the Pont du Gard. However, I realized that my writing needed to be more structured than if I had been orally telling the story. The entire project made me realize that I have to write differently depending on the assignment and the expectations that come with it. About me and my project My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned My project: “The Plunge” Home

  4. My writing process I wrote my first draft and had my peers edit it using criteria set out by the professor. After the peer review I wrote another draft using their comments and suggestion. During this stage I took out anything in my paper that did not relate to my insight. I also made sure that I was writing for my specific audience. To revise my second draft I used the grading rubric and questions prepared by Professor Hlavaty to ask myself if I had all necessary components in my paper. I also had my professor look at my paper and tell me what to fix. After his feedback I took out several sections of my paper that did not help me relate my insight to my audience. After I made all my revisions I edited my project for grammar mistakes and readability. About me and my project ENG 110 objective Challenges in writing process What I learned My project: “The Plunge” Home

  5. Challenges I faced during the writing process I struggled with making my paper succinct and making sure that everything I included in my essay had a specific purpose. In my first draft I spent almost two out of six pages describing the setting and interactions with people that did not connect to jumping off the cliff. In later drafts I had to focus on engaging the reader with the first paragraph by letting them know exactly about which experience I was writing. For example, the first sentence of my final draft had been the last sentence of my first draft. During the entire writing process I had to make sure what I was writing related to the assignment and that I was not going off on unrelated tangents. About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process What I learned My project: “The Plunge” Home

  6. What this project taught me about my subject and about writing Before I wrote my personal essay, I thought that jumping off the cliff next to the Pont du Gard was just some crazy thing I had done while I was in France. When we were brainstorming possible topics for this assignment this experience popped into my mind. I never thought when I made “the plunge” that I could use it to teach other people a lesson and share my insight from the event. It made me realize that I could write powerful pieces using my own experiences that would be able to influence other people. Like I said, in high school writing was more about other people and their works of writing, and less on messages from my personal experiences. This project made me realize that personal essays are just as powerful as analytical essays, and more enjoyable to write for me. About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process My project: “The Plunge” Home

  7. My project: “The Plunge” I’ll never forget the day I made the plunge with the Pont du Gard watching. It was the third country and fourteenth day of the twenty one day People to People (P2P) program to Spain, Italy and France. As soon as I stepped off the coach bus with the rest of my delegation, the sight of the aqueduct against the river took my breath away. I spotted a cliff on the bank of the river adjacent to me. At the time it seemed like only a part of the beautiful French scenery, but it was soon going to impact my outlook on life. I lead our group of thirty five students and four haggard adult leaders down the path towards the Pont du Gard. As I walked towards it, I was awed and humbled to witness the aqueduct silently fulfilling its duty of bridging the gap from one bank of the river to the other. It looked so natural against the trees on either side of the river and the bright blue sky. I absentmindedly grasped for my camera out of my backpack as I gazed at the massive structure and prepared to go out on it. My best friend Julia begged me to walk faster to beat the crowds, since another tour bus had just arrived. The four adult leaders of our group, sensing the urgency in our group’s footsteps and realizing they were soon going to be left in the dust shouted unheeded instructions, “Stay with a partner! Meet at the ice cream shop on the other side of the aqueduct in thirty minutes! Don’t lean over the edge too far!” Their voices trailed off in the distance as Julia started physically pushing me forward to make me walk faster. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  8. My project: “The Plunge” continued We performed our tourist tasks by taking a few pictures of ourselves and others on the Pont du Gard with the river calmly flowing in the background. I leaned forward against the railing while Julia took pictures of people around us and looked down into the rippling water far below. An uneasy feeling overcame me and I realized the height of the structure was the source of my discomfort. I turned my back to the edge and gazed off the other side of the aqueduct, where I could see parts of the cliff peeking through the thick crowd of tourists. • After the group met at the ice cream shop, we migrated down to the shore by the river. Immediately the group split itself into two smaller factions, and half laid down their towels in the sand to sunbathe, while the others congregated in the water. I started to lay down my towel with Julia, but something falling in the distance caught my eye. The object was falling off the forty-foot rocky cliff that was on the opposite shore, right next to the Pont du Gard. The object made a large splash in the river, and as it came up it yelled in elation. Wait… the object was a person, and he was Alden, a boy from my P2P delegation. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  9. My project: “The Plunge” continued • I turned to Julia to ask if she had just witnessed what I had. She had, but refused my proposal to join them. I would have liked a partner in the short swim across the lake, but her decision not to do it wasn’t going to prevent me in partaking in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The water was the perfect temperature, not freezing but cool enough to wash off the sweat accumulating on my body from the heat of the afternoon. After the swim I dragged my tired body onto the rocky edge of the cliff. Climbing the rocks up to the top in a bikini was a challenge, but I managed, and soon made it to my destination. About a dozen people were up there already, a mixture of French people and Americans from my delegation. I crept cautiously over to the edge and peered over. Once towering over the river, my heartbeat told me that looking up at the cliff from the river and looking down into the water from the top were frighteningly different situations. My palms began to sweat in response to the apparent danger of the situation in which I found myself. I momentarily panicked and doubted my eagerness to engage in such an absurdly risky activity and I began climbing back down the cliff. Several people noticed my unease and encouraged me to try it at least once. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  10. My project: “The Plunge” continued • “It’s easy, you can’t get hurt!” shouted Alden as he ran 10 feet, leaped into the air and landed in the water far below with a splash. I cautiously crept to the edge of the cliff and peered down. My palms sweated more profusely at the sight of Alden’s head distantly bobbing in the river. From the height at which I stood, I couldn’t tell the difference between his head and a leaf floating on the surface. The sun heated the rocky surface that massaged my feet with every step I took away from the edge. I stood in the background as people flew past me on all sides, running as fast as they could to get more height from their leap off the cliff. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  11. My project: “The Plunge” continued After several more minutes, which seemed like an eternity, I gathered enough courage to once again approach the edge. Despite the sweat now dripping off my palms, and not entirely because of the warmth of the day, I backed up a few feet and then ran three steps forward. One…two…three! My hair flew up around my face and my limbs weightlessly surrounded me. I started to think about how crazy it was that I was free falling next to the Pont du Gard. Then I started to think about how crazy it was that I was in the air long enough to have long thoughts running through my head—slam! As soon as I hit the water, I knew that doing a seat drop was not a smart idea. I momentarily panicked because I had not expected to go as far under water as I did. As I was still under the cool water I could feel the backs of my thighs stinging from the impact. After struggling under the water to reach the surface and air, I swam back towards the cliff. Before climbing back up to the top, I twisted to look at the backs of my legs. They were bright red, but to my surprise that didn’t stop me from wanting to jump a second time. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  12. My project: “The Plunge” continued The second time I jumped I only panicked for a minute or so before jumping off and free falling forty feet. I remembered to keep my legs straight down this time to avoid the painful seat drop from the first landing. My fatigued body struggled as I began to swim out of the middle of the river back to the cliff’s edge. Suddenly someone landed about three feet to the left of me. “That was so much fun!” Julia screamed at me as soon as she surfaced. • “Julia! You almost landed on me! But you did it! Let’s jump together!” I found the energy within me to swim back to the cliff and once again climb to its peak. This was an awesome experience on my own, but the idea of sharing it with my best friend of four years renewed my strength. Julia and I ran and jumped off at the same time while French locals looked on, obviously impressed with our feigned bravery. When we were back in the water we realized that our delegation was starting to swim back towards the shore with the sunbathers and ice cream shop. Not wanting to be late again, we decided to swim back to meet our delegation. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  13. My project: “The Plunge” continued • Back on the coach bus the sopping wet people congregated in the back to share stories of the cliff jumping. Someone mentioned how scared I had been before my first jump. “Well can you blame her? Did you see all the French police on the top telling people how dangerous it was?” I turned towards the speaker, whom to my surprise was Alden, who had told me I couldn’t get hurt doing it. I opened my mouth to yell at him but stopped myself. If I had seen the police I wouldn’t have jumped and I wouldn’t have felt the immense pride swelling inside of me. I also would have been sullenly sitting in the front of the bus with the rest of the dry, slightly sunburned sunbathers who hadn’t jumped. On this particular bus ride the seating arrangement had more meaning than just determining who got the bumpiest ride. True, the people sitting in the fronts avoided all danger but at the same time they avoided any pride and strength they would have gained from the experience. I didn’t let the obvious risk or the anxiety I felt when I looked into the water from the height of the aqueduct deter me from making the plunge. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  14. My project: “The Plunge” continued • The next day I woke up in the hotel room with bruises covering the entire backs of my thighs because of the poorly judged seat drop of my first leap, but I was still overjoyed that I conquered my initial fear. When I made the leap off the cliff, I pushed away any uncertainty, regrets, fears, and even thoughts of how dangerous it potentially was. The physical and emotional strain through which I had put my body wore me out but I didn’t regret it. Although hearing Alden talk about the danger of the jump had spooked me on the bus ride to the hotel, I realized that the only way to completely eliminate the chance to get hurt is to do nothing exciting or daring ever. The largest possibility of danger that the sunbathers faced was getting some rosy cheeks. In return for their caution, they sat in silence in the front of the bus on the way to the hotel while the rest of us laughed and shared stories in the back. I went way out of my comfort zone, and yes, there was a possibility I could have hurt myself, but I wouldn’t have reaped the benefits of gaining self confidence and pride. Continued on next slide About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home

  15. My project: “The Plunge” continued • Since that day I have faced all challenges in my life the way that I approached the cliff. I even use what I learned there to inspire others to step out of their comfort zones, like how Julia jumped off the cliff after seeing me do it. That cliff jumping experience became one of my most memorable moments from that P2P trip. It’s not every day that I get a chance to challenge myself in an activity as simple as jumping off of a cliff. The Pont du Gard is one of the most majestic manmade creations I’ve ever visited and has been a silent witness to many human feats. It chills me to think that I had an eye-opening experience right next to such a landmark. About me and my project ENG 110 objective My writing process Challenges in writing process What I learned Home