At City College of New York, I took the FIQWS class which was the introduction to architecture and the architecture of city college. The class had two parts, a writing part where we improved our writing and an architecture part where we viewed different college buildings to understand their architecture. In both parts, I learned a lot. For example, I have done several great readings in the writing class and they were about architecture and those readings taught me several things. For example, I learned that it is good to interact with people you see from different backgrounds and cultures. In other words, we don’t just see the architecture in buildings, there is also architecture in people and we should understand others to improve our lives and benefit them too. However, I was never an interested reader in something, I had the problem of losing attention while reading. So, I used to read things over and over again. In this class, I became an interested reader. I learned that I can have creative expression. I had opinions on the things I read in the class. This was different from before because I thought that school shapes us but here, I had the authority to be what I am and understand the readings in my own way. The readings became interesting when the conveyed similar ideas to the reading from other authors we have read in this class. It also gave me a better understanding of the text because I have absorbed similar information before and now it is an added layer to the similar concept. Such as Jacobs writing on “The uses of sidewalks: assimilating children” and the short film “The Land” convey similar ideas that kids are better off when they take decisions on their own and face dangers I also learned how to cite different sources and provide enough evidence in my writings to prove my claims. The CCNY library database has tons of research sources to help us write. It was a writing class but we did several readings which leads to the fact that we can’t just become great writers by writing but by reading because when we read the work of others, we understand how the writer wrote it, the kind of language they used, the message they convey, and their primary audience etc. This analysis technique is called rhetorical analysis which I also learned in this class. The readings that strongly stood out to me were the “Sidewalks: Contacts” by Jane Jacobs, “A cripple in a Crippled city”, and “Light up Gallaudet”. Jacobs’ writing showed me that we, the humans, are not different species when it comes to diversity. We can learn from each other and several great things can happen. We can meet strangers on the sidewalks and with several contacts, we can understand who they are and then trust can form. Moreover, “A cripple in a Crippled city” taught me that we need to take care of those who need us, we need to help them. Imagine if someone is disabled on a wheelchair and they live in an apartment building with no elevator. It is a very scary feeling because it is discrimination against them who can’t use the stairs. A city and its people should be caretakers for the people who live in the city.
Also, “Constructing a sentence is like taking a Polaroid snapshot. Pressing the button and watching something emerge. To write one is to document and to develop at the same time.” (Lahiri) This was a major thing I felt in the class. I used to write paragraphs and tried to answer prompts completely but when I wrote them, I documented sentences and developed them and developed new ideas and developed understandings about myself and new writing skills I was learning. In my poem “Where I am from?”, I wrote “I am from the world of rich and poor, I am from I am from the world of those who live and those who are dead”. I documented that the world contains all kind of people and we need to help others but I developed my poetic language and conveyed that the rich live a good life and the poor don’t. There are those sleep in comfort beds and those who sleep on concrete. Language is a “political instrument, means, and proof of power”. (Baldwin) As I described before, I have done several readings and writings in this class. Language of course is very powerful. It can connect thousands of people and it can separate thousands of people. As for me, language connected me to many people in NYC and it separated me from many people in NYC. This world contains so many selfish people and it has the other ones, the ones who live a great life by helping others. An example was “A Cripple in the Cripple City” because it connected me to those who want to help others and separated me from those who think that we need to focus on ourselves and everything else is going well. It showed me that things are not as we always think they are, they can be much different. I have thought that NYC cares for everyone and disabled ones are living a normal life in NYC but this changed my viewpoint. The author referred “Cripple” to himself and this language showed me how badly he was hurt because he was not living a life like the able-bodied people are living. It showed me that I need to help someone seeking help. Now, when I write, language makes me think about different aspects of something because when multiple readers will read my writing, then I should be aware of their different perspectives and I have to keep them all in mind and at the same time develop my own perspective.