Writing in the Social Sciences
Dear Ms von Uhl,
My name is Gabriel Gjyla. This is my second semester at CCNY and I feel like I have been opened up to a brand new world. The transition from high school to college hasn’t been an easy one, especially with having to learn the important life skill of time management. Honestly, I feel like I have cruised through high school, worked hard to get high grades and become the salutatorian. As I entered my senior year, I got into sports and joined my soccer team, focusing most of my after school activities on team practices and games. Senior year was definitely the year were I made the largest impression on my school, but I think I could have done much more. In terms of time management, I was a wreck in high school, due to late night conversations with my friends. I often woke up late and came to class in the second period. I thought that since it was my final semester, it wasn’t that important to have to turn in on time. That is one of my biggest regrets from my high school career, and the class that I ended up going late to everyday was creative writing, which brings me to this current class I’m taking.
I have always been interested in writing because it allowed me to put my thoughts onto paper in a way that I can’t do on the iPhone. Using my imagination to think of literally anything is what I am interested in, so it makes sense that free-writing has always been a favorite free-time activity for me to do at home (don’t tell my friends that because they will think it’s lame). An important fact is that I never have liked math, which is why, I believe, I have chosen writing and literature as topics of interest. Throughout this semester, I hope to enhance my writing skills as well as learn many different new ideas and concepts to use in my writing, whether it being for an assignment or just a quick free-writing session at home. To evolve as a writer, I aim to use my personal experiences to translate what is going on in my community, culture, and society that have influenced human behavior and how others change their mind on certain topics.
I was born in the country of Albania, which is located on the south-eastern part of Europe. I arrived to America with my family when I was six years old, first to Connecticut and then the Bronx. Ever since, I have been living in the Bronx, which is where I spent my teenage years. A neighborhood is important for any individual, helping to grow and decide which groups of people they will interact with as they grow older. My neighborhood in Pelham Parkway is filled with Albanians, so much that it is unofficially deemed “Little Albania.” I have kept my Albanian culture an integral part of my life, celebrating it whenever the occasions arise and always quick to tell non-Albanians about the culture with much enthusiasm. However, the high school that I attended, Herbert H. Lehman High School, was filled with people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, with the most common being Hispanic and African American. When I first arrived at that high school, my friend Alex and I felt like we were out of place in the beginning.
To other people, being different from others around them is a scary thing. Nonetheless, I decided to take advantage of it. I have always been a social person, especially when introducing myself and my culture. As I learned more about the different Hispanic cultures that my new classmates were from, I realized how little I knew about the Hispanic community around me. The main Hispanic countries that my classmates came from were Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. I was introduced to new foods that were passed around during our school’s annual Thanksgiving potluck party, learning to love maduros, pernil, and arroz con leche. My classmates even told me about an ongoing feud that the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans have with each other, bragging about which culture is better and who makes better Hispanic food. Overall, I feel like my experience in high school that led me to explore different cultures has made me a wiser person and better writer, the latter helping me to use different cultures in my writing to try to connect with my audience.
As a social scientist, I focus on the issues of immigration, pop culture, family structure, human innovation/achievements, and the impact of sports on my writing. These topics interest me the most because they are what I care about and tend to focus on. In this course, I am open to writing about anything I get assigned to, especially with the free-writing sessions. The things that excite me the most are the things that makes me the most nervous, the topics that are controversial. I am talking about the topics that no one wants to talk about such as the Blue Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter movements, the faltered American legal system, the future of artificial intelligence and its impact on the American workforce.
During this course, I aim to successfully be able to cross out the course learning objectives as stated in the syllabus, hoping that I have completed them to the best of my ability. I want to incorporate different writing styles in my work, not just the styles I normally use. Something that I will keep in mind is my audience, knowing who I will be writing to and what kind of language to use when addressing the people. Teamwork is a very important part of any group project, and that is when I feel like I can shine. As stated, I can be a very social person when I want to, and I really enjoy the group work in the class, whether it being small talk with another person or a bigger project with more people to interact with. If the topic of the project was based on culture, then you can bet I will work the hardest I possibly can to tell you about my Albanian culture! Furthermore, reviewing another person’s work is instrumental in being able to give and receive feedback, which is why peer reviewed work is so helpful. In this course, I believe we are all social scientists, and scientists have to be open to criticism as to why they believe certain things are the way that they are, which is why I always look forward to peer review. It is a way for me to solidify my work with the help of other students, gaining valuable insight as a positive outcome.
As you can see my experience as a social scientist is brief, being that I have just recently graduated high school and have entered a whole different level of work expected in college. However, my love for free writing is evident in my life and I will use what I have learned to further my progress in different writing styles. My experience with my Albanian culture and the various cultures I have been exposed to since I came to America have helped me to understand the world from another viewpoint, which helped to express different topics while keeping in mind not to negatively disrupt anyone’s culture. I will look back at the end of this semester and see how I have evolved and progressed as a writer and social scientist, focusing on the things I’ve struggled with and how I handled the hard situations in life. The experiences as a writer in this course will always be with me, just as important as basic skills needed to survive in today’s world.
- Sincerely, Gabriel Gjyla