The most challenging revision of my essay was deciding that the best route was to argue the opposite point. Based on my previous personal beliefs, I may have been biased in my initial research, and I quickly found I had run out of plausible ideas to argue against positive thinking. Much of the research against positive thinking revolved around the definition of positive thinking, and at the end of the day, there is no official definition because everybody thinks positively in a different way. When I reassessed my original thesis after the draft, I used the Argumentative Logic Checklist from Chapter 4 to help me solidify my exact argument. This helped me reevaluate what specifically I wanted to encourage with positive thinking, and also what points were worthy counterarguments. My final thesis ended up encouraging positive psychology but only as an additive to treatment and not as the sole treatment for cancer patients. One challenge I had when revising my thesis was attempting to avoid an ethical perspective, as some psychologists believe it is unethical to encourage positive thinking for terminally ill patients. To address this issue, I specifically noted the psychologist who believes this, and also mentioned two positive psychology figureheads: Dr. Seligman and Louise Hay. I wanted to discuss these two people in particular because Dr. Seligman represents the scientific community, and Hay represents a societal perspective of positive psychology. With this comparison, I believed it would be easier for the layperson to relate to my argument with significant figures’ perspectives. Another challenge was in strengthening my arguments and counterarguments. Because I changed my perspective of the essay, many of my original main points because counterarguments that further proved my point. Using my sources like Figure 4.6 uses sources in Chapter 4, I was able to successfully use my research to argue and refute my main points. During the revision process, I struggled with clarification; mainly, I needed to return to the original experiments and clarify how the conclusions were made from them. This process overall strengthened my position because I could use the quantitative data to make my own conclusions as well as support the experiments’ conclusions. In the later stages of revision, I needed to adjust the structure of my essay to help establish my arguments in the best order. This helped my sources tell a story, as described in Chapter 4. I felt my first draft helped me put my points into more specific terms, but when I changed my perspective and reviewed my draft, a better story was told changing the structure. More specifically, I made the role of optimism the first section rather than the second. Originally, this was the second section because I wanted to establish the origins of positive psychology. However, in hindsight, the role of optimism in cancer helped establish the story of a cancer patient’s journey in discovering positive psychology.
Major revisions infographic:
My infographic proved a challenge because I had to condense my huge paper into few words and images. I had previous work in an internship with creating similar infographics to market the company, and I enjoyed this assignment the most. Because of my previous experience, much of the assigned reading did not help me so much with the data itself, but rather helped me establish the best flow and organization of ideas. During the last class work session, I had a peer review my infographic and help me better organize the flow. Ultimately, the issue was simply clarifying the thesis and reworking my graphics to be more relevant to the overall idea. I used the main sections of my essay as a basis for the main section of the infographic. I also did not use Google Drawings, as encouraged, but rather used Canva because I was most familiar with it. While Canva has a small learning curve, I enjoy the free graphics and the templates it provided to create an organized, clean infographic.
The biggest challenge I faced with this assignment, understandably, was the choice to reverse my thesis and encourage positive thinking rather than discourage. I worked with Dr. Marx to help me reorganize my essay. Ultimately the challenge was more toward reorganization than new research, as I had plenty of research from my synthesis matrix to still construct the essay. If I had to do this course again, I would have chosen a different topic. In the past, I have always focused essays like this on psychology, and I wish I had chosen a different field to explore. I felt that my previous biases influenced my choice to argue a certain way initially that proved to only create more work for myself in the long run. I also believe that while I attempted to create a logical argument, positive psychology is too complex a topic to truly cover within the word count. I did not think I improved significantly as a writer. I rather found that the process this course encouraged hindered my usual writing process of organizing ideas. Specifically, the synthesis matrix was challenging because I would only include information related to specific points when we were not supposed to have a stance taken yet. In the past, I would research and take in all important information, and then use the research to organize my points. Perhaps I was simply not used to researching this way, or perhaps this was just not helpful for me. I did enjoy the Research 101 session with the librarian at the Cabell Library. I had not known of all the wonderful resources previously, and it was a huge help especially when I had to do extra research or return to previous research for more information. As a critical thinker, I believe I improved my skills. I had never approached an argument with fallacies in mind, and while I found some of the philosophy challenging and confusing, it overall helped me view a counterargument from different perspectives. I was grateful we spent a week discussing solely the arguments and returned to the conversation during the revision process to implement those skills we had learned. To future students, I would urge them to always work ahead and not necessarily wait until the work sessions. I would also encourage students to put in 100% effort into each assignment given because they are all related to the final paper and will help immensely if each step is done to the best ability.