They Say/ I Say

At first glance of the Bloodchild essay prompt, I was unclear of how to relate Octavia Butler’s story to the main focus of my INTD class, which was risks and rewards of academic partnership. My first instinct was to go through the story and highlight all of the examples of academic partnership in the book. From there I did exactly what I did in high school- threw it all together on a page, read through it for grammatical errors and called it an essay.

Upon reviewing it with Professor McCoy, I let her know I was far past confused, and that I didn’t know how any of this connected. She told me I was lost because I was missing a key part of my assertion. With her clue, I realized I reverted to my high school essay writing tactics, and completely ignored the words of Graff and Birkenstein, and their “they say/I say” template. My entire essay was the “I say,” but the “they say” was unapparent.

I returned to revise my essay, now that I knew what needed to be changed. I added the Geneseo Code of Conduct and definition of consent as the ‘they say” component. I was able to “bounce the ball” off of this, to make my “I say” even stronger. This would not only strengthen my claims, but  would relate my claims to the points made by someone else, in this instance the Code of Conduct. When Professor McCoy reread my assertion again, she made it duly noted that with this new addition, I sounded like a completely different writer.

Graff and Birkenstein created a technique that when used, makes a strong essay format. Without using this technique, I would have an average essay, filled with only “I say” content, that would not answer the prompt correctly, and would not relate to any other claims. Including this template in my essay allowed me to connect my thoughts to others and also expand on my ideas, enhancing the quality of my writing almost immediately.   


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