Michael Woods English 1103 Malcolm Campbell 12/4/12
Dear Malcolm: This past semester has been a time a growth as a writer, and as a person. Such growth beckons me to reflect upon the experiences and assignments that have made me into the person that I am. The most important piece of writing that has helped me this year were the day book entries. At the beginning of the year when they were assigned, one word was screaming inside of my head: busy work. As I began to work through some of my entries I noticed the diction of my voice. This does not sound like a lot, but I finally got to see how my words and thoughts came across to another people. I noticed that I was more blunt about things that I originally thought. Through those writings I have become more cautious about the way that I speak to people. When reading through those entries, it almost sounded as though I was talking down to others. I was taught when I was little to respect one another and seeing that I was not doing that through my thoughts and writings was very eye opening. Now that the veil is lifted, I am trying my best to talk to others as though they are more significant than myself. Another reason why the daybook entries were so helpful because I can now look back through them and see what I liked and what works best for my writing. It helped me better identify the style of writing that I was good at, and the styles that I needed to work on. One of the things I am good at is being a questioner. I love to ask questions about things humans may have never even thought about before. That makes you wonder, was I the first human to every wonder why you drive in a parkway, but park in a driveway? That is just a simple example but my
curiosity has stunted this year to really challenge myself and the world why things the way they are. One of the things that I noticed that I am not good at is analyzing a passage or video that I have just watched. For some reason there is something that is hindering my brain from talking to my hands. What I mean by that is, I am able to get a series of thoughts together in my head, but I am unable to put those thoughts onto a document in which it makes sense and moves progressively. The biggest eye opener for my was the Peer Review that Ross had given back to me. A point that he intentionally drove home was that I have good material, but at times where my paper can really begin to take off, I take a couple steps back. At first I agreed but didn't really dig deeper into it. As I began to read back through my work over the semester, (EIP, topic proposal, annotated bibliography, daybook entries) it became more of a real concept that needed to be fixed. At the beginning of the year going into the class, my biggest weakness was writing in general. In high school I would do everything in my power to make at least a "C" on any papers that I had to write. I hated writing. I didn't hate writing because it took up a lot of time and effort. I hated writing because I wasn't any good at it. When I was told that 1103 was going to be a lot of writing, I was nervous from the start. Then I remembered, writing is just like playing sports, you have to practice at it to get better. This is one of the reasons why I praise the daybook entries so much, because it's practice. THESE THINGS HELP! I look back at high school and wish that we were required to do entries because I'm curious of how good my work would have gotten if I would have started early. My strengths at the beginning of the year in writing were just getting the assignments done. Plain and simple. Writing was just one of those things in school that I was forced to go through. Writing really lost its relevance when I looked at it in the perspective of how much my future job would require. I have came to the conclusion that writing is not busy work, it is a way
to express yourself, to effectively communicate with others, and it is a way to learn from others' work. So my strength has now shifted from getting the busy work out of the way to doing something that is beneficial in making a more effective communicator. Inquiry Process: I actually did enjoy this assignment because I had to sit down and really think about what I cared about. Not only cared about though, but also cared about it so much that I would like to perform research on it. I had so many options to choose from that I started to become unsure of myself. On the flip side, this was also challenging because I had to choose what I wanted to write about. Usually teachers give the students a prompt to write about in English. Unlike other classes, we got to choose something we in interested in which I did not like one bit. I liked when teachers give out an assignment that is black and white more than when a teacher gives out literally thousands of options to explore. I would not make any changes to the way I went about narrowing down my topics as to what I wanted to write about. I chose things that I was legitimately interested in and I stand by that. Topic Proposal: I am indifferent on whether or not that I enjoyed this assignment. I haven't ever done a topic proposal, so I wasn't sure what to expect. If I could go back, I would obviously take this assignment a little bit more serious, and I would have changed my topic. Honestly, as much as I like to lie to myself, I took the easy way out. I wrote about something that I had a pretty good understanding on. I'm ashamed of it but that is the biggest change I would have made. I obviously found this assignment pretty easy because I asked questions that I already knew the answer. Annotated Bibliography: Looking back, I really enjoyed doing the annotated bibliography because it was a giant session of research which made my paper a whole lot easier to write. In high school I used to do
research as I went along which made the task strenuous. Doing the annotated bibliography allowed me to create a blueprint of what I wanted to use, and how I was going to use it. This bibliography was difficult because of the different types of sources that you had to have, but nonetheless helpful. One change I would make would be to do a whole lot more research. As I was writing my paper, I came to realization that if I had more research, I could better explain points rather than having a statement as an opinion. I must admit, I was pretty proud of myself based off the length of the annotated bibliography. I was discouraged when I saw Jordan's was 6 pages, but as I started doing my research and typing, everything started to fall in the right place. Extended Inquiry: This was by far the most challenging element this year because we built ourselves up throughout the year and once it got here, I knew it was game time. This was the assignment that I knew had to be a homerun for me to do well in the class. The challenging part was to get my thoughts and research organized in order to make the EIP flow. I did not enjoy this assignment because I was so worried on whether or not it was good or not. There was too much mental friction going on inside my head to enjoy what I was doing. If I could make changes, I would go back and do a whole lot more research and carefully read what I had written. I had a lot of opinionated things in my paper as well as simple grammar errors that could have been avoided. What I am going to take from this class is to never be content with what I know, and be eager to explore things that I don't know. At the beginning of the semester you drove home the point to BE CURIOUS. Never take anything for what it is, but to explore that idea.