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I have always enjoyed writing, especially when it came to my English Literature AP class.

Whenever we received a new topic to write about, I was ready for the challenge. Among some of the essays I wrote was a conversation on V.S. Naipaul and Edward Saids postcolonial views, a psychoanalytical view on Winnie the Pooh, and an analysis of Ralph Ellisons Invisible Man. My teacher told me how strong of a writer I was and my ability to provide detailed proof was unbelievable. However, when I came into College Writing 1100, I was immediately taken aback. Now instead of using all sources and scholarly sources, we needed to put our own views into the paper. I knew that it would be a challenging course for me and I would need to struggle to succeed. My weakness that emerged when I started writing my first essay was first person. I was unaware at what to do with this since I usually did not put my point of view in a paper. Because of this, my writing became what Professor Lago called passive. This showed up in all of my papers, from To be Sad or Not to be Sad, That is the Question to The Importance of Being Financially Literate. When I met with her for our one-on-ones, I explained my difficulties and how unsure I was about writing in first person. She said that she could tell and that she wanted us to write in first person; it was not a bad thing. So with that, I took sentences that I tried explaining in a round-about way to avoid first person and turned them into my own personal experience. Although this was difficult, I inserted more detail about my opinion and experience in my essays, for example To be Sad or Not to be Sad, That is the Question. I inserted an entire paragraph into it where I talked about my happiness level and what I thought it meant. It took me a while to formulate this, but it did help to prove my thesis better. I know that this will continue to be a struggle for me, but my determination to fix this to the best of my ability motivates me to change this habit. Sometimes firsthand experience can be the best proof.

I also have difficulties with coming up with a central claim and thesis. In my first three essays, I was told that I needed to make my thesis clearer. I feel that I struggled with this because I used the passive voice. Where in my AP class, I would prove claims that I had ample sources in the form of scholarly journals, books, and articles, in this class, I had to rely on myself for a lot of claims. Since I was not sure on how to go about proving using my own opinions, my central claim was weak. However, after becoming more confident in my ability to prove using my opinion, I found that in editing, my thesis were stronger. This in turn made the paper flow better and become more of a solid piece of work. Proving this is my essay In the Halls of High School. In my first draft, I did not have a thesis as to what came about with the rumor I presented. There was not a main focus to my paper, therefore it was confusing as to why I wrote it. However, after editing, I added the thesis, Being witness to this well-developed rumor proved to me that along with providing a group with interesting stories, they can also do large amounts of damage to someones reputation in the different aspects of their life (MacDonald 1). This provided my paper something to be proved and I could mold it after my claim. The result of this was a major improvement to the point of my paper. Despite these weaknesses, I find strength in my ability to catch a readers attention. For example, in my essay The Struggles of the Middle-Class Working Man I formulated an opening that was different than most of the papers I peer edited. My first two sentences were, At three in the morning, the alarm on John MacDonalds side table begins ringing. For the next hour, he silently moves about the dark house before heading out into the dark to drive an hour to work (MacDonald 1). Instead of starting off in a generic manner that could be seen as boring to the audience, I gave my paper a bit of individualism by starting with an anecdote. By taking

Professor Lagos advice about making a paper stand out, I allowed an opening that could provide many opportunities to branch off of. I feel that I define myself as a writer that refuses to see the importance of my own opinion. Why should I when I have so many scholars telling me what is right and wrong? However, taking this class and having Professor Lago as a teacher taught me that I should not let my active voice go to waste. Despite this, I know that I will continue to drift into the passive voice every once in a while. Even as I sit here and write about myself, I am struggling, but not as much as I did on day one. I have seen a big improvement in my ability to write a personal essay, and I feel that I am better prepared to write one in the future.