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Ariana Toscano

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Professor Hamalian
English 115
2 December 2014
Reflective Essay
Welcome to my English 115 portfolio website! My name is Ariana Toscano and I am
currently a student at California State University Northridge (CSUN). During my first semester
at CSUN, I had the privilege of taking the course English 115, an introductory class to university
writing. This website is a portfolio where I present my personal and academic growth with my
literary skills since given the opportunity of taking this course. In English 115, I was presented
with assignments such as different subjects and styles of writing, debate discussions, peerreviews, and many more assignments that all added to my growth in writing. Continually in the
class, I had the chance to practice writing with first draft and final essays, and as well exercises
that particularly helped with these essays.
Being my first time as a college student, I was very intimidated with the idea of
participating in a college leveled English class. Before beginning the course, I had an
understanding of my weaknesses in writing which included: weak thesis, trouble starting
introductions, and not always having all my ideas clearly organized. The first progression in my
class included writing an environmental memoir. Brainstorming ideas, I was able to use creative
writing to organize my thoughts by timing of events in my memoir. This helped me understand
that in the past I had been using the same order to organize and write each essay. Progression one
taught me that I cant always use the same format for each essay; each one is different based on
the topic and style of writing. Understanding this, I am now able to write more clearly and
organized essays to get to my main point.
After my first draft of my environmental memoir I received the chance to review my essay
with a peer and professor to receive feedback. Receiving feedback was the most helpful part of
English 115. My professor and peers comments and advice helped me comprehend certain

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mistakes I made on making my main point in my essay. After receiving feedback I was able to
fix it and see my initial mistakes which helped me not create the same errors for the next
assignments. These feedback sessions also gave me guidance on how to make my thesis
statements strong. In the second progression I saw that a mistake I constantly made was that I
would simply restate the prompt that I had to answer. Instead I learned to answer the question
and develop it to create a stronger thesis. Finishing English 115, I feel that learning how to make
my thesis statements stronger is what will be the most helpful for me in the future. Creating a
better thesis statement has helped me make a better foundation for my essays.
Throughout the class we were assigned different readings and exercises to help with our
essays. We had the chance to read excerpts from Green by Rollins Brooke and Lee Bauknight
and Understanding Rhetoric by Elizabeth Losh, Jonathan Alexander, Kevin Cannon and Zander
Cannon. These texts were helpful in seeing different styles of writing. This course as well helped
me learn research skills and permitted me to state credibility as the writer with the information I
provided based on the topic I learned about through research. As a class we participated in class
debates where we were able to agree, disagree, or present different perspectives on a topic we
previously read about. These debates encouraged me to see all sides of an argument and not
focus on only one. Altogether with research, debate, and readings I was able to help my struggle
with creating an introduction to my essays. I learned how to easily create an introduction to a
topic with the information I researched while stating the thesis together as one and not getting off
subject.
Overall, taking English 115 helped me grow as a writer and student. Using resources such as
research, readings, and feedback allowed me to become a better writer by understanding how to
write clearer and get to the point of my text. Learning from my mistakes was the most significant
part of my experience in this course because without it I would not be the writer I am today.
Comparing work from before this course to assignments from English 115 has helped me see
how much I have grown as a writer and how much more I have yet to learn. I still continue to

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learn from English 115 and it was definitely a class worthwhile to take as a freshman in college.