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Dear Malcolm (again),
I tend to get emotional when I reach monumental events in my life, and I consider
successfully completing my first year as a college student a monumental event. I can still vividly
picture what I was doing and feeling exactly one year ago at this time. I had not decided on a
college I wanted to attend and the indecision was eating at my soul. I barely got any sleep, I lost
my appetite, and I had a seemingly perpetual melancholy disposition. I needed to make a
decision by the end of April. My two school options were Wake Forest University which meant
sacrificing my soul in order to pay for a private education, or UNCC without living on campus to
save money. Essentially, I had to decide between draining my family of all of our money in
order for me to have a “real college experience,” or choosing a rational alternative that still gave
me a quality education but without any of the fun of college. This decision made my fragile 18
year old heart twinge with uncertainty. Based on my enrollment in your class this semester, you
can see that I chose to attend UNCC. Now, I can genuinely say that choosing UNCC was the
right thing for me to do. I have had experiences here that I do not think I would have had if I
went to Wake Forest, and I have met people who have shaped my first year of college in ways
that I do not think the Wake Forest environment could. For starters, I would not have had the
opportunity to take your class and learn everything that you have taught me if I had chosen
Wake. The writing experiences you exposed me to have prepared me for any assignment I get
from future professors with the added benefit of thoroughly enjoying taking your class. As I
progress with this letter, I hope you will keep in mind that professors like you and learning
experiences like your class are constant reminders that I have chosen a good home for my
academic career.

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Writing the literacy narrative was a fun introductory assignment to begin our class.
Before the literacy narrative I only wrote blog posts and daybook entries in the class, so this was
the first chance I had (other than the Dear Malcolm letter) to demonstrate my writing ability. I
don’t know how my classmates found the assignment but I enjoyed the creative liberties granted
to express our story however we wanted. For a “creative” assignment like the literacy narrative,
I did not want to be tied down to too many guidelines and formatting regulations. I knew that the
other writing assignments we did would not feel much like a story so I wanted to take advantage
of the opportunity and write using creative license. I knew I wanted to write about my
experience with my high school French teacher because the memory was still fresh in my mind
more than an experience with my second grade teacher from ten years back. It fit the criteria
required for the literacy narrative, I could write truthful flashbacks without having to dig through
ten years of school memories, and I could tell the story with intense imagery. I shared my
struggles with my French teacher with many friends and family members, so I felt it was
necessary to share my literacy narrative with them as well. They agreed that I learned a valuable
lesson from it all; I cannot let obstacles get in the way of my desire to acquire knowledge.
I had two very different emotions toward writing the topic proposal vs. writing the
annotated bibliography. I felt excited and optimistic when I wrote the topic proposal. This may
be partly due to the fact that the topic proposal had a detailed template for me to follow every
step of the way. The topic proposal also felt more approachable than the bibliography. The topic
proposal was the beginning of the EIP journey when it was still this new and promising
assignment. By the time I began working on my annotated bibliography, the thrill of creating a
portfolio of all of my work had subsided and I realized how much work I had to put in to make
this project as good as I wanted it. This is certainly not to say that I did not enjoy doing the

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research for the annotated bibliography, because reading through pages and pages of successful
female politicians in the United States who have overcome so much adversity is inspiring. I
think I enjoyed writing the topic proposal more than the bibliography because at the time that I
was working on the topic proposal, I could have chosen whatever topic in the world without
restriction. Once the topic proposal was out of the way, I had to stick with the topic for the rest
of the semester. In some strange way, I think I had some form of commitment issue when I
wrote the annotated bibliography because I felt obliged to keep the topic I chose, which is
strange because I love my topic. I got over any hesitation with writing the annotated
bibliography quickly, and tried to follow the guidelines of the assignment as closely as I could.
Thinking back over the process of writing the bibliography, I got so much more information out
of my sources than if I had not written a bibliography. The annotated bibliography forced me to
analyze the credibility of my sources, the background of the writer, and the usefulness of the
source, tedious as it felt to write it. I probably will not write an entire bibliography for future
research-based assignments I have, but I will use the tools I developed from writing the
bibliography to think more critically about my sources.
I felt a wide range of emotions toward the ePortfolio and all of its requirements. On one
hand I was confident that putting together a portfolio of all my work would be straightforward
and I could complete it without any problems. On the other hand, I had a lot of anxiety toward
creating an entire website for the portfolio. I spent a lot of time on the internet and looking at
websites, but I had a lot of doubts about my ability to create my own website. Thankfully, the
website generators you suggested to us were very user friendly. I played around with the
features on the web builder for a couple of hours to get accustomed to everything, and then I
began to picture how I wanted to present all of my information. I was also worried about

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creating a “theme” for my ePortfolio. I could not think of anything that made sense with my
topic of women in politics, so I started panicking for a while during the beginning of the process
of creating the ePortfolio. My anxiety subsided when I was browsing through the template
themes on the Weebly web design page and found the current theme for my website. I chose the
“rocking women” idea because the big picture of my research is a positive outlook on women in
U.S. politics. Because I chose to write my paper from the perspective of ways female politicians
have risen above their struggles in the political arena, I wanted to portray that sense of
empowerment and strength through the theme of my website and the “rock star” themed
background and titles. At first though, I was worried that you would not get the connection
between my research and the theme I chose, so I put a lot of effort into dropping many hints
throughout the website to reiterate the connection. I have since then developed more confidence
in regard to my theme selection, and I really want all of my friends to look at my website so they
can commend me on my witty titles, and of course my detailed work from the past semester.
Writing the first draft of the EIP took a lot of self-motivation to get started, but I noticed
that it easily fell into place because of the preparations I made before writing. For example, I did
not see the long term purpose of creating the annotated bibliography, but when I needed to locate
my research for evidence for a point I was making in my EIP draft I looked to my bibliography
and found exactly what I was looking for. Of course I know that I was supposed to use the
sources I used from the annotated bibliography in the EIP, but I did not figure out how
intertwined the two assignments would be until I started writing the first draft. As much as I
disliked working on the annotated bibliography, I loved having it as a reference for the first draft
of my EIP even more. I am not sure if this was the right way to handle the switch from the first
draft of the EIP to the final draft, but I kept some information out of the first draft that I knew I

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wanted to research more and instead included the revised information in the final draft. I also
gathered some new research and an image to insert in my final draft that I think improved the
quality of my argument and showed the depth of my inquiry. I wrote the final draft of my EIP
feeling confident that I had successfully conveyed my point to the readers of my research.
A big issue I had during the topic proposal/annotated bibliography phase of the
assignment was understanding from what perspective I was looking at my topic. I frequently
confused myself by thinking that I only wanted to cover the gender stereotypes that female
politicians face in their field, but I also wanted to look at some women who have persevered
despite the stereotypes. Whenever I felt that confusion, I would look back at my topic proposal
and read the initial inquiry questions I wrote. Some of them included, “How do women in
powerful positions manage to overcome gender biases in their profession?” Reading that inquiry
question helped me refocus my central point of finding women who have overcome gender
stereotypes as U.S. political figures. Sometimes, all I needed was to reread my topic proposal to
gain a better sense of what I wanted to research. The topic proposal, in a way, felt like a
constitution of my desires which I could reference when I needed reassurance that what I was
researching and writing about followed what I desired to learn.
One of the most enjoyable assignments from this class was keeping up with the blog
entries and reading the interesting articles you pulled for us to read and respond to. The articles
and Ted Talks made me think about how I learned in a classroom, how I procrastinated, how
important my early 20s are for my future, and so many other intriguing topics. I cannot think of
one assigned blog entry that did not attract my attention, at least in the slightest. Although I
know it would put a lot of work on your shoulders, I would have loved to read a short response
you might have had toward one of my blog entries. I wrote some of them very consciously

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aware that you would be reading it and I wanted to hear your part of the conversation. That is
what the blog assignment felt like to me, a conversation between me and you. You initiated the
conversation by bringing up the article or Ted Talk, and I would respond with my thoughts. I
wish we could have continued the conversation on some of my blog entries because I am curious
to know how you would respond back to me. To my dismay, Malcolm, you are a hot commodity
who needs to be shared with all your students, faculty, and family, and I could not ask for you to
give up any more of your time for the sake of continuing an online conversation. Regardless, I
loved keeping up with the blog on a weekly basis and I wish I could continue to receive
suggested articles that you find interesting.
I am constantly reminded through incredible experiences that I can call UNCC home. I
have met people who seemed to be a missing part of my life before this year. I have participated
in so many hands-on events that I never would have dreamed of before this year. I have learned
so much information about important things that pertain to my life that I never learned before
this year. I have grown as an adult more than I ever anticipated before this year. I would like to
think that your class had a big impact on my growth as a student and as a person. Malcolm, I am
grateful for all the positive reviews you have on because people only had
incredibly positive and nice things to say about you. You can bet that I am referring my entire
little baby high school senior friends who choose to go here in the fall to your class above
anyone else’s. You made my first year as a college student wonderfully un-stressful. Most of all,
thank you for breaking the ice on the first day by cursing. I needed that.
A grateful student (and friend)
Jessica Francis