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Throughout the semester, our English 1103 class has done an incredible amount of work. Six massive papers, a blog, a portfolio, and countless activities must all be sorted through and analyzed. For my weebly website, Mollie Inquired, I sorted my work into tabs. Ignoring my home, and portfolio essay, my first demonstrative tab holds my What it’s like to be You essay. The first thing I included in this was my “what does it mean to be healthy?” bubble sheet. Since this was the overarching theme for the class, it seems quite vital to my examples. The bubble map was one of the first things we did in the class. We all sorted ourselves into groups (which would become our semester-long partners groups) and came up with ideas of what went into health and what came from those generalized points. This bubble map was what helped me formulate my chosen topic, religion. After this is my first draft of my first paper in the class. It is unfocused and badly formatted- a side effect from my summer of laziness. My first draft is covered in pen marks and question marks. The responses from my classmates to my essay really helped me know what needed to be clarified, and what was good. Finally, I have my final draft. It is formatted properly, includes pictures, song lyrics, as well as a descriptive paragraph about the night my parents broke up. The night my parents told me they were breaking up I was listening to the Tool song Schism, so I added some lyrics from it. I also added pictures of myself, my family, and my boyfriend. Although the overall tone of my paper doesn’t really change, I am
very pleased with the end result of my paper. I took serious advantage of work shopping this paper. I was nervous about telling others about my life, thinking there was no way to truly describe what it’s like to be you. My annotated bibliography was not a particularly difficult assignment. Even though I had never done anything other than a simple works cited, the bibliography came easily to me. Since this was the first paper we had that focused on our topic, I thought it appropriate to include my first “English ideas list.” It’s easy to see my direction in it, some topics are crossed out, some starred, some untouched, and one circled: “Impact of organized religion on the world.” Although my topic has evolved a bit since then, the spirit of my theme has stayed the same. I even ended up using three books covered in my annotated bibliography as sources in my final research essay. It seems incredible that even that early in the semester, I had found some of the perfect sources for myself. The three-sided essay was one that I had quite a bit of trouble with. Although the direction “EXPLORE your topic from THREE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES” seems quite simple, I was incredibly frustrated with this assignment. “I feel that it is terrible and not really explained properly” can be a thought found in my second cover letter. “I need my group partners for this paper” can be found in the first. I think the chapter 2/3 reading activity is interesting because, despite my final paper still focusing on religion, my ideas for my topic were still so different. This activity shows the changes in my thinking that has occurred. In the beginning, I wanted to write a paper comparing religious and atheist societies. I wanted to write about how religion can promote good things, but is ultimately bad. While I still wrote about why I believe religion is unnecessary in this world, my final paper hardly mentioned atheism and secular societies. I wanted it to, which is another reason my first draft of the argumentative essay was so
disjointed, but it didn’t fit in properly in the end. While my chapter 2/3 notes seemed to show a student who really understood their topic and what they would be writing about, my cover letters seem to show the exact opposite. Even now, I do not feel fully satisfied with the final draft of this paper. This brings us to the biggest, and most intense, paper of the semester: the argumentative research essay. This tab holds the most evidence, because everything we did over the semester led to this paper. First I put a copy of “Shitty First Drafts” in. I think this paper is incredibly relevant to my experience over the semester. Looking through all of my cover letters, I express disdain for almost every first draft of every paper. My drafts are not only marked up by myself, but Brooke, Blane, various classmates, and Ms. Ingram. All of my first drafts tend to be a mess. I find it almost necessary to talk to people to work out my ideas. Classmates have not been the only ones to help me. My parents, my friends, and teachers have had to talk me through assignments. I believe this is one thing I have to have- someone else to talk to. My thoughts and ideas are always changing and swirling around chaotically in my mind. I need other people to talk to so that I can fully form thoughts. I live off of feedback, and the many workshops and conferences in this class have helped me immensely. Another reason I decided to include “Shitty First Drafts” with my argumentative essay is because I believe it truly was the shittiest first draft I wrote. It was short, disjointed, and actually stops in the middle of a sentence. While my second draft is a bit better (even though it ends with a “…..”), I used Brooke’s, Blane’s, and Ms. Ingram’s suggestions quite a lot while editing my final draft. I really appreciated our conferences with Ms. Ingram because it allowed one on one time (well, mostly) with her. So I was able to read my paper and get all of her input and thoughts on it. Notes are another thing that have really helped me think through my papers. The textbook, although it all seems like common sense to
writing, is very useful. Even though you know most of the things we were assigned to read, it makes it that much easier to see these things on paper. Because of this, I decided to include a copy of my models of a working thesis notes. I knew there were different models, and had seen them, but I had never really thought about them and their uses. I think it is very interesting how what type you use can really set the tone for a paper. Another reason I thought this should be added is because it had my first try at a thesis statement on the back. It’s covered in scribbles and arrows moving parts of the thesis to different areas. I think that it is very interesting to look from my very first try to my very last. I think that it was completely necessary to include my very first draft, however terrible it may be, because it shows the immense contrast between my original and my final, polished product. Finally, I found the works of Christopher Hitchens to be incredibly helpful to my paper, and learning about atheism in general. His book God is Not Great has been on my “to read” list for quite some time, and this class gave me the chance to do so. His book really inspired me, and I quoted it extensively in my paper. Chapter four (starting on page 17 of the PDF) was the most interesting to me. Because his work was so integral to my paper, I found that I had to include it with my evidence. My blog was my only piece of work that I did not have to worry about too much. It was mostly a place to develop my thoughts and feelings about my work, and to see other classmates work as well. I appreciated every bit of feedback I received on my blog, since help from others is so important for my working process. This is why I decided to include some of my workshop notes I included on other classmate’s papers. Although the notes I included are not my most extensive, I would like to say that many of my suggestions were spoken, rather than written. I can only hope my notes scribbled in the margins of other people’s papers have helped them as much as they have helped me.
While I have put many hours of work into this class over the semester, and obsessed over projects and deadlines, I’m not sure what my grade should be. On one hand, I turned in all of my assignments on time and only missed one day of class. On the other, I was very bad about procrastinating and putting off my work until the last minute. I would love to get an A, but I am not sure if my work is A material. Maybe I am just overly critical of my own projects, but I am very unsure of everything I do. I can only hope that my work appears better to others than it does to me.