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Hogg |1 Katherine Hogg Suzanne Ingram English 1103-036 12/4/2012 Understanding My Mind Let’s just say if I had

to write a novel about myself, I would confuse readers everywhere. My thought process changes on a daily basis, and my mind is usually in three different places at once. Through-out this semester in English, the concept of “scatter brain” has become clear and has shown to be exactly what I am as a writer and as a student. So naturally, this portfolio has been a huge challenge for me to take everything I have done over the semester and examine how it’s helped me to grow as a writer. Over this semester, I think I’ve realized how hard it is to be a writer. Before this year I have basically only written artistically so my thoughts on choosing such a scientific inquiry question are beyond me. To say the least, I challenged myself in every way possible. Professional procrastinator, hopelessly scatter brained, and a victim of ADD prettyis pretty much how I would describe me, or the world’s worst student. However, through this portfolio I hope I’ll to be able to show you how even though at times I may not be mentally there that my work has come together over the semester to be something I am proud of and something hopefully you see as deserving of a decent grade. Since my thought process is so confusing, I decided to divide my portfolio into three categories that can describe the different levels of my insanity throughout the semester. The first being a huge mess of confusion, pretty much if profanity was acceptable for use in a formal

Hogg |2 essay it would be used in large amounts to describe this section. The second section is dedicated to finding meaning and understanding in my work. This section shows where my mind started to formulate an idea, however couldn’t find a way in order to accurately make an argument or come up with a way to even answer my own questions. The third section the way I see it is my “ah-ha” moment, the place where everything made sense and I was able to portray my thoughts and ideas without hesitation to my readers. I think this way of organizing my portfolio will be able to show you how my mind works and how my mind has grown with my work. The journey to picking my inquiry question was a long one, and pretty much the whole process is included in section one of my portfolio, but in all honesty without the journey I would never have been able to find what I was really interested in. On the first day of class, I was completely confused on what our class inquiry question had to do with English, and in the group activity on what it means to be healthy I was especially confused; I never imagined I would have chosen the topic I did at that moment. However over the process of narrowing the class wide question into my own question, I have learned so much about myself as a writer. As shown in my first blog post, I wanted to write about something to do with dance. At the moment I figured that since I was a dancer it would be easy for me to write about something I do on a daily basis. Like usual though, my mind decided to complicate things and push my limits as a writer and researcher. I’m not completely sure on how I came across alternative medicine but a major change took place between blog post one and blog post two, which is pretty much where the confusion begins. In my first draft of the annotated bibliography, I was especially lost as to where I was going. Alternative medicine was confusing and such a broad topic, I was figuratively lost in a sea of overwhelming words and odd drugs that help put the alternative in alternative medicine. In my

Hogg |3 first conference, I felt so unprepared, I compared myself to my group members, who at that moment had already found their final inquiry questions and were knee deep in research of their own, while I had put barely a foot into the sea of research that surrounds alternative medicine. As embarrassed as I was at how unprepared I was, I found myself and my group members intrigued by the last article in my research that was all about the placebo effect. This was a huge “ah-ha” moment for me. My other “ah-ha” moments came out from complete confusion with the help of art. Whenever I found myself in a pickle, or having a bad case of writers block, I always turned to drawing. Since I can remember, drawing or dancing has always served as an artistic release to me, and since I can’t dance in a dorm the size of a closet without breaking something or in the library without evil eyes emerging from behind a book, drawing was the way to go which is why my odd-ball drawings are included in section one. Section two is perfectly explained by your (Miss Ingram’s) face in one of our meetings when I told you what my final inquiry question was and who was involved in the academic conversation. Your face pretty much said, “How is she going to do this?” and just looked plain confused and at the moment even though I knew my inquiry question, I too had no idea how I was going to answer it. I probably had the most trouble with my three sided assignment than anything else this semester. I knew who was involved in the conversation, and I knew sort of what they thought due to the blog assignment, but in all honesty I felt like my research just didn’t make enough sense for me to effectively organize it and portray it in a visual. It wasn’t until after I wrote my actual argumentative essay that I was able to even write my three-sided assignment. Even though the assignments over the semester were organized in a way that we should be able to write one after the other with no problem, I could not get the concept of the three-sided assignment across my mind and still haven’t completely. However a couple things in class did

Hogg |4 help me in order to partially understand. Even though the class exercise of what good writing is was meant to help with our argumentative essay it helped me with the three-sided assignment as well. It showed me what other people are looking for in my writing and how I can take someone else’s research articles and determine their viewpoints and why they have those specific views without confusing my reader too much. Even though it’s not my best work of the semester I spent the most time on the three-sided essay, between extra research, writing out each question I had to ask myself with each article, diagrams on how to organize my thoughts, and the art work that went along with the assignment, that essay in particular really showed how much I grew over the semester. In the beginning of this semester, I had the mindset that I could just sit down and write. At first I had trouble doing two drafts for everything because when I write something that I’m happy with I have a very hard time changing it and tend to be pretty stubborn. However, I did have to write two completely different drafts for my three-sided assignment and found the importance in more than one draft. Throughout all the writing I had done thus far in the semester I was still having a hard timing grasping my thoughts and concealing them into a tight knit argument that I could use in my argumentative essay, that is, until I finally came up with my thesis. In class the day we looked at chapter five in our textbooks, I had literally no clue who my audience would end up being. I had originally planned to write to doctors but I think I scared myself out of that one. I must have had my coffee before class that day because I wrote a perfect thesis in a matter of two minutes. I used the misinterpretations model to formulate it and I don’t know what happened, but somehow I went from wanting to write to doctors, to using doctors arguments as leverage in my argument to the patients. This helped me tremendously to go from looking for an understanding in my topic, to a renaissance of “ah-ha” moments.

Hogg |5 The first assignment, the “What’s it Like to Be You” essay, made me think the semester would be full of “ah-ha” moments. From the moment we received the assignment, I knew exactly what I would write about and I thought my first draft was perfect. I knew immediately however that this class would test me when you asked us to add pictures, poems, or quotes into our work. Even though this assignment was clear to me, I feel like it portrays my mindset in the beginning of the semester, even with workshop notes I was too stubborn to change anything about my essay because I was happy with it and I thought it effectively described who I was. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve gone back to the essay to realize my mistakes and how I could make the assignment better. I feel like this in particularly shows my growth as a writer and the contrast of my attitudes in the beginning of the semester vs. now. I think it’s funny how drastic my mindset change was from the first assignment to the second but I am happy I went through the confusion that I did because without it I’m not sure I could’ve grown this much as a writer and a student. I am truly happy with my growth this semester and I feel like my argumentative essay is my best work and does the most to show my growth as a writer. With all the research I had done, I knew exactly how I would lay out my essay and it served as a huge “ah-ha” moment. Without even realizing it, I used all the things we had talked about in class. I effectively gave counter arguments, appealed to my audience in a personal manner, gave information to back up my argument, and earned the trust of my reader. In the last conference, I think I surprised everyone including myself. My group mates were used to me being a hot mess and all over the place and I guess you (Miss Ingram) were too because your face changed drastically from the last meeting we had. Up to that point, I knew what I had written was good, but I knew it wasn’t my best. I rushed my last paragraphs and still had to create a conclusion. In revising my first draft I used all the information I was given in the conference to help me. Even though I have

Hogg |6 grown as a writer, I am still the same scatter brain, ADD child that walked into class on the first day, and I didn’t save my first draft separately from my second, so unfortunately I can’t include my first draft in my portfolio. Even with a second draft, I knew my conclusion needed more help so I went further than I ever thought I would and included a third draft. My understanding of myself as a writer is quite complicated. I know over the semester at times I have not been completely engaged in my work and I’m probably the world’s worst procrastinator, but I probably care more than any other student who’s just taking this class as a prerequisite. I love to write and although sometimes it can be difficult I am trying to eventually earn a degree in journalism and this class particularly has made me realize my potential as a writer. I would like to think I am a pretty good writer and can effectively relate to my readers on a personal level as well as relay information in an organized manner. To be completely honest, I believe I deserve probably an A minus, or at least a solid B in the class. I believe this because although at times my participation is not the best and procrastination has been an issue for me, I have worked very hard at being a good writer and doing what is asked of me in each assignment. I love writing, and I loved writing in this class. Not every assignment was a hassle to me but rather a learning experience and I see my grade being reflected in how much I’ve grown this semester as a writer and a student, which in my opinion is shown in my portfolio as a large amount.