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Sara Doster S. Ingram English 1103-036 Portfolio Essay (d3) November 27, 2012

My freshman year of college has been nothing I expected. The amount of work, the time studying and the countless meals that I have missed have been added to a list of a menagerie of things I never expected about college. The semester has flown by, and with it quickly coming to an end, I’ve learned a lot of things from this English class. Besides fine-tuning my art of procrastination, I have learned a lot of writing tools to help further myself in all of my writing. All of the assignments we have done, including cover letters and warm-ups, have helped my issues with flow, focus and clarity. I feel from all of the works we have done, from draft one until the end, I have accomplished my goals and improved on those three aspects of writing. Most of all, I have improved myself as a person. The “WILTBY” essay was something I had never done before, and it made me realize many things about myself that I never noticed before: my attention to detail, my drive to work through problems and my understanding of what happens in my life. One of the main problems I’ve had this year is English. I’ve never particularly liked English, I still don’t, but I never knew why. Something the class has taught me is that my struggle with ADHD has affected my life more than I have ever realized. My battle with staying focused on any one task has become almost nuclear warfare when doing and keeping up with the work we do for the class. I have comes to terms with the fact that I am not superwoman. I cannot

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do everything. All of this has shaped how I have organized this portfolio, how I’ve written and the angles I’ve written from, and the content of the papers and assignments themselves. The work I have presented in this portfolio reflects a major growth in myself. The problems I had with writing a cohesive, focused essay have seemed to dissipate and only show up a few times during my writing processes. This portfolio shows a major growth in my quality of work and I am truly proud of myself. I feel my portfolio, all together deserves a B-. The work is not exceptional, but based on what my writing used to be, the work I have included shows great improvement. Thinking about how to organize this portfolio, I have decided to arrange the pieces by complexity and the amount of work I put into this portfolio. From most complex to least, this portfolio will take you on a journey through my struggles and how they pertain to my writing. The one work I am most proud of in my portfolio would have to be the WILTBY essay. The amount of focus and work I had to do for the essay was incredible. Having to analyze yourself and then write it all down and discuss yourself is a strange and very uncomfortable process. I resisted myself a lot when trying to come to terms with everything I was going to have to write in the paper. I’m not one to talk about my personal life, my past or myself in general. I reflected this internal conflict in my cover letter for the paper. Talking about the abuse I endured, from others and myself, was such an emotionally draining process that I had to frequently take breaks to gather myself together again. The built up anxiety I felt while others read and judged and corrected my paper was overwhelmingly nauseating. But I endured and came out only slightly scarred and still fighting.

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Now reading back over the paper as this semester ends, I’ve noticed a lot of very big changes in my life. Things change. Whether we like it or not, things are constantly changing and rearranging themselves. This class has taught me that through my writing and the thinking we do in and out of class. The next piece presented in my portfolio would be the argumentative research essay. This piece also caused me a lot of strife. Having ADHD and not being medicated and writing about ADHD made the writing process very interesting. I resent this assignment. After doing a huge research project in high school that caused me to give up countless hours of sleep and even more hours of paper cuts and tears, I was happy that I wouldn’t have to do another for a very long time. I was so very wrong. When I found out about this paper, I almost self-destructed. A timer went off and was slowly counting down until that moment where I would certainly explode. I worked hard at it though. It was pulling teeth trying to find the perfect topic for me to write about, but when I finally settled on one, the rest of the writing came relatively easy. With a few bumps in the road and a couple more tears, I had finally accomplished something I thought was going to be impossible. Although a measly 4 pages, including the works cited, I was proud of what the paper had turned into. It was a cohesive work that got a good point across with good and useful information. The paper took a total, of at least 24 hours to write. Just to write. After finding all of my information and sources and having everything prepared. Having to take frequent 10 minute breaks to refocus myself was a frustrating task that plagued me throughout the whole process of writing the paper. Not including a general detest of having to write it in the first place, having

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ADHD does not help in this sort of situation. But I did it. I survived. I got through it and it was actually decent writing. Next in my repertoire would be the midterm. The midterm helped me to really think about how far I’ve come and how I shape my writing and how my writing shapes me as a person. It showed me what aspects of the class had helped me the most so far. Having to fully, in detail, explain pieces of my work and explain aspects of the class, I began to realize how much of an impact on everyone’s writing this class has. In the paper, I talked about small groups and how hearing what a reader needs from you, is not only important, but informative for future essays and papers. If this class has done anything for me, it has made me proud of what I actually put onto paper. With the positive reinforcement and good constructive criticism, I’ve greatly improved on my writing, “In our small groups that we have in class, I’ve made two pretty good friends that help me chisel away at my rough drafts to help me make them perfect, or close to it that help me chisel away at my rough drafts to help me make them perfect, or close to it. Although I still don’t like writing all that much, this class has made it a bit more tolerable.” The midterm is number three on the list because it wasn’t very complex, but the amount of thinking, and not just thinking, but deep, solid thinking I had to do to really think about how the semester had affected my writing and I personally. In the paper, I again talked about the WILTBY essay. The essay has truly made a huge impact on my life, showing me what I genuinely mean as a person to myself and to others. Next tab over would be my 3-sided essay. This assignment was not complex, but involved a lot of research for my argumentative research essay. This assignment showed the differing opinions on my topic from the side of a parent, doctor and teacher. Using parents as my

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target audience, my three sided helped me to discover my actual inquiry question of, “Cognitive/ Behavioral therapies or medication.” Being a victim of ADHD, this research intrigued me. I learned a lot about my condition. I first confronted my mother about the problem when I started the research. The symptoms just seemed to fit and describe my life and learning process almost perfectly. With this research and information, I began to shape my inquiry paper into something fairly interesting. But before I could do any of the paper or the essay, I need to do and annotative bibliography to see what my sources are actually trying to say. That leads me to the next tab. This assignment was easy. All I had to do was find sources that were credible and summarize them and see if they were good or not. I found some good sources that later helped me to shape my topic into its final glory. My last tab would have to be my final selections pieces. Although these also consisted of a lot of work, collecting the pieces was relatively straight forward. I’ve included many of my cover letters, most from my three sided essay because those are the only ones I kept all as separate files, brain-stormings, notes to and from others about revisions to work, and anything that helped me to truly strive and reach excellence in a class I’ve never been quite good at. This semester has been eye opening. From finding what I am good at, to finding what I’m definitely not so good at. But, when all is said and done, and the fat lady has stopped singing and the smoke has cleared, I can truly say that I am a different writer now, than I am when I started this English class. Although I may not be an A+ writer (I make mistakes, a lot of them), I know that I am content with my writing and that is all that really counts. And I must thank you, Ms.

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Ingram, to opening my eyes to a new way to write in any genre, formally or informally, or just to myself, and that, is writing with happiness.