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Austin Elliott English 1102 Prof. Padgett April 10, 2013

The Junior Paper


When given this assignment I began thinking about how my personal writing process has changed. My first years of processed writing came through my elementary school years, where I learned valuable lessons such as, I before E except after C and other laws about proper grammar. From then on everything I learned grew upon each other, just as learning the processes of math. You must learn the basics before understanding the more complicated issues. After understanding this basic foundation I began to learn more on the subject of writing, but it was not until my eleventh grade year that I found the reasoning behind why I had been taught these rules. Had it not been for the information I gained that year I would probably not be where I am today in my education. I would like to explain why I believe an assignment I was given helps to prepare students for the college environment, and why it should stay in place. My eleventh grade year I was giving an assignment of writing a well-developed junior paper, just as everybody in previous classes had done. This consisted of me researching a topic that I valued, and giving a validate argument about it. For this paper I chose to argue the issue of animal cruelty in slaughter houses, and why I believed that it should have greater restrictions. Now before you as the reader question why, let me explain that I have been raised on a farm my entire life. Raising livestock, mainly cows, not for dairy but for consumption and I found this topic to be something that I could relate to. The main problem that I had throughout this paper
Comment [AP4]: This sounds like youre afraid of your readers thinking youre some kind of liberal hippy. So are you also suggesting here that you dislike (or just simply dont agree with) liberals hippies? Which is fine because I dont like them either. But I wonder if this is what youre doing. is it relevant to the discussion youre having? Why not just state I used work on a farm, etc as opposed to starting off with before you the reader question. Comment [AP3]: Okay, so it sounds like youre going to have a discussion on why grammar is important. Which is fine, but Im having trouble finding an audience who would disagree, and so that makes me wonder about the necessity of such a thesis. Comment [AP1]: What do you mean by this? You mean like how hotdogs are processed? Comment [AP2]: This is more spelling than grammar.

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was that I had never really liked English, at least the grammatical aspect of it, but when I began this paper, I became aware that I better get to liking it or I was going to fail it. I struggled for several months developing my research paper, and was so frustrated with it that I felt as if I should give up and say the heck with it., Wwhen my English teacher approached me and asked the question, are you planning on attending college after high school?, and my answer to that was, well sure I am. After giving my response she explained to me that if I do not, or cannot excel on this simple paper I would not last doing college work because this paper is intended to prepare us for what we will encounter once we enter college. After hearing this I put my butt in high gear and devoted my attention on learning then material needed to complete this paper and as she said the material I will need to succeed in college. I even went to the extent of staying after school every single day until I was able to finish my paper. Two years later, I found out first-hand how much of this information I was going to use while in college. My first semester here at UNC-Charlotte I am enrolled in one class, which has tested my abilities to write critically, Intro to Engineering. Not only has this class tested my ability to write technical reports, but it has also taught me how to write proper memos, lab reports, and concept papers. All of which I have had to research topics, and build a credible paper, whether it be through the technical report where I research a topic in order to better develop a product, or through the lab report where I would research topic in order to better develop my own product. The very first paper that I have to compose for this class was a memo, explaining my expectations of what I wished to receive from the class. As I began writing the memo I had the intentions of developing it not only professionally, as the assignment dictated, but also acknowledging the issues and material I wished to learn from the class. I spent numerous hours developing the paper and finally had reached the point that I wished to get

Comment [AP5]: Why use quotations here? are you implying a meaning beyond the typical usage of the word liked?

Comment [AP6]: I like the personal narrative here. really connects with your readers well. Comment [AP7]: You need some kind of indicator at the beginning of this introductory phrase. Like During my first or As a student in my first or Currently in my first semester.

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across with it. The next step was to submit it and receive an A+ for the assignment, or at least that it was what I thought. After a few days my teachers assistant sent me back the memo with my grade attached, needless to say I was not please. After all of the hard work I had put into it I received a grade of 74. Disappointed, I emailed the TA and asked why my grade was so low, that I did not wish to dispute my grade but that I wished to understand what I apparently missed that caused me to make such a low grade. Shortly after, he got back with me and explained that all though my content was great, but that 25 percent of the grade came from being in the proper format, and that my paper was not in this proper format. After gaining a full understanding of what I had done wrong I was able to make sure that I do not make the same mistake again, even though I have only had one other memo to write for the class. Since then I have extremely well on the other papers that I have had to create for this class, mainly because all of the others have consisted of research, and concept papers where the format is the same as what my junior paper was. Another of one of the greatest things that I took from doing my junior paper was proper citation. During my high school years I had slightly understood how to create citations, but had learned the basic format for citation styles such as MLA, and APA. These were the standard citation styles used in my high school, mainly used in classes such as history and sciences. The junior paper I was required to write required that the citations be in a format called Chicago style. Even though the idea among them all is the same, author(s) name, book title or web title, and publication date, there are some differences between them all. I was quick to realize that this style was not just picked randomly, but that again it was done to prepare us for what we would encounter in college. It has been a tremendous help in my engineering class, because this is the only citation type that is acceptable in the class.
Comment [AP8]: So what are you saying about the relationship between format and content?

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There is another class that I am presently in that has tested my abilities to write critically, it is English 1102. This is the class that I am presently writing this very paper for. During my time in this class I have been given three writing assignments including this one along with, one complaint letter, and one analysis. The first assignment, the compliant letter was very straight forward, it was to write a persuasive compliant letter to someone over an issue that we have had with them. This assignment came very easy to me, because just like my junior paper I had to develop an argument over a topic. Metaphorically speaking, I knocked that one out of the park, making an A. Since then my grades my grades have fallen far from par, and it is something that I cannot grasp. I use the same methods of development that I use in every other class, following the same format that I learned while writing my junior paper, but my grades reflect differently. This has had me to question once again, how am I going against what I have learned? The conclusion that I have come to is that I will continue to learn different techniques, as I stated earlier understanding English is like doing math, you have to build off of the foundation that you currently have in order to work your way up. Through hard work I will be able to comprehend the information that I need to learn in order to excel, just as I did with junior paper. The information that I gained from my junior paper has been a huge help through my college education. Even though I first thought it was useless I can see now what the general purpose was. I truly hope that my high school, along with others continue to have juniors to complete this paper, because from the experience I have gained, I know that others can use this in order to prepare their selvesthemselves for what they will encounter once they begin college. Austin,
Comment [AP12]: Some say that with writing that you have to learn the rules like a pro before you can break them like a pro. Maybe in this respect, writing is different than math. Comment [AP10]: Not sure if this is needed. We know that youre writing in metaphor. Comment [AP11]: What do you consider par to be? Comment [AP9]: Ah, the meta portion of the paper :)

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I think you have constructed a very interesting narrative here. I like what you have to say about process and constant writing development. That once you learned the basics, there is still more to learn. This essay seems to be more about just your junior paper, so Im not sure the title and the focus in your conclusion should necessarily be focused on just that assignment. In revision, I want you to think about what, as a whole, this paper is about. What do you want the reader to walk away with, specifically? And once you decide on that, Id like for you to try for some uniformity in this essay. Some singular theme or argument that every paragraph or anecdote points back to. Is this about the importance of learning new forms of writing? Or is this about the importance of understanding format or genre? Try to bring cohesion to this essay with a more specific thesis. I think what you have is really good, but Id like your discussion to be tighter.