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Dear Professor Campbell,

We have done so much this semester that my head is spinning. We have
completed too many daybook entries to count, multiple opinionated blog posts,
and two essays. It has been a semester full of struggles and triumphs for me.
Most people dont recognize growth when it is happening because they dont
understand the process of it. To me, struggle predates change or growth.
Having said that, most of the struggles I have encountered this semester have
made me more competent, even if only minimally. The thing I have struggled
the most in the last two months is creativity, mainly pertaining to my literacy
narrative assignment. This paper stumped me to the point that I put it off until
last minute. I was frustrated with the assignment because it was hard for me to
recall a time when there was a conflict in my literacy attainment. I had to dig
very deep for a subject and even deeper for content. As Im sure is reflected in
the essay in question, I was very unsure of how to go about that essay. I felt
unorganized and confused the whole time. Its in this mindset that I get very
frustrated and scare myself into a form of writers block and procrastination.
Its comparable to when youre watching a movie, but anytime a distraction
comes along, youre happy to divert your attention away from the movie
because its so monotonous. It is a bad weakness of mine that I may never rid
myself of completely. However, this semester I have forced myself to not give
up. I think the ability to get past my unconscious scruples with unfamiliar
topics (ones that arent readily/easily available) may be the most important
thing I take from this semester. In the next year Im applying to Graduate

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school and I am completely certain that there will be papers Im going to need
to write not matter how difficult they seem so it is imperative I get over any
mental blocks I have to writing.
Ive really enjoyed that we free-write so often in class. Im not new to freewriting, but I feel as if it has helped me tremendously so far. Most people dont
think to contemplate their stream of consciousness so they may forget a bulk of
what goes on in their heads. Some days, Ill go all day long and not write a
single thing; this is why the free-writing we do is so important to me. If nothing
else, it gives me quiet time survey my thoughts on a particular subject and it
forces me to write until I cant anymore. It has also tracked a good amount of
my emotional climate from week to week. I have noticed that I am often not in a
good mood for English class (having nothing to do with the teacher of course),
and that the poor mood stifles me creatively. I bring this up to point out that it
is something I need to work on. If my mood affects my writing abilities so
strongly, I will never be able to get my work done efficiently.
I have also very much enjoyed the blog posts Ive had to do this semester.
They give me an outlet where I feel much freer to be myself and express myself
more clearly. This may be because most posts Ive made are a response to
something written or watched that I didnt produce. These posts call on more of
a reaction to something rather than the organic construction that most essays
require. Either way, I find that I can express what Im trying to say rather
concisely instead of sounding like a jumbled mess in my other written forms.

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So far I have talked mostly about weaknesses and not about my
strengths or triumphs. This is because I am so concerned with being one of the
best writers I can; and that requires constant vigilance (Harry Potter reference)
in the areas I am lacking. I want to say that I do believe I have a very strong
vocabulary. I find it very important to being able to express yourself effectively
and the more words you know, the better you can do this. I like the fact that
even if I have a hard time getting started on a paper or assignment, once I get
on a roll, I can write so much text that it usually leaves me enough sentences
after editing to meet most of my page/word requirements. I dont want to go on
all day about what areas I think Im strong in, but I feel very proud of my
ability to think critically. Thinking critically about a subject, paper,
publication, or media is a very necessary skill for everyone to have. We are
constantly bombarded with so much information that if we trusted all of it,
much would contradict each other leaving us very confused. The reason I
include this in my reflection about composition class is that many of us will go
on to work in fields that have statistics, reports, and other subjective media
shown to us often. If we cant think critically about what we are reading or
persuasive arguments, we may get taken in very easily which that can have
dire consequences in our lives. Additionally, critical thinking is an important
part of the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) that some of us will take. To
do well on this test, one must master it.
Although I have talked mostly about the writing Ive done this semester,
Id like to breach something slightly relevant to the class that Id like to work

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on. Im much older (relatively) than most of my classmates and I believe that
this has caused me to have problems relating to my classmates. This is a silly
thing to include, but you wanted us to think hard about how this class may
help us and change us academically. I have noticed very recently that
sometimes I tend to look down on my classmates for whatever reasons (I have a
few theories). Many of them do not talk in class unless prompted and many of
them do not read. I could go on about what bothers me, but the part thats
important is that I learn to work with others based on their strengths and not
against them because of my bias to their perceived weaknesses. It is difficult
for me to express this because I want to think of myself as a good person and
writer, but it is at odds with how judgmental Ive found myself to be. I feel very
ashamed that its my natural reaction to feel that way towards my classmates.
Though, I have noticed more people getting involved already and the more I
peer-review, the less distance I feel. I sincerely hope that the more I interact
with my classmates, the less judgmental Ill feel. Im sure I just made myself
seem like a terrible person, but my motive is to be as honest as I can. As Im
sure you know, you cant change your faults and shortcomings until you admit
to them.
Sincerely, Ayla Elledge