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Running head: FINAL REFLECTION 1

Final Reflection:

A Year In Review

Jacob Newberry

Arizona State University



This essay serves as a reflection of the evolution one’s literacy has taken over the course of an

education. Multiple influences and factors have affected the way the author approaches literacy.

It considers the immense impact writing in particular can have on an individual’s education and

subsequent life. While the author’s education in english is approaching an end, they have gained

skills and a perspective to last a lifetime.

Keywords: e​ volution of writing, college literacy, writing as a tool, english 102


A great deal can happen within the mind of a student over the course of a year. College

has taken me on a journey, as have the classes I have participated in. As a person, I have grown,

discovered, and accomplished much of what I have sought out to. Have I done so as a writer,

reader, and learner, as well?

Looking back, much of what I thought a writer should be, has evolved. I no longer have

such a one dimensional definition. As I said in a prior reflection (2018), “I wasn’t aware that I

had much more room to evolve. I knew that I could be a far better writer, but I felt secure in my

writing style. How could I be so wrong? The change I have experienced in my writing style over

the few short months is immense. Throughout this class, I have gained a respect for the different

types of writing and writers. I have become more open to different styles and topics. But it's far

more important than that. I have acquired a sort of desire to know more about my world.”

In project one, I was challenged to analyze a visual, one of many that I would face

everyday. I chose to analyze an advertisement. The ads consumed by average individuals

everyday hold many implications hidden in rhetoric and visual representations. Due to this, they

can be positively influence or extremely detrimental, almost always subconsciously. I found this

to be challenging, but one of the most enriching assignments, due to its practical applications. It

is important for me to be aware of outside sources and their role on my psyche. The project gave

me the platform and tools analyze such things in order to better understand the complex world I

interactive with each and every day.

Persuasive arguments enhance the ability to form and support an individual ideas,

something that was not a priority in my public school curriculum. Until attending college, I

wasn’t given the platform to create and write about my own ideas. Project three, forced me to not

only create my own opinion, but to back it up. Through research of a topic that interested me, I

found new information, and even altered my stance. Not only was empowered with the ability to

speak my mind, but I learned the importance of gathering mixed information gathered by

experts, the media, and governing bodies. In addition, I had to acknowledge my foe’s opinion in

order to defend and secure my stance on the subject. In particular, I am happy that this project

will help me in everything from my career to day to day life.

As a first year college student, I was filled with doubt across the board. In English

particular, I felt more vulnerable, because a bad grade didn’t simply mean that I checked the

wrong box or circled the wrong letter. It would mean that my thoughts or ideas were wrong, or

so I thought. Due to this fact, I was not a confident writer, nor was I confident in my critical

thinking skills. I didn’t feel confident in it putting my words up for scrutiny. I quickly learned

that my feelings were ill informed. It was empowering to write, to read, to think, to tell a story.

What fueled my growth was the class dynamic, where I was given a small group of people who I

grew close to and trusted with my work. In addition, I took the nerve racking task of watching a

professor read my paper, in stride. My English skills needed work, but what was hindering my

true potential was fear of critique, which i have all but lost in these past two semesters of


Critical thinking and research are important for living a life of freedom in the mind. Of

all the things I have taken away from my time in English here at ASU, I have learned to not

simply trust what I am being told and similarly, not to make statements without sufficient reason.

In a sense, I have learned how to hone in on my creativity and individuality. Knowledge is power

in this realm, because with research and the ability to critical think, my ideas, morals, and beliefs

can’t be challenged.

Among the skills I have gained and nourished, were the ability to research and develop a

point of view. In both semesters, research was a large component, but how we did so differed in

many ways. In one instance, I observed a social gathering at a local farmers market. Another

time, I relied on Ted talks and other media sources. This semester, I built up an impressive

portfolio of tens of sources for my own paper on designer babies. This ability, or rather

knowledge on how to research has already aided me in other classes and throughout many

aspects of my life.

Not everything has been pleasant. The challenges of each writing project has also

exposed my weaknesses. Throughout, I have struggled at times with my audience. It is hard to

pinpoint a single audience. I struggled to balance who I wanted my audience to be and who

would likely be affected the most by my work. In doing so, more attention has been and will

continue to be paid towards identify a single audience who will benefit the most from my

writing. Apart from the audience, organization has been a hit and miss. Much of what hinders my

organization is my tendency to just start writing and not stop to think. This is more of a problem

with controlling my train of thought and trusting the process.

As an academic year comes to an end, so does a transformative process. I have evolved as

a writer, as a reader, and as a thinker over all. But the journey will not come to an end. Taking

what I have learned in the past few months, I will use as a basis for the rest of my academic and

corporate career. Not only that, but with the independence I have developed in my thinking

processes, will allow to be a more informed, less ignorant, and overall better human.