Thomas Cole English 101-10 D.

Walkup I graduated from high school in June of 1997, from Genesee Christian High School, after several years of advanced English classes. More importantly, I think, my education in junior high school, at Longfellow in Flint, had the most influence on my writing ability. In seventh and eighth grade, I was taught English and introduced to classical literature by one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, even though I didn’t think so at the time. Ms. Mary-Lou Roth was perhaps one the biggest motivators in my writing, something I absolutely detested her for at the time. When I moved on to high school, I first was placed in a general English class my freshman year, which I passed with ease, and then into a more advanced American Literature class my sophomore year. As that class was no challenge, I was moved to a Classical Literature class my junior year and an Advanced Placement English class for my senior year. My most positive memories come from Longfellow though, as Ms. Roth introduced me to so many things that I had been unfamiliar with, and most of all, was supportive of my budding ability as a writer. Conversely, some of the most horrible times in my life came from attending a private high school, where I was taught a “new” system of interpreting English grammar, which thoroughly confused me and nearly caused me to give up writing entirely. Thankfully, I learned that this “new” system was experimental (a failed one at that), and I continued on to graduate with a 3.4 grade point average and a four on my AP English Test.

Placement is an interesting subject for me, as I did quite well on the placement test. I scored a 14th grade or higher reading level, and placed directly into English 101. However, this was not the end of my business with the Placement Center, as I quickly returned there after taking English 101 last spring with another English professor who will remained unnamed. After the first writing assignment was turned in, I was informed by this instructor that I had the worst writing skills he had even seen, and that I should be in developmental classes. I was, naturally, shocked and angered beyond belief, so I stopped attending his class. After a few weeks, I went to the Placement Center, where I took a special opt out test for English 101; I am the first person the pass the test and be placed into English 102 in over a year. Upon learning of this, I assumed that I would not have to drop the class as I was exempt from taking it, a mistake I learned about later. After passing English 102 last semester with a 4.0, I decided that I would rather retake English 101 to replace the zero on my transcript, rather than face that professor and end up acting in a manner that would be unbecoming of someone of my integrity. In this class, I do actually hope to learn a few things. While I am fairly confident in my skills as a writer, I do realize that my writing is not perfect and that there is still room for improvement. Your teaching style is quite different than my English 102 professor, and my self analysis at the end of English 102 pointed to my weaknesses as having to do with structure and flow. While I believe that my skills in these areas are not severely deficient, I am confident that they will only improve after the end of this class. So, naturally, what I

need and hope to learn are the same things. There are obviously some other things that may fall under either category, but I cannot seem to call any of them to mind at the moment. My largest concern with this class has already been abated. Due to my less than pleasurable experience with the last professor I had for English 101, I feared that this class would also turn out the same way. Much to my surprise, I was instantly reassured after receiving my first paper back without finding any suggestion for remedial English! I feel that my strong points are numerous, but the most important ones are that while I have a large vocabulary, I do make an effort not to become too wordy. Also, being a voracious reader, I feel that I have an advantage in my writing, as I have learned what good writing looks like and seek to mimic it in my own work. Finally, I like to think that I have a moderate ability to convey any emotion in my writing, be it sarcasm, humor, or even seriousness. I do tend to favor humor though! My career goal is as long and winding as this paper is. Hopefully, when I have completed college, I will have completed both a Doctorate in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Computer Science. There are several other goals I would like to complete, such as fluency in both French and Spanish, and perhaps another Doctorate in Philosophy, but I think it would be best for me to concentrate on my primary objectives first. As for a career, I am somewhat undecided on the final result. Perhaps, given my eclectic tastes, I may just choose college student as my career!

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