My Final Reflection
English 1103 is coming to an end, and it has not gone unnoticed. In the beginning of the semester I was preparing for the same old english class. Everyone knows the typical English class where you read a few novels, write some essays, do some research, and write a research paper. Well to my surprise that is not what I got out of this english class. As a writer before this class, I needed structure and guidelines. Guidelines such as the paper needs to be 500 words, 1inch margins, MLA format, and 12 inch fonts. This is what I was use to, and trust me it was what I appreciated. My writing process was much the same, very structured. Before writing a paper I would have my research laid out, then I would make an outline, and then came my paper. When I am organized and disciplined I am comfortable with my writing. English 1103 and Mrs. Rothwell definitely shook me and my writing up. The narrative was actually the hardest assignment for me to finish. Rehashing memories about writing and reading in order to create a story, turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought. To start out, as a class we all got note cards and wrote about our oldest memories of writing and reading. Out of all my note cards I chose to write about my Graduation Project. That project was a huge stepping stone for me, it was the largest paper to date that I have written. I did many hours of research and planning. That paper compared to the narrative was completely different. The narrative for me was all about creativity, and really going beyond my typical form of writing. I could add color, crazy fonts, and pictures, and that was perfectly accepted. The part that I enjoyed about this assignment was creating the dialogue. For some reason the dialogue came very naturally, probably because conversation is natural and it was easy to relate. From this point in the class there was only room for improvement in my writing as well as my writing process. The metaphor was the second assignment to start out with note cards. Your everyday words mixed with you meaningful words, I got the world loyalty and the word book. My job was to use the word book to explain to loyalty in somewhat simpler terms. To start out I got a blank piece of paper and scribbled down a few notes. I took the word loyalty and found synonyms that could help me better understand the concept behind loyalty. Then I took the word book and made a list of the different elements that make up a book. I then tried to find similarities between the two. This process helped me gain a better idea of how I was going to explain loyalty. For this paper I just sat in front of my computer screen and started typing, no outline! While writing this paper I went about it completely different than I usually do. It was a nice wake-up call to different writing processes. The Midterm Reflective Essay, like I said, was the first time that I had to reflective on my writing as a whole. It was a daunting task to look over all my writing at that point in the class and then criticize myself. Even though it was scary it was also helpful to know that I was progressing. Besides the Midterm Reflective Essay I had to also make a
midterm portfolio. A portfolio is not something new to me, my senior year I had to make a portfolio for my Graduation Project, but something that was new to me was making a web portfolio. I was skeptical about if I could actually complete the portfolio successfully, especially because I believe that I am computer illiterate. My Midterm Portfolio turned out simple and to the point, and for me it did the job. I am sure that if I had put more time and effort into it, it would have turned out more elaborate. I am excited to rebuild my new portfolio and put forward my best effort. The Profile Inquiry Project reminded me of my Graduation Project, which at that moment made me hate the idea of doing this project. My thought process was I have to do research, then make an outline, make sure everything is in MLA format, I was not ready to do that again. Thankfully the Profile Inquiry Project was not entirely like my Graduation Project. There was still some MLA and a limit on words, but not to the point of overkill. First off was to pick a group, community, or individual that I was unfamiliar with and I wanted to know more about. There was one group in particular that I thought about instantly, and that was Greek Letter Societies, or more commonly know as fraternities and sororities. One of the first steps was to find out what my preconceived opinions were on fraternities/sororities. Which led to the paper Preconceptions. In Preconceptions we discovered our opinions and the opinions of others, as well as what was our inquiry question. Coming up with my inquiry question was easy enough, Why go Greek? After discovering my question and what I wanted to research, I went to work. Most of my research consisted of online information, and two interviews. While conducting my research I came across something very interesting, binge drinking! Then I had a revelation I was going to write about members of Greek Letter Societies and how they are more likely to engage in binge drinking. My new inquiry question was, is binge drinking more prevalent in Greek Letter Societies than in regular college students? After gathering my research and making an annotated bibliography, we as a class wrote a research reflection. In the research reflection I realized that my question was indeed being answered. One step that was largely helpful was the annotated bibliography, It gave me the chance to read over all my research. I discovered that on other papers I never really read all my research I just skimmed it and went on writing. The annotated bibliography forced me to consider all my research, and I am sure it improved my Profile Inquiry paper. After all my research, interviews, reflections it was time to write my first draft. In order to write my Profile Inquiry paper I cut myself off from the world. I went to the library, found a table all by itself, and sat down with my computer. At the table I had my annotated bibliography, my printed out research, and my ipod. I starting typing and did not stop until 3 hours later, and I looked at my word count; only 900 words. Gratefully I still had more to write about. For this specific paper I needed my music and no distractions. This was the first time I tried just leaving my comfortable surroundings and and really focusing on what I was writing about. This was when I realized that this class
was transforming me as a writer, the fact that writing this paper had become really important to me. Once completing the paper I had a conference with Mrs.Rothwell and another student. The conference is an experience that is new to me, I am use to my teachers reading over my paper, making corrections, revising the paper, and then turning it in for a final grade. The fact that I got the opportunity to hear the teachers suggestions straight from her had me slightly nervous. I had no reason to be nervous, the conference was for my benefit; to make be a more confident writer. I thought that the Profile Inquiry Project was the end of my world, but I was extremely wrong. I was not confident in my skills to successfully complete this project. I am glad to say that I was wrong and that I DID IT! Oh, there is one more similarity that this project had with my Graduation Project, that in the end I actually enjoyed it. It gave me the chance to learn something new, and that I should stop taking that for granted. The Extra Pieces were added because I wanted to show a collection of all my work in English 1103. In Extra Pieces, I have my 90 minute writing and several reading logs. The 90 minute writing had a huge role in this semester, it was the start. The first opportunity to write freely, without the usual guidelines. The reading logs were tools in helping me to better comprehend the readings in class. LIke others, I usually read through without really taking it in, and the reading logs forced me to pay attention to what I was reading. Finally, the wild card my most prized writing possession. I chose the wild card because it is something that I put a lot of work into and loved doing. I wrote a 15 page Telenovela for my Theatre class. The Telenovela was somewhat a story of a certain time in my life, it is however exaggerated. I believe I had so much fun writing this because I made into something that interested me. In the future I need to do that with all my writings because how else will a write an “A” paper.
I am writing these final sentences after completing my Final Portfolio. This Final Reflection was meant to helps us discover how we have grown as writers, and I can testify that it has done its job. I never realized how much work I put in this semester. The fact that this English class has challenged my comfortable world of writing was rough for me at first, but I can honestly say that it has made me a better writer. Whether or not others see it, all that matters is that I do, that I see that I am more confident in my skills as a writer.