I have learned a lot about myself as a writer and about writing in general in this class. Before this class, I have never been challenged in reading and writing at all. All throughout high school, AP and honors English classes were not too challenging for me. In this class, I actually learned how to write. I learned that sometimes it is okay if I cannot write my whole essay at one time. I just have to take a break and come back to it. I learned that essays don’t necessarily have to follow a certain formula to be good. I was always taught to have a three-pronged thesis with three body paragraphs, an introduction paragraph, and a conclusion. My essays in this class went way beyond that. I had to learn how to organize my paper so that it would make sense to the reader. I struggled with this because I always assumed that the reader has the same knowledge as I do, which is certainly not the case. I also learned about how to focus my sentences. I noticed that I would use a lot of abstract words such as “it,” which have no meaning to the reader. Subordinates were words that I have always used, but I found out that I wasn’t using them correctly. I always used them for comparing and contrasting two ideas, but I didn’t ever realize that the subordinate made the sentence that it was connected to weaker. As for learning about myself as a writer, I think that I did gain confidence with my writing in this class. I didn’t think that I was a good writer at all coming into this year, but I realized that if I just changed a couple of aspects of my essay that my writing would be very good. I am very good at coming up with ideas, but I need to work on phrasing them in a way that makes the most sense to the reader (grammar and mechanics).
Some of the readings, especially in unit two, challenged me because not many of them were very easy to read. I learned that it is much easier to analyze and take notes while I am reading, rather that having to go back and reread everything. It would have been very helpful for me to highlight and mark up the texts as we read them because going back and looking for quotes for my essays was very time consuming. If I were to do the class all over again, I would definitely tried to take a little more time with the readings the first time, rather than going back and looking at them all over again. This would have saved me a lot of time and effort with my essays. Discussing the readings in class was very helpful because for some of the readings I had no idea what was going on. I used to be really against working in groups, but in college it is very helpful because most students have a different insight, even if we are talking about the same topic.
To my surprise, peer review was very helpful this year. It was nice to have people who actually wanted to help me with my essays. In high school, no one took editing essays seriously because no one really cared or they were too scared to tell the writer that their essay was horrible. In this class, I got some really good feedback that made my essay much stronger in my opinion. Peer review taught me to look at my essay from another person’s point of view, rather than just assuming that I am always making sense. Hearing other people read my essay taught me that having another person edit my writing is essential if I want to be effective in my writing.
This is the first class I had where I could relate what I learned to other classes. Writing as a type of healing went hand in hand with my other class, which talked about disease in the community. The ideas about inhibition and confession for example, related to many things that we talked about in my other class. There are two main ideas from this class that I plan to “transfer” to my future writing. One is that I am going to make sure my writing is organized and doesn’t jump from one idea to another without transitioning first. The other idea is that I will work on my writing in chunks, rather than trying to write all at once. This proved to be very effective, despite my unwillingness to try this strategy. A small idea that we learned about in this class is APA format, which I have never used before. Knowing this will be very helpful, especially in my future courses that require this type of formatting.