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.
We made it! Most of us have been checked out mentally since we got back from spring break. We have all been looking forward to summer and not worrying about school for a good four months. This is a bittersweet feeling. I know that I am excited to go home to see all of my friends, but we are leaving behind a whole new life that we have started here at CSUMB. I know that I will not miss homework, writing essays, and cramming in last minute work. But, I will definitely miss all my new friends over the summer. I can’t wait until I finish all of my work because then I will feel like summer has officially begun.
Although we are done with class, I feel like I have so much work left to do still. I am going home this weekend, so I am going to be working hard on finishing everything. I don’t feel like summer is here yet because I am so stressed out still. At least now I am caught up on my blogs because I haven’t done them in a while. It was easy to forget about them because I thought that we didn’t have to do them anymore after spring break. I can’t believe that this class is actually over. I enjoyed this class a lot even though it was a challenge for me.
I was very nervous about having David look over my essay because I didn’t know if it was good or not. After the meeting, I was very happy because overall there was only one major thing that I had to work on for my essay. I have to work on incorporating the second part of my thesis more throughout my essay. This is also what I didn’t do in the last essay. This is hard for me because the way I see it, the second part of the thesis is more of an implied thing. I guess not, because I got marked down for that. At least I know what I have to do to make my essay better now. I also need to work on making my topic sentences clearer because a lot of the time I just jump right into what I am going to talk about instead of using a good transition. I am happy with my essay so far because it turned out a lot better than I thought it would.
As I talked about before, peer review was very helpful. This weekend, I am dreading writing my essay because a have a long way to go. I am a little nervous because I have a meeting with David on Monday and I want my essay to be really good, so I won’t have much to edit after the meeting. Now, I at least know what I am going to write about for the most part, which is more than I can say for the beginning of the week. I am very stressed and I just want this essay to be over and done with.
We got to go outside and peer review our essays. It was nice to get a change in scenery. I wanted to have a full eight pages for people to edit, but I wasn’t able to write as much as I hoped. I know we talked about how “writer’s block” is not really a real thing earlier in the class, but now I am starting to think that it’s a lie. I sat down multiple times for long periods and tried to write my essay, but nothing seemed to be coming to me. What I needed out of peer review was for my readers to tell me what I could add to my essay would make it more clear about the point that I am trying to prove. Also, I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas on what I could add from DeSalvo into my essay. I have a Pennebaker paragraph in there, but I have no idea where to go with DeSalvo. Everyone seemed a little stumped on the relationship between Pennebaker, DeSalvo, and my essay, but I did get help with other things that I could add to make my essay longer. It is easier for an outside person that doesn’t know about meditation to give ideas because they aren’t the one writing the paper. As usual, peer review was very effective in my mind.
The writing process for my last essay in this class is going slower than ever. I have all of the research done, but writing this is a real challenge. It probably doesn’t help that I have no motivation whatsoever to write this essay. I have definitely hit rock bottom with this semester coming to an end. I feel like I am swimming in essays, presentations, and finals and I don’t want to do any of them. I really want to finish strong with this essay, but I really don’t even know where to start. Maybe I’ll just try to come up with a very detailed graphic organizer and see if that helps. At this point, I just want to get these eight pages done with.