Before I start, I would like to state some things about myself. I am an extremely flawed human and even more of a flawed student. When looked through from a writing lens, I roughly resemble swiss cheese. You will certainly be able to see that from this letter.
This semester I took English 101. In this course I learnt many things, not only about the topics at hand, also about myself. I came into the course not being particularly confident in my writing abilities. To this day that has not changed. I am 100% at fault for this. What I can say has changed was my understanding of my writing process. In high school I was never able to write and work as myself. Here, I was highly encouraged to use the same process I was told to use in high school. I am sorry to say, I did not use the process. The process which I am talking about is first researching your topic, then writing a draft, followed by revising it until you believe it to be good enough. I find that it leaves many holes in your knowledge and gives you a very limited number of sources of which to educate your opinion on and write about. What I did for the Diagnostic and Final essays was to start off with a very small amount of research, enough to get my feet wet. Then I write as many body paragraphs as I can. After I finish those, I take some time to think what would be good for this essay. This step leads me fully plunge myself into the pool of research. I believe this is much better because it allows me to know what I want to know about. At the start all you look is your topic. Now I can look for specific questions which I have had whilst writing. After I find some more sources, I write more paragraphs. I then continue this process until I reach X number of pages, X being the minimum number of pages -1. Then I write my introduction and conclusion. I hardly ever go back to an essay after I write it. I know it is not the correct thing to do. But my mind cannot go back to something I have done and find how to make it better. It just is not made like that. If I submitted a piece of work, it means I believe it to be as good as I can write it. It often turns out to be not by best work. Despite that I have not changed my process because it is comfortable for me and works with decent to good results. This can all be seen in my writings from this semester. I truly believe that that process infiltrates its way into everything I do. From the Diagnostic Essay, into a weekly Reflection Post.
Something Which I have changed due to this course is how I look at evidence and other’s writings. This course has made me learn how to analyze a writing and try to understand the author’s point of view. Sometimes, I have absolutely no clue what they are saying or why they are even writing in the first place. That happened with the poem African Majesty by Nourbese Phillips and I expressed my feelings on it in my reflection post. Apart from Phillips, the only other writer who truly stumped me was Martin Heidegger with his text Introduction to Metaphysics. Most of the time, I could understand the writings and make my own take on what they were trying to get across with their, at times, cryptic way of writing. That is of course my opinion. Before this class I was able to analyze texts at around a 9th grade level, mostly because of English being my second language. Now I can say that has at least improved by a couple of grades. I also learnt how to take these texts, extract their information, and write about them in a form as to inform the reader on these topics. When writing my Final Essay, I took hours to read and truly analyze my sources to make sure I could squeeze every drop of water I thought was available. Across the span of this course’s writings, I have been able to explore my own writing style. The weekly reflections are a great example of how my brain truly works and thinks about writing. Through my work, my use of vocabulary can can shift depending on the audience to which I am writing for. For example, in one of my reflection posts I wrote “For me, once my brain gets flowing it’s like a flash flooding river. The true problem is how to get it there. My neutral writing position is that between a 5-month drought and a wildfire.” In this, I write extremely calmly yet at the same time remain a formal sense of respect for all who might read my post. My Final Essay was meant to be a touch more formal, yet still accessible to people of my age and general lexicon. In it I wrote “we cannot underestimate the consequences that could have on the human brain. Since the dawn of the human era, time has been a vital and somewhat mythical concept. Some civilizations even went so far as to attach a God or Goddess to it. If someone could have a different framework from which to look at a concept as complex as time, who knows what could come of it.” I will not say that I have mastered writing for an audience, for that would be a vast hyperbole. Despite that, I will say that I have significantly improved. Another area of improvement has been my ability to analyze texts of all types and still be able to write about them in the same way. During this class, we have read poems, books, letters, watched films and visual albums. They are all incredibly different mediums with which to transmit your message to the public. Even though they are different an analysis will always be of the same type and same style. This allows for a sense of uniformity in different works. In my Diagnostic essay I was able to analyze the movie Amistad viewed through the lens of cinematography and sound design. To do this I used a variety of sources ranging from articles and websites, to youtube videos by professional musicians.
Rest of the portfolio: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/eng101-language-and-violence/2020/12/10/final-portfolio/