Being in English 1A this semester has truly assisted me in becoming a better writer, reader, and critical thinker. Reading the many essays, stories, etc. has introduced me to writing more creatively, as well as using others’ opinions to help me create the essays, journals, and outlines that I have completed this semester. Not only had reading, alone, helped me, but the discussions in class have also pushed me to try different techniques when writing. That being said, did taking this class really help me? The answer: most definitely.
How I Became a Stronger Writer
Through the numerous essays that I have written in this class, including the essay I am currently writing, I have learned how to use my ideas and opinions to assistant me in becoming a better writer. From the first to the last essay that I have written so far, I think that I have greatly improved. By asking questions and listening to others’ opinions, I learned that not only do my thoughts and ideas help, but others’ do as well. When listening to my classmates’ opinions, I got a chance to really understand both sides of the situation, as well as some examples I could use. For example, on my Rituals and Routines first draft, my classmates had a chance to edit my paper. According to Mr. Daher and other students as well, I had a lot of redundancy throughout my paper, which assisted me into writing a finer, more edited essay. By listening to their corrections and expanding my thoughts more deeply, I got an 82%. Another good example is on my Magical Realism essay. On my first draft, I got many comments on what I should do to improve my writing. One student commented saying ‘you need some quotes to back this up’, while another student agreed. With these comments and opinions, my final draft ended up being fuller and had more thought put into it. When finished, I got an 88% on the essay.
Not only has writing essays assisted me on my quest to becoming a better writer, but the journals we wrote this semester have pushed me, as well. I think that writing journals definitely benefited me because I got the chance to expand my thoughts more deeply and state my own opinions. A great way to exemplify this is by looking at the first journal I wrote. We had to read a chapter in the book The Blair Reader, and I ended up choosing the ‘focus’ section, which was about same-sex marriage. I was excited to get a chance to write my own thoughts on the dilemma. The quote I chose to present in this essay is ‘Why make the 14th amendment if it’s not going to be followed? Why some states allow gay marriage and others don’t is beyond me. How some can question the idea of marriage is strange because whether they are same-sex or not, they still want to prove their love and be committed to this love with that of a marriage certificate. . .’ The total score I got on this journal was a 20 and I am proud that I got to show my opinion in such a way.
By reading through the book The Blair Reader by Laurie G. Kirszner, I have learned that by reading through other’s work, you gain the ability to write well. Reading through chapter three, I ran across the essay “Sexism in English: Embodiment and Language” by Alleen Pace Nilsen. I felt strongly about this piece of work because it discussed the roles of men and women. The way that Nilsen wrote this essay, in story form, really helped me in writing my own papers. Writing in story form is something that I wanted to try. By reading through this essay, I gained a new way that I could eventually write a paper. While skimming through the essay, I found the quote ‘If you see an old man, sit down and take a lesson; if you see an old woman, throw a stone” (Kirszner 159). When looking at quotes like this, I get to expand my own thoughts, which I find is something that really helps me when writing my own essay.
Last but not least, another thing that helped me in becoming a better writer, reader, and critical thinker was the outlines we had to construct before writing a complete essay. In the beginning, I thought that when you were assigned an essay to write, you just wrote it, without creating an outline. In Mr. Daher’s class this semester, I learned that to write a better, fuller essay, you had to construct an outline. At first, I thought this was a dumb idea, but as the semester continued, I learned that these outlines really helped me when writing essays. The very first outline I made wasn’t in outline format. I didn’t know there was an outline format at all. I quickly learned by reading through the Bedford Handbook and became
really good at constructing them. When making this outlines, other students got a chance to read through them and stated what they thought I should include. For example, on my Magical Realism outline, another classmate of mine wrote ‘Another point of magical realism is: the blood of Jose Arcadio navigates itself to where Ursula is located, Ursula talks when she’s dead, Ursula played as a doll when she’s old, and when Ursula dies, nature goes awreak.’ This helped by introducing me to more examples of magical realism and told me that I should try to reread the book. These outlines greatly helped me and will definitely do this from now on in the English classes I will have in the future, even if it is not assigned.
Becoming a better writer, reader, and critical thinker has not been easy. Through all the coursework that I have done in the class, I think that the essays alone helped me the most. Having essays due one after another has assisted me by challenging myself to finish them in a timely manner. By pushing myself to finish these essays on time, as well as the other pieces of work we were assigned, had taught me that I need to sit down longer and sooner so that I can fully state my thoughts and opinions without rushing. I believe that writing has now become easy for me and I enjoy it a lot more than before; because of this, I think that writing will possibly be in my future, and might even become my major.