OK. Here is what I have written, please someone proofread it taking the guidelines above into consideration:
This Is Only the Beginning
This is my first year in the Linguistics department of Hacettepe University. I can easily say that this university is not quite what I expected it to be. I was hoping to improve myself in many fields, but this did not happen in the first year, since I had to deal with my courses more than anything else. However, my English dramatically improved thanks to the courses. I would like to evaluate this year in terms of how I improved my English skills (speaking, writing, reading and listening), while doing nothing about the other fields I was interested in (arts and sports).
First of all, I have been able to improve my expressive English skills thanks to a native speaker’s being our lecturer, and having courses on how to express ourselves better in English. Margaret was the lecturer of our writing course. I learned many new words, idioms, grammar structures and expressions in her classes, which would have me state my thoughts in a more comprehensible way in written language. Also, both in our writing and reading classes we had discussions about various controversial subjects that helped me improve my speaking skills. We were having phonetics at the same time, and as a student trying to attend all the classes, I improved my pronunciation. So, I can say that I am grateful for my department to help me meet my objectives in expressing myself both in spoken and written language.
Secondly, my receptive skills have also improved with the help of the courses like reading, literature, and listening comprehension. Even though I did not have much difficulty in reading and understanding course books, articles, reading passages and the like, I was rather poor at literal texts, or in other words, the figurative use of English language. By the help of our literature classes, I got over this problem, and now I can mostly understand what Shakespeare or Hemingway says. My listening skills, likewise, improved remarkably after having taken the listening comprehension courses. I was unable to differentiate between the words that resemble each other like “mate” and “made” before I took those courses. I can say that listening to someone speaking English has become one of the easiest tasks ever with the help of my lecturers.
Thirdly, even though there has been a big improvement in my English skills, I have not been able to deal with arts or sports, both of which are my main interests. I was hoping to have art lessons such as painting and music. However, all the courses are academic ones. Another deficit of my department –or of the university in general- is that there are not many sports activities going on. Because of these reasons, I felt rather “antisocial” in my first year in the university. As a result, not having done anything in these two areas is the only objective that I missed this year, but I am thinking of taking piano and karate courses next year from another university. If only my university gave more importance to these two areas!
Consequently, although I was not very content with the overall situation of the university this year, I must admit that my English skills have improved drastically within this year. I, however, still feel sad about not being able to take any courses from my areas of interest. Who knows, maybe this was only the beginning. Maybe, I am going to like this university better. Only time will show!