Coming into this class I was aware that my writing abilities were not the most resilient. I attempted this class my senior year in high school, but due to lack of motivation and laziness I received a D for the class. Seeing that I needed to retake a class that was not particularly my most successful topic pushed me to achieve success. I established a goal, to pass the class with at least a B, and I am only one more paper away from doing that. I’m writing this letter to tell you how my writing has changed for the better over the semester, and the obstacles that I had to overcome.
The first day of class was comparable to a culture shock in regards to writing. All throughout school I have been writing papers based on the 5 paragraph layout until college. The 5 paragraph layout is the introduction, followed by 3 paragraphs as the body, and a conclusion. That was the normal type of writing I was accustomed to. When it was revealed that the 5 paragraph layout was for beginners I felt worried. Not only did I not have confidence in my writing, the type of writing I was comfortable with was gone.
Although I was startled at first I came to realize that the idea of letting the controlling idea shape the paper, instead of the thesis, was going to enhance my paper and develop a confidence in my writing. In high school I was aware of what I was trying to write, but I had trouble fitting the information into my paper like puzzle pieces due to the predetermined layout. The new papers would allow my paper flow freely. The natural flow came with help of another positive skill I learned in this class.
I learned this skill reading “Shitty First Draft,” a bold name for an article, but I am glad that I read it. I transformed my attitude about feeling the need to write gold on the first try, which directly affected my confidence with writing. I always assumed people just knew how to write and made it look outstanding on their first try, but that was not me. Knowing that some great writers wrote whatever came to their mind continuously, then aggressively revised allowed me feel at ease.
I could write how I prefer and not worry about what my first draft looks like. My first drafts were key to my success in Freshman Composition, but they also provided me obstacles. Although writing freely helped tremendously with avoiding writers block, it jumbled up all my thoughts and ideas. The research paper proved to be the most challenging for me. I went through my sources, wrote them down on paper, and eventually decided where I stood on the topic at hand.
As I started to freely write, my opinion on the subject changed and before too long my rough draft looked as if two different people wrote a separate half of the paper. The introduction did not add up with what I was trying to argue, and my conclusion brought up my controlling idea for the first time. My narrative paper also provided me challenges. I was writing what I thought to be a well written, unique aspect on a subject. What I didn’t realize was that my passion for the subject made me include useless events in regards to the paper.
I also provided a personal story, but in the middle of the paper, which felt out of place. What I did for both of these papers was create a separate word document, copy and paste the paragraphs all mixed up and out of order, then put them in an order than made the logical sense. After that I would add my transitions and improve my introduction and conclusion in order to accurately draw the reader in, and leave them with something to care about after the paper is over. Making it all tie together was the key struggle which I eventually achieved.
My research paper was without a doubt the most difficult paper I have ever written, but at the end of the day I finished the paper and received a grade that I am proud of. The tips I received form class proved to be helpful, but also the feedback I received from my peers in class noticeably influenced my paper. Both my peers on my first paper saw that an entire paragraph was unnecessary, they also advised that I should switch paragraphs around, and lastly they marked their favorite paragraph and told me to model the rest of my paper as such.
I took all advice provided, but knowing that I had an excellent paragraph made me understand that it was possible to write an excellent paper. I wouldn’t have known this information if it wasn’t for my peers. Going into the research paper group conference I was extremely unprepared, but because of one peer truly wanting me to succeed she sought out my paper and passed it on to another member of the group a few hours before our conference.
I was willing to accept attending the conference with a below average paper that no one had read, but instead I finished my paper before the conference and had two sets of eyes to critique me. Their feedback was much, because I would struggle with making my research paper come together. Yet again with the support and hard work I put forth I received another grade I was proud of. Now that the semester is over I am relieved, but I appreciate the lessons that I learned in Freshman Comp.
Some of the lessons were as simple as not waiting until the last second if I desired any sleep, other lessons involved listening to others feedback and advice they had for my writing. I will, and already have applied what I have learned in this class. I am not moving on from this class with the thought that I am the best writer to ever write, but I am leaving this class with the knowledge that I am capable of writing successfully. Even though English is not my most favorite subject, I am thankful to have had a class and professor which led me to success and provided me the tools to be successful on the roads which await.