This first semester has flown by and it is crazy how fast it has gone. Within this first semester, I have learned a lot more about myself; the things that I already thought I knew, it turns out I really didn’t. I feel like the one thing that has improved most is my writing ability and understanding of paragraph structure. However, there are things that I still need to improve on that I have learned in this class. Before coming to college and taking this course I thought I was a very detailed writer and I felt that my paragraph and sentence structure was very precise. On the contrary, after starting this course I found out that I am not a very good writer. My sentence structure was all over the place and my paragraph structure was hectic. Now that I have finished the course and I am reflecting on my work I can tell that I have improved tremendously.
Although there were many lessons in this course there were a couple that really impacted my writing and helped me to improve my ability. One of these lessons was about paragraph structure and placement. When I first learned about it I was puzzled and confused about how to utilize it in my essays. However, after a couple of essays and lessons I started to get the hang of it. I found myself re-reading my essays and then swapping the positioning of my paragraphs. This was making my essays more fluid and sound better, one of my essays I had to completely switch the placement of the paragraphs at least five or six times. Even after that, I still felt the essay didn’t sound right and the flow was a little off. I began to take pieces out of the original paragraphs and formulate new and improved sentences. I tried to make my work my own and make my essays unique, I did this by including personal experiences and anecdotes. I found it difficult trying to restructure the sentences out of my thoughts but, when I did, I felt that it made the paragraphs read smoothly. In the end, I would end up with a completely different essay than what I had started with that looked and sounded much better than the original.
Another way that I feel that I have improved my writing is in the sentence structure. I thought I was really good at sentence structure because they called me the “Grammar Nazi” in high school. Well, as it turns out, the best grammar doesn’t always mean great sentences. My English teachers were always fond of my grammar and they said I would be able to put it to good use in my life beyond high school. Yes, the grammar is certainly helpful but, it is only beneficial when you have strong sentence structure to go along with it. Now that I have learned good sentence structure, I find it much easier to write essays. Prior to this class, I would write and just put words on paper, but now I can recognize a good sentence and a bad sentence. Having the capability of knowing what a good and bad sentence look like I am confident that I will write better and more fluid essays.
Reading is not my strong point, so finding proper sources is difficult for me. There are times that I find myself becoming confused by the what the article is trying to tell me. I feel that I need to work on using outside sources because I tend to use personal experience to write my essays. I realize that this will not benefit me in the long run because in my young life, I have not experienced as much as others and I may run out of things to write about. I need to improve my ability to understand what articles are trying to state and discover the evidence in them as well. I feel that I know how to cite sources well, it seems that I just cannot grasp the piece of evidence I am looking for or I end up choosing the wrong piece of evidence for my essay.
Revising essays seems to be what I have the most difficulty with. It becomes confusing to me trying to decide what is necessary to revise and make it better than it is. My professor gives me very specific details about what I should consider doing in my revision, but for some reason I cannot grasp what he fully wants my revision to look like. I have taken his advice and tried follow his instructions, but I do not seem to get very good feedback when I do. I am not blaming my professor for this However, it is difficult for me to fully understand how he wants me to revise the essay. As I continue through my education, I am determined to improve this skill. I think what will help me to improve is to bring my papers to the writing center to have them proofread. My goal is to eventually develop this skill well enough to be able to do it on my own.
This course has taught me many things about me and my writing. I have formed many strengths within this course. Paragraph placement and structure is my most improved by far. I did not know that placement of a paragraph mattered as much as it does and that some essays sound better if paragraph structure is appropriate. I have also improved with sentence structure; knowing where to place a certain piece of evidence, to erasing certain sentences because they do not fit in with the paragraph or the surrounding sentences. A couple of major components that I need to improve are essay revision and using effective sources. I feel that I overuse personal experience in my essays and that I need to start reaching out to experience other opinions and other views. I need to include more evidence rather than just my personal experience because, mine are not the only experiences, and I need more meat to my essays and feel that evidence will add to it. I will continue to use the strengths that I have gained from this course and will continue to work on the ones I need to improve upon.