Georgia State University was my destination the fall of 2005. I was a starting freshman for the class of 2009. Everything seemed to be going perfect because I had graduated high school with a high grade point average. I thought I was the ready for every class especially English 1101 because I felt that my former high school teachers had taught me everything I need for college, little did I know that I had no clue how to write like a good writer. I lacked the grammar skills I need in order to present the message I need to convey to my audience in my essays, I did not know how to have sentence variety, and last but not least I thought it was not an important thing to back up my statements with real examples. My first writing assignment grade proves that I had a lot to learn my freshman semester at Georgia State University.
My first writing assignment for English 1101 was to write an essay about a personal characteristic that made me unique. It sounded like an easy assignment so I foolishly procrastinate to begin writing my assignment but a day or a couple of hours before the assignment was due I could not think of a quality that was genuine for me. With the help of in class writing assignments, I decide to write about how my Hispanic heritage had embraced my persona. Once I got my grade back from the teacher, I was devastated and thought I should drop out of college and work at Burger King for the rest of my life. I had received an eighty-two, in my eyes it was a very low grade. First of all, I had chosen a topic that was way too broad for the assignment, I had used most of my verbs in state form instead of as in an active style, and most importantly, I had not backed up my statements with specific examples to help my audience engage themselves in my story. At this point I realized I had a lot of learning left to due. In my essay first essay, I said that, “…moralized characteristics are additions to the distinctiveness that my culture has blessed me with.” I taught it was better to simply state that my morals were integrity, faithfulness, and diligence instead of including a story to help me illustrate my point. I knew I had displayed these and many other moralized characteristics in the past, but I did not give my audience a good example for them to believe me. How were they to know about the time that with integrity, I had confess to my mother that it was not my brother who had broken her favorite bottle of perfume, that it had been me, or how were they to know that I helped my parents with their work into the late hours of the night many nights to help them earn money to pay for my older brother’s education, because family unity is a big deal in my household? This writing assignment and class discussions introduced me to a very helpful word I lacked in my writings, Ethos, which means to give credibility to one’s writing.
Despite the fact that I had been made aware of my shortcomings with my ethos through my first writings assignment, I had made it my soul purpose for my English 1101 class to give proof in all of my future writings. With the help of in-class writing assignments, I was able to comprehensively brain storm for the topics assigned. While doing these exercises, which at first seemed tedious and pointless, I began to recognize that evaluating my audience and practicing collaborate aspects of writings are crucial steps for becoming a good writer. I began to put more effort into these not so pointless class assignments after my eighty-two.
In addition to the in-class writing assignments, peer reviews helped me evaluate my writing techniques much better. My peers helped me see flaws that, I, as the author of my story, would not have seen because to me all of my writings made sense. Intimidated at first to have others, my friends, read my essay and criticize it without them having any experience in teaching or therefore grading essays, was ridiculous and humiliating at first. Later, I began to see that my peers would point out grammatical problems in my sentences, and at times would give me suggestions on how to word a sentence differently to convey the exact point I was trying to get across to the audience without confusion. Not only did my peers help me revise my paper, but they also allowed me become a better editor when I reviewed their essays. Proudly, I soon began to point out errors in my on essays before I presented my papers to my classmates.
Without a doubt, my Reader-Based essay showed the most improvement. Throughout this essay, my ideas were clearly stated and consistently supported the topic, thesis, and audience for the paper. I allow the audience to comprehend that like Andre Aciman, I too have items which hold sentimental value and that represent a milestone in my life. In this essay, I parallel my attachment to certain clothing to Aciman attachment and love for the scent of lavender. I back up my statement by describing the fact that a sweater, which was given to me by my grandmother at a very young age, brings me comfort and feelings full of happiness, like the scent of Aciman’s dad’s lavender cologne brings to him.
Additionally, I improved my writing style in this essay the most by having a better sentence variety. Throughout this paper, I incorporated short, simple sentences with longer more intriguing sentences. I learned that just because a sentence is short, it does not mean it is not meaningful. My classmates through peer reviews allowed me to see some grammatical errors in my essay like misplaced commas or sometimes the lack of them. They helped me see where a comma was needed after an introductory statement. I engaged my thoughts more during in-class assignments which help my writing style focused on the topic. This process allowed me to create and develop a well defined thesis. Understanding that writing is an on going process helped me frame Aciman’s story clearly for the audience, but while doing this I discovered a deeper understanding of the Aciman’s essay and the sentimental feels attachments to certain items people acquire with time.
Even thought I came into English 1101 unprepared, I made the most of it. I learned many things to use many writing techniques which will help me successfully get through college. I feel I leave this class with a better understanding that the writing process means that you have to continuously edit, rewrite, and revise your papers in order for them to be great. This is the biggest lesson I have acquired from my English 1101 course, and not to mention the fact that if you procrastinate, you will not fully develop the meaning of thoughts.