For the past semester, I have been going to my WRTG 1150 class every week, with each class presenting new challenges and new skills that I can use to better my writing. In the beginning of the class, I did not believe that my academic writing would improve to a certain degree, this is because when I first started the class I had a slightly negative outlook on the class and felt as if it was just taking up space that I could fill with “better” classes. But by the end of the semester my outlook, and my academic writing, improved to a certain degree.
I still have a lot of work and practice to do to make my academic writing the best it can be, but by the varying assignments I have done I have been able to improve as a writer and editor of my own work. And I have become better at giving feedback to my peers work as well. I attempted to improve certain aspects of my writing and my outlook on the writing process, but continued to struggle with it. I have learned how to better prepare for essays that I must write and how to look at the writing process with a positive outlook rather than with dread. These are a few of the values that I learned by doing the work assigned this semester, and I find that I can apply these values to other parts of my life. As a function of my work this semester, my academic writing has improved to the degree that I can see an upward trend with my grades. At the beginning of the class, I tried to write my essays exactly like how I did in high school because I felt comfortable writing in that way.
And as a result, I received a good grade on my first essay. But as the semester went on and I learned different parts of writing, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, I had to adapt and find a new way to write that felt comfortable but also applied the new information that I learned. I was initially very afraid of incorporating the new aspects into my writing for the second essay because they were new to me and I did not know how to write about them “correctly”. But after my first set of feedback from the instructor and the feedback from my peers, I was better able to understand what the aim of the essay was and how to go about incorporating pathos, ethos, and logos into my essay. Similar to my previous essay, I received a good grade on the essay. However, I did notice that my grade for my second essay was slightly higher than the grade on my first essay.
As the third essay or as I called it, my research paper, was assigned. I had to figure out how to set what I had learned over the semester to one side, and focus on writing a more scientific paper. This transition was difficult for me because I did not want to write a longer essay and must mention statistics and the scholarly work of others into my paper. I found that process hard and never found what I wrote good to my standards. However, once I received feedback everything started to feel better after that. When I received the feedback from the instructor, I found it much easier to apply the feedback into my next draft. Whether this is due to it just being easier for me to fix a scientific paper, or my improvement in understanding the feedback and knowing where to fix aspects of my writing, it was much easier to edit and add more to my research paper compared to the other essays I have written for the class.
When I received my grade for my research paper, I was happy with my grade. I realized how much I had improved over the course of the semester because the grade I got for my second essay compared to the third were significantly different in a positive way. To me that meant that what I learned and applied to my writing was working at helping me become a better academic writer. But, I also knew that I still had a long way to go to better improve my writing and grades. Another way in which my academic writing has improved is that I no longer dread the writing process.
Before class I always had to give myself a pep-talk and try to find ways to make myself want to go to class and not hate it. The desire to want to go to class and learn was especially low when I had to read different essays and papers from Everything is an Argument and Knowing Words. In the class everything from short newspaper articles, to long research papers were read. At first, I did not know why we were reading these pieces of writing. I would find myself asking how do these examples relate to the class I was in, and how were they supposed to help me become a better academic writer? How was reading about women at Smith College, or reading about a brochure from a different college, supposed to help my academic writing improve? Surprisingly enough, as the semester went on, and after reading the assigned readings and analyzing it in class, I slowly came to understand why I had to read the different writings. In the Everything is an Argument book, each example talked about or related to a larger topic in the world we live in, such as diversity or food sustainability. By reading these examples, I was able to become more informed and cultured to different ways of living as well as to what is happening in the world today. By learning this it made me more eager to read what I was assigned and made me more interested in them too.
And by me being more interested in what I was reading, it was much easier and more enjoyable to write about it in my essays. Regarding the Knowing Words book, I found that each example related to learning how to improve certain aspects of writing and I learned that not every prompt has to be addressed in the exact same way. Reading the examples form this book really helped me improve my academic writing because of two reasons. One is because they were written by students, so it was easy for me to relate to what they were saying and helped me see how I could improve my writing just like they have and thus invigorated me to try harder and become more enthusiastic to write.
And the second reason is that many of the examples were written with different techniques that pulled their work together into one cohesive piece that was interesting to read and became a goal that I wanted to achieve. Overall, I do believe that my academic writing has improved as a function of my work this semester. I can tell that my academic writing has improved because I noticed two things. The first is that my grades have consistently gotten better as the class progressed. And the second is that I noticed that I no longer dread the writing process. I was able to become a better writer by taking the WRTG 1150 class and learning new concepts and skills from my instructor, by learning how to better understand and apply feedback from my instructor and peers, and by being more open to reading the work of others and seeing how it can help in improving my own writing. The question that I want to end on is, Am I already done learning how to write? And my answer to that is no.
I believe that I will always be learning on how to improve as a writer. This is because there is no perfect writer or perfect way to write. I find knowing the fact that I will always be learning how to improve my writing gratifying because it represents one of my values that when I fail and struggle that I will always stand back up and continue to strive to do better and to improve.