Reading is really important, whether its on the highway finding where to go, or reading the back of a label to inquire if it’s a can of rat poison or black olives. Writing is equally as important for expressing ideas and communication and if your skilled enough, like I believe I am, making a career out of it. Reflection comes after writing and is all about going over the writing and making it perfect; or at least striving to, because writing is never perfect.
And research, my least favorite of the four is done through tedious searches but is necessary for making a work jam packed with information and reliability. I believe this course has helped me improve my writing, reading, reflecting and research skills.
This class is jam packed with reading, whether it’s reading PEOP’s, or an article about Discourse Communities it never seemed to stop. The reading I did only became more diverse as the semester progressed, but we then even had the choice of the subject the reading was on.
I’ve read more this semester than I have in a long time, in fact I hardly ever read before this class. College itself has lead me to read a lot more, expanding my mind and making me more ingenious, my reading skill has improved vastly in this class, simply by learning you pick up words and if your lucky convert them to your own dictionary. I sometimes come across words in reading, which I specifically like, and try to incorporate them into my speech and eventually they just stick.
I’ve come across a vast genre of works in this class, that I otherwise I may have never encountered. Firstly PEOP’s, which is a quick insight into a person, and are actually quite fun to make; I made one referring to myself and my friends and the degree of specialization we share, the discourse community we’re in. The content was meaningful because it was so relevant. I mentioned a goal we all shared, that of winning the fantasy football trophy nicknamed “The Golden Bear”, which I still strive to get daily, and now am actually in the final two and hope to win it and keep it and love it. I’ve included an “artifact” of the PEOP I made to show how my writing was in the beginning, it makes quite an interesting read, there are a few things I would edit, like how I refer to my “girlfriend” who is now a thing of the past, but regardless I believe it shows an accurate representation of my writin ability and comfort in making a piece of writing.
PEOPS were cool because they were relevant and happening right then. I read about the conversation and realized that it occurred all the time, in fact it was present at that moment between me and Bazerman as he filled me in on the details. My content improved as time went on, I like to think I put more “beef” into my writing with stronger points and harder claims. I find I still struggle wording the claim, and often find myself revising it, but that’s part of the writing process anyway.
For example: “The south was an anarchy with no rules or punishments for whites, they felt their need to establish dominance by rape, and if it was not for the hard work of African American activists the reform could have been slower” (Karapatsakis 1). An exert from a paper I wrote for a History class, it was based on a book I read, written by the professor, Danille McGuirre: At The Dark End Of The Street Black Women, Rape and Resistance- a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power.
I read the book with skills I picked up in class, and formed a conversation, or maybe chat due to the fact I never really reached the end of the novel, except I found myself really digesting the information better than I would have been able to before this class and the first 50 pages of the book are littered with comments and random sentences occasional random thoughts and conversation. I pulled most of my evidence for said essay from the first 50 pages, believe it or not. My reading skill has expanded vastly through this class.
Instead of skimming my eyes across letters printed on dead trees I actually read and understand the information the author is presenting to me, and I talk back. Sometimes I even get answers later in the paper, which is my favorite, its like they anticipate the questions or just decide to elaborate and fill my soul with joy. Reading is a pastime which I enjoy, I read for fun my favorite book being I Am Legend. In fact this class drove me to write about my favorite book and how it inspired me.
The piece which I have included as an artifact, titled Inspiration Text: I Am Legend, it speaks about my inspiration to write, it speaks of insanity in a way that is so real, I feel like this is a real story. In fact just thinking about it like now makes me go want to crank open that book. In this course I learned that writing is never done, just due. I keep constantly revising, the essay due with my portfolio, and every time I leave it I feel better about it. But still even now I feel like I should go back and make it better, and add more to it.
Writing is so connected with reflecting because you need to reflect on writing and keep going over it until its perfect. Perfect: I wrote a paper about it once, speaking about how nothing is perfect and everything can be improved or done better, records are made to be broken. Perfect is almost a waste of a word because what does it mean? The best that’s currently out I guess is perfect, but not really. It can always be better. I go over my writing again and again and I always find something else, I always strive to make it perfect, but it never is and I just find something that I hate in every paper I write and I tear it out and stick something else in.
Before this class I was confident in my ability to write, and after this class I find that my writing is trash and after about six revisions it’s ready and made presentable. The piece I left as an artifact, after I read it I felt like maybe it was incomplete. I wrote some more and saved the new one, why, not that I believe I’ll ever need it again, but I just like writing, and this class has showed me that I just need to write on the same paper and go over everything ten times. “The reason I was so inspired by this novel is Matheson made a complete community and fictional characters into real people” an exert from Inspirational Text: I Am Legend, I will now dissect said sentence with how I read and my stream of thought.
The reason I was so inspired by this novel; I think, which novel? And then my mind starts to wander, have I read the book? Is it the same as my favorite book? Is it Captain underpants? Bring myself back to the sentence; Matheson made a complete community and fictional characters into real people, here I’m skeptical actually because how obsessed must someone be to see characters as real people? As obsessed as the Twilight Saga fans that were upset that Edward didn’t play a good enough Edward? I feel like the author is a book worm, fortunately enough my mind makes the connection that Matheson is my favorite author and continues to express truly it must be the same book I enjoy so much, his most famous work. I now respect the author.
What’s worse than spending hours in front of a laptop slaving away doing research to become more knowledgeable about a subject you might not really care about, like earlier this semester I was doing research on obesity for my English class, and I am sad to say I just don’t care about the disease. I mean I understand it’s a problem but as someone unaffected by it I am selfish enough to not really care. I don’t really know anyone that suffers from it and feel like its self inflicted and easily avoidable, so I don’t pity those affected. Research skills are helpful to save someone from that situation, I would pay money to spend an hour verse five is a huge deal.
This class helped me hone my skills in how to conduct research and properly site it. With the CRAAP test, something I use for all research now, I’m able to identify if the information is valuable with Currency, Relevance, Authority (if the source is good), Accuracy (if the information is legitimate), and Purpose (why is this here). The CRAAP test which I’ve added is referred to every time I have to do a research paper, thanks to English 1000 I now know how to cite, with block quoting and regular quoting and finally works cited. Works cited is easily done through easybib, a cite developed to easily integrate bibliographies into papers. Reflecting, oh how agonizing the pains of reflection can be.
Reflection can drive one man but is truly necessary for the fallacy of perfection to be achieved with a piece. This class taught me something very important, actually the most important lesson was how reflection never ends. I have included and artifact called What We Already Know to show how much revision and reflection I do. I went over the paper three times and I think I’m going to comb through it just one last time before turning it in. In the future when I look at a new paper I can reflect on pieces I have read like it and how I can better approach it.