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Final Portfolio and Reflection Letter

This site is an archive of the work that I completed as part of ENGRD101 at Emory University during the spring semester of 2022.

At the start of the semester, we were faced with the following learning outcomes: To compose texts in multiple genres, using multiple modes; to summarize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the ideas of others as you undertake scholarly inquiry in order to produce your own arguments; to practice writing as a process, recursively implementing strategies of research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection; to demonstrate collaborative skills in classroom discussion and while working together on projects and presentations; and to use technology rhetorically and appropriately, and engage responsibly in online spaces. When I first read through the website, to be completely honest, I was terrified. Even though I have always loved to read, I have struggled my whole life into putting thoughts into words; essays were my worst nightmare. So, when I noticed the common ‘denominator’ being essays, I panicked.

I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘numbers’ person. I like being handed numbers because  I like following specific steps. It’s nice and ‘easy’ and it doesn’t really require me to think outside the box in terms of creativity and imagination. This course challenged me in ways that I didn’t think were possible, but in which at the end of the day, I quite enjoyed it a lot. As mentioned earlier, I have always struggled with essays, procrastinating until the very last second… The methods taught in this class made me approach essay writing in a way I was never taught before. It was not “here is the prompt, write” anymore, but more of a “here is the prompt, what do you actually think about it?”. 

Being raised in a British School, I was taught that everything had a specific structure and a specific ‘outline’ to follow, and any deviation from it would result in a terrible grade. This course opened my eyes to possibilities I’d never thought of before. It wasn’t the PEEL (Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link) paragraphs anymore, but actually how your mind thinks. I’ve noticed that my essays flow a lot better now and you can actually resonate with my train of thinking while you read my current essays.

I believe that my work this semester has been able to help me reflect on the course. I have come to understand the concepts better, I have gained a deeper understanding of the course and its connections to my own life, and how I have changed over the last semester. This class has helped me understand my ‘true’ writing style better and to gain a deeper understanding of my own writing. I have learned so much more about myself as a writer, and I don’t think I’m ever going back to writing how I used it before, it feels too roboty. 

Furthermore, this course taught me to be a more reflective person. I used to have a somewhat toxic mentality that when the task is done, I never have to think about it again. I would write for completion and not actually for learning and enjoyment. During the semester, after every essay or presentation, we would have to submit a reflection: our thought process behind it, why we chose what we chose, and what we thought about it, among several other questions that really challenged and stimulated our thinking. I now see myself as a completely different person, one who is very reflective and doesn’t just spit out words for completion. I am now able to go back and reflect on the different ways I’ve written, the different ways I could have written, and also think about what I’ve written and how I could’ve written it better. After this semester, I know that I became a stronger writer and that I am not also more able to analyze my own writing and critique it accordingly. I am looking forward to applying this skillset in not only in my sophomore year of college but also in my whole life. 

Moreover, the Sunday Sketches challenged me in ways I never expected. I had always thought of myself as a ‘factual’ learner. Hand me the facts, I’ll copy them and get it inside my head even if it took me copying it down repeatedly. The Sunday sketches showed that that mentality was in fact what I was ‘indoctrinated’ to think. That method of learning may work for some people, but it shouldn’t be seen as the standard method of learning for everyone; it shouldn’t be assumed that it works effectively for every single student. The Sunday sketches showed me that I am in fact a visual learner. I have mentioned this before but I was never really able to put my thought into words, and this course taught me that it was okay to put them into pictures before actually putting them into words. It helped me develop my train of thought and consequently write better essays. I believe that this is a personal discovery that I will carry for life.

However, I think I still need to learn more about myself as a writer. I think that I need to spend more time reading and writing especially; I need to be able to write more. I have a lot of ideas and I used to think that I wasn’t really able to write them down. This course taught me that there is a lot of freedom when it comes to writing. Writing is a way to express yourself and your ideas, and no one can tell you what to write about, as long as you write about something you are passionate about. I’ve learned to use writing as a tool to express myself and my ideas. I am going to use my writing skills for more than just essays. I am going to use my writing skills for more than just writing and publishing. I am going to use my writing skills to express myself and my ideas, even if it is just in my own writing. This class inspired me to set a personal goal to write more often, even if it’s just to express my ideas and to share my experiences with my family and friends.

I also think that my writing has helped me to learn how to be more organized. Learning about critical thinking and writing skills has helped me to do that. I have learned how to break down larger writing assignments into smaller writing assignments, and I have learned to identify both my weaknesses and my strengths as a writer and a thinker. I have learned to use these learning opportunities to become a better writer and a better thinker.

I think it is very clear to see the difference between my Literacy narrative part 1 and 3.When I wrote Part 1, I used to think about audience, purpose, and genre separately. However, when I wrote Part 3, I learned to think of all of them together like extensions of your body. I focused more on making them different parts of one cohesive unit. It helped me to think of the story as a river. In part 1, it was a river with a strong current and flow, but a few rocks and branches throughout that interrupted the fluidness. In part 3, I worked to remove those obstacles and have each thought and idea parlay with the next in order to allow a reader’s mind to float off into the same atmosphere that I attempted to depict. The largest contrast between part 1 and 3 of this assignment lies in the comfortability of the reader, and how the development over these parts allows for more intimacy and encapsulation.