Dear Professor Myers and fellow classmates,
When I was applying to colleges, I knew that every university would have their own version of a University Writing program for freshman students. This worried me, because it made me question the writing skills that I had developed in high school. I assumed they would not be sufficient. As I have come to realize, writing is a skill that can always be improved and it is not easy to write well, nor is it to judge good writing.
One aspect of this class that I will forever be indebted to is the use of non-traditional essay formatting. Because we so heavily focused on blogging and journalism, the customary analytical essay format was not one that was emphasized when we wrote our first two papers. Looking at writing from a different perspective and through a different, more creative lens helped me write the group paper. I was able to take a new theoretical framework and apply it to an analytical-style essay.
The writing activities that we did in class helped my ability to focus my ideas into concessive thoughts; having a time limit is very constructive. While my methods of writing have not changed, this new ability has shortened the amount of time it takes me to write. It is especially helpful when writing a longer paper, where an outline is necessary to not become bogged down with off-topic information. I also stand true to my original way of revising my work. The importance of revision has been firmly imprinted into my head now, but if I am satisfied with my writing, I will not go back and change it just for the sake of revision.
I take my first essay on the meaning of science as an example. The first draft that I turned in was certainly in draft form. My ideas were scattered and I did not have a clear thesis. When writing a creative and personal piece, sometimes a thesis is more difficult to come up with. Often, I will write a paper and then form a thesis based on my body paragraphs. When I went back to revise this essay, I made significant changes in formatting and with my overall answer to the question, what is the meaning of science?
With this essay, I found that much of my ideas and arguments were taken from the writing done at the beginning of class. I had been building a theoretical framework all along, which is a very cool. The concept of a theoretical framework had never been formally presented to me, but it can be applied to everything. The ability to identify my source types and categorize them has made my writing process much easier to incorporate my sources.
One large aspect of scholarly writing is the use of scholarly sources. What constitutes a scholarly source? What is a scholarly question? To me, having a depth of knowledge on a specific subject makes a scholar of that subject. Therefore, any writing or research that scholar undertakes constitutes a scholarly source, as long is it is credited by other scholars in the same field. The belief that scholarly sources are critical to a good essay is a valid argument. Through this class, I have learned the importance of the big picture. By big picture, I mean that while one person may hold great knowledge on a subject, but looking only at one person is not an accurate way to draw conclusions.
The question of a scholarly source stemmed from blogging, and whether or not blogging was a legitimate source of information. I have come to believe that a blog can absolutely be a credible source of information, depending of course, on the specific blog. Doubt plays a role in credibility, because on such a topic where there is no clear answer, there is nothing to be credited.
This writing class was unique from any other writing class that I’ve taken. It has make me examine the framework of writing, and strayed from the importance of content while emphasizing its delivery. For that I am grateful.