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Inman 1 Cory Inman English Composition 1 Mr.

Harrell December 5, 2013 Writing is often assumed to be a monotonous and boring endeavor for the average high school student. Ive listened to countless fellow classmates over the years talk about how much they despise writing, and I have to say I didnt disagree. The task of composing a paper and going through an entire process of revising over and over again is very overwhelming. The most daunting element about a paper from my point of view in the past was always the lack of structure. I am a very detail oriented person and without a process or systematic way of doing things, I encounter many roadblocks and troubles. I never felt that I had a fundamental grasp on having a routine to use in writing a paper, but all of that has changed since taking English Composition 1 with Mr. Harrell. I now feel that I can take a systematic approach to every paper that I write and not become overwhelmed. Through my increased confidence in how to go about composing my papers, the class has allowed me to focus and become more efficient on certain elements of my writing such as style and tone. Mr. Harrells class has given me the ability to go beyond the surface level tedious approach, and concentrate on increasing numerous amounts of other components of my writing. As previously mentioned, I have finally found a system for the process of writing a paper, which has so often haunted me in the past. Before taking English Composition, I would simply do whatever I thought was necessary for making the paper better. If I wrote it once and I felt it was adequate, I would keep it. If I felt it needed a little touch up, I

Inman 2 would maybe do some revising, but that was it. This class has taught me so much about how to make my papers stronger through engaging in a specific routine that involves drafting, editing, revising, and proofreading. This process has actually made it fun to write at times because I actually have a grasp on how to continuously make my papers better and more astute. Without this class, I would have never found a true writing process, and that in itself is worth the price of admission. Upon entering this class, I was very interested in writing introductions to papers simply because that is what I enjoy the most, but besides the intro, I really didnt know how to organize a paper. I had no idea how to create transitions that flowed from paragraph to paragraph. Through the class, I have now gained the understanding of how to construct a paper foundationally and flow the separate points together with transitions. An example of my improved ability to write transitions effectively can be seen from this excerpt from my Analytical Essay written on the book The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinners Semester at Americas Holiest University, Because of the very idea behind the book, it naturally has a great deal to do with a humans identity. In the past, my transitions were nonexistent and often very choppy. This transition allowed me to flow from my introduction, straight into the first analytical point I was attempting to make. This development in my writing ability is a full credit to Mr. Harrell and the way that he allowed me to break through as a writer and become more effective framing the structure of my essays. Instead of making useless points and rambling, my essays have become more direct in the structure, which increases the effectiveness of the paper as a whole. One of my weakest points in writing has always been constructing thesis statements. This year I learned that the thesis statement isnt just another sentence. It sets

Inman 3 the tone for the entire paper and everything else in the whole composition needs to be connected to that one statement. Here is an example of the thesis statement I used for the personal essay, I was finally free, and ready to live life to the fullest. Therefore, everything else in the paper I attempted to direct back in some way to that thesis statement. I still do not believe I have reached my full potential when it comes to creating thesis sentences. I dont believe I have mastered the art of creating completely effective thesis yet, but I do believe I have made considerable strides in making it to that point. One of the major areas of improvement that I see myself in this year is in analyzing. The word analyzing has always scared me when I hear it because it makes me feel like I am not smart enough to be able to do it. Therefore, coming into this year I was very skeptical of my ability to analyze anything because my brain would go on overload anytime I heard that word. Mr. Harrell was able to show me that analyzing was no more than merely reading into the text and finding talking about certain aspects of specific pieces of literature. After realizing this, I took major strides in my ability to analyze because I now felt confident that I could execute the task of investigating a text. These improvements shine through in my writing of the analytical essay. I was able to conquer my demons and at least somewhat analyze The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I will continue to work on my skills of analyzing and hopefully I can get to the point where I am no longer afraid of the word analyze. Another element of writing that Mr. Harrell has helped me with a tremendous amount is that of grammar. I never really took grammar seriously because I thought it was petty in the entire perspective of the paper. Mr. Harrell taught me that even though it might seem as if a small comma or quotation doesnt mean that much, attention to detail

Inman 4 does. Mr. Harrell made it very clear that a clean paper increases not only the effectiveness of a piece of writing but also the cleanliness of it. I now understand that no grammar is stupid or not important. Grammar is something that needs to be effectively implemented to put forth a clean and well revised paper. The last area that I felt I really improved on was speaking to specific audiences and understanding your audience. Until now, I didnt realize that every piece of writing applies to various specific audiences. English Composition 1 showed me the importance of writing to an audience and making sure the text is relatable and relevant. For example, in my group essay I made sure to write to anyone who was either searching for information about distance learning or contemplating entering the DL program. Here is an example from my group essay, You must think about what type of learner you are when thinking about participation in distance learning. I was able to speak to the audience using specific language that would apply to them. I was very incapable of doing this before going through this English class. Despite all of these improvements I have seen in my writing as a result of this class, there are still many areas that I feel I must continue to work on in my writing, some of which include thesis statements, integrating quotations and using better punctuation. However, my increased success and newfound joy in writing is very encouraging. I give all the credit to Mr. Harrells organization and teaching methods. He gave me a new approach to writing, one that is much more enjoyable and very much more effective. I will continue to grow my writing experience and effectiveness after this class in hopes to become the greatest writer that I can possibly be.

Inman 5 Work Cited Roose, Kevin. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest Universities. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010. Print.