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Final Reflective Essay 1

Daniel Whitmire
UWRT 1101
Professor Arnold
2 December 2014
Final Reflective Essay
While taking all of the AP English classes offered at my high school, all that we had ever
focused our attention on were the essays that we were required to write on the day of the AP test.
There was a lot of structure in our writing with little freethinking and organic work like I have
experienced in college writing. Evolving as a writer over the year reminds me of when James
Thurber once declared, To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls,
draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. I find that this quote
holds true to college writing. To truly see writing, you have to branch out from the very
disciplined and systematic ways of writing that the AP readers want to see. In this college
English class we went behind these walls, and as for me, I was finally able to feel what writing
truly is whether that be though the literacy narrative, restaurant analysis, or through the
ethnography.
As my freshman year began here at Charlotte, I felt more than prepared for the college
English classes due to the abundance of knowledge I had from taking prior AP classes. On the
first day while going over the syllabus, I knew that this would be unlike any college level class I
had ever taken. The first major essay written was the literacy narrative. Writing this essay was
the first time that I was able to reflect back on my certification of being a firefighter. Just like the
quote from James Thurber, I reflected how I began to see more of the world and found
something new that was dangerous. Instead of writing about a book like I had in my high school

Final Reflective Essay 2


classes, my writing began to evolve and develop into writing about my experiences and express
my points in such a manner from my point of view rather than an authors point of view. Other
than having the literacy narrative to introduce the new style of writing of getting out in the world
and writing about what you have experienced, the altered book complemented the essay very
well. While I was constructing the book, I flipped through multiple pictures that I had taken or
one of the instructors had taken during my firefighting classes. With this recollection of
memories, I went back to the essay and added in small details of the equipment and how exactly
someone would put everything together to work it.
As the year progressed, another assignment was given to me of evaluating a genre and
coming up with my own work in that specific genre. In choosing a restaurant evaluation, I never
knew that I would ever use the wide span of vocabulary, or have so much fun doing it. At the
beginning of the assignment, I thought that I was going to struggle through it because this topic
was once again, another genre that I had never written in before. Looking back, I would have
done it for a hundred restaurants! This genre analysis assignment truly reflects back upon the
quote that my entire website is based around. As a restaurant critic, I had to go out and explore
the world of restaurants. Taking in everything required me to search behind the walls that normal
customers see when they enter a restaurant. Though I could have just written about a restaurant
that I had already been to before, it wouldnt be legitimate because never before had I been asked
to take in everything in the restaurant in the genre of a food critic. With this new insight and after
studying food critic reviews, I now enter restaurants with the mind set that I am also a critic here
to evaluate everything from the dcor on the walls, to the way the napkins are placed on the
table. So in the end, I am doing exactly what my quote says to do; and that is, To see the
world.

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Traveling towards the near end of the year, I was faced with what seemed like a
monumental task of creating an ethnography of something that captured my interest. As I had
already been well adapted to going out to different places, analyzing, documenting, and
reflecting on my experiences there, this must be a walk in the park. My beginning of the college
year thought of only reflecting upon books had finally dissipated. I chose the topic of road
cycling due to the wide span of different views that everyone has about cyclists, whether they are
in the close-knit community, or they arent. Seeing the world inside of a car is one thing, but to
experience the road, and the view, around you is an utterly new experience when youre behind
the bars of a bicycle. The ethnography of cyclist truly does capture everything that the quote
from James Thurber from seeing the world like I had mentioned above, all the way to realizing
the purpose of life. Traveling down the side of a steep descent on a tire that is even an inch wide
at over forty miles per hour is definitely the dangerous part of the journey. The next three parts
of the quote seem to relate to each other where to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each
other is all about meeting other riders either on a shop ride hosted by your closest bike shop, or
simply seeing someone else riding, and deciding to ride together to push each other to go faster.
Riders come from all different backgrounds and all have various opinions on what is best to ride,
but the purpose of everyone is all the same To experience everything the world has to offer
with the wind in your face.
In conclusion, I found that this class couldnt have had a better purpose behind it. Though
I may be wrong, I find that this class is about going outside of your comfort zone to see the
world and to try new experiences while shaping a different writing style; a writing style that is
completely organic and about what appeals to your interests as a student. Never before have I

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had a writing class such as this, and I am glad I had the opportunity to not only evolve my
writing, but to evolve the way I look out and see the world.