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Self Evaluation and Reflection

wwu2's picture

I still remembered Anne’s comment from my very first essay. My opening was too generalized. The usage of verb tenses was confusing. The writing format was wrong. The claims of my two stories were contradictory to one another. I had lack of data to support thesis. And even if I had enough evidence, my thesis would still be too marginalized. When facing those comments, I questioned, rethought, and carried new ideas to the writing conference.


After looking through my essays, I concluded my major weaknesses into two categories: strategic and ideological. From the strategic aspect, first I was confused of the verb tense usage when narrating a piece of material, so I brought up this question during my writing conference. And now I learn that both simple past tense and present tense are acceptable. The slight difference is that using past tense indicates I am telling a story from the past while present tense indicates I am telling it as if the image is displaying in reader’s head. The key point I should notice is to keep the tense consistent. Therefore, nowadays I often go back and recheck my tense after finishing a paragraph or so. My second difficulty is that my citation format was not accurate. I learned the correct form through Anne’s comments. In addition, when I encountered PDF form or online news report, which citation I was unfamiliar with, I would search online and self-study them.


Moreover, I have some struggles on the ideological part of my essay. I sometimes placed my own opinion in essays, and it may seem right for an argument essay. Yet I did not have enough evidence to support my thesis, or the essay is lack of complexity. This is still my biggest problem now. Now I am trying to address my problem by emphasizing more on finding evidence when reading the book. This way I will ensure that my ideas will have enough supports. Second, I usually did not have an intriguing title. I found out it is because I usually set up the title too early. Now I named my essay’s title after I finished and reread the whole essay, and challenged myself which form of title would attract readers to read my essay. In addition, sometimes I was lack of transition between two major ideas; I still have not entirely solved this problem. Now I will try to go over the text and think of the appropriate logical transition.


No matter the material is difficult or not, I always finish my reading. However, sometimes the context maybe sophisticated to grasp the main ideas; then, I tend to be a listener. I do know Anne sometimes felt I didn’t talk a lot in class and encouraged me to speak up more. I am aware of that and did push myself to speak up as much as possible. Overall, I am more of a receiver than a contributor. This may relate to my characteristics. Since English is my second language, I doubt my initial reactions to some hard readings. I would prefer first listening to others’ opinions to check if my view is right, and then express my idea. But there were two dilemmas that I sometimes faced. Sometimes through listening, I found out that my understanding differs from the others. I started to doubt myself if my understanding is correct, so I tended to hold back my opinions and listened more of others. And the other time someone may have already covered my ideas, so I did not want to repeat the same idea by just want to earn a speaking point. I believe if I continue working hard, paying attention in class, taking notes; eventually my English skills will gradually make more progress.


All of my classmates have impact on my English learning journey. Each one of us comes from different family and cultural background. Listening to their experience and perspectives enriches me. Before I came to Bryn Mawr, I studied in a high school in Vermont majority of whom are white and where racism hardly is brought up much attention. But when I came here, I begin to know some horrible facts of racism inside the class, like blacklivesmatter and the confederate flag event. Gradually, I formed a stance on racial discrimination while Anne and my other classmates also showed me ways to be actively participating in those demonstrations.


In terms of our written homework, I usually will plan on finishing my reading over the weekends so that on Monday evening I would have enough time to write my post. During our last writing conference, Anne was not satisfied with my recent post because of the length and the late turn-in time. As I explained to you during the conference, the readings from these past several weeks have increased the difficulty. I didn’t fully understand the concept until having our class discussion. Therefore, it’s harder for me to make resonance with the text and write more when I only know the main ideas. In addition, the 10-week project is a really nice way for us to learn how to cooperate with each other and know one of my classmates better. For the first two weeks, Rina and I met each other and discussed and divided the tasks for this project. Then, we got separated and tracked our individual paper consumption habits each week. In the meantime, I also worked on interviewing librarians, the reference station, circulation desk, and my professors. This activity allowed me to expand my contact zone, and pushed me to interact with more people. Therefore, I felt this task added another layer of the purpose of our Esem class (other than improving our writing skills): to socialize.


Through Emily Seminar, I learn to be brave to ask questions. Although I still am not a mature/good writer now, after many practices I believe I will reach to the level that I expected. In Esem, every week it’s a thought—rethought—revise experience, and it push me to thrive for improvement. I would love to take another English or writing course to further trim my writing skills. Thank you, Anne. It has been a really fun learning experience with you.