ESem Paper #14
December 19, 2014
I can honestly say that I was anxious about coming to Bryn Mawr because of my writing experience. I was aware of the fact that my high school did not emphasize the importance of writing as much as other high schools. Although grammar was never a struggle for me in school, I was self-conscious about the non-mechanical aspects of my writing. My shyness in writing was something that I wanted to overcome, because I usually feel self-conscience when people read whatever I wrote. However, by putting my writing on Serendip for anyone to see, I actually have become more open about people seeing my ideas. I think that my biggest fear was that my ideas were too scattered and that people would not understand what I was trying to say. By the end of this course, though, I think that I have definitely improved my writing skills. I am more comfortable making a claim in my head and feel that I have become more adequate at backing up my claims in my writing.
Being placed into a writing seminar for my first semester of college sounded daunting; however, I was excited about the course title, "Changing Out Stories: Shifting Identities, Altering Environments." I was hopeful that the readings would be interesting enough to inspire me to want to write, and I think that that definitely held true for the majority of the readings. I really did enjoy the discussions that we had in class, especially because I feel that I am better at discerning what the argument of a paper is. I think that this reflects in my writing as well, because at the beginning of the course, I was not making claim that were adequately supported.
In addition to this, the readings helped me to think critically because we often read works that could support or argue against each other. It is still difficult to think of a great abstract claim for every paper that I write, but I definitely found myself trying to think more critically for my other classes this semester. However, it is usually easy for me to think of something creative, but I often have trouble finding concrete evidence to support what I want to say. By the end of this course, though, I feel more confident about my ability to find supportive evidence within a text because the discussions that we had in class were thought-provoking and very involved.
In my opinion, my biggest struggle with my writing was the scattered thoughts throughout my paper that were often unsupported or not connected. I naturally make connections in my mind, so I sometimes neglect to string my ideas together. This is why I usually feel uncomfortable when people want to read my writing; I feel that they will not be able to understand what I am trying to convey. Because Anne also realized that I jumped around with ideas often in my first couple of papers, I think it was easy for me to focus on trying to really improve this in my writing. Throughout the course, I decided to focus on improving this in my papers, and I think that I have become better at supporting what I think. However, I feel more confident now about people reading about my experiences. I understand that papers should not just state the obvious, but they should make an abstract claim. Knowing this, I feel more confident about people reading what I have written, even if it is personal as some of our essays were.
Overall, I really did enjoy the course. I thought that the readings were interesting, that our class wanted to think of solutions to environmental problems together, and that we everyone wanted to contribute. My ten week project also helped me to see a side of this school that was surprising. If I have time, I am hoping to study the same aspects about the writers in my other classes next semester. Also, I read almost every reading, although I did gt bored with a few of the play articles and skimmed them. I do think that my weekly posts were not as indepth as many other people’s, but I think that what I did not say in them, I said in the next class.
At the course’s beginning, I remember agonizingly thinking about what to write for put first paper in this class. I was not comfortable saying something about myself that other people would read and judge. I could easily speak about things that I think, yet writing was also a struggle. However, after reading. or listening to other peoples’ experiences, I understand that everyone's life is incredibly different from one another. Now, I honestly feel much more comfortable talking about who I am and where I come from. I felt very different at Bryn Mawr because this environment is not like the one from which I grew up. However, I have been able to gain the perspective of an incredibly diverse group of women who have struggled to make it to Bryn Mawr, and I am so pleased that I was able to hear their experiences because they helped me to understand mine. If someone were to ask me to speak about my identity, I think that I would be able to think much more critically and give a thoughtful answer about myself and how I am affected by new environments, such as this one at Bryn Mawr which is currently the most influential aspect shaping my identity.