Thursday, December 15, 2011

English and 1st Semester

Throughout the first semester I have written many papers, essays, and blogs. I have used all these literary works as practice to improve my writing. I believe that I have developed certain aspects of my writing like grammar, research, and staying on topic. I enjoyed writing blogs because I had more free rein over my writing, and it was less formal. I do believe that my English composition skills definitely benefited my other classes. I have been able to write papers with ease and I consider English a class that is easy for me now.

I am excited for next semester. I am currently writing my last blog for the semester, and I am personally amazed that in the discussion board, I am the only student that has all 8 blogs. I hope I receive the grade of an A for the first semester in this class. I believe that I have put in enough work, maybe not as much as I should have, to receive at least a B+. I hope next semesters composition course is as fun as this one was. I expect to be challenged in my writing more, but that is to be expected with any advancement in a course.

Thank you for being my English composition teacher Ms. Shaffer. This is Steven Andrews, English Composition; Good night America.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

English and Philosophy

As the semester draws to an end, we arrive at finals week. I have sort of adequately studied enough in order to earn good grades on my exams. One exam that I did find rather difficult was my Philosophy exam. As a course, Philosophy was my hardest class, and the exam was just as hard. I erroneously thought the exam was cumulative and not on just the last chapter. Thus I studied for hours on chapters that were not necessary. I more that likely got a B on the exam. Well, in truthfulness, I hope I received a B on the exam.

I know that I did not get many multiple choice answers correct. I do know that I salvaged my grade with the writing portion of the exam. I knew that I would have to nail the writing portion in order to boost my grade. I made a very conscious effort to focus on a multitude of things. I maintained a proper tone and stayed on topic during the paper. I also made an effort to focus on my penmanship. I know that if a reader is struggling to read what he is reading, he may be less likely to grade nicely. I know that I definitely made a well written essay and the English composition skills helped me to deliver a good paper.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grammar and MLA

Throughout this course, we have also hammered hard on the correct usage of grammar. Even I make grammatical errors in my writing and have to proof read at the end of my works. I try to make sure that I do not have run on sentences, and that each sentence follows the correct rules of grammar. I will usually read my sentence out loud because I find that it is easier to find the grammatical errors. In reading out loud, I also help benefit my speed when it comes to public reading. This composition course helps to better my literature advancement in many different ways.

Over the semester I have also developed a better understanding of what it means to use other individuals' work and form a clear and concise point of view. I have used other individuals' research and compiled it into a work that helps to get the point across from many different angles. I know that with the correct use of in-text citation and a works cited page, I can avoid being labelled a plagiarizer. We have also covered how to properly cite sources using the MLA format. It was nice to refresh on information that I remember loosely from high school. Overall I would say I learned a lot of little nuances from this composition class.

English and Criminology

I am currently a Criminal Justice major and would like to use this degree to possibly join the FBI later in life. One   may wonder how English and Criminology are related in college. Well, English composition inevitably is not the only course that requires papers to be written. I have had to write multiple papers for my Criminology class and indeed, the English skills that I have learned helped benefit my writing. I have been able to directly translate the skills that I use in the discourses that I have written into the papers for Criminology. Using the planning, research skills, and professionalism I developed in this course, I have been able to write more successful papers.

I have a terrible habit of simply beginning a paper without any forethought. In all honesty, I see this as a hard habit to break and I still do it from time to time. I am more of a freedom writer in that I just like to let the thoughts flow. This composition course has forced me to plan my papers out step by step in order to deliver a concise thought. Using the planning skills I honed, helped my papers have more impact. I have been tasked with writing numerous papers about crime and using planning, I was able to deliver a paper that was laden with research, ideas, and solutions.

My criminology class analyzed crime statistics at one time and we were forced, cruelly and harshly forced, almost forced like a hard working college student to meet deadlines that would drain the life and soul and motivation from the body and turn the student into a husk of a once living and vibrant individual to research crime statistics in cities and write a theory of why crime differed from place to place. Obviously the previous sentence is a rather large run on sentence that was not grammatically correct. But, I do speak the truth. We were tasked with researching crime statistics in two major US cities and writing our thoughts as to why they were different from place to place. I was able to better do this research due to the research that I was asked to do for the academic discourse. Using the skills I used for the academic discourse, I was able to find multiple sources for my criminology paper and make my paper a multiple threat paper; IE my paper contained multiple sources and was able to cover more ground.

I was also tasked with having a presentation on crime and what I believed caused it. I was able to write out a paper of my beliefs and thoughts in a professional tone of voice. I then used that same paper and presented it to the class. My paper contained a professional tone, and so did my presentation. Although public speaking and composition are not the same thing, I was able to use one to help benefit the other.

Civic Discourse

One prevalent problem in the United States is the rising obesity epidemic. One fact that others may not know about me, is that I used to weigh 250lbs; I used to be a member of the obesity statistic. As an obese individual I was blatantly told by a doctor that at my age, weight, and with my family history of heart disease, my future did not look like a good one. Thus this caused me to take my health much more seriously. With the aid of football, wrestling, weight lifting, and healthy eating, I managed to get my weight down to 180lbs at my lowest. I am now a much happier individual and my life has been much more enjoyable. One may ask, "Why are you revealing this information?". I am stating my history with obesity because it is my motivation for my civic discourse.

I decided to choose childhood obesity as the problem that I wished to help solve in my civic discourse. I realized that when one is passionate about the topic of a paper, than the thoughts of the mind flow onto the paper with ease. In high school I was never tasked with writing a civic discourse. Thus being forced to write one for this composition course was a new journey. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed writing a civic discourse. The topic was one that I could enjoy researching and writing about.

The civic discourse helped to develop my research skills that was needed for the paper. I was able to look up multiple sources and to use them to help form a concise idea for my paper. By using these multiple sources I was able to identify, explain, and solve a problem that I wished to stop. Of all the papers we had to write, I would say I enjoyed the civic discourse the most.

Military Science & Leadership and English

As the semester progresses, I find myself writing more papers for other courses. One course that has required papers to be written is my Military Science & Leadership course (MSL). My instructor has us write journal entries entailing the things we have done throughout the week in our ROTC and college life. Using the skills that I have learned in English composition, I find it easier to write out these journals. I have learned how to more properly use punctuation and to better plan my writing.

My instructor has expressed positive reviews of the works that I turn in. She has stated that I have a good professional voice in my writing while maintaining her attention. I believe very strongly in maintaining professionalism at all times and this belief has carried over into my writing. I try to maintain a proper tone and to use words that are of a higher caliber.

I hope to practice writing in a professional manner so that it will carry over into the "real world". I understand how having proper etiquette in written communication is important to life. As a writer, you may write something with a certain tone and frame of mind. However, a reader may misinterpret this writing and then either take offense, find error, or simply not agree simply because of the style of writing. Thus this composition class is beneficial in that I am able to practice professionalism in my writing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog 2

So I have just arrived back from the Billy Collins LitFest speaking. Overall I would say it was enjoyable, that is, if I enjoyed poetry... But in all seriousness, he was a good poet. He managed to use his delivery to increase the impact of humor in his poems. Although public speaking and poetry is not covered in this English composition class, I can see the benefits of being able to do both with proficiency. If you have the ability to write something intellectual, but not present it to the public with confidence in your voice, it will not have the same impact as intended.

Billy Collins had intellectual humor in his poetry. Although I had a negative mood going into the Webb Center, I did leave with an appreciation for Collins’ work. I can understand why he managed to receive multiple awards, such as the Mark Twain Award in 2005. I wish I had not sat in the back, since it was rather quiet and I strained my ear to hear. (Ha-ha, ear to hear, its poetry). But I do understand why there was a large enough crowd that extra seating was needed. Billy Collins was good at what he did, and he presented himself in an effective manner. I may not appreciate poetry as much as another individual, but I can respect good public speaking and being good at what you do.

I think I am a decent enough writer. I do not like to state that I am an amazing writer, because I know for a fact that I am not. One thing that does amaze me though, is that there are college freshman that do not understand MLA format or how to properly cite a source in a paper. I would not say that I am perfect with in-text citation, but I do follow the rules so that my work is not considered plagiarism. And even then, if you do not know how to do something, why would you not take initiative and attempt to find how to do it online? I have used Purdue’s OWL site numerous times in order to refresh my memory on the correct rules of MLA formatting. But I guess it boils down to either, different high school education or the differences between students.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

1st blog 9-15-11

Something that I do on occasion is read my old writing assignments from previous years. It is amazing the amount of sheer idiocy that has been written in some of my old papers. As I look back at the past, I see how many times I took high school less seriously then I should have. I can recount numerous times where (and I promise I will not do this anymore), I would take whatever paper was assigned and I would load it with an over usage of adjectives in an attempt to be funny. I still chuckle when I think of my final English essay for my senior year, but I am humbled and sorry for what I did.

Now, I know I certainly started out strong by making my first blog post about how I did not take English seriously. But as I read papers from middle school to high school, I can certainly see an improvement in my style of writing. I still remember when I struggled with middle school English. The major problem that I had in middle school, was that I would create these enormously large run on sentences, because I believed that the longer the sentence, the more intelligent you would sound, and thus the comma became almost like a period to me, I wanted to force the reader to never stop completely from reading my writing, but, merely let them have enough of a breath in their mind so that they would be forced to finish the sentence. But the evolution of my writing over the years has improved. I now make a more conscious effort to use words that show a slightly more intelligent flair and follow the rules of proper English writing. Throughout high school many of my teachers noticed that when I really focused on writing, I was an advanced writer (or as I would say a “a conductor of literature, (just to be a smartass)).

I do not struggle with English composition anymore and it has actually been beneficial for my other classes. I hope for this year to be a great year, since college can possibly be a deciding factor on my future.