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Akxa Alex
Stephen Topf
English 114 B
May 9, 2014
Reflective Essay
In English 114 B, I have learned many concepts that are useful and that will be beneficial
in my future writings and readings. These concepts include rhetorical features, peer
review/proofreading, evaluating/observing, and understanding themes and thesis to follow the
prompt. Throughout learning these concepts I have seen improvements in my writing, starting
from one of the major writings in this class: Project Text Essay to this Reflective Essay that I am
writing right now.
When I started this English class, I was not looking forward to writing at all, since
writing essays has always been one of my weaknesses. I would rather read more books and talk
about them than write. For some people essays take about two hours and it is easy for them to tie
all the concepts together at once. When I write, it feels like it takes days to get one paper done. I
have all the ideas in my head but putting it out on paper is always a challenge for me. And when
professors give a page count or limit to the writing, it is just overwhelming to meet that
requirement. When there is no page count to the writing then I tend to write a lot, which is seen
in previous class writings. But there is an understanding to why that is a requirement, because it
would not be fair to someone who wrote 5 pages compared to writing 2 pages. Some people
would argue the opposite because as long as the writer follows the prompt and the essay shows a
clear understanding then the page count is not needed and becomes useless. Sometimes keeping
it short and simple can get the point across to the audience better in your writings. Page count in
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writings also makes people want to add extra fluff to meet the requirement, which only makes it
too wordy.
It is very unlike math or science, which comes easier to follow and understand for me,
even though I understand now those require some writing too. Writing is in every assignment
we do; we cannot avoid it and the more we practice then the more we get better at it. This idea
about writing did not make sense to me at first, but then I read an article that said how math
majors and other non-english/composition majors had to write many research papers. So as
much as I want to avoid it, writing essays now is only preparing me for the future and to do well
and succeed.
One of my previous English classes had us to write in an eleven sentence per paragraph
format. This included the topic sentence, three concrete details, two supports or explanations for
each concrete detail, and concluding statement. This was a good structure but sometimes it made
it hard for me to tie all the information together to make sense. This class on the other hand let
me write in my own structure. As a writer, everyone wants to be the boss of their own work and
not to be restricted by someone else. I learned that putting these restrictions like page count and
structure had made me to write poorly or not to my expectations, which makes me not like
writing as much as I hope to. I want to write with better sentence structure and flow of complex
ideas in my essays.
In the two major essays that I wrote in this class, project text essay and project space
essay, had allowed me to show my strengths and weaknesses. Project text consisted of writing
about a theme in society that is related and seen in the book: The Postmortal by Drew Magary.
For the essay I had to go a little bit beyond in my writing; it made me do more research and
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apply everything to make it connect between the book and society. It also allowed me to put my
own view points on the issues related to the topic. But comparing the rough draft to the final
draft, there is a major difference. In the rough draft, I had ideas and issues about marriage and
divorce, issues about looking young, and issues about the government that are seen in our world
today and they were also some of the main themes in the book. I said that this all tied to the
main idea of chaos. Even though my essay made sense, the thesis was not strong and the essay
was not following the prompt properly, and not to mention, the page count was low. To fix this
for my final draft, I had to do more research. I found a word that tied everything together, which
was dehumanization and I allowed that to take my writing go in the right way. I found it
interesting how one word made an essay look slightly better with a connection. Reflecting back
to writings is always good and according to Donald Schon, Reflection happens in stages.
Refection-in-action is actively reflecting, or thinking about a task, or job, while in the midst of it,
and then making adjustments in order to improve that tasks procedure as a result (page 1).
These stages were done in this assignment, because as we read the book we also wrote down
quotes and important ideas in The Postmortal Journals, which is the first stage of reflection-in-
action. We then did peer evaluations and drafts which is the next stage to reflecting. And then,
we had the final draft that we had the chance to reflect on with the professors notes and
critiques. Project space, which consisted of evaluating two spaces to recognize values and social
influences, also followed this reflection process. But instead of writing journals, we made a
proposal which allowed us to view a different method of writing. Overall, these two essays
strengthened my ways to follow the stages and improve my essay, but my weakness in making it
better is always vocabulary. I use very vague words, which make my essay look dull. There is
always time to improve.
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The project space essay also allowed us to observe and evaluate, which was a good
technique I learned while doing Wreak This Journal entries. We were told to write about the
activities we did that were asked in the journal/book. It made me to write what I was doing, how
I was feeling, and what I learned or got out of the activities. Since it was a free write, most
students did not see the connection it made or what was being taught. It was a way to get our
ideas out as well. Just to write, even if there was not much to write. This is useful in future
writings because it practices our mind to make it flow with ideas when we are ever stuck in an
essay. Another thing I learned from these activities was that to destroy is to create; as we were
destroying this journal/book, we were also creating something of our own. Another writing
project that allowed me to improve my skills as a writer was when I did the V for Vendetta
essay. We were asked to take notes as we watched the movie. Even though it was not a fun task
to do, it made us to observe what we saw and evaluate the situations. Those notes became
helpful while writing. So breaking things down or even brainstorming before writing has showed
better ways of writing for me.
Rhetorical features were one of the major things I learned out of this class. To have
ethos, pathos, and logos, if not one then all in your essays, to better the writing. It allowed me to
pursue the audience to follow my ideas and points. Sometimes when I used one of the rhetorical
appeals out of the three, I realized I was using one of the other appeals as well. Meaning when I
thought I was using ethos, I was also using pathos. It was not because I did not know what I was
writing, it was because some portions that are authoritative can also show emotions to prove a
point. I have tried to use these strategies throughout my essays and sometimes we use it without
realizing that we are using it. It can come naturally in my essays.
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As I have learned these concepts in the semester, I have tried to involve them in this
writing, my Reflective Essay. Hopefully the audiences see that I have improved my writings
from the beginning too. And dont forget that peer evaluation and professors notes have made
this a group effort to complete my essays to the final draft, so they deserve credit in everything I
wrote too. Without them all these concepts would not have been applied or my essay would
have been below basic levels. Overall, I have only seen improvements in my writings from when
I started this semester.

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Work Cited
Schon, Donald. University Writing Center. Aggies Helping Aggies to Write and Speak Well.
N.p., n.d. Web. 04 may 2014. <>