Professor Rigsby & Professor Atwell-Vasey
English 306Q, Writing for Nursing
May 1, 2015
Critical analysis essay
This semester, my writing has taken several twists and turns that have helped my writing develop in one way or another. A lot of people assume that because I am an English major, I must enjoy reading and writing. While that statement is true in its purest form, it is not true in an academic sense. Academic writing has a very strict way of writing: introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. This can fluctuate some, an extra body paragraph depending on the paper but overall, this is the format is should follow. While the general use of “you” would be acceptable, there should be absolutely no “I” or any of my experiences because what value would those have in an academic paper? I think this class has given me something that I had considered long gone and long dead which is passion for reading and writing.
A huge portion of this class was writing for the purpose of muscle memory. At first, this felt like busy work, doing work just to do work with no real purpose. As the semester went on, I could slowly see myself being able to write at a much easier pace with less and less anxiety. On Saturday’s, I would initially dread having to sit down for twenty minutes to write to the point where I caught myself staring at the clock. Towards the end, it was a breeze to write for twenty minutes and if I found the topic interesting enough, I wouldn’t mind going over the time limit. It has now become a cathartic experience that I still continue despite being done with the class because it is fun to sit and just write. I am not bound to this one strict formula of how writing needs to be but instead, to incorporate my own experiences because they offer something of value. This is reflected in how easily I can now sit and write. I think what has also made it easier is that we were encouraged to create a schedule, a set time, to write. It’s like brushing your teeth, or taking your dogs out; a routine helps the body, and eventually the mind, gets used to doing it.
In my portfolio, I added the pieces I enjoyed writing the most while trying to add a little bit of every piece of writing we tried this semester. My development as a writer is reflected within my portfolio. I think before this semester, I was so used to writing in this strict algorithm that I didn’t know how to do anything else. This is why I choose my gratitude letters (writing sample #1) and the assignment on my hardships (writing sample #3) because they gave me the opportunity to write about experiences that I don’t I’ve even mentioned in other classes. I don’t think professors realize how much of an impact they can make by showing students how they care for our experiences and want it expressed in our writing. Instead, there is a focus and an emphasis on writing academically that devalues the experiences we would prefer to write about.
I choose my bones reading role report on Mariam MacCurdy as my second writing sample because it was the first time this semester that I was proud of being able to effectively, and appropriately, use APA format. As an English major, my area of expertise is MLA format. However, this semester presented a challenge in the form of APA. My experience with any other than MLA was limited, if anything at all. However, I didn’t let this discourage me. I used this as an opportunity to gain a new skill, demonstrating it via my portfolio.
The closest we came to doing the routine of academic writing is the formal book review but it was a completely different kind of academic writing. Some parts, such as the interpretation and evaluation, forced me to write academically but a significant portion required me to incorporate my own experiences. I was able to apply these ideas to the book. The formal book review demonstrates how I have been able to take something that is academic, and apply my personal experiences while still being able to call it an academic paper.
My favorite part of the portfolio has been writing the word essay since we were given the option to relate it back to our own lives. I would say I dedicate the most amount of time to this portion of the portfolio since it is a reflection of how I have developed over the semester. In my word essay, I am able demonstrate my new knowledge of a word, incorporate reading from this semester while making it accessible to other readers through my own reflections. Prior to this semester, I would have focused primarily on writing a strict paper on a word but never relate it back to myself because that wouldn’t fit the mold of what is “correct” in the academic word.
Throughout this semester, I have seen my writing as my child. It started off young and naive, looking for guidance. This class became a mentor to my writing, guiding it along the way, teaching it how to walk (getting started writing), how to talk (revising), and how to not be deterred despite obstacles. I hope to carry these concepts on in future writing, and I would even suggest that other professors encourage students to draw about their own experiences, or create writing rituals, in order to better their class climate.What I am able to take away from this class is that writing does not have to be boring or stric. Writing is meant to be fluid. My writing experiences are of value and this is something that deserves to be acknowledged within an academic field. Although most classrooms prefer to keep it objective with respect to staying away from the personal, I think this calls for a shift in what the real focus should be. In drawing from the experiences of the reader, it makes it more enjoyable for everyone involved. I would never say I have learned all I need to in terms of my writing but I would make the argument that I have come very far since the first day of class.