It’s easy to think that one is a good writer. After all, it’s something you do every day, not just for class or work. You write emails or messages to family and friends. You assume that as long as people understand your message, you must be a good writer. However, during this class I learned that I wasn’t as strong a writer as I thought. Luckily, this class challenged my concept of my writing and helped me become a stronger writer through improved grammar, improved syntax, improved vocabulary, and exposure to different styles of writing.
Looking back over my first annotated bibliography is embarrassing. I wasn’t careful about grammar – I made something possessive when there was no need for it. I wrote Gutting’s argues about the percentage of graduates from four-year colleges. I wasn’t careful about capitalization; I’ve got “Research survey” and “High school.” My syntax is terrible – I’m missing verbs, and I’ve not closed quotations, such as in the last sentence: There are 74 percent of graduates from four year colleges say that their education was “very useful in helping them grow intellectually. My sentences are also simplistic and not in keeping with a college student, like the first sentence in the entry (where I also made the possessive mistake). My vocabulary is simplistic and not in keeping with a college student. My grasp of MLA style is tenuous and incomplete; I don’t include the page number for the direct quotation. The title of the article isn’t in quotation marks, and the title of the periodical isn’t italicized like it should be. Like I said, it’s very embarrassing to look back over it.
However, in looking at my second annotated bibliography, it’s clear that the class has had an effect. My grammar definitely improved; I use possessive correctly in the sentence Davidson’s (2012) points regarding the use of technology, specifically the iPod in this case, are strong. Punctuation is used appropriately. I even used semi-colons, and I used them correctly, as in the sentence Gone is the traditional classroom environment, having been replaced by a technologically driven construct; Davidson (2012) argues that as the times have changed and as there are no students of the younger generation who have not grown up immersed in technology that it is time to stop treating higher education like it was in days past [I didn’t include the whole sentence, just enough to show I used it right]. My syntax is also much improved. I used much more complex sentences that were composed correctly and coherently, such as in the sentence her only weakness is, perhaps, her tangent on crowdsourcing, which does not truly factor in to her argument in the manner in which it was written. My vocabulary is much improved in the second annotated bibliography as compared to the first one; I used much more complicated words, words in keeping with someone who’s in college. My grasp of APA seems mostly firm; I still need to do a little work with entries in anthologies specifically. It’s clearly different from MLA, but in looking at the bibliography, I seem to use it more accurately than I did MLA, in the first bibliography. In comparing the two entries on Gutting, it’s almost like two different people wrote these bibliographies.
In looking at the last assignment, a full essay, marked improvement is evident. The grammar is still very good. Punctuation is definitely used appropriately, though in reviewing this essay, I see some punctuation problems, though not many. The syntax is still stable and reliable; sentences are constructed correctly. By stable I mean I didn’t revert back to poorly structured sentences despite the length of the assignment. They are complex and coherent, in keeping with someone who’s in college. For example As such, if the most important goal of higher education would be to increase people’s abilities to earn money, the loss in the development of society with regards to aspects that do not fall under the purview of earning money would be quite tremendous, the sentence is complex but structured properly. My vocabulary is much improved; words are more advanced and in keeping with someone who’s in college. I use words like commodity, acquisition, humanistically, and assertion. My grasp of MLA is a little shaky still, but it’s definitely better than it was in the first annotated bibliography. I placed page numbers after the authors’ names like one would put the publication date after an author’s name in APA: Gutting (627). This is wrong, however; the page numbers should follow the quotations themselves, not the author’s name. But I did get that the page numbers are important, not date of publication, in MLA style.
If there’s anything that remains weak in my writing, it’s mainly my grasp of different writing/style formats. MLA may be more common, but I find it more difficult to use than APA. I suspect it’s because APA makes more sense to me; it’s more focused on the date of publication for the information being used, which seems more relevant from my perspective. I want to know how old information is so I know how much stock to put in it. This seems especially important in scientific or technology-related disciplines. The page number, which MLA is more focused on, seems less relevant. MLA also seems unnecessarily focused on format. In an increasingly digital age, whether something is print or web-based seems irrelevant. APA is not focused on that, which I appreciate. However, I recognize that other classes I will take as a college student will require me to use MLA. This means I will need to work on using MLA format.
However, my grasp of MLA is improved as compared to when I started this class. When I compare the first MLA Gutting entry to the entry in the essay, it’s clear I have a better grasp. The first time I cited Gutting, I didn’t have the quotation marks around the title of Gutting’s essay. I also didn’t italicize the title of the source from which I got the essay. For some reason, I have the date (which is wrong) TWICE in the entry. However, in the essay entry, I have quotation marks around the essay title. I correctly identified the source of the essay this time (the book), and I have the source title italicized correctly. I have the correct date this time, and I only have it once in the citation as is correct. Everything is in the right order. Admittedly, I didn’t do the editors’ names right (I did last name first, when it should be first name first), and though I included the page number that began the essay, I didn’t include the whole page range. Nevertheless, the second time I cited Gutting, I did do it much better. I know I will need to focus on those little details.
I thought I was a decent writer, but this class taught me otherwise. It challenged me and helped me to improve. I feel much more able to write effectively and coherently. I feel much more confident as a writer. I know I need to be careful about punctuation and MLA format. I feel confident about my grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. I feel more confident about expressing my thoughts and responses coherently. I see and appreciate the improvement this class has caused. I feel like my work and improvement should result in at least a B.