Attending college offers much more benefits than just career preparation and social experiences. Being a student strengthens command of language and application of it through writing. Never before enrollment in my courses did I truly consider the power of the pen. It is true that writing can influence readers, inspire creativity and express deep feelings that are not easy to formulate in a dialogue with others. After reviewing several of my own writing assignments I discovered signs of growth in my own skills set. There were a few weaknesses just as there were strengths. Together, they help me to see how I have developed and where I need to make improvements.
Among my strengths is the ability to create an engaging introduction and proceed with a orderly presentation of ideas. The thesis statements set the stage for the paragraphs that follow. Prior to reaching college, I didn’t see the necessity of formatting written documents in that way. It took quite a bit of practice to naturally launch introductory paragraphs with essential thesis statements. An example of one thesis statement for which I am proud is the benefits I presented to an audience of my peers regarding the benefits of attending college today. I wrote, “Therefore, as I stand here in front of you today, I would like to convey to you the benefits that we have and will experience as a result of attending this great institution.” Based on that essay, I realized that my best writing always came from my personal experiences and points of view. Another strength I have is the ability to transcribe difficult concepts into an easy-to-grasp pill to swallow. For instance, the issue of immigration in the U.S. is a complex problem. In general, people might not be aware of the key players and factors involved in how the government sets immigration policies. In my paper, I was able to explain the current issues regarding incoming immigrants from Mexico and South America. Secondly, the paper defensively presented the flaws of the current government policies. For instance, “The primary flaw in S.744 would appear to be its insistence on increased – and costly – border security when such security consistently fails to restrict access.” In summary, the writing assignments I have completed (and for which I am basing this self-analysis) demonstrate that I can present ideas in a logically flowing manner. Big or complex issue can be presented in a way that the average person can comprehend. Lastly, I am able to provide supportive details in defense of thesis statements given in my introductions.
It takes a humble person to identify and profess their own weaknesses in a skill for which hard work was dedicated. Reflective analysis (in addition to receiving the critiques of others) is the key to improvement. After reviewing my essays it was obvious that there is one habit that needs to be eliminated. A second, more subtle weakness was visible as well. For example, there are times when sentences are fitting for the topic and they work so perfectly to finalize a point. Unfortunately, they turn into a short or incomplete sentence as if to rush. Occasionally, I might have stained my work with an incomplete sentence. In an essay entitled, “Proposal Argument”, I launched my justification paragraph quite eloquently. However, the second line reads, “Depending upon fast food restaurants for their meals, junk food, or unhealthy eating habits”. The point I was trying to make was that parents do not always have adequate knowledge about nutrition and how to promote a healthy eating lifestyle in their homes. Their aim to monitor their kid’s food intake depends upon what kinds of food they are accustomed to eating. The incomplete sentences can be corrected with more scrutinizing editing regimen than what I did before submitting that paper. If sentences were not too lengthy or incomplete, sometimes a word might be missing. In the end of an introduction paragraph for a great proposal, I wrote, “the problem needs looked at in depth and solutions need to be made.” I was only trying to state that the problem of childhood obesity needs prompt and action-oriented-attention. In addition to sentence structure, there is room for improvement when it comes to presenting opposing points of view. After submitting work to my professors and reviewing their feedback, I realized that sharing an alternative perspective in an argumentative paper does not equate to an admission of defeat. Fully explaining counter-arguments are necessary and could be improved in some of my work. In my argument paper, I explained one alternative perspective by writing, “This being the case, it may be said that it is misleading to value the media as helpful, when so many users are not genuinely interested, or cannot be counted upon as willing to engage.” After explaining this, I quickly moved to refute the point of view that didn’t support my premise. This is a subtle weakness because the paper meets the guidelines for scoring a good grade, yet it would have been better if I had presented at least three counter arguments before refuting them.
In conclusion, growing as a writer is an empowering feeling that no one can take away from the student. Using the strengths of being able to present an inviting introduction, followed by supportive data in an easily digestible manner are nice tools to have my arsenal. On the other hand, I realize now that paying attention to sentence structure needs to become a new priority. I must also be willing to do more research. Extensive research will enable me to write argumentative papers with an open-minded spirit and give my audience a full buffet of ideas to consider (instead of mostly my own ideas). After criticizing my own essays, I have decided to commit to reading more of the literary genres that are difficult for me to write. At this time, I am great at writing creative and opinionated papers.