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English Final Portfolio Essay

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Portfolio Cover Letter
4/26/13

While revising Project Two for my portfolio, I made large global changes that helped my paper become more descriptive. Instead of referring to other students, I geared my revised project towards my own problems and the ways in which I can improve them. I tried to give more examples of my own conflicts within my writing process and use quotes to support my strategies of improving. I think this piece has been important in my development as a writer because it allowed me to learn how to correctly use Mrs.

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Pullen’s idea of the “sandwich method” as well as analyze the problems within my process and how to fix them. From this project I have realized how many more ideas I am able to discover as well as avoid stress by diverting procrastination.

Briana Neidig
Project 1 Cover Letter
1/30/12

My narrative essay summarizes my volleyball career from learning the basic skills from my best friend to spreading my literacy of volleyball to younger children.

Throughout my essay I describe the ways in which I had to adapt to a new team as well as the different sponsors who improved my skills. Lastly, I describe our supportive fans and the recognition I received for being a part of a successful volleyball team.

I believe that my detailed description of my different experiences throughout my volleyball career is what I did best throughout my paper. I feel that I need to work on the structure of my paragraphs and a more interesting conclusion.

After my peer review, I changed two citing errors and revised a sentence in my conclusion. I changed this sentence because I wanted to make clear the social capital that I gained from our success.

Project 1
1/30/12
Discovering My Passion

The moment I stood in that huddle, hugging my teammates is the happiest memory of my life. In that short moment I wanted nothing more; for once, I only had one thing on my mind: we were going to the volleyball state championship. Judging from this point of glory, one would think the road to our team’s success was easy; however, that is not the case. Our path was uneven and full of bumps, but with the help of various different people we made school history.

It all began in seventh grade when my best friend, Lesley, introduced me to volleyball. Beforehand, I had no knowledge of the rules nor the talented skills it took to play. I previously watched Lesley play in games, but I did not understand the crazy hand motions the refs would make after blowing their whistle. After awhile, I became interested and Lesley eventually persuaded me to play. She taught me the basic skills of volleyball: passing, setting, and hitting.

Deborah Brandt describes a sponsor as “any agent, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who, enable, support, teach, model as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy- and gain advantage by it in some way.” (P.334) Lesley acted as my sponsor by teaching me the basic skills and rules of the game of volleyball while supporting my growing love for the game. Each day I improved and became the team’s setter and outside hitter. Our volleyball team ended up winning our league tournament both my seventh and eighth grade year.

During my junior high volleyball career, our high schools’ volleyball coaches showed interest in me and I was asked to practice with the varsity team as a Freshman. At our first practice, the coaches automatically put me as strictly an outside hitter and passer; I was no longer a setter. This is where another one of Deborah Brandt’s ideas comes to play a role in my life. Brandt states, “Although the interests of the sponsor and the sponsored do not have to converge (and in fact may conflict) sponsors nevertheless set the terms for access to literacy and wield powerful incentives for compliance and loyalty.” (P.334) Although I truly wanted to be a setter as well as a hitter, my coaches had the upper hand and knew what was best for the team. Brandt describes sponsors as, “Usually richer, more knowledgeable, and more entrenched than the sponsored…”(P.335) I disagreed with the coaches for taking me out of the setting position, but I trusted them because they were more knowledgeable that I was.

In order to adapt to my new environment, I needed to learn how my new team’s offense and defense worked. In junior high, we ran regular, slow offensive plays; however, in high school it was required that I learned an incredibly faster offense. I had to be quick on my feet as well as a great defensive player. While Brandt states that “More and more people are now being expected to accomplish more and more things with reading and writing,” (P.340) high school volleyball’s offenses and different plays also improved every year. In order to keep up with our competition, our team was introduced to quicker set plays and a better defense. With the help of our sponsor’s, or coaches, we mastered these new skills and made it to state for the first time in school history! We ended up losing in the first round of the state tournament. However, in the offseason we worked even harder and improved as a team.

Our coaches as sponsors enabled us to become talented, but they also suppressed our team by not being able to teach us new skills every year. In order to overcome this adversity, we brought in coaches from several different colleges such as Youngstown State and Mount Union University. Their sponsorship taught us new techniques that would help us outlast our different levels of competition. We made it to the state championship game my junior and senior year. Being at state three years gave our coaches a lot of recognition. This proves Brandt’s idea that sponsors “lend their resources and credibility to the sponsored, but also stand to gain benefits from their success, whether by direct payment or, indirectly, by credit of association. Every team and their coaches knew who we were and were aware of the talent we had.

Even though we had many talented girls, it was not enough to win a state championship out of the three years we made it to the state tournament. Despite our losses, we were asked to coach at several different youth volleyball camps due to the social capital we gained from our multiple state appearances. Just as Sherman Alexie was able to share his literacy with the young Indian children, I was able to share my knowledge and passion for volleyball with younger children. Regardless of our unfortunate losses, the feeling of making it to the state championship game my junior and senior year will always be the best moments of my life. The privilege of being surrounded by passionate, talented teammates and a supportive community is unforgettable.

Briana Neidig
IWA4
1/25/2013

Summary

Rosenberg begins by defining rhetorical reading as a set of practices designed to help understand how texts work and engage more deeply and fully in a conversation that extends beyond the boundaries of any particular reading. It makes the reader think about the role and relationship between the writer, reader, and text. If we find what the writer cares about, it can help us understand the reading. Throughout Rosenberg’s essay she gives the reader helpful steps to understand academic essays more clearly.

Her first piece of advice is to consider the audience. Academics written for other academic are usually harder to read than textbooks made for a specific level of students. However, just because it is harder does not mean you should give up, you should delve into the details. Rosenberg recommends looking at the publication venue first. If the reading comes from an academic journal, then the primary audience is other academics. The reader can usually tell if the writing is academic by citations and title.

Rosenberg goes on to discuss two implications that you should be aware of if you are not the primary audience for a text. First, the author will assume prior knowledge that you likely do not have. Second, if you are not the primary audience, do not be surprised if you find that the writing is foreign. If you cannot understand why you are reading the essay, discuss the reading with the professor.

Before seeking help, however, Rosenberg gives details to finding the main argument. The first step is paying attention to the title because it can convey a lot of information that can help you figure out how to read the rest of the article more efficiently. For example, the words to the left of a colon serves as a teaser, while the words on the right is typically a straightforward explanation of the article. Another aspect to pay attention to is the abstract, which is like an executive summary. It usually answers questions such as the main problem or question, or why people in the field should care. After the abstract, the reader should look for the introduction.

It summarizes the whole piece, states the main idea, why we should care, and lastly, it offers an outline for the rest of the article. Finally, the reader should read over the section headings which gives an idea of what the excerpt will be about before diving into the dense reading. After reading these different parts of an essay, plus the conclusion, or restatement of the introduction, the reader should be able to identify the main argument. Once you can identify the main argument, you can determine how much energy to spend on various parts of the reading.

Synthesis
Rosenberg’s essay is related to a few of our past readings. The first reading that came to mind was John Swales model, “Create a Research Space.” Swales describes the different steps in uncovering the meaning in a research paper’s introductory. Similarly, Rosenberg’s piece gives the reader tips to finding the main argument. Stuart Greene’s writing is also very similar to these two essays. He describes how to make a successful argument just as Rosenberg helps the reader become better at finding the main points in any essay. Anne Lamott’s writing, “Shitty First Drafts,” relates to Rosenberg’s because they both agree that no one is perfect at reading or writing paper; however, they both encourage those less experienced to try to read and write dense materials. Furthermore, Sarah Allen’s essay, “The Inspired Writer vs.

The Real Writer,” also describes the struggles of writers and ways to overcome them and persevere in reading. Before reading Rosenberg’s essay, I struggled with reading some of the dense material. I believe Rosenberg’s work relates to all of the essays because each of our past readings have mostly followed the “guidelines” Rosenberg describes. Looking back and reading each essay’s introduction gave me a clearer understanding of each of them. Opinion

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rosenberg’s essay, ” Reading Games: Strategies for Reading Scholarly Sources,” because it gave me a better strategy to reading dense material. Before this essay I was constantly being confused by large words and foreign details. While I tried to look them up, I forgot what I was reading about by the time I got back to reading. This process will definitely be a time saver and help me get a clearer understanding of the reading.

This story relates to my life because I often find myself reading the same paragraph over and over again because I am not interested in the reading. However, Rosenberg propose the idea to find the main argument and reasoning behind the reading. Hopefully these two tips help me to quicken my pace of reading harder material that seems boring to me. The most useful facts from her reading was the different ways to discover the audience and main argument of the essay. I did not disagree with any of the information Rosenberg provided and found her tips very helpful. Questions

1. Pick one reading strategy above that you may have used in reading a text previously (like paying close attention to the introduction of a book, chapter, or article). Discuss the ways in which this strategy worked for you and/or didn’t work for you. Would you recommend friends use this strategy? (How) might you amend it, and when might you use it again?

One strategy that I have used in reading a previous text is using the introduction to find the main argument or point the author has in mind. For example, in Deborah Brandt’s essay, “Sponsors of Literacy,” I began by skipping the first couple of paragraphs followed by trying to decode the body paragraphs. However, I soon realized this method did not work very well and only caused more confusion. Finally, I realized that the introduction was one of the most important paragraphs for framing the reading. After I thoroughly read the introduction, the rest of the essay was much simpler to read. Recalling my experience, this strategy was very useful and worked well for me. I would recommend this strategy to my friends if they are struggling with understanding a long, dense essay. I could amend this strategy by being more clear on what exactly to look for in the introduction.

I will definitely use this method again when I am reading material for Biology and Chemistry.

2. The author writes in several places about reading academic texts as entering a conversation. What does this mean to you? How can you have a conversation with a text? The strategy of reading an academic text as entering a conversation means that you respond to certain passages while reading, or voicing your own opinion. You can have this conversation by making your own arguments toward certain things the reader says or adding on your opinions to their opinions. Once the reader compares the author’s story or essay to their own life they can better understand the reading and propose different ideas. 3. How might the reading strategies discussed in this article have an impact on your writing? Will you be more aware of your introduction, conclusion, and clues you leave throughout the text for readers? Talk with other writers to see what they may have learned about writing from this article on reading strategies.

Yes, I believe these reading strategies discussed in this article have had a impact on my writing. I recently have had to write several different essays for an honors program application and I can already see many improvements in my writing. I am more aware of making my writing clear, precise, and accurate. I did not get a chance to discuss the reading with other students outside of class; however, I did discuss it with my older sister. I described how much my writing has improved because of the different excerpts we have been reading in class, especially Rosenberg’s. Using her strategies for my reading truly helped put a perspective on the different points I need to make in my own writing.

Briana Neidig
IWA
4/12/13
Summary
Paul Heilker and Melanie Yergeau begin their article by discussing the recent spread of awareness of the autism discourse. Despite this awareness, we are being swamped by a massive increase in fundamentally uncertain yet persuasive discourse, making autism rhetorical. The three definitions given of “rhetoric” share a common focus: the role of communication in social interaction. Similarly, the three definitions of autism share the same focus as “rhetoric.” Paul Heilker uses the actions of his autistic son, Eli, to help him more understand the rhetorical perspective on autism. In addition to the examples given by Heilker, Melanie Yergeau, diagnosed with autism, uses her own experiences to support autism being rhetorical. Two types are rhetoric, listening and silence, are discussed.

Rhetorical listening can be used to make more productive communication in a discourse. For instance, autistics use echolalia to better communicate. In addition to rhetoric listening enhancing communication, rhetoric silence also improves communication by attaching different individualized meanings behind a person’s silence. “Understanding the verbal and nonverbal manifestations of autism as a rhetorical imperative does much to dissolve the idea of otherness, to give credence to the idea of a single, inclusive, broad spectrum representing all of human neurology.”(P 269) Synthesis

While reading Heilker and Yergeau’s article, “Autism and Rhetoric,” I connected it to Muriel Harris’ belief that everyone has their own style of writing. In connection with each individual’s style or writing, autistics have their own style of communicating. Although each individual’s style of writing or communication differs, they each write for or communicate with an “audience,” whether broad or specific. This can be seen as another one of Muriel Harris’ ideas: reader-based writing. Despite different styles, these individuals use the same tasks to increase communication within a discourse or their “audience.”

Another connection I made while reading “Autism and Rhetoric” is Brandt’s idea of a sponsor using the sponsored for their own benefits. In Heilker and Yergeau’s article, Yergeau describes her college campus’ chapter of Autism Speaks. While the sorority was using the club to “boost up” their resume, they were oblivious to the fact that maybe autistics do not need so much empathy. In Yergeau’s opinion the club made her feel as a dysfunctional unit. This is an example of a sponsor using the sponsored for their pwn benefit. Opinion

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this touching article! The most useful information I received from this article is that seeing autistics in a new perspective leads to new opinions. It applies to my life because my classmate’s little brother was diagnosed with autism. Reading about the mysterious silence and communication with themselves made me recall many memories of his little brother. Beforehand, I did not look down upon him, but I did feel sad that such a wonderful little boy had trouble with communicating. However, after this article I realize how strong of a person he must be and I commend him for all of his accomplishments. I now see that the silence isn’t due to anger or unhappiness. One of the points in the article that I agreed with most was that a discourse has their own means of improving production of communication. I belief that having unique means of communication can allow for a more private, closer connection.

Briana Neidig
Project 2 Draft
3/11/13

Cover Letter

My essay describes my one-draft writing process that has the advantage of minimal writing time, but also the disadvantage of procrastinating due to the short time needed to finish. Throughout my essay I argue that students often use excuses such as, “I work better and more creative under pressure,” which leads to procrastination and unhealthy effects on the body. In my essay I provide ways in which students can avoid procrastination and improve their writing.

I believe that my descriptions of improvement for procrastination are what I did best in my paper. I feel that I really need to work on transition sentences, paragraph organization, and possibly more citations.

After the peer review I changed a few grammatical errors, removed a sentence, and also added a sentence in my conclusion in order to sum up which sources recommended the improvements.

How to Avoid Procrastination

The moment I sit down to brainstorm for a paper the voices begin: “You do your most creative work when there is time pressure to get it done,” or “Your idea will randomly arise in your mind, just wait.” These voices seem to appear at every stage of my writing process, until I am finally forced to complete the assignment-in one draft-due to the deadline the next morning.

Like me, many students believe that procrastinating and writing a one-draft paper is the best way to approach a writing assignment; however, research claims this method has numerous negative effects on the individual. Therefore, other students and I, should learn to begin their writing process in advance in order to avoid the feelings of fatigue, guilt, and anxiety after turning in an important paper.

According to the articles we have read, everyone has a different preference for writing. After analyzing my journal of my writing process, I realize that I am what Muriel Harris describes as a one-draft writer. Harris describes a one-draft writer as, “one who constructs their plans and the pre-texts that carry out those plans as well as do all or most of the revising of those plans and pre-texts mentally, before transcribing.”(Harris 178) Before I begin typing, my thoughts arrange the different paragraphs and phrases that will appear in my paper.

Harris also states that, “Because most decisions are made before they [one-drafters] commit words to paper, they do little or no scratching out and re-writing; and they do a minimum of re-reading both as they proceed and also when they are finished.”(Harris 183) Dismally, due to the minimal time it takes me to type out my thoughts and re-read my paper, I often procrastinate on writing projects.

Writing out my thoughts is the easiest task for me, arranging my ideas for a writing assignment is where my problem occurs. For example, as Mrs. Pullen explained the assignment for Project One, I knew exactly what I truly wanted to write about: Volleyball. I began to picture different parts of my essay with some of my most memorable volleyball games. However, walking out of English class that same day, I realized that most of my papers I have written in the past described my volleyball career. So, for the time being, I decided to put the assignment on the “back burner” because I thought I would work more creatively closer to the deadline.

Within three days to the deadline I finally took the time to sit down and think about my project, but my mind would wander to everything else but writing. I tried to discover a past literacy by going to the gym, eating dinner, and listening to music. However, I really was not trying to discover an idea, I was only looking for a distraction while procrastinating. Farrington describes procrastination as “the internal decision to delay something that we feel should be done now.”(Farrington 12) I knew I should be working on the paper in order to do well, but the voices in my head convinced me that I work best under pressure.

Although I listened to the voices saying “you work better and more creatively under pressure” in the moment, I regretted the decision later on in my writing process. As I sat in the coffee shop the night before project one was due to our peers, I felt uneasy about finishing on time. Farrington states that, “A certain amount of positive stress can be motivating, but that last-minute, “I-have-to-get-this-done-or-else” mode is often accompanied by a feeling of fear or anxiety.”(Farrington 12) As I tried to focus on deciding which literacy would be interesting and motivating to write about, I could not help but fear incompletion.

After sorting through different literacy I have learned, I finally decided that volleyball was my life and the only literacy that I can vividly remember. While drinking my black coffee, I typed the various volleyball memories I previously arranged in my mind. Thankfully, as I typed, I recalled different quotes and ideas from Brandt’s essay that I could use. Similar to William Lutz, one of the individuals Brandt studied, writing is not much of a discovery for me, the writing process takes place in my mind. Although matching quotes to my essay came easily, I still did not finish all of my homework until three o’clock in the morning.

When my alarm went off I was physically exhausted and I could hardly pay attention in any of my other classes. Even after I turned in my paper I felt anxious that I did not follow the prompt well enough or I was missing important information. While I was lucky enough to finish my paper on time, I felt the side effects of procrastination, or what Farrington describes as the consequences of procrastination: “health problems, guilt, stress, and work that isn’t our best.”(Farrington 11) Procrastinating for project one was not the first time I have waited until the last minute to complete an important task. Many students feel the same wrath from procrastination, but continue to do it.

“College students who continuously wait until the last minute to do an assignment receive lower grades, and those who succeed anyway are doing so in spite of procrastinating, not because they waited for the fear of failure to trump their desire to do anything.”(Farrington 13) Farrington believes that in order to avoid receiving lower grades and improve our motivation to complete an assignment, students must set a series of proximal goals. Proximal goals allow the student to break down one large goal into smaller chunks. “Creating proximal goals is one part of planning and self-regulation that can help make the work appear more manageable and also increase the sense of self-efficacy.”(Farrington 13) Breaking down large goals into smaller goals allows the student to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed and helps to eliminate procrastination. When students avoid procrastination they can improve their motivation as well as work more creatively

Working creatively means that the student has time to take breaks, even days, away from their project in order to find the right idea they are looking for. However, some students believe that putting off the assignment until the last minute will make them more creative. “Although people may feel that they are more creative under pressure, evidence suggests the opposite: They are less creative on days when time pressure is high.” (Farrington 13) Waiting until the last minute to complete an assignment will decrease the time allowed to explore different options. With less options explored, a student might miss out on an interesting topic or the right words to express their “story.”

In turn, students need to avoid procrastination to improve their creativity and motivation to complete the project. Teresa Amabile, from Farrington’s article, suggests another approach instead of waiting until the last minute to “boost” creativity. She suggests, “Focusing on your own experience of intrinsic motivation from the work itself, rather than on external motivation such as deadlines or consequences. Start working on creative projects as soon as possible, and map out strategies for getting them done. Lastly, work hard on the project for a while and then set it aside for a few days, nurturing new ideas by giving them time to incubate.”(Farrington 13) These simple tasks will allow the student to make their writing more creative by exploring various options rather than one option in one prolonged period of time.

Each student may have a different reason for procrastinating, but the fact that we have procrastinated in the past does not reflect our actions in the future. According to Harris and Farrington, being a one-drafter does not have to cause procrastination. It is better not to assume that we work best or more creatively under pressure, rather we must set proximal goals, start working as soon as possible, take breaks, and find motivation in the project. Focusing on these small tasks will reduce negative effects on the body and make writing more successful.

Works Cited

1) Farrington, Jeanne. “Procrastination-Not all it’s put off to be”.Performance Improvement Quarterly; 2012, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p11-16. 2) Harris, Muriel.”Composing Behaviors of One- and Multi-Draft Writers”.College English, Vol. 51, No.2(Feb.,1989), p174-191.

Project 2
3/11/13

Cover Letter

My essay describes my one-draft writing process that has the advantage of minimal writing time, but also the disadvantage of procrastinating due to the short time needed to finish. Throughout my essay I argue that students often use excuses such as, “I work better and more creative under pressure,” which leads to procrastination and unhealthy effects on the body. In my essay I provide ways in which students can avoid procrastination and improve their writing.

I believe that my descriptions of improvement for procrastination are what I did best in my paper. I feel that I really need to work on transition sentences, paragraph organization, and possibly more citations.

After the peer review I changed a few grammatical errors, removed a sentence, and also added a sentence in my conclusion in order to sum up which sources recommended the improvements.

How to Avoid Procrastination

The moment I sit down to brainstorm for a paper the voices begin: “You do your most creative work when there is time pressure to get it done,” or “Your idea will randomly arise in your mind, just wait.” These voices seem to appear at every stage of my writing process, until I am finally forced to complete the assignment-in one draft-due to the deadline the next morning.

Like me, many students believe that procrastinating and writing a one-draft paper is the best way to approach a writing assignment; however, research claims this method has numerous negative effects on the individual. Therefore, other students and I should learn to begin their writing process in advance in order to avoid the feelings of fatigue, guilt, and anxiety after turning in an important paper.

According to the articles I have read, everyone has a different preference for writing. After analyzing my journal of my writing process, I realize that I am what Muriel Harris describes as a one-draft writer. Harris describes a one-draft writer as, “one who constructs their plans and the pre-texts that carry out those plans as well as do all or most of the revising of those plans and pre-texts mentally, before transcribing.”(Harris 178) Before I begin typing, my thoughts arrange the different paragraphs and phrases that will appear in my paper.For example, as Mrs. Pullen explained the assignment for Project One, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about: Volleyball. I began to picture different parts of my essay with some of my most memorable volleyball games.Since most of my writing process occurs before I begin typing, the words usually flow continuously when I begin to type.

Harris also states that, “Because most decisions are made before they [one-drafters] commit words to paper, they do little or no scratching out and re-writing; and they do a minimum of re-reading both as they proceed and also when they are finished.”(Harris 183) Although arranging my ideas for a writing assignment is where most of my conflict occurs, writing out my thoughts is a simple, quick task. Dismally, due to the minimal time it takes me to type out my thoughts and re-read my paper, I often procrastinate on writing projects. Due to the belief that I could finish my paper in one night, I decided to put Project One on the back burner and hope I would work more creatively closer to the deadline.

Within three days to the deadline I finally took the time to sit down and think about my project, but my mind would wander to everything else but writing. I tried to discover a past literacy by going to the gym, eating dinner, and listening to music. However, I really was not trying to discover an idea, I was only looking for a distraction while procrastinating. Farrington describes procrastination as “the internal decision to delay something that we feel should be done now.”(Farrington 12) I knew I should be working on the paper in order to do well, but the voices in my head convinced me that I work best under pressure.

Although I listened to the voices saying “you work better and more creatively under pressure” in the moment, I regretted the decision later on in my writing process. As I sat in the coffee shop the night before project one was due to our peers, I felt uneasy about finishing on time. Farrington states that, “A certain amount of positive stress can be motivating, but that last-minute, ‘I-have-to-get-this-done-or-else’ mode is often accompanied by a feeling of fear or anxiety.”(Farrington 12) As I tried to focus on deciding which part of my volleyball literacy would be interesting and motivating to write about, I could not help but fear incompletion. This fear of incompletion caused my stress to increase as I constantly checked the clock and felt continuously distracted by the shuffling of people in and out of the library.

When I finally focused on my project and decided on which parts of my volleyball literacy to focus on, I typed the various volleyball memories I previously arranged in my mind. Thankfully, as I typed, I recalled different quotes and ideas from Brandt’s informative essay on the relationship between a sponsor and the sponsored.After I pushed through the conflict of arranging my thoughts, my ideas perfectly connected with Brandt’s ideas and the words flowed easily. Similar to William Lutz, one of the individuals Brandt studied, writing is not much of a discovery for me, the writing process takes place in my mind. Although matching quotes to my essay came easily, I still did not finish all of my homework until three o’clock in the morning.

When my alarm went off I was physically exhausted and I could hardly pay attention in any of my other classes. Even after I turned in my paper I felt anxious that I did not follow the prompt well enough or I was missing important information. While I was lucky enough to finish my paper on time, I felt the side effects of procrastination, or what Farrington describes as the consequences of procrastination: “health problems, guilt, stress, and work that isn’t our best.”(Farrington 11)Procrastinating for Project One was not the first time I have waited until the last minute to complete an important task. Many students feel the same wrath from procrastination, but continue to do it.

This continuation of regularly procrastinating on school work has caused students unhealthy consequences. “College students who continuously wait until the last minute to do an assignment receives lower grades and those who succeed anyway are doing so in spite of procrastinating, not because they waited for the fear of failure to trump their desire to do anything.”(Farrington 13) Procrastinating is both unbeneficial and harmful to health; therefore, students and I should learn to break this bad habit.

Farrington believes that in order to avoid receiving lower grades and improve motivation to complete an assignment, students must set a series of proximal goals. Proximal goals allow the student to break down one large goal into smaller chunks. “Creating proximal goals is one part of planning and self-regulation that can help make the work appear more manageable and also increase the sense of self-efficacy.”(Farrington 13) Instead of brainstorming throughout the duration of the assignment and typing it all out the night before, I can write out and organize my thoughts each day. Breaking down the assignment into smaller goals will allow me to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed and eliminate procrastination. Avoiding procrastination will improve my motivation as well as working more creatively.

Working creatively means that the student has time to take breaks, even days, away from their project in order to find the right idea they are looking for. However, some students believe that putting off the assignment until the last minute will make them more creative. “Although people may feel that they are more creative under pressure, evidence suggests the opposite: They are less creative on days when time pressure is high.” (Farrington 13) When I attempt to sit down and type out my paper a few days before the deadline I tell myself, “Just wait, more ideas will come to you.” In the moment I feel the words will flow easily when I am under a “time crunch.” Regardless, waiting until the last minute to complete an assignment causes my body more stress and less creativity.

In order to excel in writing, I need to avoid procrastination to improve my creativity and motivation to complete the project. Teresa Amabile, from Farrington’s article, suggests another approach instead of waiting until the last minute to “boost” creativity. She suggests, “Focusing on your own experience of intrinsic motivation from the work itself, rather than on external motivation such as deadlines or consequences. Start working on creative projects as soon as possible, and map out strategies for getting them done.

Lastly, work hard on the project for a while and then set it aside for a few days, nurturing new ideas by giving them time to incubate.”(Farrington 13) In essence, I should find my own voice and interest in the topic before I start writing. Instead of waiting until the last opportunity to type out my project, I can write ideas down and let them “sink in” for a few days. Breaking up the project into simple, short writing assignments will allow me as a student to make my writing more creative by exploring various options. Adopting this strategy will also allow me to avoid the harmful effects of procrastination on my mind and body.

Avoiding the harmful effects of procrastination will give me the opportunity to divert feelings of guilt, fatigue, and stress. Alleviating these emotions will provide me with a more extended range of ideas and time without feeling the impact of a time limit and no sleep. Although I am a one-drafter, it is in my best interest to start projects early and jot down organized thoughts instead of waiting until the last day to type out the whole paper. As a result, I will not be overwhelmed with a large amount of work and stress which will improve my writing process. It is better not to assume that I work best or more creatively under pressure, rather I must set proximal goals, start working as soon as possible, take breaks, and find motivation in the project. Focusing on these small tasks will reduce negative effects on my body and make my writing more successful.

Works Cited

1)Farrington, Jeanne. “Procrastination-Not all it’s put off to be”.Performance Improvement Quarterly; 2012, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p11-16. 2) Harris, Muriel.”Composing Behaviors of One- and Multi-Draft Writers”.College English, Vol. 51, No.2(Feb.,1989), p174-191.

Project 4
4/26/13
A New Beginning
When I think of the word fear, I think of my emotion during my writing process in high school. I felt this same fear arise walking in the first day of my Freshman English class. In the past, I was scared to express myself because I feared my ideas were not good enough nor what the teacher wanted. Often, papers were returned to me full of red marks even after I spent several nights trying to produce the best paper possible. Fortunately, after attending a semester in English 1510 and reading the assigned articles, my writing process has improved immensely. The fear of expressing myself has vanished, allowing me to find my own voice and improve my ability to find a deeper meaning in complex articles and using them throughout my research.

The central idea that has led my fear to disappear and improve my writing in various regions is one of Allen’s perspectives from her article: “The Inspired Writer vs. the Real Writer.” She states, “The fact that they [great real-life writers], too, had to answer to the great works that had been written before them; they, too, had to struggle with their own fears about sounding stupid; and they, too, had to answer to an often discerning and demanding audience.”(Allen 30) Realizing that I am not alone when I am struggling to express myself-due to the fear of being judged-has helped me become more comfortable with using my own experiences. I have improved my writing by learning to consistently add vivid, relatable details in order to engage more effectively with my audience. For example, before adding major global revisions to Project Two, I focused more on citing examples from research. As a result, I lost the benefit of engaging with my audience. In order to reconnect with my audience I added more personable experiences and details.

To demonstrate, in my revised Project Two I stated, “As I tried to focus on deciding which part of my volleyball literacy would be interesting and motivating to write about, I could not help but fear incompletion. This fear of incompletion caused my stress to increase as I constantly checked the clock and felt continuously distracted by the shuffling of people in and out of the library.”(Neidig 22) The second sentence did not appear in my first Project Two; however, adding this second sentence in my major revision allowed the reader to engage by “seeing” and “feeling” my struggle. This course has taught me that words have meaning and there is nothing more satisfying than knowing my experiences and words invoke a change in the emotion of my readers. Along with gaining confidence in using my own detailed experiences to connect with my audience, I have improved upon using these vivid details with research.

Before English 1510, my ability to discover relevant research was not terrible, but I struggled to efficiently add it among my own ideas. Most of my papers consisted of quotes bunched together which were not correctly introduced to readers or supported by my ideas. However, when Mrs. Pullen introduced me to the “sandwich-method” I learned how to correctly arrange my thoughts as well as the quotes in order to write a successful, interesting paper. The sandwich method consists of stating a claim, using the quote, and then explain why the quote supports. I was able to improve my writing by using Mrs. Pullen’s method within my Project One narrative.

A specific example occurs when I stated, “She [Lesley] taught me the basic skills of volleyball: passing, setting, and hitting. Deborah Brandt describes a sponsor as ‘any agent, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who, enable, support, teach, model as well as recruit, regulate, suppress, or withhold literacy- and gain advantage by it in some way.'(P.334) Lesley acted as my sponsor by teaching me the basic skills and rules of the game of volleyball while supporting my growing love for the game.” (Neidig 5) Rather than only stating quotes from my research to support other researched quotes, I was able to use an experience as an introduction to the quote, state the quote, and analyze how Lesley fit Brandt’s definition of a sponsor. Thankfully, using this method improved my paper and allowed the audience to see Brandt’s idea in my own life.

After I improved upon using the “sandwich method” I was able to detect it in other readings, allowing me to have a deeper understanding of the texts. In one of my first informal writing assignments, I only saw the surface of the readings while writing my synthesis. When synthesizing, I only observed similarities in general ideas that were commonly seen. For example, while synthesizing between Swales’ article, “Create a Research Space Model of Research Introductions,” and Rosenberg’s article, “Reading Games: Strategies for Reading Scholarly Sources,” I stated, “Swales describes the different steps in uncovering the meaning in a research paper’s introductory. Similarly, Rosenberg’s piece gives the reader tips to finding the main argument.”(Neidig 8) Although this statement is true, I only saw the obvious connections. In comparison to this synthesis, an IWA I wrote towards the end of the semester shows a great improvement.

To illustrate, I was synthesizing Muriel Harris’ article on “Composing Behaviors of One- and Multi-Drafters,” and Heilker and Yergeau’s article, “Autism and Rhetoric. In my synthesis, I wrote, “I connected it [Heilker and Yergeau’s article] to Muriel Harris’ belief that everyone has their own style of writing. In connection with each individual’s style or writing, autistics have their own style of communicating. Although each individual’s style of writing or communication differs, they each write for or communicate with an “audience,” whether broad or specific. This can be seen as another one of Muriel Harris’ ideas: reader-based writing. Despite different styles, these individuals use the same tasks to increase communication within a discourse or their “audience.”(Neidig 11 ) Instead of simply stating that these two articles shared an idea, I was able to connect Muriel Harris’ idea to a real life situation- included in Heilker and Yergeau’s article-and elaborate on it. I have learned that being able to read and interpret the deeper meaning of an article allows me to improve the number of connections I observe and explain them in my synthesis of papers or informal writing assignments.

Although all of these different aspects of my writing have improved greatly, other parts of my writing are still weak. I believe that I need to work on using more transitions in my papers. To validate this point, as I was reading my Project Two draft, I ended a paragraph with, ” Dismally, due to the minimal time it takes me to type out my thoughts and re-read my paper, I often procrastinate on writing projects,”(Neidig 15) and started a new paragraph with the sentence: “Writing out my thoughts is the easiest task for me, arranging my ideas for a writing assignment is where my problem occurs” (Neidig 15) In this example from my Project Two, I switch to a whole new idea without giving the reader direction. Unfortunately, this mistake causes my audience to be confused and wonder how the former paragraph connects to the new idea. In order to improve this flaw I will ask myself, “What job is this paragraph supposed to do, and how does it relate to the paragraph before and after it?” In this way, I will always check to make sure I do not randomly begin a new idea, which in turn will help improve my order of paragraphs.

Organization of my paper is also another aspect of writing I would like to improve on in the future. I would like to be more confident in the way I separate my ideas into different paragraphs. While writing, I am sometimes I am unsure which ideas I should bunch together as well as how much information on an idea I should include in one paragraph. For instance, in paragraph two and three from my Project Two draft(Neidig 14-15) , I state mostly the same information while adding “fluff” instead of combining the two paragraphs. In order to improve on this fault I will ask myself a series of questions. This series of questions will include: “How many paragraphs did I use to talk about each point, why did I talk about them in this order, and should the order be changed?” Running these questions through my mind while writing my draft will help me sort out my thoughts more efficiently, and move paragraphs into various different parts of my paper.

Although these two flaws are still apparent, I am proud to observe an incredible improvement in my writing. Looking back at the beginning of the semester I now realize I no longer feel fear of my audience approval, but motivation to inspire and provoke emotion from my audience. Over the course of the semester I have found my own voice which has allowed me to use my own experiences to connect and engage with my audience. My own experiences and vivid details have also allowed me to support research while maximizing my efficient use of Mrs. Pullen’s “sandwich method.” Once I was able to improve on using the “sandwich method,” I began to see other authors using it in their articles. Finding the use of this skill in the different articles I read allowed me to read the work more easily and make various connections. These deeper connections carried over to my IWAs, improving my synthesizing abilities. Overall, discovering my own voice and confidence due to Sarah Allen’s article, “The Inspired Writer vs. the Real Writer,” allowed me to improve on many aspects of my writing. In the future I hope that these improvements will encourage and help my improvement in the weak areas of my writing such as organization and transition sentences.

Cite this English Final Portfolio Essay

English Final Portfolio Essay. (2016, May 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/english-final-portfolio/

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