How My Writing Portfolio Represents the Confluence of Writing, Reading, and Discussion

This reflective essay serves as an introduction for a college-level writing portfolio. The student describes writing, reading, and in-class participation; creation and maintenance of writing habits like journaling; and discusses plans to apply new skills to revise some older work.

Introduction

Writing has never been my strong suit, I loved to read-even school assignments, but I could never connect with placing words on a page in the same way. I only began to come into my writing early 2021 as the college decision season came to an end and I realized the therapeutic nature of journaling. But academic or analytical papers weren’t a part of this new found connection to writing so I knew that coming into this semester I would have to put in a lot of effort to execute assignments I could be proud of. While this was difficult, I found that through quick writes, readings and class discussions that I was able to find my voice in academic writing.

In most of our classes this semester, I looked forward to starting off with a quick writing activity. Like journaling, it allowed me to process and a greater idea of answering a specific prompt without the concern of academic or peer judging. It was simply 5-10 minutes out of the day where I was able to think and truly comprehend what it was we were reading or what we planned to discuss that day. I think more than anything though it let me have that moment of joy writing. Like journaling, these quick writes were brain-dumps of everything I had on my mind that I could go back and shift through to find that jewel or crux that eventually became a topic of discussion and an essay. The quick writes were the first step in my writing process each day, which set me up for step two: discussions.

My speaking skills are far stronger than my writing ones so naturally I enjoyed class discussions. Not only did they allow me to engage with my peers, they also introduced me to different interpretations and understand the topic of interest of readings in a new light. There were times where I had a strong opinion on a matter but when a classmate spoke of their experience or comprehension of that exact topic I realized that my view was so one sided.

Discussion in this class did exactly what I needed them to do. They fostered this collaborative environment with different people who held different stories that were then applied to the classroom. It wasn’t a debate rather a cohort of exchanging varying thoughts to bring depth to the topic and eventually our essays. I could not have understood loneliness in the way I do without the class discussions because I wouldn’t have even thought of classifying Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck with these discussions. I would have been limited to my scope of the world and my writing would’ve been reflective of that. But by engaging with my classmates and professor, I was able to bring depth into my writing, something I haven’t been able to do before.

The last aspect that I believe played a big role in facilitating my writing growth this semester were the readings. I was so used to reading articles and novels that were reflective of a one sided story or one type of narrative before this course. But over the last four months the diversity of stories in both subject and genre, expanded my understanding and artistry of writing. I learned literary devices that brought the audience into the characters’ world and how something as simple as a sentence can change the ambiance of the entire piece. Like the class discussion, these readings introduced me to a versatile array of perspectives. lives, opinions and interpretations that I couldn’t have known on my own. Not only did the readings strengthen my writing from a literary stance but they also widened my depth to comprehend the world beyond my own life.

As explained above, I believe that I have grown throughout this semester with help of class discussion, quick writes and readings. Like most people who write, they will explain how they are constantly editing and reframing their stories based on what they learn during their writing process. While I wouldn’t consider myself a writer, throughout the semester I felt this urge to back and edit my first essay. I wrote a reflective essay on my college application cycle

journey and the ways I struggled to believe in God’s planning of my life. It’s a deeply personal story that lacks a set conclusion because to be frank it’s something I don’t have full confidence in yet. I got a good grade on the essay but I felt that my writing wasn’t reflective of how I felt or was able to describe in conversation. The story on paper lacked context and authenticity in relation to my relationship with God today. Since we read more personal stories and continued our discussion on how to effectively write during the semester, I wanted to take the new skills I learned to improve what once was a quick write and expand it into a beautiful piece of writing.

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