Writing Portfolio Reflective Essay

When I first enrolled into this course, I felt all different kinds of emotions and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from WRD 103.  I would have thoughts in my head leading up to this class spinning in my head every night before the first day.  Some thoughts like, “Maybe this will be my best class!” and “This class will be easy because I love writing!” were good thoughts that helped me boost my confidence about my college course.  Other thoughts loomed in my head as well such as, “Do I really belong in this class?”, and “I’m probably going to fail this class with just one assignment!”  Such thoughts as these brought my spirits and gave me a pessimistic outlook on this class.  But now that I am halfway done with this class, I find myself to be more at ease with myself and have a newfound confidence in the way that write.

                Writing has been an important form of expression for me.  I find myself to be very soft spoken and speaking verbally is usually difficult for me because I can’t always seem to find the right words to say.  This has led me to be very shy in class.  With writing, I feel that I am more expressive and have more control over what I want to say.  Writing is therapeutic for me, whatever I cannot say directly I can just pour out my heart and soul.  I have been keeping a journal for the past eight years and it has done wonders for me.  I find myself not only a better person for it but it also serves as an aid for writing.  My journal is one of the best ways I take into consideration life’s difficult choices I make.  It serves as a permanent record for me to look back on in the future to see how much I matured in my life.

                Although I enjoy writing in such an informal way, I always felt that I was limited to my expressions in formal writing.  Throughout high school, I found myself constantly struggling to comprehend with the assignments while not shying away from my own personal style of writing.  My teachers would tell me that they understood what I was trying to write, but maybe I should try to be more formal.  I understood that while I tried to write formally, I never understood what they meant by what was formal and what wasn’t formal.  Now I think that what they meant was which audience I was writing my papers for.  There would be times where I would write something amazing down but not target the right audience, which were my English teachers.  This made writing for me very difficult in my English classes and I was constantly asking for help from others to overlook my papers.

                In WRD 103, I think one of the most important things I have learned so far is that when I start writing, I usually don’t have a definite idea of where I am going.  Back in high school, my English teachers would always tell me that the only way I can really get the main idea across is with a thesis statement at the start of a paper.  While it was easy for most of my friends to come up with a clear thesis statement, I found myself struggling with this concept at times.  What I have found through the writing assignments and the reading responses is that my main ideas are often unclear at first, but as I get to the end of a draft, they become clearer.  As I write more, I begin to focus on an idea and my essay begins to make more sense.  In many cases, I could take ideas from the end of a draft and bring them up to my introduction to give me focus.

                The writing samples I have chosen for my midterm portfolio were picked with different criteria in mind.  First, I choose writing that really defined and focused on the topic.  If I truly cannot believe in a topic that I am not passionate about, then I feel that what I write down will let me fail as a writer.  For this reason, the writing samples that are included in this portfolio are strongly rooted in my personal beliefs.  Second, I chose different kinds of writing so readers could see how I approached various writing assignments.  I need to be able to get out of my comfort zone every now and then and start to target a variety of different audiences so that I will let everyone get the chance to read what I have to say.

                I chose to include the narrative response in my portfolio.  While when it was first written, it was not the best narrative I have written.  However, I knew this was the one with the most potential.  For the first time, I felt that this was a chance for me to express myself without being too informal about my reading and writing experiences.  After trying numerous methods of brainstorming, I was frustrated with the fact that one particular method wasn’t working well enough for me.  But then I was able to play around with a variety of different writing techniques that allowed me to focus more easily on my assignments.  With all the different methods I had tried out, there was this constant flow of ideas streaming through my head that I just kept writing down until there was nothing left to write.  From this narrative, not only did I feel happy about the accomplishment I made with this narrative but it also allowed me to apply what I learned to the rest of my writing samples.

                I feel that this class has permitted me to continue to grow as a writer so far.  This class has allowed me to practice different kinds of writing.  I’m planning to major in communications and media and I understand that writing will be an important part of my upcoming career, as well as in my personal life.  For my career, writing will be a tool that I will often need to get my point.  I feel that I need to work on knowing when to put personal opinions into my writing and when I should be more objective.  Sometimes I get carried away by my feelings about a topic and it becomes opinionated.  This class will help me further understand different writing situations, and I think I am now better able to see when the personal side is appropriate and when it is not.  I hope that I also continue to find other ways to better myself as a writer such as writing in genres and applying structure to the format of the rhetorical analysis.



Reflective Cover Essay

The Reflective Cover Essay is in many ways the most important element of the WPP. This is your opportunity to introduce the evaluators to yourself and your work, and to connect the artifacts in your portfolio with your experiences as a student and a writer. This reflection should take the form of a fully developed essay with at least an introduction, a conclusion, and a body paragraph for each of the elements in your portfolio—it should not be a list.

A successful Reflective Cover Essay will include the following:

  1. In your introduction, you should include background information about your college career both at USC Aiken and at any other universities or colleges that you may have attended. What is your major? Do you have a minor? Are you a non-traditional student? Are you an athlete? Do you have military experience? Do you have a job besides your career as a student?
  2. Also in your introduction, you should mention each of the essays that you are including in your WPP and briefly (in a sentence or two) connect each to your major/minor and your college experience as both a student/writer.
  3. Your body paragraphs should focus on one of the essays that you have selected for inclusion in your WPP. For each of the artifacts in your WPP you should discuss why you selected that particular paper for your portfolio, and how it shows your growth as a writer. This discussion should include the course you wrote the paper for (including the instructor’s name), a detailed summary of the assignment, and revisions you have made to the paper.  Try to talk about how each essay reflects the rubric.
  4. In your conclusion, you should talk about your progress as a writer and a student over the course of your time at USC Aiken. You should talk about what you hope to accomplish with your degree. How does the writing in your WPP connect with your time as a student and your aspirations after college?

Your Reflective Cover Essay MUST be double-spaced. You should carefully proofread your Reflective Cover Essay because this paper will set the expectation for the entire WPP.  Poor cover essays have revealed odd paragraph development, pronoun reference errors, subject-verb disagreement, incorrect sentence structures, and typographic, spelling, punctuation, capitalization mistakes.

NOTE: If you fail to achieve the minimum benchmark score on your first submission and are deemed eligible to resubmit your WPP (and you elect to do so), the Reflective Cover Essay becomes even more important. Particular attention MUST be paid to revisions made to the originally submitted papers. You must explain why and how you revised each paper.

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