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Jessica Dominguez Cotzajay

Professor Corri Ditch
English 113B
08 May 2015
Reflection Essay
This semester, I took Professor Ditchs English 113B class. I was a bit more confident in
taking English this semester because I had the same professor from last semester, so it made me
comfortable being in a familiar setting and having and idea of what to expect this semester. I
understood that this semester it would be more challenging because last semester it was an
introductory to composition writing class and finding our writing skills to do in essays. Now this
semester, everything that we learned from last semester needed to be applied in our essay
writings. The professor expected more from us because she knew that were capable of
improving even more from last semester. Although my writing skills are not great, I have
noticed the improvements that I have made from both semester and in revising my essays for the
final portfolio. All the advice I have been taught in class to write essays, I have incorporated
them within my writing, which has helped, improved my writing skills.
Like last semester, this semester our class had a theme for the essay writing. The theme
was called Across Cultures. It was an interesting topic to write about because we were able to
reflect about our own cultures in the Project Space essay, and to read a book called The
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to write about for the Project Text essay. Both
essays were challenging for me because I knew that I had to do better than from my essays from
last semester. The grade from my Project Space essay was low that I knew I needed to improve

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in the Project Text essay, which I did because the grade went up 10% more. This showed that the
advice that my professors gave me helped me improve to better understand the essay.
The first essay, Project Space, was difficult for me to write about. Although I did write
the base for what the essay needed to be, I was missing the main topic-cultural space. In class,
we talked about cultural space and it was easy to understand; the moment I needed to start
writing the essay about cultural space it became confusing. I was not the only one struggling to
understand cultural space; my fellow classmates also had trouble understanding what it meant
that we would constantly ask questions to our professor or SI leader to get a better understanding
of the meaning. My returning grade for that essay was not the best to start off the semester.
When it came to revising, I had a better understanding of cultural space, so I knew what I needed
to improve in when I was revising for the final portfolio. The revisions demonstrate the
improvement between my final draft to the revised draft. An example is the revision of the thesis
in the essay. In the first final draft this was the thesis: Though, I, along with other Hispanics,
am breaking away from the traditional norm of Hispanics being seen to lack education because I
want to defy the stereotype and to prove that we are getting an education. In the revision draft
this is the thesis now: I and other Hispanics are breaking away from the traditional norms of
Hispanics not getting an education because we want to defy the stereotypes and to prove that we
are capable of receiving an education. Although society has influenced others to view Hispanics
to lack an education, Hispanics are proving to society that those generalizations do not define
them by showing that they are capable of getting an education. The professor gave me the
advice to redo my thesis and to try to make it into two sentences. When I did the thesis into two
sentences, it connected more to what my essay was about than the previous thesis I wrote. Along
with the thesis, I also added the cultural space aspect the revising essay. Since I better

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understood what it meant, I had an idea of how to incorporate it into the essay. Improvement is
shown in the first essay because of the revisions that were made and that I applied the advice that
the professor gave.
For the second essay, Project Text, I enjoyed writing it the most because of the book that
needed to be read in order to write the essay. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
is a book that I enjoyed to read, so when it came to writing the essay for it I knew what I wanted
it to be. The assignment was to write about a theme within the book, so I did cultural transitions.
I wrote about how Juliet, the main character, felt like an outcast in England but became accepted
in a new environment she never expected to be, Guernsey Island. Writing the essay, I knew what
steps I wanted to take and had everything organized for each paragraph. To my surprise, the
grade from this essay improved drastically from the last, which made me very happy. I noticed
the improvements that I made from Project Space to Project Text. Although I did get a higher
grade in Project Text, there were still improvements that needed to be done for the final portfolio.
The professor pointed out that I needed to improve in being more specific as to why Juliet did
not feel accepted in England and how the people in Guernsey made her feel accepted. Reading
the essay again, I realized how much specificity needed to be included. To revise the essay, I
looked back in the book to find more details to add to the paper. I added a few more sentences to
the paragraphs and new paragraph. Here are a few sentences from the new paragraph that I
added: The trust built between them drew Kit closer to her. Juliet became a motherly figure to
Kit. When Kit shared her secret box, Juliet knew that she had a purpose to stay in Guernsey. I
dont care about living in London-I love Guernsey and want to stay here (259). Juliet found a
new environment where she not only felt accepted but also knew she had a reason to stay. In
these few sentences, it added more detail as to why Juliet felt accepted in Guernsey Island. I

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never thought of adding this in the final draft because I thought I already was specific in the
areas it needed to be in, but adding these few sentences helped improve my essay in the revision.
The advice of being more specific in the essay helped me to improve more in being detailed in
my writing.
Both essays had its challenges, but it was a journey to write. I learned through each essay
the improvements that needed to be made. The lessons learned from last and this semester has
helped me in writing my essays, along with advice from my professor. Although Project Spaces
grade was not so great, in Project Text I noticed the improvements not only in the grade I
received but also in the writing skills that were shown. Through revising the essays for the final
portfolio, I improved the essays by reading through it and eliminating or adding details to the
essay with the advice that the professor gave me and from the lessons that I learned. Looking at
the final and revising draft improvements are shown with grammar, sentence structures, and
details. English class was a yearlong journey that has taught me lessons that I will be able to
apply to my future paper work.