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Portfolio Reflection

Julia Sandor

Arizona State University


What is writing? I’m sure you can come up with a million different ways to answer that

question because it is more of an opinion. Writing could be boring to one person and the most

exciting thing to another. Writing could be your worst enemy or your best friend. Writing could

be what gets you through your darkest days, or it can be what makes you stay up on the darkest

nights. Whatever you might think writing is, someone else can argue against it. I think that is the

beauty of writing. It is whatever you want it to be.

My understanding of writing is that it helps one express themself. No matter what type of

essay I’m writing, such as persuasive, narrative, or argumentative, I can still get my point across.

There are many different formats to use, but each one serves a purpose. For academic writing,

there are certain ways to format your paper that make it more presentable. No matter how you

choose to write and format it, as long as you are following your instructions and doing what you

believe is best, you can only succeed. Writing is all about what you think is important, and what

you hope your target audience will enjoy.

As a freshman here at Arizona State University, I did not know what to expect coming

into college first semester. In high school, I learned the basics of writing. I knew sentence

structure and easy ways to cut corners on my papers. I learned “MLA” format and lived by it

every single day. My assignments were basically to read a book and write about it. To me, it

seemed pointless. How was this going to apply to me in the future? Was this going to teach me a

life skill? I honestly was dumbfounded. When I came to college and realized I had to take

English again, I was not very happy.

First semester freshman year was quite an adjustment. I was not used to the atmosphere

of the campus. As I walked into English the first day, I was shocked to see how compassionate

my professors were. Rather than jump into everything and make me nervous, they explained how

they wanted us to succeed. I was excited to learn from them, and that’s exactly what I did. When

we went over the writing projects I was happy to do them. I was intrigued by the topics because

for once, we were allowed to choose our own. In the past, I have never been allowed to pick my

own topic to write about. The freedom of the course really helped me enjoy writing, for I have

never really enjoyed it much. After writing several narratives and getting feedback from my

peers, I became more confident in my personal writing. I actually looked forward to writing

another essay. I was shocked to say the least, but English 101 set me up for success. As the first

semester came to an end, I signed up for the second English course required with the same

teachers. I had no idea what was in store for me the second semester.

After winter break, I came back to school ready to succeed once again in my English

class. I was familiar with APA style, which I learned the basics about first semester, so I figured

I would be ready to go. I was definitely wrong. Our first assignment in English 102 really caught

me off guard. I was utterly confused.

The papers we were assigned in this class were going to be based on research. We first

had to look at an ad and explain what it portrayed. Something so little actually has so much

meaning. This assignment made me look deeper into everything. I became a very critical thinker

and a closer reader. I knew what to look for and tried to find hidden meanings in everything.

Although this assignment was hard to me, I was able to finally understand the idea that I needed

to. The next assignment was an infographic, in which I showed the effects of water pollution.

This was actually a lot of fun for me. It allowed me to show my creative side yet again, which

was something I really enjoyed doing. While doing so, I began to learn a lot of information I did

not know. This information flowed into my other assignment where I wrote about the same topic.

Throughout this class, I learned how to research like a pro. I went through academic

journals, published articles, and professional sites to find the best information I possibly could.

Because of the research tactics I learned I am more prepared for the future. Another great skill I

learned that I didn’t know before this was how to properly use APA formatting. I was able to

grasp the skill of citations and format. It was definitely a struggle for me in the beginning but

throughout the year, I have improved significantly, and I am proud of myself for that. To think

that the first assignment of the year completely scared me is funny. I have grown so much since

then and my writing continuously gets better.

I know there is still so much to learn. As a freshman, I have so many years ahead of me.

There are still things I do not understand, or even know of but I will get there eventually. Once

this course has officially come to an end, I will have accomplished so many things. These few

accomplishments will make it easier for me to learn other new things in the future. The past few

months in English 102 have taught me to be a better writer.

As a journalism student, the things I learned in this course will greatly help me in the

future.I need to know how to do research and investigate further and deeper into the subject I am

writing on. I know it may be hard at times, but after acquiring these skills this year, I believe I

am capable of anything in the future.