My Final Reflection Letter

Dear Professor Cook and UWRT 1103 Peers,

I am writing this letter to you as a conclusion to completing the UWRT 1103 course this semester. As I enter in to unraveling how I have developed as a writer, I will share with you some past moments that have impacted my journey. When I look back on these moments now, I can see how I have grown as a writer and that my views have further developed and expanded on the given subjects. My development, like writing is progressive and contextual. I have realized and acknowledged more about writing in this past semester than I have in my entire life with my writing experiences.

The first moment this semester that had significant meaning to it, was when we as a class evaluated literacy. We talked about what it means to be literate, what literacies in writing are, and how the terminology and definition may be evolving to suit our given place in time. Almost everyone in our county these days is by definition “literate”, so how might we expand upon that definition now to reflect today’s society? Well, originally when I asked myself this question in class I decided that my understanding of being literate meant, “to be able to read and write well and with proper technique”. After reflecting back on this moment I still agree with this more in depth definition, but I also want to expand upon it. After analyzing all that it means to be literate and applying it to my experience throughout this course, I realize that being literate is more understanding what good writing is and how to be a good writer, rather than something as narrowed as following technique or format. I consider myself to be more literate now than I ever have been; I believe literacy is progressive. To apply this concept to my life and writing, I would say that understanding what it means to be literate, is growing and developing my writing in such a way that I will always strive to be more literate. Now that I have this new understanding of literacy I can apply it to my writing and work towards a goal of mastering literacy. I now perceive literacy as something personal to each writer and each writer has their own level of literacy of which they hope to achieve.

The next moment that really made an impact on my development as a writer was when context became a topic of in-depth discussion. Before talking about context and what it meant in terms of writing, I never really thought twice about it. I always viewed context as something that pertained to vocabulary being interpreted in a sentence. I never saw the bigger picture that context aids in developing. When I think back to when context was first explained in class and in terms of literacy, the understanding I formed was “literacies are contextual, and context is interpretation”. I remember thinking to myself that context really just meant the situation or position of what was being written and how the readers perceive it. I have come so far since that first initial understanding and have really embraced the meaning of that statement. My biggest new understanding of context is that, it is something that should be mutual between the reader and the writer. The context of which something is being written should ultimately be the same for which it is being read. Or maybe the reason someone is reading the piece isn’t the same reason for why it was written, it may just be a requirement, but that’s where the word interpretation plays a major role. The writer’s context should always be the reader’s interpretation. If something was written with intended purpose, the context should be the framework by which that purpose is articulated and interpreted. After analyzing context and forming this new understanding I have applied it to my writing and will continue to take it into account every time I write. Context is so important and is the difference between just reading, and really understanding a piece of writing. I will continue to work on improving my use and presentation of context in every piece of writing I develop.

The last moment significant to my development as a writer this semester, was when we talked about genre. For so long I had always thought about genre as a title or category for a specific type of writing, movie, or song. It wasn’t until our group discussion one day in class, that I was enlightened on the real meaning and context of genre in writing. There are a lot of different ways genre can be looked at in writing. Most people think of genre as a “type”. Well they aren’t completely wrong because genre can be a type, but instead of it being looked at as solely descriptive, it can also be viewed as its own thing or way of doing something. A genre is its own unlimited descriptor of other things. When I came to this understanding, in that moment, I remember thinking to myself, “but how is genre a thing?” It wasn’t really until completing my group facilitation project, doing research, and making connections of my own, that I fully grasped this concept of genre. Even now I still believe that genre can be viewed in a couple of different ways, there really is no set definition. If there was one thing I learned about genre after analyzing this moment and forming this new understanding, it’s that genre is very commonly misunderstood and overlooked. Often times we don’t consider the genre for which we are writing or forming, we just write and then try to match our writing to a given genre or category. What I have come to realize is that genre is actually its own production. It develops and evolves throughout ones writing and can sometimes work to contradict itself. What I’ve come to realize is most important when analyzing genre, is simply to remember it is not a type of category that shapes writing; but rather it presents a new form of which to classify writing and all of its attributes. Genre works to present both understanding and question. After developing this new understanding of genre I have realized that our typical misconstrued definition of genre actually limits our writing; and if we have this set “genre” in mind to which we are trying to fit our writing into, we are only restricting the potential of our work. Now that I have come to understand genre in this new and unlimited way, I can apply it to my writing by working to create and form new uses for genre, and challenge myself and my readers, through uses of this commonly overlooked concept. Genre will always be an influential aspect of writing and should never be overlooked or misinterpreted as this common definition of it being a category. My goal as a writer is to keep investigating all aspects of genre, and try to further understand its importance and usefulness in my writing.

Overall this course has taught me a lot about myself as a writer and bettered my understanding of what it takes to be a good writer. After reflecting back on these very pivotal moments throughout the semester it is my understanding that writing has no limits, only guidelines to help making a piece of writing easier to understand and interpret the way it was intended to be. Things like literacy, context, and genre are only but a few of the important components that make up great writing. It is my goal to continue to develop my writing skills through better understanding of these concepts.

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My Midterm Reflection

There is a time in every person’s life where they experience an epiphany. For me, one of the biggest epiphanies I ever experienced pertains to writing. At the beginning of this school year, coming to UNCC straight out of high school, my only writing experiences had been those restricted by the confines of a standard curriculum and format of writing. These restrictions even flowed over into my first semester in college and I was asked to write “five-paragraph essays”. It wasn’t until this semester and being enrolled in UWRT 1103 with Professor Cook that my writing became much more than that. It’s not all just format, length and criteria, but it’s context, purpose, and interpretation that make a great piece of writing.

This semester, I am taking four courses plus a lab. In one of these courses, an LBST course, I was asked to write a five-paragraph essay. This was about three and a half weeks into the semester and I had just become so “enlightened” by the fact that the five paragraph essay and thesis statements and all that were really just wrong to require. I remember my LBST professor saying “Okay so for this assignment you will be writing a simple five paragraph essay for your research on the Health Care System.” As soon as she said it I remember I got all hot and frustrated and I went from super distracted to all of the sudden being to tuned in but out of shock and disagreement. I felt like a spoiled kid whose parents had just flipped a switch and decided not to allow them to have such luxuries any more. Instantly, my hand shot up in the air and I was ready to protest or suggest instead of such a standard format, if we could just have content requirements instead of format requirements. But then I remembered what we had talked about in UWRT earlier that week. We discussed that as much as we would like writing to be about what we it to be, and include lots of personality in our writing and what not, sometimes the contextual part of writing includes a very narrow and fact based criteria. One form of writing that is appropriate for one assignment may not be as appropriate for another. “Good writing” I believe should really be looked at more as “appropriate writing”.

Since further developing as a writer and student in UWRT 1103, I have reevaluated that moment over and over in my head. It still frustrates me and that assignment itself still frustrates me. When it comes down to it, I really don’t enjoy standardized writing anymore. While in high school I considered myself to be a “good writer” I had mastered the five-paragraph essay. But now, I realize just how limited I was and that since learning what I know now about writing, I have been able to place myself in a specific writing community. I would consider my new style of writing to be highly expressive and well articulated, something I was never able to say before. Also I have been able to enjoy the writing process. There are so many aspects of writing that I can see now that I was never able to see before. Such as context, contrast, narrative vs. reflection, analytical vs. expressive, and what it truly means to be a good writer. All of these things influence my current standpoint on writing and I have fully learned to appreciate writing in a whole new light.

If there is one thing I can take away from this experience with writing, its what it takes to make create a good piece of writing. As long as an individual has correct grammar and spelling, articulates the information necessary in the assignment thoroughly, and meets the length requirements of the assignment, there shouldn’t be many other restrictions. Even though there are times when simple facts or analytical collections need to be expressed, one can do so in their own unique way of writing reflective of them that still captures the reader’s attention. Writing should be a form of personality, like art. Individuality should always be able to shine through in a persons writing regardless of the topic. As far as things like the five-paragraph essay go, as “good writers” we know there would probably be a better way to write about something than through that. However, another important part of being a good writer is being able to adapt and articulate certain tasks in writing even when we don’t want to, in order to accomplish a given task. I believe that writing should never be something we look at as a chore. Rather, it should be a creative outlet no matter what the purpose. Writing is limitless and should never be taken for granted. After reflecting upon everything I’ve learned thus far in the class and throughout the course of the semester, I cant say I have truly grown as a writer and know that I will continue to grow as the semester progresses.

Midterm Reflection Assignment

For our midterm reflection assignment, we are being asked to reflect upon certain moments in our life in our past that now with the knowledge and experience we have throughout this writing course we see through a different light. We are still all a little confused about what this exactly pertains to. How do we know which moments are appropriate? Is this about context of writing? I feel like one appropriate situation or moment I could use for example in my development of writing is when after three weeks into the semester and learning that it is okay to stray away from the five paragraph essay, then in my LBST class I was asked to write a five paragraph essay and it was like I was about to explode. This experience will have to be connected to all of my experience in writing and no blanket statements. We must hit all aspects of reflection and not necessarily in a specific order but the reflection can’t become a narrative.

A Reflection on Reflection

The three parts I found to reflection are identify, analyze, and naming. One question I have is throughout the reflection, who am I addressing? Myself? And if so, is my now self addressing my future self? Another question I have is what is a vignette? How does it pertain to writing exactly? My interpretation of it it to not rely and base writing simply off the moment or event, it shouldn’t be a narrative, but more so an expansion and analysis of what happened or what is at hand, not simply explaining the event itself. Reflection is more so about the meaning behind what happened, not so much telling what happened. The interpretation part of reflection is typically the most difficult. Interpretation is like looking at the meaning behind the meaning and looking at a specific event in a contradictory perspective. For part three, the naming or identifying is the part where you piece together the connections between the other two parts. I also is working forwards finding the larger learning from the event of experience. Another way to look at this would be the word articulate.