In high school I was taught moderate essay writing skills, not much more than the basic; the growth and progression as a writer was mainly left up to the student, with the occasional comment from the English teacher. It was understood that as I wrote more essays, my writing skills would improve in a similar linear fashion. While (thankfully) that happened to work, I know there were many who cannot say the same. As a result, I truly hope that high school English teachers, at least in my area, become more involved in the student’s growth process. As for research, other than my grade 12 philosophy class where I really had to dig deep, all research for school projects was minimal to non-existent. I could usually get by when writing an essay quite easily if I had fully read the books assigned and made adequate notes; if I was lacking in any significant way a quick search on Sparknotes or Shoomp would suffice. I hope to experience a drastic change in the teaching and research tactics during my time of study at St. Jerome’s University and the University of Waterloo. I want to deepen my understanding of the essay writing format, along with other writing mediums so I can (hopefully) have a stronger understanding of writing; how I can manipulate language and see the results I want.
I have never been completely sold on creative writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love fiction, as it is pretty much all I read, but personally I have never been drawn to or have succeeded in that type of writing exercise. I bask in lyrical sentences and drop my jaw when an unexpected plot twist is suddenly slapping me in the face, but I have never had any real urge to sit down and imagine a cast or plot. Sure, I am usually day-dreaming to some extent at any given moment in time, but my personal creativity shines through in other various ways, such as my passion for music and film. Growing up, and to this day, I am someone that believes I want complete and utter freedom, but I have come to realize that I truly thrive in a particular schedule, with both free time and events I need to be held accountable for. This regimented philosophy relates in different ways in other aspects of my life, especially in school. As a result, while the original essay format could be restrictive, I have become comfortable; I know that I can succeed in any essay I write. Having the same step-by-step instructions repeated over and over appeals to my brain, as repetition is another personal key to success. While I am confident that the essay format works well for me, I know that becoming strong in other areas of writing is also very important. I hope to explore other mediums, and maybe even one day become someone who dips her toes into creative writing, FOR FUN!
After reflecting on my first official week at university, I have come to two conclusions: 1. My lack of expectations served me well, in the sense that I was not disappointed or underwhelmed by any experience throughout the week; but more importantly 2. High school did not prepare me for this adjustment very well at all, no matter how many times my classmates and I were told that “You may not like this now, but it is for your own good as it will help you prepare for next year!” by a well-intentioned teacher. Over the summer it seems I have forgotten how to regulate my time, study well while taking good notes, multitasking (in a useful way), and just how to write in general. Thus, I am a little concerned for all upcoming projects, but in particular I am nervous about the Personal Narrative, in the sense that I am not exactly sure what there is to track in my personal literacy journey other than my mild accomplishments and improvements over the years. On the other hand, I am quite looking forward to the Writing Portfolio Presentation. I equal parts enjoy and fear peer assessment, and I am curious to see how the materials I will have learned over the course of the class affect my writing overall. I know that university is a serious change and transition in one’s life, but I know that it is one that had to be made and will better me overall!