As my first semester at CVCC comes to an end, I can say it was more than what I had initially expected. Throughout the semester, I had the opportunity to meet individuals that shared similar aspirations. Ultimately, we all want to continue our education and pursue our dream careers. Reflecting on my academic journey thus far, I will say English 111 was the most difficult and the most rewarding class I have taken. English 111 employed numerous tactics to help develop our writing skills and expose us to different ways on how to become better writers. In my opinion, the requirement to compose letters, keep a journal of summaries of our writings, turn off disruptive technology when writing, and playing Scrabble played a large role in strengthening my writing skills.
Throughout the semester, we were required to compose letters. As an on-going assignment we were required to compose one letter each month of the semester. But because of unforeseen circumstances, we did not get to complete the remaining letters. I thoroughly enjoyed these assignments because we were able to address our letters to whomever we wanted. Composing each letter every month taught me two things. First, the assignment taught me about punctuality. Since our letters were to be completed and ready to be mailed at exactly eight in the morning, I had to make sure my letters were finished and ready to be mailed out. Additionally, I had to make sure I was on time to class because the letter would not be accepted if I was tardy. The second thing this assignment taught me was the emotional impact writing a simple letter has on the receiving party. The people I sent my letters to were excited and expressed their gratitude for the letters. In today’s society, everyone mainly communicates through email, text or through phone calls due to them being a faster and more efficient form of communication. However, in my opinion, composing a letter, mailing it out and receiving one in return is more special than any other written form of communication.
Personally, turning away disruptive technology while composing our writing was the most beneficial tactic to me. I found this beneficial because I believe the vast majority of individuals are highly dependent on their phone or other electronic devices. In “Skim Reading is the New Normal,” Maryanne Wolf states “Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email and news feeds.” As a society in general, we are so used to having our devices near us and refuse to admit that they can be a major distraction. I am guilty of being highly distracted by my cell phone. As a result of turning away from my phone, I was able to focus solely on my writing and thus produced higher quality pieces of writing.
Lastly, the most interesting tactic I found beneficial was playing Scrabble on Fridays. Although Scrabble was a foreign game to me, I found it amusing and entertaining. In the beginning, I did not see why we spent time playing this board game. As each week went by, I slowly began to realize the reasoning in assigning us to play Scrabble and its importance. Not only was Scrabble fun and competitive to play, but it also allowed us to think outside the box and learn new words that I never knew existed. I can say with certainty that playing Scrabble helped develop my vocabulary in every session. In short, Playing Scrabble exposed me to new words that I used throughout my writings this semester and has led me to download the application on my phone in hopes of further expanding my vocabulary.
Because of English 111, it is clear my writing skills improved drastically. Although simple, the various tactics employed in this class helped me become confident about my writing. I have always struggled with English classes and have never been confident about the work I have produced. Thanks to English 111, I am comfortable with writing small or even longhand writings and believe that I can produce writings that I can be proud of. Although this semester ended up as an online class, I continued to apply the tactics Dr. Lucas re-enforced throughout the semester. In conclusion, I will continue to use these tactics throughout my academic journey because I know they will continue to strengthen my writing skills and will help me become more comfortable with my writing.