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Arlyne Garrido
English 100 #3638
10 December 2014
Looking Back
This STACC English 100 class was my first college class ever, so of course I was
nervous, but excited at the same time. Fresh out of high school, I did not know what to expect. In
high school, English was not always my best class, but it was one of my favorites due to
intriguing teachers. In my high school English classes, I had a basic understanding of what
annotating was but scarcely ever used the skill. As for reading and writing, I did not enjoy or
appreciate it as much as I could have, which reminds me about Carol S. Dwecks concept of a
fixed-mindset in The Perils and Promises of Praise. I definitely loved learning, though. I
would love learning new things, but would not like to take an exam on something I learned. I
know that taking tests are supposed to be indications of what students have learned, but I only
enjoyed learning as a way to have more knowledge, not to stay seated for an extended period of
time at a desk and take a test.
Transitioning into college, much rather this English class, I held the same attitude
towards reading, writing, and learning. I thought I would do just fine with the strategies I already
had from high school English, but I soon found out that college is different from high school on
so many levels. Schedules are different; I have more responsibilities; less time for everything.
This was not going to work. I knew I had to change my mindset for the better.
It was when my professor stressed the idea of annotating every article, book, and text
selection my class read. As he enthusiastically exclaimed, Mark it up! to the class, something

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inside my mind switched and I became more and more infatuated with reading, much more
annotating. It came to the point when a friend shared an article on Facebook that had nothing to
do with English, I had the strangest urge to annotate it. Annotating really helped when reading
articles and text that were difficult to understand and was very beneficial in remembering what
the reading was about. Highlighting and writing notes on the side helped me remember the main
idea and summarizing what a long paragraph said. Freewriting is also a skill I have acquired. Our
class read an article on freewriting called Freewriting by Peter Elbow, and of course, we
annotated it, too. The idea is to improve our writing by doing freewriting at least three times a
week, for ten to twenty minutes, writing anything that comes to mind, without stopping or
looking back at how to spell a word. Freewriting allowed me to be alone with my own thoughts
for fifteen minutes, helped reduce writers block, and assisted in developing my own voice in my
writing. For that, I am extremely thankful. If I were to write this paper in high school, I would
have trouble without a doubt. These newfound skills of annotating and freewriting have
benefitted my reading writing skills immensely.
My reading, writing, and learning process has evolved significantly throughout the
semester. At the beginning of the semester, I had more of a fixed-mindset, as Dweck states.
Now, I am leaning more towards a growth-mindset because I have learned that students with a
growth-mindset learn from their mistakes and see their mistakes as room for improvement.
Students with the growth-mindset also take on challenges to keep learning, which is something I
have always loved doing. I have also noticed my thoughts have developed to become more
organized in my writing, in regards to my writing process, as well as my writing style has
matured. My reading process has changed dramatically as well. Through freewriting, I am more

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capable of remembering something I have read, and have learned to analyze and criticize the
authors words in the text on a metacognitive level.
Throughout the course of this semester, we have written five essays, including this one.
Out of those five, the essay I am most proud of is the second one, the literacy narrative. This
essay contains an illustrated autobiography while addressing the concept of literacy and
incorporating authors works we have read and one from an outside text. I feel this essay is the
most successful because I enjoyed writing it since it was a more creative type of essay where I
could write about anything I wanted. The revision process for this essay was quite frankly very
helpful. After I received feedback from my first in-class essay, I knew I needed improvement on
adding imagery and description in my writing. When I received feedback for the rough draft of
my second essay, I still needed improvement on expanding my ideas and adding more detail to
them. After quite some time, I had developed a final well-written paper and it came out a
success. I received plenty of positive feedback from my professor about my strong opening as
well as my details and intriguing imagery. I was really proud to see that positive feedback after
all the failures previously stated.
Aside from that successful essay, one I regret sharing is the third essay- the chapter
analysis. I struggled with this one the most because I had trouble analyzing while trying not to
summarize a chapter from Brando Skyhorses The Madonnas of Echo Park. I also tend to be
short and to the point in my writing, so this essay did not meet the minimum page requirement of
three full pages, which resulted in a non-passing grade. I was also pressed for time since I had
more responsibilities at the time, including the poster project presentation for College One. I did
not let that bad grade stop me, though. Since I now have a growth-mindset, I saw it as an
opportunity for improvement. If I were to write that essay again today, I would still have some

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trouble analyzing the chapter, but I would have improved my skill of analyzing, as shown in this
My goals for next semester would include to start making a schedule so I can plan my
time wisely and start assignments the day they are assigned to allow more time for revising. To
improve my skills as a writer, I will try to make more drafts and ask my classmates and friends to
revise my papers, and the more feedback, the better. I will also work on lengthening my words
and thoughts to concisely construct an essay worthy of sharing. STACC English 1A next
semester will aid me in doing just that.