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Ellen Huggins
Prof. Gary Vaughn
Honors English 2089
7 December 2015
Personal Growth Through Writing
Based on the several writing assignments completed throughout this course, I have
progressed more and more with each essay. In addition to growing as a writer, I have progressed
as a reader with the many articles and topics from Writing About Writing we have discussed
during the past few months as a class. The subjects and methods learned through these readings
have greatly contributed to the success I experienced with writing these assigned essays. The
most important skills I have gained through this course, especially towards the end of the
semester, are my critical thinking and researching skills. These skills had been brought out of me
during the time spent preparing for the third essay in the course, the ethnography on a particular
discourse community. Through preparation and drafting for this specific paper, I was able to
learn about how valuable research is in all aspects of academic life, something I could not say I
fully realized before. It also aided my process in finding where my true passions lie and in how I
ended up choosing the academic and career paths I find myself in today. Moreover, through all of
the assignments, class discussions, and group work, I have gained countless necessary skills in
order to expand my knowledge on any subject that I find myself writing about.
Initially, in beginning this class with reading assignments that seemed pointless at the
time, they soon proved to be valuable in writing the first essay. Each reading related to a specific
assignment and gave advice vital to completing them. Beyond simply referencing these readings

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in the papers throughout the course, they gave simple suggestions and outlines of how to think
when going into completing assignments. Specifically, John Swales opinions and pieces on
research and discourse communities have taught me the most this semester. Research has never
been my strong suit, but in using these articles throughout this semester, I feel that I can continue
to use the content throughout the rest of my academic career. Articles and essays that initially
seemed useless, proved to be crucial by the end of each writing assignment.
In the first essay, the literacy narrative, I was forced to dig deeper into my past and
compare it to where I am today. When brainstorming skills that I am literate in when preparing
for this paper, I realized the only thing that I could write about was writing itself. Looking back
on it, it is hard to be fully literate in writing, now that I reflect on the aspects of writing I learned
about during the rest of this course. I feel as though my literacy in writing has strengthened and
is more complete than what I confidently wrote about in my literacy narrative. However, while
reliving those moments from my childhood when completing this assignment, I came to
conclusions about myself and my passions. Beyond learning about myself, I learned important
lessons in creating imagery by use of detail. In order to stress the importance of specific
moments in my life, strong details were the only way to do so. I struggled with detail when first
drafting my narrative, but, through three more drafts I found it becoming easier. By my last draft,
I could really see the experiences coming back to life, even though they were on paper. Being
that this skill was something I never thought too much about before, I believe it is something that
I took away from this class and will continue to develop.
Through the second essay, I was able to be more specific in what I am truly passionate
about, political life. I am consistently learning more about this topic in my other courses and

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have always taken the chance to explore more topics within this broad interest of mine. Although
this paper was not specifically based on the topic of political parties, or politics in general, genre
was a subject in which I needed to expand my knowledge. While being interested in examining
genre, but knowing close to nothing about it was difficult at first. It was challenging to balance
the desire to write about my own interests, but the necessity to write about the differences in
genres became easier through discussion with classmates. I was able to grow from those
discussions and adjust my paper to fully fit the task at hand. I realized that genre analysis was
something that I participated in every day without realizing it. Going on the Internet to social
media websites and reading articles that friends and family post, I am automatically thinking in
my head whether or not this is really believable, figuring out the authors position, and whether
or not it effectively achieves its goal of persuasion.
Aside from learning about myself and the basics of writing effectively, I developed my
writing the most through the third essay, the ethnography of a discourse community. I was
terrified of this paper when first completing the research proposal and realizing the amount of
research, especially primary research, that was going to be needed to put into this. Research has
never necessarily been a strong or weak skill of mine and I have never put too much effort into
research outside of searching on the Internet. I started to feel more comfortable with the research
component of this assignment through reaching out to people for interviews and survey answers.
After collecting the information the interviewees had given me, I felt that I could strongly
incorporate their responses into my essay to establish a credible position. The rest of the paper
started to flow when adding resources from the book and I began to feel confident in my
abilities. When analyzing Swales characteristics of a discourse community, I had to switch the

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critical thinking skills I possessed into gear and also develop a few new ones. It forced me to
think about the aspects of the discourse community I was discussing and what that all meant in
terms of the group itself. I would never say that I was strong in the critical thinking and research
aspects of my academic life before completing this assignment, but I have since learned a lot
about both methods.
I believe I have come a long way since first writing about my strong literacy in writing at
the beginning of this course. If I had to write the first essay all over again from where I am at
today, this class could be described in detail as one of my literacy sponsors. As a part of my
literacy in writing, I am developing literacies in critical thinking and research that all tie in
together. Writing, especially in the profession that I want to go into, would not be what it is
without both critical thinking and research. In these cases, credibility is everything. Throughout
this course I feel that the importance of credibility has been stressed through each reading and
writing assignment, and I feel that I have learned to make it a central point in my own writing. I
believe that this class has been a significant event on my timeline of growth and development in
writing.