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Throughout senior year, I think that overall my writing has improved drastically.

Writing has

always been one of my stronger areas in school, but I think this year has helped my writing become

more sophisticated. In English 12 Honors, we’ve had a lot of writing assignments, not only to improve

our ability to effectively write a paper in college, but also to help us understand what we never did in

our previous years in high school. Personally, when I look back at junior and sophomore year, I know

that my writing was not anywhere near at the level it is now. When I took my SAT’s, the writing

section was my best, with a score of 700/800. I think my self-preparation for writing concrete essays

while being timed has also helped me greatly.

Personally I feel that writing open responses was good practice for me this year. My writing

has improved because I learned what not to do, and how to incorporate evidence so that I can

effectively get my message across. I think I’ve become a lot better at this, and my skills have improved

immensely especially from sophomore year to now. My ability to write dialectical journals has also

improved. Rather than just straight summarizing, I know what makes a DJ concrete, and what

classifies a DJ as sloppy. For example, my journal entries for The Bean Trees show my ability to think

outside the box, because I actually took the time to think deeply about the passages that I chose. In my

entries for Chapters 5-7, I pointed out a major theme relating to the challenge of womanhood, and I

noticed a connection starting to emerge between the two characters, Taylor and Lou Ann. My

observations show that I do have the ability to produce a concrete, effective journal entry rather than

just lazily throwing something together. I never used to be able to expand my thoughts in journal

entries, I would always just summarize.

I also think my improvement is obvious in my Chapter 10 and Chapter 13 journal entries for

The Bean Trees. I demonstrated a good understanding of the book in general, and I took notice of

important symbols and patterns that were important to the plot. I find that when I enjoy a book, I have

a better ability to analyze important passages. My Hamlet DJ’s were very weak, and I am perfectly
aware that I was lazy. In one of my Hamlet journal entries for Act 3, Scene 2, my analysis seemed to

be completely off. I sort of just summarized what the attitudes of the King and Queen were during that

scene, rather than pulling out important information that was probably right in front of me. I know that

I am capable, but sometimes when I don’t like a book, my work for that book isn’t very good. This is

something I definitely need to work on.

Writing the college essay was also something that helped my writing skills. I wrote and revised

about three or four versions of my essay before finally coming up with a polished final draft. I worked

on my college essay with complete independence, which is why I am proud of how the final copy

came out. I put a lot of effort into it, and ended up being successful with what I wanted to say. I find

that when I draw a blank or have “writer’s block”, brain storming helps a lot. Whether it’s an outline, a

web, or just a list of my ideas written out, it helps to have a blue print before starting an essay,

especially an important one. It’s important to be organized so that you know where to start and have a

pattern to follow so that you don’t lose track of the main idea of the paper.

Finally, I feel that the research paper, although it was somewhat a challenging and long

process, helped my writing skills and experience. I actually did not mind doing the research, because I

liked the fact that we could pick and musician or artist we wanted. I chose Jonathan Larson because he

wrote my favorite musical, so it makes it easier when the topic of the paper is someone whose life

you’re actually interested in.