1) “Finding My Voice” – 9/29/12 – Writing 220
I wrote this essay for the “Why I Write” assignment during my first semester of junior year in Writing 220. The purpose of this essay was for me to express why I write. This was a very unique assignment that is different from most other essays I have written in that it was one of the first times I was asked to reflect on an internal and personal motivation that I have. It was also unique in the sense that it was writing about the act of writing, which was something that I had honestly never thought about deeply before. In writing this, I hoped to express my personality and show what writing means to me. I chose to share how I have a much easier time writing what I mean to say rather than saying it out loud. Since I am a more quiet and shy person, it is sometimes difficult for me to express my true feelings in spoken words. Through the act of writing more frequently throughout my college experience, I have found that words come much more easily to me when I write them on paper. The act of writing has allowed me to find my true voice. I believe that this message was executed well and I was able to use specific personal exampled to portray this message to my reader.
In terms of areas of improvement, I make some additional claims in the last paragraph of the essay that are not backed up with examples or explanation. I should have focused more specifically on the “finding my voice” concept and provided even more examples for that to make sure that I was showing and not telling. In terms of the usefulness of this essay for my project, I would like to use this concept of “finding my own voice” as the central theme of the evolution essay. I can use this piece to show how it took me quite some time to realize that my words and thoughts had the potential to be expressed with much more confidence and power in writing, and that I had the ability to express myself personally and develop my own voice on paper. This essay allowed me the opportunity to reflect on my own writing style and really begin to discover and develop that personal voice. I view this piece as a breakthrough in my writing since it drew my attention to my writing voice and forced me to use it to its greater potential.
2) “Keeping it Simple” – 10/1/10 – Eng. 125
This was the first essay I wrote during my first semester of freshman year for English 125. It is an essay about how I choose a topic to write about. I used a flashback to an assignment in High School where I had to write a personal vignette and was having difficulty choosing a topic. In the midst of my struggling, my three-year-old sister gave me the advice to “just write about my favorite thing.” This simple suggestion led me to writing about one of my passions in life, cooking. Writing this vignette was probably the first time I had ever written something personal before, and it made me realize how much easier writing is when it is about something that you actually care about. I hoped to express that writing about something you are passionate about will be much more valuable than something you have no interest in, and I think the execution was done well with my personal example and short story to prove how I figured this out.
In terms of aspects of the essay that could be improved upon, my personal writing voice does not shine through in this piece. Since this was one of the first essays I ever wrote during my college career, I had not yet developed my personal style, tone, or writing voice. My writing in this piece feels objective and removed, almost a third person style. In terms of the function of this piece, I would like to use it for my evolution essay to show how I learned that writing about a passion allows you to write much more easily and openly, but also to show how much my writing voice has developed and grown since my freshman year.
3) “Wake Up and Smell the Orange Juice” – 9/30/13 – English 325
This was the first essay I wrote for my English 325 course during the first semester of my senior year. The assignment was a “change essay.” I was asked to choose an experience or moment that changed me as a person and to write 8 pages about it. I chose to write about an experience I had in the food market during my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. I used a seemingly small experience waiting impatiently at an orange juice stand in the market. I used this instance to spiral into several other experiences I had that ultimately taught me that I was moving through my life way too quickly. I learned that I needed to adopt the Florentine lifestyle more and slow down to appreciate many of the smaller moments and pleasures that I had been missing. I think I executed this fairly well by starting off with a small detailed moment and then using this example as a lens to discuss the greater lessons I learned during my time in Florence.
In terms of areas for improvement, I realize now that towards the end of the essay I got much more lazy with my examples and descriptions. I ended up sharing too many examples in a list format when I should have focused on one or two more in depth examples to show my point rather than tell it. In terms of using this essay for my project, I would like to use this piece to show how much my personal voice has evolved since freshman year. I feel that this essay is a good example of how I have developed my own personal voice and tone, and have found new ways to express my personality through my writing. Especially since this piece is about something I am very passionate about and about how I personally changed as a person, it is a good example of my expressive and reflective writing. There is definitely a noticeable difference from my first essay in English 125 to this.
4) “First Call” – 10/5/11 – English 223
This was the first essay I wrote for my English 223 creative writing course during the first semester of my sophomore year. It was a fictional short story based on my personal experiences working on the ambulance as a Medical Response Technician during high school. Through this piece, I hoped to show how these high-pressure and traumatic experiences working on the ambulance changed and shaped the main character as a person. I hoped to show how they helped her to grow more confident and to believe in her own abilities. The execution was good in that I based the story of real-life personal examples and was able to describe them in great detail. I wanted to put the reader in the shoes of the main character and make them feel as if they were experiencing the call with her.
In terms of areas of improvement for this essay, my writing voice is not expressive in this piece. The voice still seems removed and objective, it does not feel real or raw like my later writing does. I would like to use this piece to show how I struggled to express myself deeply and personally in this story, and I had not yet found my true writing voice. It seemed like someone else’s voice or an imagined voice, not a real or authentic one.
5) “Children’s Exposure to Advertisements: Effect On Nutritional Behavior” – 12/11/12 – Communications Studies 381
This was a paper I wrote for my Comm 381 upper level writing course. The assignment was to create our own research study for a topic we were interested in. I chose to design a study about the affects that advertising has on the nutritional behavior of children. The purpose of this research paper was to prove that children’s exposure to food-related advertisements has a negative effect on their nutritional behavior and has a significant correlation to obesity rates. The execution of this paper was written in a typical research study format. It included a literature review of previous research that has been done on the topic, a methods section with a description of the study procedures, a results section to outline the findings, and a discussion section to review what was learned and what the implications of these findings are.
In terms of areas of improvement for this paper, I think that I struggled with striking an appropriate balance between a formal and academic tone with a personal voice since this was a topic that I am interested and invested in. I would like to use this paper in my project to highlight the wide variety of writing that I have done throughout my career and have learned to adapt and change based on the field, especially in the communications studies department. But in addition, I would like to use it to show how I am still working to filter and refine my writing voice to have the right balance between academic and personal.
6) “Media Industry Issue: Shift to Online TV” – 2/15/12 – Communications Studies 351
This was a paper I wrote for my comm. 351 course during the second semester of my sophomore year. The assignment was to choose an issue within the media industry that was interesting to me and to write a research paper presenting the issue. Since the Television industry is changing rapidly, there was a lot of material to choose from. I structured the paper as a fairly typical research paper by presenting my findings regarding all different sides of the issue. Although this is a topic that I am very interested in and passionate about learning about, I had to refrain mostly from including my own personal opinions in the essay. I think I executed the paper well by presenting the facts and information clearly for my readers.
In terms of improvement for the essay, it was very difficult to leave my personal opinions out while still trying to maintain a writing voice for the paper. This was another instance in which I had to figure out how to balance my personal voice with the academic and factual structure and tone that this paper required. I struggled to clearly present the facts in a formal and academic structure while still writing it in a compelling manner that would engage the readers and express my writing voice. I need to learn how to adapt my writing voice to different styles of writing, while still ensuring that it comes through as my own. I would like to use this paper in my project in order to show how I am working through this challenge and balance with my writing voice.
7) “Can Google Remain On Top?” – 12/12/12 – Communications Studies 454
This is an essay I wrote for my Comm 454 media economics course during the first semester of my junior year. The assignment was to choose an economic issue in the media industry that was interesting to me and write a research paper about it. I chose to write about Google and whether or not the media giant will be able to sustain its place as the industry structure continues to change rapidly. I structured the paper as a research paper but with an argumentative and persuasive edge. I included literature reviews of previous research and a lot of my own research on the subject, however, I also included my own personal opinions and took a position on the subject to argue. Based on my research, I was able to use my own knowledge to speculate on the subject and attempt to convince my reader that I was correct.
I believe that I did a good job striking a balance between academic and personal in this paper. Whereas in previous research papers I had struggled with this balance, here I finally seem to have found a way to combine my personal writing voice and opinions with facts and research into one cohesive piece. My personality and voice is much more present in this paper than it was in previous research papers, and I am still able to present all of the information necessary to make my argument. I would like to use this paper in my project to show how my writing voice has evolved over time and is now much more equipped to adapt to different styles of writing and still remain strong.
8) “Does Everyone Want To Be Fierce?” – 10/11/10 – English 125
This was the second essay that I wrote for my English 125 course during the first semester of my freshman year. The purpose of this assignment was to choose a word or a phrase and define, contextualize, and reflect on it in ways that will make the readers see the word differently. For my essay, I chose the word “fierce.” I hoped to show that this word has developed a wide variety of meanings over time. Although it is perceived to be a positive adjective by some, it can also be perceived as negative and hurtful in other communities and settings. I structured the essay using both research and facts about the word and its history to frame the narrative, as well as with my own personal experiences with the word and opinions about it.
Although this was an essay in which I was free to share my own opinion about the word and express myself freely, my own personal writing voice failed to emerge. Since this was a topic that I was not particularly passionate about, my voice seems very underdeveloped and weak. None of my personality comes out through the text, and I failed to find interesting and compelling ways to engage my audience. I would like to use this essay in my project in order to show how I struggled during the beginning of my college career with presenting my own personal voice, even in a personal style essay. This can help me show how much my voice has grown by looking at personal essays that I have written more recently in which my voice is much more apparent and dominant.
9) “Week One Complete!” – 2/4/13 – Personal Blog Post from Semester Abroad Blog
This was one of the first blog post that I wrote on the personal blog I kept to document my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. The purpose of this blog was to keep my family and friends updated on my whereabouts and adventures while I traveled around Europe. This post specifically was an update on my first week in Florence. The post included sights I had seen, people I had met, food I had eaten, problems I was having, things I had learned, and emotions I was feeling. I hoped to share a taste of the city with my audience, inform them on what I had seen and done over the past week, and make them feel as if they were experiencing the trip with me. I think I executed my goals well through sharing several specific stories and anecdotes as well as including pictures throughout the post to help my readers visualize the stories.
I would like to use this post in my project to show how I was able to take all of the writing skills that I have learned throughout my college career and apply them to the most personal setting. I was able to carry over the writing voice that I have developed over my past four years here into this personal blog setting and express myself very freely and openly. Writing this blog helped teach me that I enjoy writing much more when it is about something I am passionate about and when it is about real lived experiences. My voice shines through in this blog more than it has in any other writing I have done, so I need to figure out how to make my writing voice this strong in all the writing that I do.
10) “Writing and Food” – 11/14/12 – Minor In Writing Gateway Blog Post
This is a blog post that I wrote for the minor in writing blog during my gateway course. The purpose of this post was to brainstorm an idea for the theme of my E- Portfolio. I come up with the idea to use food as a metaphor for both my life and my writing. Since I have always had a passion for food, it seemed like a natural fit to make food and cooking a theme. I decided to begin storyboarding the structure of my E-Portoflio using food and cooking as a metaphor for my writing process and myself as a writer. I hoped to share this idea with other students and present it to them well in order to receive their feedback on it. I think this was executed well through my simple and clear post outlining the general concept of my idea.
In terms of areas of improvement for this post, I should have outlined the idea in slightly more detail for the readers in order to receive more helpful feedback. However, I think the post is a good example of my casual and personal writing voice at work and a good representation of how my idea to use food as a theme developed. Since I want to use food as a theme for my project in the capstone course as well, this blog post seemed like a relevant addition to my evolution essay to show how this idea evolved. I would also like to use it to show how writing about something that I am passionate about allows for my most engaging and personal writing voice to emerge.