Amani Wright E1 Feedback


Amani, hi.

I’ve put quite a few comments in the draft I’ve uploaded above /\/\/\, so please download it and take a look.  I agree with Jayvon’s praise of and suggestions for this essay: there are moments of descriptive storytelling in here that really shine, and there are also moments where I would encourage you to reconsider whether you need to tell us certain things that Jayvon suggests may be redundant or repetitive.  Ok, here are my big picture thoughts:

–We need more specifics (names, timeframe, places) regarding the school you went to and your teacher.  At the very least we need to give her a name (fine to make one up if you’d prefer).

–We absolutely need to hear way more detail about the moment you finally stood up and spoke up to the teacher in class.  For me, this is the climax of the essay and as such, you want to slow way down and unpack the details and suspense.

–I’ve highlight some sentences that I’ve identified as “comma splices.”  Please Google this and try to learn from the web about what these are and how to fix them.  If you want my help, just ask and I’ll try to assist via e-mail, etc.

Thanks–looking forward to your revisions.


Jeicot Suarez E1 Feedback


Jeicot, hi.

Nice draft–good to see you trying out a variety of ideas here.  I just made a couple small notes on the draft above /\/\/\/\ but please download and have a look.  As for the “big picture”: I think we need to find a way of sharpening what it is you want to show your reader—and then focus on showing your reader the details of several specific events in your life.  There are a few possible threads to focus on that stand out to me while reading this:

–the conflicts involved in feeling like you’re “no longer a kid” but not yet a “grown-up” (pp. 1-2)

–your shyness and your interest in skateboarding (an activity many people associate with “youth” culture)

–your interest in this older man you see running at the track (is he an example of a “grown-up”?)

–your interest in dieting and the commitments involved therein; what dieting says about a person’s (your?) changing relation to their (your) body image…

As you can see from how I’ve worded the above points, it may be possible for you to connect a couple of these. BEFORE you do that though, I want you to pick one of them and focus on writing SEVERAL DETAILED SCENES ABOUT SPECIFIC EVENTS/ACTIONS YOU EXPERIENCED THAT CONNECT TO THESE THREADS.  (Right now there’s just a couple “glimpses” of your experience–no fully elaborated scenes, which is what I think this essay most needs.)




Shanice Smith E1 Feedback



Nice start–although it definitely feels like this is just starting.  That said, there are several interesting moments in here that I’d love to see you develop.  I’ve highlighted them on the draft uploaded above /\/\/\/\ (please download to view my comments).

In particular, there is this moment that I think you could frame out a whole essay around, in which you raise the question of what learning is.  That is, in the middle of Calculus class, you wonder whether simply “mimicking” what the teacher is doing on the board is really teaching you anything or helping you to learn math.

I’d center the essay around this moment and other similar moments in your college education, in which you show the reader—through DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS—how you came to wonder in the classroom (in math, computer science, etc.) about whether (and what) you were learning.

Think of this as a chance to get the reader to ask a question about what education is—is it really just memorizing and mimicking?  Or does it involve something else?

Looking forward,


Redoanul Islam Sahat E1 Feedback



Good first draft, but given that it’s rather brief, let’s expand it!

There are is at least one story here, full of potential suspense (and readers love suspense): the story of applying to colleges, hoping to get into certain schools, and ultimately hearing back from them and having your fate decided for you by admissions committees.

To that end, I want you to slow down and describe several days during this process—perhaps when you first applied and then days when you were waiting in suspense to hear back, and then finally days when letters started coming back.  I want you to describe each of these days—and your thoughts and feelings within each one—in agonizing detail.

You could write a book on this!

(I also want to hear more about why you think you could have slept through senior year–but only go into that if you think it’s relevant, which it could be!)


Lisette Rojas E1 Feedback



This is a good first draft.  Please download the file above /\/\/\/\ with my comments on it.  A few things:

–There are a couple good conflicts and/or points of tension in the essay that I think you could try to develop a bit more in the next draft by adding more passages and details that show the reader what’s at stake.  You could focus on 1 of these conflicts/themes throughout the essay:

1) your impressions of a teacher and how this affects your learning—and also how your impression of a teacher changes over time (and why)

2) why it was so hard for you to write the essay—harder, it seems, than studying for tests; you could try to show us some of the different factors involved that led you not to want to write…

–Make up a name for the teacher to refer to her by something more specific than “her” (or use her real name if you want).

–I’ve highlighted several “comma splices.”  Please Google this and try to learn from the web what a “comma splice” is and how to fix them.  If you need my help, let me know.



Feedback for Shania Newsam



A few notes on the draft ^^^ ; please download and view as you’re able.  I’m glad to see you getting some really decent feedback below.  I echo the comments that admire the many images you give us in this draft and which call on you to develop this story a bit more.  Exactly how to do that is the question!  Here’s some ideas:

–You could follow David’s suggestion and try to focus this essay on your transformation from a formerly-uniform-wearing new kid into a badass dancer and choreographer.  We’d need to see more of life at your earlier school and more of the process—dance classes, etc.—through which you came to excel at dance.

–Another approach would be a bit more abstract: I have noticed in your essay (and highlighted accordingly) just how interested you seem to be in the SOUNDS of your school: birds chirping, guns going off in the hallway, the helicopter sounds “infusing” the classroom, students shouting “FRESH MEAN” (a good title by the way), etc.  So I could see you developing this theme.  If you did this, I’d suggest re-writing the whole thing in a new Word doc while reading through your current draft in another window.  In your NEW draft, just focus on what you think the effects of SOUND on your experience of this school were.  Did sounds ever help you learn/focus?  If so, which ones–and how?  Did sounds ever distract you from learning/focusing/etc.?  If so, which ones–and how?

–One final suggestion: I’m interested in the school shooting and lockdown.  Of course, you could focus the whole essay on building up to this moment and developing the details of this scene.  From the way it’s written, I’m also not certain as to whether this happened in reality or in your mind (or both!).  If you’re trying to poetically show the reader how entering the hallway filled you with anxiety and dread the likes of which one might experience during a school shooting, I’d recommend using some sort of framing language to indicate this e.g.,:

“As I stepped out into the hallway, I was filled with the same kind of dread I imagine survivors of school shootings have experienced.”

“As I step out into the hallway, I imagine being fired on from all sides…”

Of course, if the school shooting actually did happen, then you would write about it accordingly and not use language like the above sentences to show that you were imagining this…

One last thing: notice my two example sentences above are in different verb tenses (the first is past tense; the second is present tense).  I suggest you pick one verb tense and stick to it throughout your story—unless you really feel the need to change to another tense.  Write me if you need more help with this.


Feedback for Jennessy Jiminian

Hi Jennessy,

I want to echo a number of things others have said about your essay: nice strategy of starting with a question, bravo on writing honestly (for a college class) about how frustrating college can be, watch out for run-on sentences and other grammatical issues.  (You can Google “run-on sentences” and if you can’t find help that way, then e-mail me and we can chat about this sort of thing if you’d like.)

With all the above said, I do have one big picture recommendation: we need to tell a specific story about a specific sequence of events: specific actions and interactions had by you and other particular people.. This is a huge part of this assignment—the task of writing about something specific—er, several specific things—that you did or that happened to you or people you know.  In your current draft, I’m not seeing much of this happening, so my suggestion would be to start a new Word doc next to your current draft, re-read your draft, and as you do, begin thinking of and writing (in your new Word doc) about specific events that show us your transition into college and difficulties therein: a class, an assignment, CUNY bureaucracy, etc.  Whatever it is, I just want to see you showing us key details and key actions that help us imagine your plight!  Right now I can sort of do that, but not really.

Thanks–looking forward to the next one.  As always, e-mail me if you’d like more feedback/clarity.


Feedback for Denis Hasancevic


UPDATE (w/my feedback):


I’m glad to see you getting some reads and feedback on this draft—it’s a really, really good draft, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you expand on it.  I also really hope that other students read it for inspiration because of how good I think it is.  There’s obviously a good deal of room for improvement and expansion, and thus I’ve posted here my feedback in hopes that other students can access this as well.  None of it is personal and there’s obviously no grade, so I assume this is ok–let me know if not, though, and I can take it down.

NOTE: to see my comments on the highlit sections of the PDF, you may have to download it and open it in a PDF reader on your device.  To download, click the down arrow in the bottom right corner of the embedded PDF frame.

To summarize a couple big points of feedback (in addition to my comments on the draft): I agree with Brittny that we don’t need the opening sentence of reflection and can just begin with sentence two.  I also totally agree with Shanice that there could be an expansion on the last line of reflection/”take-away”: what does learning to conform to someone else’s wishes have to do with learning content in school?  It occurs to me that while you tell us you ended up doing well in the class, you do not mention any of the content you learned in it.  Note that I am not suggesting that you should include content you learned in the class: my point is that maybe the fact that you haven’t mentioned much in the way of course content is a way of telling the reader that while you managed to get a good grade, Jeremy’s way of interacting with you didn’t necessarily help you absorb the content of the class.  What do you think?

My own big picture thought is that you could continue expanding on Jeremy’s manner of communicating (or not communicating) with you as it relates to your ability (or inability) to learn from him.  I think that this is the underlying theme/conflict in this draft that could be elaborated on–and have made a couple highlights/notes on the draft where this theme could be opened up.



Feedback for Joseph Azor


(To see my comments, download PDF by clicking down arrow in lower right and open in PDF viewer.)


This is a good first draft with a lot going on in it.  I hope you continue to receive reads and feedback from more classmates.  That said, David’s feedback, in particular, is tremendous; please read and absorb it carefully.

My comments are on the draft itself, but here are a couple of the big picture take-aways:

–At times, I get a bit lost due to grammatical and typo issues.  Proofread this and correct what you can.  You can also look up these grammar issues online and feel free to ask me any questions you have about them (they were the ones I noticed repeating in your essay): run-on sentences, verb tense changes, fragments, quotations.  Let me emphasize that I do not think these issues prevent your writing from being engaging because you’ve included so much content that truly is interesting to read.  But I do want you to get a bit more control over some of the grammar/typo stuff so that your writing and ideas can really shine.

–Because *so much* is going on in the essay, I’d recommend trying to re-write it with a focus on one (or a couple) of the following “problems” or themes:

1) the conflict with your parents/mothers…

2) why is it so hard to say “I love you”?  What is meant by “love”?  How is it related to fidelity/infidelity/cheating?

3) why do you think things “dried up” once you actually said “I love you”?  is there something about desire that depends on conflict or struggle (having to elude your mothers, struggling to say “I love you,” etc.)?

4) what do you think it is that drew you to the other person?  who was this person and why do you think you did that?

Once you decide which of these you want to focus on, you can go back over the draft and eliminate anything that doesn’t help develop the reader’s interest in these questions/themes/conflicts.