Prof. Jessica Penner | D493 | Spring 2022

Shahat Alam, Final Reflection 1st Draft

As a STEM major the root of this question is perhaps more of a challenge than what most would consider. And to be perfectly clear I don’t mean how I have improved as a writer over the years. No, to answer that question I could simply go on a tangent about how I honed my critical thinking skills in writing or how I expanded my range of vocabulary and grammatical knowledge or even how versatile I’ve become with my writing having explored writing persuasion pieces utilizing different tones. The superseding root of that question is why I should care about my English courses when I know I want to pursue a career in Math and Engineering. For most of life I considered the English subject a nuance in my academic path. It was not until last year that I began to realize how much of a profound impact the lessons I learned in theses English classes had on my life. The culmination of my English knowledge sat in the backseat of my brain until I visited a country where English is hardly spoken at all. During my time spent in the rural villages of Bangladesh, I was made to conversate with distant relatives I had never met in a language I hardly speak anymore. Though I was able to understand everything that was said to me, I failed to pick up on the witty sarcasm embedded within Bengali banter. I remember feeling naked and vulnerable for not being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings elegantly alongside them. For me, the language was a complex yet coordinated dance of expression and I was an onlooker who couldn’t tango. It was there I had an epiphany that this dilemma with language existed back home as well. For all my life I have been on a pursuit to best express my thoughts and the letters of the English alphabet strung together in a particular fashion in tandem to the constraints of grammar were the only tools in my toolbox to help me do just that. Initially steadfast on taking an Art History class, this semester I chose Creative Writing as my elective at the very last minute. Right now, I am on a quest to sharpen the tools in my proverbial ‘toolbox’ in hopes of becoming a better writer and effectively a better communicator. This semester I learned to narrow my focus on a target audience with an essay on a discourse community I am a part of through an informative persuasion piece. I strengthened my ability to write objectively versus subjectively. Most importantly I learned to conduct proper research for an annotated bibliography. Overall, I find myself incredibly pleased with how this class went and look forward to enjoying the fruits of my labor when the overall letter grade for this class is posted at the end of the semester. 

1 Comment

  1. Abraham

    I absolutely enjoyed the introduction to your essay. You went beyond just simply answering the questions, you answered why it is important to hone those skills. I also loved your use of your own personal experience to reflect on how important it was for you to express yourself and now you learning how to express yourself must be great. I am glad you were able to learn to narrow your focus on your intended audience when you write your papers. I am a bit curious to know how you will use these skills in the future. One suggestion I would make for your final draft on the reflection is to separate your work into different paragraphs and in each paragraph, you can tackle one thing about your experience throughout the semester.

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