As a writer, I have grown throughout this year by taking the AP Language and Composition class. Reflecting back on my time in the course, I wish that I had created more drafts of my essays. I feel that if I had started with an outline and edited and revised multiple drafts of my essays, each piece would become more refined and persuasive. After every essay, I asked my peers questions about my writing. I asked, “How can I make my writing more descriptive? What should I dig deeper on? Is my writing organized and clear? Is there any element of my essay that I should expound upon? Is my analysis sound and not just summary?” Posing these questions directed my learning and pinpointed places that I could improve upon. I would also read and edit my classmate’s essays in peer workshops. Instead of leisurely reading their writing, I approached it with a different mindset, thinking, “how could I help them make this better?” With this different viewpoint, I helped myself by increasing my abilities in editing and revising my own work.
I have become a more organized and critical thinker. Writing weekly blog posts has exponentially improved my writing. My online blog is proof of all the things I have learned during the two semesters. I shared all of my writing and the blog was an outlet and a medium that I utilized. This year, because of my increased abilities, I wrote more essays outside of school. In August, I argued in a mock appellate trial and presented a four page speech to a judge. In my study of piano, I gave two lectures in the fall to a studio, one on Bach’s Italian partitas and the individual dances in each, and the other on baroque ornamentation and embellishments. Through regular writing, I have become a better communicator and benefactor to society.
Reading The Grapes of Wrath taught me how to become a better at analyzing texts. Every intercalary chapter was descriptive and meaningful, and I enjoy the class discussions we had and the depth we went into on the book. Reading between the lines, I learned that even the structure of sentences can impact the tone or purpose of the chapter. I didn’t realize before how comparisons and descriptive language were so critical in understanding the core of the message the author or narrator conveys. I used all of these elements that I learned in my own descriptive essay. I learned through this novel that it is better to show the reader, rather than tell the reader. I used specifics and concrete details to better my writing skills.
I think that the question exploration for The House on Mango Street was one of my greatest accomplishments this year. In my project, titled The Stories We Tell, I wrote about the variety of media that people use to tell their own story. People use words, actions, architecture, music, and the visual arts. Writing this essay improved my research abilities and it was a topic that I was interested in learning more about. For this reason, this essay was one of my favorites to write. My question for The Catcher in the Rye was very similar to this. I asked, “How do stories connect people?” Throughout the novel, the only thing that Holden desires is a genuine conversation. I believe he only attains this two times, when he is talking with the nuns and when he visits with his sister, Phoebe. In both of these conversations, there was an element of vulnerability when Holden shared something about himself or what his current state was or what was weighing on his mind. Words can connect people because when a person opens up about himself, the other reciprocates empathy. Empathy is the connection that people feel with each other. All in all, I have enjoyed reading this book. The way that it was structured in episodes was interesting and new to me.
These year I have learned and grown and am proud of the work I have accomplished this year in this class.