Way back at the beginning of the semester, I asked you to think about both your experiences writing and yourself as a writer. You considered questions such as whether or not you like writing and what your strengths and weaknesses as a writer are. As we come to the end of the semester, I want you to ithink about how you feel about writing now and how you view yourself as a writer. Have any of your feelings or perceptions changed? Do you have the same sense of your strengths and weaknesses? Do you feel that you have made any improvements or that you have new strategies for approaching writing assignments?
Please note that, as the first paper was not a fishing expedition for comments about how much you love to write, this exam is not a fishing expedition for testimonials about how much of a difference this class has made for you. One semester is only a beginning to writing growth, and I’m not looking for you to blow smoke up my skirt, so to speak.
I want you to think about the work you have done this semester. Look over your drafts with your peers’ comments and with my comments. Look at the final papers you submitted. Think about the kind of changes you made. Write an essay in which you reflect upon your composing process and your development as a writer, thinker, and scholar over the course of the semester. Just as you have evaluated and critiqued the work of others over the semester, you will now apply those analytical skills to your own writing.
Really reflect on the work you’ve done this semester. You will apply what you have learned about effective writing and your own writing process to discuss (1) the texts you have composed over the semester (particularly the choices that you made regarding their initial composition and the revisions you made) and (2) your development as a writer (or lack thereof if that was your experience). As a guideline, consider the following suggestions taken from Portfolio Keeping when writing your introduction:
•&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ; Talk about specific revisions you’ve made and the improvements and changes that you want readers to notice.
•&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ; Demonstrate what the work you have done this semester illustrates about you as a writer, student, researcher, or critical thinker.
•&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ; Acknowledge the readers-respondents who have influenced your portfolio pieces and describe how.
•&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ; Reflect on what you’ve learned about writing, reading, or other topics of the course.
•&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ;&νβσπ; Include specific examples or passages from your workshop drafts or final drafts.
The essay should have an introduction that promotes the reader’s interest and gives some idea of the paper’s content. You must, as always, present a clear thesis. The thesis for this assignment should convey an evaluation of your work and development, and you must, as always, develop your thesis through logical organization and connect its various subpoints with sufficient transitions. You must also provide sufficient evidence from a variety of sources (i.e. your drafts, finished essays, peer and instructor comments) to support your claims and appropriately attribute and cite those sources.
Why are we doing this?
In completing the essay assignments this semester, and in interacting with your instructor and your peers throughout the writing process, you should have learned that effective, sustained, formal writing is ordinarily well planned and involves considerable effort. To demonstrate your growth as a writer, your understanding of your composing process, and your appreciation of rhetorical choices (particularly your own), you will compose a final essay that discusses your work and experiences this semester.