Saturday, October 06, 2012


A lot of what I learned about writing can be credited to my English teachers my junior and senior year. My junior year I had Honors English with Ms. Meldrum, a very strict and demanding professor that drilled MLA format into our heads until we could say it in our sleep. Despite her strictness, I learned a lot in her class, more than I had previous years. Even though learning citations and using them in projects was difficult, I was glad to learn it.

The project that really tested our knowledge was the MGP, or the Multiple Genre Project. We were supposed to pick a subject (any that we wanted, as long as Ms. Meldrum approved it) and read at least one long book about said subject. We then had to write at least four different papers that developed different themes and ideas about our subject. We could write anything from journal entries to poems to fake news stories, and more. It was the biggest project I'd ever tackled. We had to have a certain number of facts in each paper, and the citations themselves were a large part of our grade. The project took around two months to do it, and it was very, very difficult. However, as I said before, I learned a lot. It taught me about more than my subject, it was the thing that really nailed MLA citations for me.

My teacher in senior year was Mr. Jenkinson. Almost in direct contrast to Ms. Meldrum, he was very calm and easy going, not strict at all. Our class mainly focused on literature, but we did do several writing assignments as well. This was the first class that required a longer paper. Before, all I'd ever had to do were five paragraph essays that averaged around three pages. My final paper for that class had ten pages. Mr. Jenkinson's assignments all throughout the year helped prepare us for it, and looking back on it that really helped prepare me for college, where most of my papers are longer than three pages. That final paper also was a bit of a refresher on citations, as we were supposed to do a literary analysis of the themes in any book we wanted, and had to cite the quotes we used for evidence of our thesis. My paper was on the themes in the Lord of the Rings, and I went through several drafts, going over them with Mr. Jenkinson to get it right. He discussed heavily what it meant to analyze literature, themes in written works, and more.

There is a third factor in my ability to write college papers, one that didn't directly teach me about writing essays or the like. Simply, books helped me to be a better writer, in all forms. Books broadened my views and challenged them. Books taught me new words and ideas, brought about a thirst for knowledge and a love of writing itself. If I hadn't read all of the books that I have, I would not be half the writer I am today, and I certainly wouldn't enjoy it as much as I do now.


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