Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Maybe This is Why I'm an English Major...

     Back in California, I was able to attend a great high school: Chaminade College Preparatory. It was known – or at least we were told it was known – that our school had an intensive writing program. It just seemed like normal high school for me. We had 3 required composition courses (freshman, sophomore, and senior years) and 4 years of required literature courses – with an optional elective course for students who opted out of AP Literature in their senior year. 

     In the three composition courses, we were instructed to write a series of 5 essays. These five essays spanned the gamut of personal statements, research papers, argumentative/persuasion papers, advertisement analyses, etc. At each specific grade level, the papers were constant in type but varied in degree of difficulty. On top of the composition courses, we had to take the typical high school literature regiment – Freshman composition, American Literature, British Literature, and either AP Literature or a Tragic Hero course with an added Spring English elective. As such, I was given a solid foundation for my college writing experience. 

     When I started at university, I found myself placed directly into the highest level of Freshman English. I was intimidated by the prospect but found that my writing skills from high school had more than adequately prepared me for university writing. I encountered many students who struggled with even basic Freshman English because their institutions had not prepared them for the rigor of university composition. I was very lucky in being able to attend a school that adequately prepared me for college. 

     As far as my experience in the grad program at Weber, I find that I had the wrong expectations coming in. As Dr. Rogers mentioned in class, some assume that they need to enter the program being able to wield language as if they had already completed a Master’s program. I felt my writing was too lax and needed to be fancied up a bit. I found – as predicted by Dr. Rogers – that I was awkward and began to lose my voice as a writer. Luckily, I have finally found my “happy place” as a writer in a graduate level program. 

     I feel like this semester, while having no official curve, has done a great job of ushering me into a Master’s level setting. I feel comfortable with the coursework and confident in my ability to tackle whatever assignment might be thrown my way. While I never expected a curve, I have been pleasantly surprised that I have acclimated to a new state, classmates, professors, and lifestyle in general. While I don’t assume this curve will remain intact as I progress into the upper echelons of the Master’s program, I find that this “curve” has proved useful in finding a balance at Weber so I can face the higher level Master’s classes with a level of comfort.


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