Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blog 9

            My experiences in both ENGL 1010 and ENGL 2010 were great experiences. I took both courses consecutively during my first two semesters here at Weber State University. Being my first semester, I didn’t know what to expect from college and university. I thought that it might be a challenge; I hoped that it might be a challenge. I was ready to take on a course load, and I was ready to begin learning. High school was over, and I wanted to break my old habits and challenge myself. My first English course here at Weber State was one of the most challenging courses I have ever taken.
            My professor was fairly new to the University, and she made clear on the first day that her class would not be an easy A. I felt ready to accept that challenge. The course was filled with reading and writing; the load of work was great but doable. The real incentive that made the work worthwhile was the class discussion. The class was focused around Fairy Tales which has never been my largest interest, but the evaluation of the literature is something I had never really experienced before; it really caught my attention.
            The writing was focused around the critical analysis and evaluation of the literature which allowed me to express so many thoughts I typically had discounted previously. It felt critical, analytical, and creative simultaneously; it was incredibly fun. And the professor spent a good deal of time evaluating what I wrote. Each paper that was returned had been thoroughly read, torn apart, and analyzed. This feedback was great; it was often times very harsh criticism, but it never felt hurtful; I was learning about the evaluation of literature. It was probably the first time I began to really start engaging with the literature I was reading.
            The next class I took 2010 during my second year here at Weber State. Interestingly, it was very contrary to the class I had taken the year before. The teacher spent class time discussing random things with us; we were assigned two major papers, one 7-10 page paper and one 17-20 page paper. We had assigned readings of creative research papers, but they were rather minimal compared to the previous class. I had mixed feelings; some days, I felt cheated; some days, I felt that it was a breeze; I was grateful to have a class that wasn’t demanding all of my time. On most days, I felt like I was getting a lot out of the class. I was introduced to research papers of which I had not previously read many, and I had a lot of the time to work on the two major assignments.
            This is really where I started to realize how powerful independent learning really is. Sure, a professor who has only two big assignments with two big but tentative relaxed due dates seems to prod students’ need to structure, but it is necessary for students to recognize, at some point, the need for the knowledge they are receiving. The professor asked us often, “[If you had the opportunity to take a degree right now without taking any classes, paying any tuition, working at all, would you do it?]” The unanimous response from the class was, “no,” but I wasn’t sure why. I knew why I wouldn’t do it, but why wouldn’t everyone else? I hear so many people complaining about their classes, assignments, teachers, tuition that I start to think that there is a minority of students who actually want to be here.
            This class taught me how to do independent research, how to write a paper independently, how to govern myself and my time, how to learn on my own. The teacher gave loads and loads of resources that we could use to improve our learning; he suggested we write annotated bibliographies of the books we read, give ourselves time to, more than anything else, think about the topic we want to write. He suggested that we think about the topic before we ever sit down to write it. This class was an excellent class, even though it was so different from my previous class that was so contrary in method and structure.
            Since I’ve come to college, I have tried my best to keep an optimistic outlook in every class I take. So many students have fallen into the habit of feeling so pessimistic about their school affairs that it takes away the possibility of any fun to take place. When considering applying, I decided that I wouldn’t go to college if I didn’t want to, so I convinced myself and am here because I want to be here, and I always want to make the best of my time. I want to look back on my college experience and remember how great it was, not how much I wanted it to end. There is no sense rushing on into the future, that thing college is meant to prepare us for, without enjoying our current time here.



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