The first Learning Outcome of English 110 states that students should be able to “demonstrate the ability to approach writing as a recursive process that requires substantial revision of drafts for content, organization, and clarity (global revision) as well as editing and proofreading (local revision).
I had taken many higher level high school English classes before taking this class. However, we had not spent much time peer revising essays, and we did not take it seriously. Thus, I revised my First Essay for this class in the way I did in high school; there was no set order in which I did my revisions, I tended to read through once and critiqued what was glaringly obvious. My Showcase Project (Essay Two) is the first essay that I have ever consciously and thoughtfully revised locally and globally.
In reference to the rough draft of Essay Two, my paragraph-level organization was neither complete nor clear. This is attributed to the way I set up my thesis. One of my greatest struggles as a writer in the beginning of this class was learning to focus my ideas. I like to think about all aspects of a prompt before focusing on one response. My thesis typically reflected this, and I tried to address all of the responses complexities rather than pinpointing one. The initial thesis in the rough draft of Essay Two was a run-on sentence, focusing on too many ideas to account for in one sentence, separated only by a comma. This was very difficult to read; no matter which angle you looked at it, you most likely would be scratching your head over what I was trying to argue:
“Focusing on these texts, I say it is crucial to examine what truly makes a productive citizen, and if pursuing a specific degree such as a focus in the liberal arts truly holds greater weight over those who choose a different path”(Ouellette 1) Essay Two, Rough Draft.
There are too many words in this thesis that say the same thing. A peer commented on the redundancy of this thesis, and described a need for a connection between my discussion of cost, citizenship, and degree choice. Theses are where a majority of my writers block and deepest thinking takes place; the thesis sets up the rest of the essay, so it is crucial that it is concise and purposeful. Considering the feedback of my peer and noticing a need for clear organization, I was able to process this thesis and revise it to set up my essay purposefully in my Final Draft:
“Especially for individuals from lower-income families and first-generation college students, I say it is crucial to examine what truly makes a productive citizen; a liberal arts degree does not always set lower-income students up for success the same as it would for those from wealthier backgrounds”(Ouellette 1). Essay Two, Final Draft.
This clear thesis allowed me to set up purposeful topic sentences, body paragraphs, and supporting evidence. It clearly states my position in the argument I am addressing, serving as a foundation for a strong essay.
There were also opportunities for local revision between my rough and final draft of Essay Two (Showcase). In fact, this local revision also most clearly occurs in the thesis. After I had figured out what points I wanted to focus on in my essay, I needed a way to organize the thesis so it was no longer a run-on. To do this, I employed a semicolon, which can be seen in the thesis of my final draft, above. In the beginning of this course, I had never employed semicolons in my essays because I did not know how to use them. After noticing how well a peer of mine utilized this grammatical tool, I began to research it in my textbooks and handouts. Learning how to use the semi-colon carried over to many other forms of work, and allowed me to focus my ideas in a way that made sense.
My ability to approach revisions both globally and locally is demonstrated through the rough and final drafts of Essay Two. Writing this essay was a learning process. It took an ample amount of time for me to figure out what was setting off my inability to write the paper, and why the paragraph-level writing didn’t flow correctly. Once I pinpointed my thesis, I was able to revise these paragraphs to better suit my argument. I was also able to employ a new grammatical tool that I had learned about, fixing a sentence-structure error that helped me organize my essay for the final draft. This essay required a lot of proof-reading, peer feedback, and independent revision. It allowed me to overcome several revising barriers that has carried over to other work throughout this course and other courses, too.
Rough Draft, Essay 2:
Final Draft, Essay 2: