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Dear

Malcom,

Time moves quickly. Its difficult to assess how much youve grown when

youre living in the moment. I ran into this issue as I began this letter. The

assignment is to reflect on how Ive grown as a writer, a thinker, a questioner; a

person. Yet, I had no explicit answer. I was unsure of what to say and unsure of

what I even thought. Unsure, until I reviewed my ePortfolio and my daybook. I must

admit, as the semester progressed my entries began to disappear, sprawled across

the pages more sporadically. Thats okay. What was truly important to me was

printed amongst the first pages. The earliest entries of the semester were the most

important. This is due to the nature of the questions being proposed. As the

semester progressed, many classes changed to discussions about our Extended

Inquiry Projects (EIPs). This wasnt helpful to me because I didnt feel the need to

discuss what I was working on. I solely wanted to do the work. Yet, at the beginning

of the semester, our discussions had more depth. When asked to reflect on my

growth, I was ambivalent on the topic. I was ambivalent until I allowed myself to

remember the past.

Free writing is my favorite type of writing. I enjoyed the activities where we

were given a prompt, or thought, and then given time to write whatever crossed our

minds. That is when my writing flourishes. I am most comfortable in that space. Yet,

the only way to grow is to be pushed outside of your box. This class had the

potential to truly push me, and in some ways, it did. Blog posts were interesting, as

were assigned readings. A few of the in class videos, such as Dont Stay In School

were also captivating to discuss. Nevertheless, the process of researching, revising,


and editing a paper is far too familiar for me. Psychology is full of academic papers.

Although the papers assigned in this course were slightly different than that of a

typical psychology course, my process was the same. Peer critiquing was not

extremely helpful. My peers confirmed that my writing flowed, which was a concern

of mine. Nevertheless, the comments from Professor Campbell were far more

helpful. Critiquing the work of others was also more helpful than being critiqued. It

allowed me to further understand what to look for as a reader, which helped when I

was reviewing my own work.

Most important were the assignments that required me to reflect on who I

am as a writer, who I would like to be, and ways that I could get there. Assignments

that made me think. These assignments included daybook entries as well as blog

posts. My favorite daybook entry proposed the question of what I hate about

writing. My response: Something I hate about writing: the contrasting goals. I long

to share but am afraid to be vulnerable. This was written in August. Yet, my answer

still holds truth, and it is true in more ways than one. As a writer, I aim to get to the

place where Im comfortable sharing my work. I want to allow myself to be

vulnerable with an audience: friends, family, and strangers. I long to feel

comfortable enough to allow criticism or appreciation. Im still scared. Contrasting

goals occur throughout life, not just in writing. My fear to be vulnerable is something

I hate about myself. Not my writing. Assignments that asked about who I am as a

writer also added understanding to who I am as a person. Self-awareness: the most

important thing I can get out of a class.


I do not brainstorm. I get an idea and I passionately run with it. My first

thought, or artistic direction, may not always be the best. Likewise, the easiest way

to write may not produce the best writing. The first draft shouldnt always be the

only draft. This is a weakness that has not changed. Nevertheless, I write

passionately, genuinely, and honestly. I have a vision, whether it is a finished

product or an emotion that I want instilled. I write with purpose. I write with a

strength that can only grow stronger and a fire that will not be put out. I will only

continue to get better.

I dont think that Ive progressed as a thinker. My way of thinking has not

evolved. However, I do believe that I have explored the way that I think. I am also

naturally inquisitive. I do not think my questioning has progressed, I solely ask

questions more freely. As a writer, practice produces progression. Although I cannot

directly see the progress I have made, I know that its there. I found the Topic

Proposal to be challenging because I couldnt find a median for my two distinct

narrative voices. It seemed too informal to do my academic narrative, yet too formal

for my free-writing voice. Meeting in the middle was easier said than done.

Nevertheless, from completing the topic proposal, I learned that I have more range

as a writer than I previously thought. I am now curious to explore various narrative

voices.

Overall, I believe I have improved upon my composing processes because I

was forced to do things differently. I was also encouraged to reflect on my process

as a writer when completing the first studio. These challenges have pushed me in

more ways than one. As a writer, I had gotten complacent in the routine way that I
write. I was comfortable to the point where I did not include variety in the way that I

composed. However, this class forced me to broaden my horizons and experiment

with variations in my writing process. Improvement of my composing processes

truly allowed me to improve as a writer.

The studios were interesting and usually helpful. My favorite studio

was studio one, where we discussed our writing process. This was the most helpful

studio to me because it was introspective. It helped me gain a better understanding

of myself as a writer. Nevertheless, all of the studios were not equally as beneficial

for me. The writers moves studio was not particularly helpful. I found the

information redundant because Ive already found and began to establish my voice

as a writer. A factor of my narrative voice is my writers moves. The other studios

directly mirrored the curriculum; therefore they were helpful. This also made them

easy to complete.

The topic proposal was an intriguing assignment. Despite being a senior, I

have never written one until this course. I found it kind of difficult to find my voice.

Maybe Ive grown used to academic jargon, but this assignment felt quite different

than others that I have done throughout college. It wasnt solely academic. Many

rules for academic papers were thrown out and we were granted more artistic

freedom. Nevertheless, it wasnt holistically creative writing either. Finding the

balance was deemed difficult. At times I felt as though I was writing too creatively.

In contrast I sometimes felt as though I wasnt writing with enough expression. The

topic proposal was the most difficult assignment for that reason. I didnt fully
understand where I wanted to go or how I envisioned the finished product.

Ultimately, the Topic Proposal was (in my opinion) my weakest assignment.

Nevertheless, I received good feedback that influenced following assignments and

gave me new ideas as a writer.

I had never composed an annotated bibliography. Throughout high school

and college I had never been required to complete one. Therefore, I was a little

nervous. As the assignment and format was explained, I began to feel somewhat

panicked. It seemed like a lot of work and I expected to experience writers block.

Also, I hadnt written using MLA format since high school (Psychology uses APA

format). Ultimately, I was out of my comfort zone. I expected to fail or to be

adequate at best. I surprised myself. Although I had never written an annotated

bibliography, the concept was not much different than how I composed my article

notes when researching for a paper. I read the articles and discussed what

information would be used, planned how I would use it, and critiqued the reliability

of the resource. Words flowed from my fingertips and a new confidence emerged.

Despite my assumption that I would be disinterested and the task would be

monotonous, the annotated bibliography turned out to be one of the most helpful

assignments of the semester.

Due to the topic proposal and the annotated bibliography, the first EIP draft

was easy to construct. I took elements from each document and created my first

draft. Unlike with the topic proposal, I felt confident in my voice. Unlike with the

bibliography, I was confident in my skill. Everything felt right. After receiving peer

feedback, as well as feedback from Professor Campbell, I knew exactly where I


desired to take my final draft. I enjoyed constructing it because I was truly

passionate about the topic chosen. Submitting a rough draft and then editing a final

version was a route that I would not take on my own. Nevertheless, I believe that I

produced a better piece of writing because of it.

Overall, my ePortfolio portrays where I started and the paths I have taken

throughout the semester. My Dear Malcolm letter demonstrates where I started. It

also highlights my comfort zone as a writer, as I used a creative writing voice. My

daybook entries show what stuck out to me during class. It highlights some of the

questions that truly made me think. My topic proposal merges my two narrative

voices together and shows how I began to find my footing on the middle ground.

The annotated bibliography demonstrated how I conduct and use research. Lastly,

my extended inquiry project shows where I have ended.

The end. I have reached the end of this course. I have also reached the end of

my undergraduate journey. From here, I am unsure of where I will go. Nevertheless,

I am now positive that writing will be a part of wherever life takes me.

Youve reminded me that I am a writer.

Thank you, Malcolm.

Nailah French