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Jovanna Garcia

Professor Batty

English 101

28 May 2018


In today’s world it is necessary to have knowledge and comprehension of the English

language. For example, I need to understand what I’m reading and writing as a college student

and a member of society. Similarly, my career in Veterinary Technology requires me to have a

college level comprehension of English. During my Spring semester, at Los Angeles Valley

College, I learned how to understand college level courses by taking an English 101 course. This

English class helped me become a better writer, reader, and critical thinker.

Throughout the semester my writing skills improved by writing three essays with outlines

and peer reviews. The first essay I had to write was a visual rhetoric. In this visual rhetoric essay,

I had to choose a mural in Los Angeles that had a social or political statement. My writing for

this essay had to be detailed in the events portrayed in the mural. The second essay was an

ethnographic essay where I observed El Pueblo in Los Angeles. This ethnographic essay required

detailed writing of the observations I made at El Pueblo. The third essay I wrote was a literary

analysis of a character from the novel, “Still Water Saints” by Alex Espinoza. During the process

of writing each essay I started off with an outline. The outlines helped me organize my ideas in

order and provided me with a skeleton of each essay. Moreover, the outlines helped me add

supporting evidence such as quotes and paraphrases. The outline assignments taught me that my

strength is having organized ideas. On the other hand, my weakness is not connecting the main

ideas to the main point in the conclusion. Another assignment that helped me improve my
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writing were peer reviews. The peer reviews provided me with a classmate’s input on my

writing. With the peer reviews I learned that I have weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is not

incorporating the counterargument in my essays. Another weakness is not introducing or ending

a sandwich quote the right way. For example, I end quotes without explaining them further.

Overall, I learned how to improve my writing through outlines and peer reviews which require

good reading skills.

My reading skills improved through the reading journal assignment for the novel “Still

Water Saints” by Alex Espinoza. The reading journal assisted me with becoming an active

reader. In other words, I wrote down notes as I read the novel. Writing down notes helped me

better understand what I was reading. For example, if there were words I didn’t know the

definition of I would look it up and add it in my reading journal. Another way this assignment

helped me was by actively having a conversation with the text. I was able to interact with the

novel by asking questions to which I later found the answers to. The reading journal taught me

that my weakness is forgetting to take down notes as I read. On the other hand, my strength is

engaging with the text and connecting the parts to each other. My reading journal helped me

improve my reading skills which are necessary in order to be a critical thinker.

Another skill I acquired in my English class was critical thinking through “stay woke”

assignments. These assignments focused on staying up-to-date with news articles and forming

my own opinions. The first paragraph of the “stay woke” assignments were a summarized

version of the article. The second paragraph was my opinion on the matter/event covered on the

news article. Through this assignment I learned that my strength is critical thinking. I also

noticed that I’m able to form many opinions on a single subject. To sum it up, the “stay woke”

assignments improved my overall critical thinking skills.

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Over the course of my English 101 class, I was able to obtain a college level of writing,

reading, and critical thinking. I improved my writing with outlines and peer reviews for each of

the three essays. In addition, I also improved my reading skills through the use of reading

journals. Lastly, I learned to critically think by “staying woke” on current events happening

around the world. Overall, my comprehension of college level English will be useful for other

college courses and my Veterinary Technology major.