Dear Portfolio Assessment Committee,
Throughout the semester, I’ve really enjoyed what we’ve learned. We’ve had many different assignments covering an array of topics and I think this aspect has made the course so interesting. In most English classes, the assignments are very structured. However, in this class, I feel as if we were given a sense of freedom where we could write about something we are passionate about. For example, I have been able to write about our family’s traditional “seven fishes” dinner in a blog post and traditional Pittsburgh foods from the Strip District that my family loves in my food blog. I’ve even been able to write about my favorite summer nights in the Allegheny National Forest in my photo essay. I’ve never been able to write about either of these topics in previous English classes so just these assignments alone are enough to put this English class above all of the rest that I have taken. In addition, I really like how we watched short films and clips like Eat Drink Man Woman and Como agua para Chocolate and analyzed them. I’ve never really done this in a class before.
As for my own personal development, I felt as if my creative writing skills heading into the course were lacking. Dating all the way back to high school, it had been almost two years since I was given a creative writing assignment. Before this course, my writing assignments had been all research based where I read a text or interviewed someone and then analyzed. I was never able to put my own creative touch on any of it. With that said, it wasn’t nearly as hard to get back into the flow things as I thought because of how much more I enjoy creative writing. I believe some of my best creative writing can be seen in “my meal for the class” blog post where I describe what kind of meal I would prepare. In addition, getting to write about the strip district in our food blog assignment was something I had been wanting to do for a long time and also served as a solid example to show off my creative writing skills. There is so much rich culture hidden within the city of Pittsburgh that no one knows about and this assignment was perfect for getting all of that information out for everyone to see.
I enjoyed this assignment so much that I didn’t even consider it as an “assignment” because it was something I enjoyed working on so much. The food blog allowed me the opportunity to further connect with family and friends and even learn more about what the Strip has to offer. If you find yourself passionate about food and film like I am, you will have ample opportunities to write about all your favorites in this course. It is my only hope that other classes had more assignments like this one to take the stress out of school work for a change.
Lastly, I believe my editing processes have improved tremendously over the course of the semester. With all of the writing assignments we have had in this class, there has been a lot of editing that we have had to do as a result. I realized this quickly when I turned in my first blog post describing audience and genre and received a check minus. From there on out, I never took for granted the editing process again. I fully participated in all of the peer reviews, used Dr. Li as a resource, and then ultimately thoroughly checked my work myself. Having so many writing assignments, I developed a system that I believe turned out to work pretty well as long as I understood the assignment correctly. First, I got all of my thoughts down on a piece of paper. Second, I checked to see if my work made any sense; did it flow properly? Third, I found every adjective in the paper and checked to see if there was a way I could make the word stronger. Dr. Li loves detail! Then finally, I read over the assignment one last time checking for small grammatical errors or misspelled words. I will definitely be carrying this editing process with me for my future assignments.
In conclusion, not only do I feel as if I have learned many valuable techniques and strategies from this course, but I feel as if I will be able to take these and apply them to my everyday life as well as other classes moving forward. With that said, this semester has taught me four major lessons. First, the significance of knowing key terms like audience and genre and how to effectively incorporate them into my writing so I can get the most out of it. Second, how to evaluate and synthesize through the many blog posts that were assigned as well as the multiple reviews we had to compose. Third, write both academically in the way we presented our formal reviews and then expressively in the way we presented our food blogs. Then finally, how to reach a final product. This class has made me realize just how important the editing process really is and for that, I am very grateful. This has truly been the most beneficial writing
course I have taken to date and I would recommend it to anyone.
Blog Post: Not Your Average Cookout original.docx (Original)
my meal final.docx (final)
Printed Assignment: updated night blog post.docx (Photo essay, using as my printed assignment)
Research Log: updated research blog.docx
Proposal: Food Blog proposal.docx
Source: Anthony Muscato