September 12, 2014
Professor Kristin Baer
Fresno State University
From Amateurs to Majors
Dear Professor Baer,
Coming into college, I was really intimidated in starting English because my English teachers from high school would always warn me on how college English is no joke. The first day of college was really nerve racking for me because I was expecting the worst. I was expecting to have a professor that just said a bunch of notes and surprised us with a 10-page essay on “Grass Growing”.
Looking back at high school English teachers would compare college English to the Major leagues of English. For example, it was as if high school was the amateurs and college was for the Major players, so coming into college English I was really nervous just because comparing college to the major leagues really set my expectations over the roof; in addition, this caused my tension to rise.
My high school English teachers would make me feel as if the first day of school I was forced to write a 10-page essay about “Grass Growing”; however, when I surpassed my first day of college and didn’t have to write that nail biting 10 page essay I became more steady and less anxious. Although we had to do a writing sample in which I had no problem since it was just 2-page essay basically about me. After examining the class outlook and the class syllabus I found out that this class is mainly about us (students), and how we should put our knowledge into what we are being taught.
Reading and writing in high school wasn’t really all that different in all four years. For example, English teachers would always say what to write in my essay and they would all say quite the same, they would have their limits in essays. The only thing that would really change in essays from freshman year to senior year were adding minor pages probably half a page more writing every 2 years and different topics. Each year in high school we would write essays about novels such as “1984” by George Orwell, we wouldn’t necessarily write about the novel itself but write about what the teacher wanted us to write, for example, if our teacher wanted us to write about how technology was used in “1984” by George Orwell we would include ideas of how they used it and write it on the essay. As a class we would read, write, and brainstorm which made it easier for me to do my essays since I can just get new ideas from colleagues. I feel like they informed me with good ideas at times, For example, I wouldn’t really understand a certain section in the story and they would sometimes clarify it better for me. We would reads novels as a class and talk abut ideas in what to write in our essay, so basically writing essays wouldn’t really be a problem in high school. I really enjoyed working in my classes just because they made my work a bit easier when I did it on my own. Being in that environment for quite sometime made me feel real comfortable with it and used to it.
Through out my years as a high school student I wouldn’t really understand when teachers say go more in depth in the readings they gave us. I would struggle in finding out what the author had to say in his/her writings because I wouldn’t go in depth with it, meaning I wouldn’t understand the reasoning of his/her words or I wouldn’t investigate it thoroughly. For example, during my senior year I would receive quotes that an author once wrote or said and have to go in depth with it, but I wouldn’t really know how I would have to get help every time in order to understand hat the author had to say. I soon realized that the author could say a lot in just a few words or a lot of words and say something that can be said in a few words. For example, if I say I love something I can say “I love pumpkin pie”; however, if Shakespeare were to love something he would include trees, air, apples, clouds, buildings and everything insight to show love. Different writers have different ways of expressing themselves making many different approaches to a similar result. I wouldn’t really understand that idea coming in as a senior.
Soon after the last semester as senior year English became one of my favorite classes to attend. I would understand how to write an essay correctly in the 5 paragraph method form teachers taught me to write. I would also understand what the author had to say in his/her writings because I would be able to go more in depth into the writings without asking a ton of questions. However, after being in college for quite sometime I feel as if the 5-paragraph method isn’t really the correct form in order to write an essay. The 5-paragraph method only limits us to only 5-paragraphs which is wrong because we are the writers so we can write as much paragraphs as we want. However, when I was in high school I felt as if it was correct since it got me through my senior year.
I enjoyed receiving good grades for my essays I would turn in and other assignments such as double entry journals. I would really get the hang of comparing readings to the real world, which I think made me the writer I am today. However, I knew towards the end of senior year that this is only the beginning because I knew college had more to it than just these simple assignments. I knew I was getting taught these things like going more in depth and answering the prompt correctly because I’m getting prepared to go into the Major Leagues. People cant just walk into the major leagues without being taught before because then it would be like handing a 1 month year old baby a piece of paper and telling him/ her to find the cure for cancer. People need to be taught the basics of something in order to go into the major league (college).
When I received my first assignment in English 5A I realized that reading and writing isn’t just about receiving a perfect grade. I realized that this 5 paragraph method we were taught during high school is really unnecessary because when I wrote my writing sample I didn’t rely on the intro 3 topics and a conclusion I just wrote and it gave me credit. In high school I would have to write a 5 paragraph essay and any less than that wouldn’t give me a passing grade because that wasn’t what the teachers had asked us to write. They wanted their question to be answered and they also wanted it to be typed in the way they wanted it to be written; however, in college we are given a chance to put that method aside and just write what we want to write in the order we want to but makes sense. I feel like writing more than the 3 topics makes my creativity widen more. I feel as if the 5-paragraph method would limit my thinking I would only have to rely on 3 simple topics and not include anymore. If we were given as much topics as we want we would have a bigger mind set on our creativity. I feel like writers like myself enjoy writing more when we actually get to write about a topic in our desire of choice. This type of writing takes more of a personal risk but it is worth it.
After being in college for about 4 weeks I realized that it isn’t that hard class no one wants to go through. Although high school teachers did prepare me enough to handle this sort of work or environment because you do have to go in depth while reading which really helps me while I read excerpts by others. If I were to rate myself for how prepared I was coming into this class I would say I am a solid 8 from a scale of 10. Just because I feel like small things are new to me but I know most of the stuff we are being taught from experience. I feel like although high school made it seem bizarre they did prepare me for the worst which made me be prepared, because if I wasn’t expecting the worst most likely I wouldn’t be able to handle college work.
Lastly, high school was a great experience to have and now I am looking forward in being in the majors (college). I know that college English is going to be tough; however, I know challenging myself will make me a better reader and writer making myself have strong college potential.