Something that I find very useful to find inspiration for writing is looking at other students’ blogs. Often, I won’t have an idea of where to start for a writing assignment, or I am feeling a little lost as far as how to structure it, or am discouraged, and I look through a few other students’ posts and figure out how to continue. I use other students’ blogs as motivation to do my own. I am subscribed to a few of them, and so receive emails when they post. When I see the email, I am reminded that I need to get the assignment done. I look over the post, realize that it’s not that difficult to tackle, and then do it. I am a procrastinator by nature, so this system is very helpful.
Writing the iSearch paper, I found that peer editing of the introduction was a great place to start. It helped me focus my paper and reminded me of my purpose and my audience. Reading other students’ papers also gave me a chance to see what worked and what didn’t in the paper. I think that I helped the students whose papers I edited with identifying their purpose and clarifying their main points. It also lowered my anxiety about the paper, because I realized that no one’s paper was perfect, and that it was a work in process.
I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to discuss my work face to face with a teacher before, so I really enjoyed the teacher conferences. I was feeling a little panicky about not being able to get an interview for my paper, but Professor Jankens was very reassuring. She said that things would work out fine if I did or did not get the interview, and she also gave me a few great ideas for ways to gather information, such as asking the interviewee if they had kept a blog or something similar during their time in Brazil. Although I did not get a chance to use that idea, I was really excited about it.
When I realized that I would have to change my topic a little bit, I was happy to have read a few articles during the library research day about why students decide to participate in study abroad. These inspired the direction my paper took. I am also happy to now know how to navigate the library’s website.
My part in English class is more that of an observer or listener. I find class discussions very useful and I often take what I learn through them to my work. For example, when we were editing Sharon’s iSearch paper as a class, I though a lot about what is necessary to keep in a paper and what is superfluous. However, unless we are broken into smaller groups, I don’t think I contribute a lot to the class. This is something that I’d like to change as the semester goes on. I think I need to develop more confidence in my ideas, which is slowly happening with all the feedback I get on my work in this course.