It feels like yesterday that I entered a silent lecture room with this fear of English. You see, I am 41 years old and haven’t set foot in an English class room in 23 years. I was expecting to learn the basics and go from there. Looking around the room I see young people who just graduated high school. I feel old, challenged and fearful of what’s to come. The silence was broken when you entered the room and swiftly laid out our English journey which was made up of just reading and writing. I hate reading and writing! What have I done? I cannot do this. Yet after ten weeks, here I am unscathed and ready for the next challenge. I have succeeded in all the assignments that were given to me and have seen something different in English that I haven’t seen before. The things I see different now are the writing process, essay structure, in-class essays, and proper use of grammar and punctuation. These pieces of English when utilized together in my assignments the correct way made things a whole lot easier.
Staring down at a blank piece of paper can be intimidating but the writing process made things easier for me. Although I could write, I was in no means successful at this type of communication. It was easy to have thoughts and ideas and formulate sentences into how I would speak, but I would just lose someone who would read my stuff. Being able to brainstorm ideas into prewriting then drafting an essay began to make sense. I would revise and then proofread my write till I was satisfied. Every so often I would ask my wife who liked English to check my work and give me her opinion whether she like it or not. Over time I was no longer asking her for anything, I was on cruise control ready for the next challenge. Only to face the next challenge that was essay structures.
The way I was use to writing was to group ideas into paragraphs and end up with something. Looking at having an introduction, body and conclusion was just another rule to follow and I don’t like following all the rules. Essay structure was this rule that was not too difficult to follow. They were these struggles I was slowly beginning to learn with practice. It seemed I was focused more on the thesis statement and forgetting about the rest of the essay. I was also taking a Speech class following English class which we were going over the same fundamentals. Looking back on my worst grade was from unit one, long essay 1, “Reading Is Eternal.” It turns out I needed to work more on my paragraphs, transitions, and conclusions. This process did not happen overnight. Somehow things eventually made sense and I was able to put the puzzle pieces of an essay structure together until we started in-class essays. This was the next challenge in my English journey.
When I was first introduced to in-class essays I was scared. The idea of taking a specific topic and utilizing the writing process to build an essay structure within a short amount of time seemed ridiculous. When I chose to write on an improvement for the college I spent about 15 minutes using the writing process and formulating a thesis statement. Before I finished my second paragraph there was about 5 minutes left before the end of the class. Under this pressure I finished the essay and scored a decent grade. The next two in-class essays came with the same difficulty but with managing my time I was able to improve…