Literacy Narrative Final Draft
Spring 2015-RHET 105-Writing and Research-Section F1, instructor: John Musser
February 3rd, 2015
Pursuit of a Higher Place
The first time when I started to practice the writing part of TOEFL, I got completely lost. Before that, I had not practiced my writing skills for a long time, so I just sat hopelessly at the desk, with eyes absentmindedly fixed on the laptop and words flashing in my head. I could think of some ideas, but was unable to compose them into logical, consistent and well-organized statements to fully express my thoughts.
Not until then did I realize how little emphasis I paid on writing over the years. It might be unimaginable to English native speakers that writing is so time-consuming, but for most Chinese students, who spend most of their study time on solving complicated mathematical and science problems but do not form the habit of reading and writing in their daily life, the writing tasks in TOEFL are a pretty big challenge. I realized that since I did not have the patience to go over the books of masterpieces stacked on my desk, I am a poor reader with limited vocabulary. Also, since I did not keep close attention to current affairs, I could think of few materials when I need examples to illustrate my point. To make matters worse, I tend to make judgments about things because that is easy for me to complete the writing. The quick jump to conclusion prevents me from giving comparison between different opinions, being thoroughly engaged with other people’s views and forming the habit of critical thinking.
Finally, I spent more than two hours squeezing a piece of draft word by word, and sent it to a friend, who agreed to help me revise my essays. The feedback of my friend then got me even more frustrated. Seeing marks in red italic filling up the margin of the paper, I almost burst into tears. It felt like I have conquered a lot of mountains in my life before, but now I was standing at the bottom of Everest and suddenly did not dare to look up to accept its astonishing height. How could I transfer to a university in the United States and deal with a much larger amount of writing assignments by then if I even step back in front of this level of writing task?
Anyways, I need to cheer up. I started to figure out solutions to the problems that my friend pointed out to me. One of the biggest problems he mentioned is that I need to improve my way of thinking, which helps to consist of the core of every article. Instead of taking every familiar thing for granted, I need to question them with new perspectives. Besides, it is also important to distribute my effort between finding evidence to support my own argument and reconsidering opposing arguments. The process is hard and stressful. Sometimes after struggling with my argument for a while, I discovered that I was standing against of my original view, but it is also beneficial. Another problem he suggested is that I need to make better use of template. Although template is sometimes regarded as a tool which stifles creativity and makes everyone writing in the similar way, it does help me to eliminate all the fragmented thoughts and write more fluently.
Things begin to turn better, although sometimes I did feel lonely when I buried myself into tons of work. During the last winter break, I woke up early every morning, rushed to the library to get a seat. On the train to the library I always felt extremely sleepy due to lack of rest, so that I had to pinch my arm from time to time to keep myself awake. Often when I completed an essay, revised it again and again and looked up, I would found a whole morning had elapsed and everybody else around had left for lunch while I remained the only one who sat in the big and empty room. The struggling continued in the afternoon, until I packed my stuff, wrapped myself tighter in coat and walked out of the library at dusk, feeling the cold, strong wind ripping off my skin. The loneliness…