Reflective – Justin Baker

Importance of Words

The past semester in Comp II has helped my writing more than any other Comp class has ever helped me. The constructive criticism and suggestions I have received has made me feel like my professor actually wanted to make me a better writer, unlike some of the teachers I have had in the past. Not only has my writing improved, but also my thinking has improved. I have learned to think about issues from different angles. The guidance from my professor, as well as Core Values I, III, V, and VII, has put me that much farther on the never-ending path of being the writer I want to be.

I have been taught through Core Value I that writing a paper is a multi-stage process. Whenever I think I am done writing a paper, I reread it and realize at least one thing I need to change. Besides gathering research, revising is the most important and time consuming part in writing a paper. My revising technique has become stronger after receiving many suggestions from my professor. Without my professor constantly giving feedback, I would not have been able to spot small errors in my writing.

Core Value III helped me write to deliver my point and not just add padding to an idea. More words in a paper do not mean better quality. I have always been told quality over quantity and Core Value III has further embedded that concept into my writing. Being clear-cut in what I am trying to say in my paper was not always a skill I possessed, but after going through Comp II, I believe I have become more precise in my writing.

Citing academic sources is one of the only legitimate ways to back-up and refute points. Through my time in Comp II, I have strengthened my ability to argue for or against a point. There are always two sides to argue on a point. Core Value V made me realize in order for me to effectively argue for or against a point, I need to have creditable sources to help me argue. I love to argue for the validity of the opposing or unpopular view because it is an enjoyable task to be the underdog. Comp II has helped me learn to communicate my point better and back it up.

The power to be new and original is a trait everyone would love to possess. While using sources to back up a point is essential, using sources primarily as the point is unacceptable. It is very important that I am my own writer and not just a combination of a multitude of sources. It is important that I have my own voice and that is something Core Value VII has helped me realize. Individuality is one of the most important characteristics in writing.

While this has been the toughest Comp class I have ever been in, it has also been the most beneficial Comp class I have ever been in. Having a professor who cares enough to tear apart my writing and show me where I went wrong has been very helpful in my never-ending path on becoming a better writer. I am now better at taking constructive criticism and suggestions from others. The lessons I learned in Comp II will be with me and continue to influence my writing in the future.

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One Response to Reflective – Justin Baker

  1. davidbdale says:

    Well, it’s been a pleasure for me to watch you improve too, Baker. You said something very persuasive and a little startling here that really caught my attention: that a writer needs to be more than his sources. We try to teach as composition instructors the value of blending the opinions of others with your own experience to create something original (we call it synthesis), but we rarely hear back from students that they have received that message. Your insistence on the primacy of your own voice is that reminder that yours is the most important opinion in the essay, no matter how credible or celebrated the sources may be. I think your balance is just right: you recognize the need for sources to support your argument, but just that, to support. Without your argument, the sources are useless.

    If you only learned one thing in this course (I hope you learned two), that would be an excellent lesson to take away.

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