The first thing I learned in ENG 110 was that the standards for writing were much higher in college than high school. At first, this claim made me feel uncertain of what to expect. I was one of those students that already felt as though my writing was adequate enough and had little room for improvement. However, as my semester nears to an end, I can look back and see a significant difference in my writing. I hope to shed some light on any concerns or questions you may have about this journey and provide you with an outline of how I approach writing a paper.
The first step I take in trying to establish a claim is summarizing how I feel about the ideas in each source. (One tip of advice is to take notes during class discussions, whether it means writing down thought-provoking ideas that you don’t want to forget or even a compelling word/phrase you want to use in the future). Typically, I write down the main ideas in all the sources and figure out where I stand in the arguments. The next step I take is going through all the sources, typing the strongest quotes from each into a Word document, and trying to establish which main idea they would fit best with. This gives me somewhere to start and allows me to see what ideas I would have more to talk about. At this point, I spend a long time just thinking about which ideas could be compared or contrasted in such a way that would make a good argument. Once I make a decision about the claim and main ideas I plan on talking about, I still have to choose which sources and which quotes would be the most supportive. You just have to try one idea and change it if you don’t feel confident enough about it, even if that means working for a couple more hours.
Be willing to make global revisions and actively participate in peer review because you should offer as much help as you would want someone to help you. As long as you accept the challenge of becoming a better writer and put the time and effort into the projects, you will be successful in this class.