Although some people have inborn talent for writing, most of us need to learn and develop our writing skills. The art of expressing oneself through pen is indeed a skill that needs to learned and mastered. Prior to this course, I could characterize myself as fair when it comes to writing. …
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I’ve always been inclined to read and have interest in reading a variety of novels, books and other literary pieces; however, due to some reason I could never write effectively. Whenever it came to writing even something as simple as my college admission essay, I would take hours to pen down my thoughts. Although I had consulted few books to learn how to write effectively, I could never be confident of my work. This course took me a step ahead in my endeavors to become an ardent writer. At first I would speedily begin writing without any outline or draft. This led me to skip a lot of important ideas that would come to mind later on. Fitting in these ideas on an ad hoc basis also disrupted the flow of my academic work so that later when I used to read it I found it nothing more than a haphazard summary of ideas. Upon taking this course, however, amongst the first things that my instructor taught was to prepare an initial draft of the prose and to proofread that draft before finalizing it. This practice ensured that there were no dramatic leaps in my work and that all paragraphs were connected. The assignments I’ve worked on have developed in me the habit of proofreading all my work prior to submission. This has been a very effective strategy as it allows me to rectify any careless mistakes that I may have overlooked while speedily inking my thoughts. There have been cases where (during proofreading) I changed the sentence structure to break the monotony and replaced some words with their synonyms to increase the overall impact of the prose. This would be particularly useful for me when writing a cover letter for my job since any grammatical mistakes in this could put up a negative impression of me and cost me my job. It has inculcated in me the spirit of critically evaluating my work from all possible angles which allows me to explore various approaches to the same topic. This has overall improved the quality of my argumentative essays by equipping me with the skills to craft un-biased and convincing arguments by considering both sides of the topic. So, for instance, when putting up a project proposal to the Board of Directors as a manager in future, I would be able to analyze the feasibility of the project (including its pros and cons) in order to put up a strong argument and suggest strategies for overcoming the drawbacks. Surprisingly, these assignments did not require students to work in isolation (as one may expect from an ‘academic writing’ class). Instead, there were assignments which required students to reflect on the ideas of their peers which have provided us with the basis for producing peer-reviewed academic work. Not only has this led to an improvement in my written skills but also oral skills due to constant verbal communication and interaction during the assignments. In future, I see this as an important skill as I would be required to consult my boss/superior at work as well as my team prior to arriving at a decision. Perhaps one of the most useful academic skills that I learnt in my assignments was that of referencing my work. In my initial assignments, my referencing was weak which would result in high plagiarism. However, with the use of electronic media I was able to provide all relevant referencing for ideas that I borrowed from other authors. Considering that plagiarism is a crime, the assignments taught me how to paraphrase ideas rather than merely quoting them. This has also contributed to my language skills as paraphrasing requires the use of synonyms and producing variations in sentence structure while sticking to the original idea. I find these skills very useful for preparing reports and documents at
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