The Multimodal Self Reflection Essay — Javier Sanchez
Preparation Before College
I started off the semester unprepared for anything that was coming my way. I knew that after high school my life was going to completely turn around. College was the next step for me towards my career as a doctor in the field of Radiology. I felt like I was ready to move forward with my decision, however, my friend had already attended the previous summer semester. I was completely wrong about how I saw college after having a long talk with him. I felt afterwards that I definitely was not ready for this transition. It seemed like taking a big step. I consulted with my parents and asked for their opinion on my decision. They encouraged me and motivated me to take this big step in my career. All fear had washed away from me at that moment, all I felt was excitement. I love challenges, so I saw this as an opportunity to treat college like a challenge that I must face head on and come out on top!
My Dreaded Writing Past
After all my fear went away from my body. I knew that now I had to prepare for what was to come. It’s easier said than done to just come out on top of college with a 4.0 GPA. It was going to take a lot of hard work. I knew what I was getting myself into, because my background in writing was never great. In high school, I would never write that many papers so I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy transition into college which required tons of writing. My writing in high school was like a category 5 hurricane, a huge disaster. I always wanted to increase my writing skills and I knew this was the opportunity to turn the page on high school to become a better writer.
First Day of Class
The time had finally come where I can finally start my new writing journey. I enrolled in two classes that required me to write (Cornerstone and Composition 1). Having these two classes enforced the MLA format. I knew that in order to pass these classes I needed to incorporate a new style of writing that was briefly introduced to me in high school. I spent hours studying how to master the MLA format. At first it was intimidating because I was never used this style of writing in any of my papers. After sitting down and watching videos, I quickly became a pro at it and before I knew it I was writing in proper MLA format. My papers looked so detailed in this new format and I loved it!
I was so excited for my first day of Composition 1 taught by Dr. Ortolano. My body couldn’t contain the excitement I had to increase my writing capacities. I knew that Dr. Ortolano was the right person for the job due to his Rate My Professor score. All my excitement, however, was going to be flushed down the drain due to his family unfortunately catching the deadly COVID-19 virus. Class had to be done virtually, which is my worst nightmare. I prefer classes in person that way I can connect to my classmates and the professor. I thought the world was about to end because I told myself there was no way we could bounce back from this interruption. Dr. Ortolano had to quarantine for almost two weeks waiting for his results to come back from the lab. My semester was off to a rocky start.
Even More Bad News (Seriously)
Me and my classmates finally thought the nightmare was over, but our happiness was short-lived. The day before class we got a dreaded announcement from Dr. Ortolano, it read that we had to go another week doing class virtually. His daughter was the only one that came back with a positive COVID-19 test, causing him to quarantine for another week. This was starting to become an insanity to me because our first project was right around the corner and we had no idea where to even start. Props to the professor, however, he managed to keep the class in check virtually despite having an ongoing problem at his house.
Back On Track
After facing all my writing demons head on, I have finally managed to get some good news out of this semester. The professor was finally out of quarantine! We were going to start class lecture the following week. The best news I have heard all semester. Suddenly, the path to becoming a better writer was clear of fog. I was expecting big things since we were going back to normal class lecture, especially since this would be my first time actually meeting the professor in person.
Meeting the Ginger Mastermind
Before we had our first class lecture, I decided to go to his office hours to introduce myself and get to know the professor a little better. Definitely lived up to my expectations! He told me all the course material we were going to be doing. It seemed like a long track with a lot of hard work, but I was willing to put in as much work as I needed to in order to become a better writer. The professor was a funny guy, he called coffee ‘the elixir of life’. I even decided to take advantage of the opportunity to take a picture with him for my GPS project, he willingly obliged to take the picture. To this day, still one of my favorite days of college. After the two hour conversation ended, I felt confident about the semester because he gave me reassurance.
The First Assignment
No time wasted. We were sent to do our first major project! It’s called the Insider’s Perspective Essay. I wrote about my experience during COVID-19 and how hard it was to handle school, work, and family. I had tons of resources at my side for this project so I was confident about it. There is such thing however as overconfidence. Let’s just say I experienced that and underestimated the project. Once I started writing, I experienced a writing block which didn’t allow me to write anything no matter how much I tried to think of something. I decided to go to the Writing Center for help on the project, I felt that if anybody could help me, it would be the professionals there.
The Writing Center
The Writing Center lived up to its expectations. It was very clean and quiet, so it made a very good place to get a major project like this one done. I typed my paper and after I was done I asked for one of the professionals to revise the paper. They talked me through the paper and explained what I did wrong or what I could improve on. The staff member noticed that I had a huge problem with comma splices. He fixed all my errors and I learned a lot of things about how to avoid comma splices. He even gave me a sheet that explained what comma splices are and how to avoid using them in an essay. The guy was very nice and I really appreciated all the hard work he did for me. He didn’t rush the paper and took his time making sure that I understood what he was telling me. I left as a better writer for sure. Comma splices were no longer going to be a problem!
The Peer Review Workshop
The moment for turning in the draft of the paper was finally upon us. I turned in the paper and awaited the feedback from three of my classmates. Once I got the peer review back, my classmates noticed a lot of mistakes that I made throughout the paper. My ideas weren’t flowing naturally and the paper was a mess. I didn’t want to believe that my paper was wrong because after all, I took it to the Writing Center so it couldn’t be wrong. My overconfidence told me to just turn in the final draft without correcting any of the mistakes that my peers mentioned. I later regretted this decision…
My project was finally graded. I awaited an A on this paper with a smile on my face. To my disappointment however, I was left with a B and a sad face on the paper. I didn’t understand how my paper that I wrote and was revised by the Writing Center was only worthy of a B. I demanded answers, so I went to Dr. Ortolano and asked what was wrong with my paper. He explained that although the Writing Center is a great resource for papers, I should still listen to my peers because they were correct about their revisions. I later understood that I should’ve listened to my peers instead of my own confidence. I was defeated, but I was going to bounce back on the project no matter what…
The Digital Mapping Project
My favorite essay has to be the Digital Mapping project in my opinion. Not because of the grade I earned, but because of how interactive this project was. It was something completely new to everyone in my class. I had to write a story behind each place that was significant in my life and place it on Google Earth. This project brought back some great memories and was very nostalgic just to think about how much I’ve grown since those times. I never would have imagined I’d be in college learning new things and thanks to the project I was able to realize that I am extremely fortunate to have this chance and that I wasn’t going to blow it.
The Second Peer Review Workshop
When I finished the project, I turned it in to the peer review tab. This time I was ready for any feedback on how to better my project. To my surprise, all my classmates enjoyed reading my project and had nothing but positive things to say. It was a perfect paper in their eyes. That truly made me happy, but I couldn’t get my hopes up because I knew it was up to the Ginger Mastermind to decide whether or not the paper was good.
I turned in the final draft and waited anxiously for my grade to come back. I remember my hands shaking as I turned in the project, there was no going back after I turned it in. I finally got the grade once I saw that my phone lit up with a notification from Canvas. I was so excited and nervous at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect. When I opened the assignment to see my grade, the first thing I see is a 99 in bold. I was ecstatic at the sight of my grade. What made me happier was the comment my professor had left on the side. To sum up his words, he basically said that I did a great job on the paper and that there were only minor flaws that I needed to work on. As I kept reading his comment I started to realize something. I had never gotten such praise on an essay in my whole life. This was the first time it had happened, it was like a void that has been long awaiting to be filled. I knew that my writing increased significantly in such a short amount of time. This meant progress was being made, which was exactly what I was expecting to get out of this course.
The Research Paper
The research paper was the next step towards my journey of becoming a better writer. I have to know how to present a problem and point out solutions towards the problem. This was something I was really good at, it felt like cause and effect in a way. I wrote about water pollution and how it is affecting humans and wildlife. The solutions I presented were to decrease fishing in lakes, The Lake O Plan, and reduce the damage the sugar industry causes on the agriculture. This was a fairly easy project that I did fairly well on.
End Of The Semester
The past three months went by flying and I learned a lot of information. I may not be the best at writing but I definitely improved. I am much better at writing then I was before. High school me wouldn’t recognize the college me at all! I have made many friends and experienced new things. I am truly excited for the rest of my career path. I am also excited to see where my writing skills take me in Composition 2. Truly, I am thankful for the Ginger Mastermind, without him I wouldn’t be where I am now. I will keep all his teachings with me throughout all my future papers.