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Portfolio Essay For English Class

When I first enrolled into this course, I felt all different kinds of emotions and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from WRD 103.  I would have thoughts in my head leading up to this class spinning in my head every night before the first day.  Some thoughts like, “Maybe this will be my best class!” and “This class will be easy because I love writing!” were good thoughts that helped me boost my confidence about my college course.  Other thoughts loomed in my head as well such as, “Do I really belong in this class?”, and “I’m probably going to fail this class with just one assignment!”  Such thoughts as these brought my spirits and gave me a pessimistic outlook on this class.  But now that I am halfway done with this class, I find myself to be more at ease with myself and have a newfound confidence in the way that write.

                Writing has been an important form of expression for me.  I find myself to be very soft spoken and speaking verbally is usually difficult for me because I can’t always seem to find the right words to say.  This has led me to be very shy in class.  With writing, I feel that I am more expressive and have more control over what I want to say.  Writing is therapeutic for me, whatever I cannot say directly I can just pour out my heart and soul.  I have been keeping a journal for the past eight years and it has done wonders for me.  I find myself not only a better person for it but it also serves as an aid for writing.  My journal is one of the best ways I take into consideration life’s difficult choices I make.  It serves as a permanent record for me to look back on in the future to see how much I matured in my life.

                Although I enjoy writing in such an informal way, I always felt that I was limited to my expressions in formal writing.  Throughout high school, I found myself constantly struggling to comprehend with the assignments while not shying away from my own personal style of writing.  My teachers would tell me that they understood what I was trying to write, but maybe I should try to be more formal.  I understood that while I tried to write formally, I never understood what they meant by what was formal and what wasn’t formal.  Now I think that what they meant was which audience I was writing my papers for.  There would be times where I would write something amazing down but not target the right audience, which were my English teachers.  This made writing for me very difficult in my English classes and I was constantly asking for help from others to overlook my papers.

                In WRD 103, I think one of the most important things I have learned so far is that when I start writing, I usually don’t have a definite idea of where I am going.  Back in high school, my English teachers would always tell me that the only way I can really get the main idea across is with a thesis statement at the start of a paper.  While it was easy for most of my friends to come up with a clear thesis statement, I found myself struggling with this concept at times.  What I have found through the writing assignments and the reading responses is that my main ideas are often unclear at first, but as I get to the end of a draft, they become clearer.  As I write more, I begin to focus on an idea and my essay begins to make more sense.  In many cases, I could take ideas from the end of a draft and bring them up to my introduction to give me focus.

                The writing samples I have chosen for my midterm portfolio were picked with different criteria in mind.  First, I choose writing that really defined and focused on the topic.  If I truly cannot believe in a topic that I am not passionate about, then I feel that what I write down will let me fail as a writer.  For this reason, the writing samples that are included in this portfolio are strongly rooted in my personal beliefs.  Second, I chose different kinds of writing so readers could see how I approached various writing assignments.  I need to be able to get out of my comfort zone every now and then and start to target a variety of different audiences so that I will let everyone get the chance to read what I have to say.

                I chose to include the narrative response in my portfolio.  While when it was first written, it was not the best narrative I have written.  However, I knew this was the one with the most potential.  For the first time, I felt that this was a chance for me to express myself without being too informal about my reading and writing experiences.  After trying numerous methods of brainstorming, I was frustrated with the fact that one particular method wasn’t working well enough for me.  But then I was able to play around with a variety of different writing techniques that allowed me to focus more easily on my assignments.  With all the different methods I had tried out, there was this constant flow of ideas streaming through my head that I just kept writing down until there was nothing left to write.  From this narrative, not only did I feel happy about the accomplishment I made with this narrative but it also allowed me to apply what I learned to the rest of my writing samples.

                I feel that this class has permitted me to continue to grow as a writer so far.  This class has allowed me to practice different kinds of writing.  I’m planning to major in communications and media and I understand that writing will be an important part of my upcoming career, as well as in my personal life.  For my career, writing will be a tool that I will often need to get my point.  I feel that I need to work on knowing when to put personal opinions into my writing and when I should be more objective.  Sometimes I get carried away by my feelings about a topic and it becomes opinionated.  This class will help me further understand different writing situations, and I think I am now better able to see when the personal side is appropriate and when it is not.  I hope that I also continue to find other ways to better myself as a writer such as writing in genres and applying structure to the format of the rhetorical analysis.



Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.

Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CSUCI Code of Conduct.

View the examples

View Sample Reflective Essay #1

View Sample Reflective Essay #2

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Careers in English and Writing

The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:

  • English teacher
  • Social media strategist
  • Media production (film, TV, internet)
  • Print and digital publishing
  • Law
  • Corporate communications
  • Foreign service
  • Human resources
  • Foundations/non-profit management

Learn more about CI's English Program