English Class Flashbacks and a Semester of Memories

Hi there. How have you been? Yes, you. I am talking to you the last time I checked. Aren’t you reading my paper now as the seconds tick by on your stop watch? Today marks the first week in May and I cannot believe how the time has flown by so fast. Where did all those weeks go? What happened to all of those English classes? I remember like it was yesterday in one of the first English classes when I was told that this English class was not going to be like any ordinary high school writing classâÂ?¦
Looking down at the floor next to this very same laptop that I am writing from in the library, I see my trusty old and withered friends; my rustic and badly tattered book bag and my notebook, whose pages are torn and at this point in the spring semester, barely decipherable. When I look at the scribbles in my notebook, and I use the word “scribbles” loosely, a dry smile comes to my face. I remember like it was yesterday when we, the students of Darlene Gold’s English class first learned about the Invention, Arrangement, and Revision StrategiesâÂ?¦

Out of all the students in the class that I can remember, hardly any in the class are English majors. Most of them are like me, taking this English 115 class to fulfill a general education requirement and hopefully get a Grade booster in our overall average. Well without regret, I can ecstatically say that I have no regrets about taking this class, a play on word usage as one might call it. Or perhaps you might want to call it an arrangement strategy, one of the few things that I actually am taking away from this class. I remember like it was yesterday when we read our first long boring English piece in class�

O those awful stories we had to read. How on earth did I get through them on a daily basis? To this day if you asked me, I do not remember more than two of those what seemed like a hundred writing pieces we had to read. My Tuesdays and Thursdays when I had English class my routine would always be about the same. I would get out of political science class and head to the new library computer area (what a waste of student money if you ask me) where I would reluctantly print out the assigned reading for that day’s discussion. Most of those readings I would skim because after about the first two paragraphs, my brain would just shut down. Have you ever just sat in a lecture class or sat in a room during an hour and a half speech, come out afterwards and say to yourself, “What did that person just say for the last hour and a half?” More often than not, that was my reaction after class. Then there were those good and interesting days. The days filled with the television show 24 and discussions of the teacher’s drinking habits (and I don’t mean liquor).

If you looked up the word procrastination in the dictionary, (I’ll spare you the trouble) a definition you might find would be “the act of postponing or delaying needlessly.” Has there ever been a word that so nicely fit the first half of the English discussion classes? Its no wonder I got through all those half and a hour discussion readings because the first half of the class everyone procrastinated. On a Tuesday the discussion of the day shifted to the latest episode of the hit television series “24” and how the character named Jack Baur saved the world once again from terrorists. Another popular topic of the day was, “What kind of water or liquid was the teacher drinking today?” Or the discussion might be as simple as students just shouting out random comments and in jest, making fun of each other.

As I continue to write this last and final paper and you the reader continue to read my paper, it seems like I am going off in a tangent about memorable class moments. The real reason I am writing this paper is to talk about my writing experiences but in all honesty, what would writing be without “experiences” to write about? English, while it isn’t my major because I simply don’t want to take another Shakespeare course for the rest of my life, is still one of my favorite subjects. I love writing a paper such as this one where I can just ramble on for a good few pages, take up the necessary page quota and call it an essay. However, if you really dig deeper into the meaning of writing, the best writing that students read in the classroom is nothing more than a ramble of the author and their own life experience. From the readings in class that I do remember, we read something about the life experiences of a feminist lesbian and an autobiographical piece about college life experiences. Perhaps that is where in the back of my mind I had discovered the topic of the third paper I recently wrote in the English class which was about my process of pledging for a professional fraternity. That third paper I am most proud of; not because I received an “A” as my grade for it but because I had so much fun writing the paper on it.

As a writer like myself, you undoubtedly have experienced papers that you needed to write and dreaded when you had to write them. And then there are papers like my last one in which you love writing them and the ideas flow to your brain and it comes so easy to you to write. A couple of weeks ago when I first got the third paper assignment I didn’t wait until the day that the paper was due. (although I did do that for our first paper) In fact I didn’t even wait until I got home that night to write the paper. When we first read the topic of the paper aloud in class, my experience of pledging for my pre-law professional fraternity hit me like a cold shower and right then and there at that very moment I knew what I wanted to write about. One week later in class students were still trying to brainstorm ideas on what to write about for the paper while I was already done. By that point in time all that was needed for that third paper was to add in the citations and cover page. My father who is an English major and the man whom I accredit with teaching me how to write has told me throughout my entire life as a student, “The papers you write well are always the ones where you enjoy what you are writing about.” Those words of wisdom are never more truer that today.

`Getting back to those invention, arrangement and revision strategies, to this day I don’t even know if they have helped me. But then again, I don’t have a PHD so maybe they have some kind of subliminal message or the writing of the IAR strategies on a daily basis has drilled the concept into my writing so much that I don’t even realize it. All I know for certain is that we learned the invention, arrangement and revision strategies from Day One of English class and since then my grades have steadily improved on each of my papers. Perhaps this is also why I feel that this final fourth paper is such a great topic because it encompasses everything we as students have learned in the English class. As part of the assignment we have to write about our previous papers. This has forced me to look at the papers I have written throughout the semester in the class and without a doubt I can definitely say that I see a lot of improvement in my writing. Now you can call that IAR strategies, you can call it more enjoyable topics, you can call it getting more sleep and less partying during the week nights. Whatever you think the cause of my improved writing is, I’ll agree with you.

I sit back in this old chair in the library as I continue this paper and I ask you, “Off the top of your head, do you remember what you first and second papers were written about?” I’m trying to play this little game inside my head and I am trying to remember what I wrote without looking at my past reports on my desk in my room that is buried several feet high in clothes, books and papers. Trust me when I say it isn’t a pretty site. Actually, if nothing else, one of the best things about making those covers for the English papers was that it has made me remember what I wrote about on the second paper. I chuckle a little inside when I realize that my cover of my second essay on jeans contained a picture of a $10,000 pair of jeans. The picture was followed with a comment of “Wow” when Ms. Gold saw the picture. As much as some students hate it, (I am not one of them) I have to give credit where credit is due and that is to Ms. Gold. Those office hours really did improve my writing. When I have unique and fun things to write about, my writing is improved and that is what happened on my essay about jeans and the fashion style. My invention, arrangement and revision strategy of using three different tour guides in three different eras to guide the reader through my paper and through the history of the jeans clothing style. It was also my invention strategy to use famous designer as people in the audience going on the tour and asking questions on the tour to give out more information about jeans. I remember like it was yesterday when I stepped into Ms. Gold’s office hours for the first timeâÂ?¦

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