Monthly Archives: September 2013

My Writing Process

When I was in kindergarten, I started learning how to write in English. In my country, we start learning English as our second language at our first grade. Our English teaching process is way different from America, Britain, or the other English-speaking countries. We don’t really teach much about speaking and writing, but a lot about reading and grammar. I remember I had weekly writing assignment in my middle school. Guess what my assignment was? It’s like giving you a topic or picture, you have to write 150 to 250 words (can you believe that, in middle school, they only ask you to write 150 words). This kind of assignment didn’t change a bit throughout my entire middle school year. English in my country is not really for people to know or learn another language, but to learn how to get prefect grades on those foreign language tests which are required by the ministry of Education in order to get in to higher level of education, like high school and college. So, pretty much I didn’t learn anything valuable in how to write when I was in my homeland.

Back to America, after getting into a new environment. I started pushing myself into the way English-speaking people write. It was quite difficult for me (you know the reason why). When I got my first writing assignment, I was truly shocked. I have to write a 3 pages paper about an article we read about in class. I had no clue at all, because I had never write so many words before. After struggling about couple days. I finally gave up, I turned in my paper in, short about one and a half pages. My teacher realized that, and started giving me some extra tutoring after school. She really gave me tons of good advice about writing. She asked me not to start writing right away. I have to sit and brainstorm about the possible things, topics or facts I want to talk about in my writing. Then draw a diagram or make a list about rough ideas about the topic. After all that, you may begin writing. After adopting all the methods she taught me about, I started having my own ideas about how to write. At first, I couldn’t reach the assignment requirement yet. But after very short of time, I can not only write the amount I was asked, but also write with my own critical thinking.

After four years of American high school, I improved a lot, but still not enough. Like I spend too much time think about what I want to write, usually I can sit in front of my computer for an hour without typing anything. And I have trouble organize my work more logically.

I think I will try doing some free writings to widen my thoughts a little bit. And also go to writing center to seek for advice from professionals. I believe I can overcome those problems I have eventually.

Something I learned from these works

After reading all these narrative essays we discussed throughout the class, I actually learn a lot. I haven’t really read any essays like these before. Usually I read long, continuous articles like Thrill, Friction, Exciting novels or short articles like reports, research papers, etc. They have some differences and commons. Comparing to essays,  novel usually starts with detailed background and pre-scene story( usually takes about one whole chapter) instead of brief  background information about the narrator. And narrative essays tell one or more things ( not a  lot ) happened in narrator’s past. Usually use first person to write throughout the entire article, and the audiences are readers interested in narrator or his/her life. For example, in “The Chase“, narrator was telling readers about her youth life on one weekday after Christmas, playing snow balls with other kids. “The Chase” focused one memorable incident  happened in her youth, unlike the other articles spread on several continuous stories.

Graduating from an American high school, I still have a lot of trouble writing all kinds of articles. Sometimes, I got  nothing in mind after thinking about it for an hour. Research paper is okay to me. I just need to find the facts to support the topic, then explain in detail what it is. That’s it. But for the other articles, I haven’t practice much. Honestly, I never write a formal narrative essay (over three pages) in my high school. I really don’t what to begin with. But after talking a lot in class about how to write narratives. I start having some ideas and clues to write a narrative. First of all, you have to know what kinds of narrative you want to write, and in which person you want to begin with. Second, to what group of audiences are you writing to, if you are writing to your friends, classmates, or people at your age, you can choose to use some ” easy-going ” ways of writing to make people feel close to you. After thinking about these, you should try to do some free-writing to open your mind with. This is really a good way to organize your story line and things you want to include in the narrative. Then you may begin your master piece.

When writing, you should always consider using some rhetoric to improve your article like describing smell, color, temperature, taste and so on. Those things will really bring reader into your work, make they feel they actually live in you r story. For instance, in the”In The early morning rain”   from Jennifer Finney BoyLane, it says: Then I leaned of the edge of the cliff at a sharp angel, my arms held outward like wings, my body sustained only by the fierce wind. Behind those words, we can picture what kind of situation narrator has. In this case, she wanted to end her life with a jump off the cliff.

First few days in Virginia Tech.

About two weeks ago, I came to Virginia polytechnic institute and state university to get on the path to become a engineer. Before that, I was in Florida, the sunshine State, ready to get my first car in my life.

Keep convincing my parents for 2 whole months, they finally give up. I’m officially getting my first car. but following these conditions: has to be used car, has to be american car (really don’t know why). So that is it. After two days checking and test driving all kinds of car, I landed myself on a 2012 Chevy Cruze.

Maybe you think I’m crazy, which I really am. You are not going to believe this, I drove myself to Virginia from Florida. Bang ! Amazing, right? Not over yet, I actually drove all the way to Washington, D.C. to pick up my best friend, Simon, who is doing business major in Indiana University. After I picked him up, I drove him to Indiana, spent couple days there( fun time ! ). Then, drove back to my new home, Virginia tech in Blacksburg. That’s really a hell of a trip ! This is really the first time I’ve done this, driving  across the nation.

After 2 days on road, I finally got here. I was concerning how the heck can I put all loads of stuff away by myself. but, after seeing all those blue shirts walking around helping people moving in, i got released. Those Hokie helpers were really friendly and helpful, I felt very welcome. Suddenly, all my nerves were gone. Basically, I didn’t do much, they are the ones move me in actually.

As soon as I finally got settled down in my new home, the school was about to start. I was so nervous the first day of school. I barely knew anyone there. First morning, I woke up very early, because I knew I would definitely have trouble finding my first classroom. Later it proved I was right, I’m not kidding, I was like a crazy person, running around with a GPS on my hand, still I didn’t find it. After asking about 3 people, I finally got there  on time. Seriously, I have been to a lot of universities like University of Florida,   Georgia Tech, Florida Tech, Miami University, etc. None of them has the giant, enormous campus like Virginia Tech.

Speaking of living on campus, no one can stop talking about the food here. When I was reading reports on Princeton’s, I saw Virginia Tech got number one in on campus dinning service.  I was wondering is it really that good, or just bananas. ( you know, food on campus is usually not very good).  On the day of my orientation, I got to eat at D2 the first time. Oh my God, I got my mind blowed. What is it, a freaking buffet with all kinds of food from different culture. It even has an separate  dessert section. Are you kidding me ! And someone told me they even serve Maine lobster here. What is this place ? I think food is definitely the top reason made me felt in love with this school.