Friday, June 3, 2011

Reflection Letter

Hello! My name is Svetlana. I’m currently a running start student, meaning that I go to college and high school. Looking at my name, one can assume that I must be bilingual. That is true. I speak Russian and English. When my family came to the United States, it was very difficult in the beginning because I could not speak English. I had to learn it from scratch. Right now, I understand and I can speak English but I’m still not fluent. English was always my weakness. This English class has been a big challenge for me but also a great learning experience.
This was my first online class and at in the beginning I was overwhelmed. Everything was new and different. Fortunately, with the help of my peers and professors I was able to get help. They were great guides through the course. We worked together in this online community to improve our writing skills.        
Our first unit was “Identity”. Before, I never gave this word a deeper thought. I thought identity was who we are. But after reading many essays from our book “Remix”, I realized that identity is also how others view us and how we view them. Sadly, we usually judge people by their physical appearance. For example, in the essay “Masks” by Lucy Grealy she says, “[The boys] pointed openly and laughed, calling out loudly enough for me to hear, “What on earth is that? That is the ugliest girl I have ever  seen” (69). From age nine, Grealy had been diagnosed with cancer. She had three years of chemotherapy and went through many operations in the attempt to reconstruct her face. The boys at school made fun of her because her outside appearance was different. Sadly, they didn’t even bother to try to see her inner identity.    
Our second unit was “Community”. I always thought of communities of big groups of people with common interests. I was surprised when I read the author’s perception of community. She said, “What defines a community is a verb. One shared interest is expressed as an action” (Latterell 96). For example, music-downloading is a community. Wearing a yellow ribbon is a community. Running is a community. Facebook is a community. One of the assumptions of communities is that they serve our needs. At first I agreed with this assumption. But after reading several essays it became clear that not always do the communities act in our best interests. They may do the job, but their behavior may also harm us. For instance, In Mim Udovitch’s essay “A Secret Society of the Starving” she interviewed an anorexic girl named Futurebird. Futurebird goes online to pro-anorexia websites because there are other anorexic girls. They say how they feel. They talk about their goals and they don’t judge each other. Futurebird stated, “I can’t go to a doctor. I can’t tell anyone. But I can go to this site” (Udovitch 156). The pro-ana websites support Futurebird: sadly, the support that she receives is actually harming her.

Our third unit was “Tradition”. Right now pop culture is influencing and impacting our culture. Modern technologies such as internet, cellphones, and video games actually have negative effects on traditions. For example, when I wrote my tradition paper, my thesis was “Video games have made a serious impact on the cultural tradition of strong parent-child relationships”. In the paper I talked about children playing violent video games. There are kids who become aggressive and uncontrollable after playing for too long. When kids get aggressive, they forget about the boundaries and they cross over the line. It is hard to have a close relationship with the child when they are spending most of their time playing video games. On the other hand, video games can be a fun way to spend some time. If the child has a balanced schedule, then it is possible to fit everything in. Spend more time on needed things and less time on leisure.

I am including the following in my e-portfolio:
Critical Thinking Piece – This is a post from identity unit discussion board. In this post we were supposed to synthesize the reading with our own experiences and come to some conclusion about the relationship between our school experiences and the development of our own identity.
Revision Piece – For this I chose my second essay about “Community”. The first time I wrote it, it was fine but I my analysis wasn’t deep. That’s why I revised and improved it.
Voice and Audience Piece – For this I chose my first blog “What’s in My Purse?” I started out by listing the items in my purse.Looking inside my purse, the person would see: Chap Stick, mirror, gum, notepad, pen, tissues, comb, hairspray, lint roller, cough drops, French hand fan, Neosporin and a Bible.” Then, I stated some assumptions that might be made about my identity based on my purse. I also mentioned what people would miss or be unable to know about me from just looking at my purse. I believe I used a strong tone and voice in this blog.
Writer’s Choice Piece – this is a post from tradition unit discussion board.  In this post we were supposed to pick one of the pop culture assumptions and agree with it or disagree with it. I affirmed this assumption: Pop culture reflects the most current interests and trends in a society. I chose this post because I think it’s true. People are always trying to keep up with the latest trend. Magazines are full of suggestions on how to look better, how to act proper, how to dress stylish, etc. We can see trends everywhere we go.
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          Time flies and that’s for sure. It seems like yesterday was the first day of class. We were writing our mini biographies and meeting each other. Many of us were confused and excited at the same time. We weren’t sure what to expect but here we are, the quarter is almost over. A few more days and we will be done.  I didn’t get the grade I aimed for, but that’s not the most important part. It’s what I learned that matters. The skills that I have acquired in this class will help me further in my school.  I’m ready for more challenges but wait, you must see my accomplishments in English 101 first. Go ahead, take a look!