Finding my voice in an opinion essay

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This post shows how I was able to take a personal writing session and transform it into an opinion piece for a college class. I took real events and feelings and, by writing a first person narrative while fictionalizing some details, I found a sense of voice in my writing. It marked the first time I truly understood what that literary term meant.

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Lessons from the Black Knight

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I love this image! It shows how conversations intersect. I assume the overlapping parts indicate shared interests, trying to find commonalities. 

During my first semester in college, I was required to take a one-credit “introduction to college” type class called Critical Issues Symposium (CISM). Each instructor approached this class differently, I’m told. Some people had quizzes. Some had to keep a journal of who knows what. I believe they had instruction for note taking and test taking and adjusting to the transition of a college workload.

The guy leading my class was a visual arts instructor. He had no desire to offer tests or really force us to do too much of anything. We mostly had class discussions.

I believe the first time our class met, he brought out a TV and played us a clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Yes, that Black Knight.

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Visible and invisible sides of Sensory Processing Disorder: A recap

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As I finish discussing my high school years and transition to college, I wanted to do another recap of where I stood with sensory processing problems.

The big list details all the different ways I was impacted by my environment and the way I interpreted the sensory data I received. I’ve also done a recap from preschool through eighth grade to show the progress of these sensory issues.

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Introverts, birthdays and “ohhhhhh!”

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When high school began, I definitely was not ready for the high energy of Ellen. She was all about introducing herself to everyone and asking questions. There didn’t seem to be an off switch. For a major introvert like myself, it was off-putting in the beginning.

People who tend to be very loud and vocal end up getting on my nerves. It’s far too easy to write off their energy as annoying, though, so I have to be careful about that. It just takes time to understand where they’re coming from. (I’m sure many people initially think I’m not interested in what’s happening around me simply because I don’t say much at first.)

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The Goldilocks of English class

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Throughout high school, I alternated the difficulty of the English classes I took. First regular, then honors, then regular, then Advanced Placement.

The regular classes I found to be fairly easy to the point where I became the point person in group assignments because no one else had ideas or they just didn’t care. I also had a perfectionist streak in me in these classes, I suppose, an air of wanting to do very well. So I guess my classmates and group members knew that if they slacked off, the work would still get done. I also felt confident that we would be graded as a group, not for how the work was divided up. Meaning if someone fell through with what they were expected to do, it would impact the entire group instead of just that individual. So I never wanted to let that happen.

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Spinning Rolodex: The chaos of communication

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Yes, I know what a Rolodex is. I never had to use one, but I have seen them around. For those of you who have grown up with cellphones and computerized address books, I’ll let you in on a fun device. It was a place to alphabetize contacts in what was expected to be within easy reach. You just flip to the appropriate letter and then through the cards available until you get the right one. These were mostly used in offices, so that you could cradle the phone against your shoulder and continue to talk while you searched for a phone number.

Alright, now that we’re clear, I’m moving on.

So, I’m great at listening. I will do my darndest to follow your train of thought until the very end. That’s not to say that’s it’s easy. Sometimes it requires extreme amounts of focus to keep up as people mumble through their sharing or speed through one thought after another like a verbal Nascar race.

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Poem: Allusions of Myself

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I wrote this during my sophomore year of college. I remember sitting in the cafeteria trying to come up with a poem to share at a poetry reading. Yes, during a freshman writing course, my professor introduced me to a group in a nearby city that hosted monthly poetry readings. She said they would welcome a college student. I just had to find the nerve to give it a chance. Eventually all my favorite poems that I had written in high school had been shared and I was in need of new material.

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How this writer got her start

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Teachers are sneaky about finding ways to get students familiar with talking in front of the class.

In kindergarten, first grade and maybe even second grade, it’s disguised as show and tell. You’re bringing in an item from home that you love and talking about it. Early on, teachers emphasize the importance of sharing what you love.

That’s public speaking in its purest form. Eye contact isn’t evaluated as much and neither is the smoothness of your delivery. You’re just sharing to the best of your ability.

So those are good building blocks that progress through each grade level.

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