January 28, 2008

Alex Bergland
University Writing

Writing has always been something that I just have to do. Throughout elementary
school, junior high, and senior high English classes were of course required
and I did my best to quickly produce the assignment at hand and be done with
it. I never understood what was so amazing about writing and how people could
grow such a strong passion for it, until 12th grade. I just signed up for an
alternative class that fulfills my English and social studies requirement. It
is called ALP (autonomous learners program). My best friend Christina convinced
me to take it with her and I figured what is there to lose? When I walked in
the room, I immediately feel out of place. People are writing, reading and
discussing things such as Plato’s allegory of the cave. Needless to say, this
is not my type of environment that I am used to at all. I sit down next to my
friend and we start to chat about what a mistake this all was. The room is
smaller than a normal classroom at my high school, it is
incredibly hot, and there is a very quiet buzz, overall it is pretty awkward
for me. My teacher walks in and she does not look familiar to me. She is pretty
short and stout with blonde hair that is more frizzy than a teased seventy’s
hairstyle. I notice that she is sweating and I wonder to myself if that is
because she is nervous, or because of the humidity in the room, or merely a
combination of both. She is wearing a shirt with Garfield on it, which I think
is very unprofessional and weird, but when she talks she sounds so intelligent.
She begins explaining what the course is about and what we should expect to get
out of it. I am starting to feel very nervous; I’m not ready to start writing
essays every week, or to start understanding Bloom’s taxonomy of learning. I
know that I’m not smart enough for this class. It is two weeks later and I have
already written two five-page essays and received C’s on both, which I am not
used to, or pleased about. I stay after class to
talk to Ms. Mens about the class and if I should switch into a normal English
class. While I am explaining to her my struggles and uncertainties she looks at
me and says, “Alex everyone has to start somewhere, do you want to excel in
writing?? and I nodded my head because I know how influential writing can be.
She said, “If you never apply yourself, you never will.? At that moment I knew
that I couldn’t just run away when something gets tough. I started to get to
know my classmates better over the months and started meeting with Ms. Mens on
a weekly basis to have her review my papers, and give me suggestions on things.
I am so proud of myself for sticking that class out, even with all the tests,
projects, essays and late nights I know that I took something out of it, and at
the end of the year Ms. Mens used one of my essays as an example for the
classes she will teach later on, and that made me feel so appreciated. In the
duration of that class I learned so much that I
know will help me throughout the rest of my life. Although I may not remember
what Socrates taught, or the story of Mists of Avalon, but I will remember how
significant writing can be. I still do not have the greatest passion about
writing, and I still may not be very good at it, but I am still learning and I
do know how sticking something out can teach you many more things than you were
expecting.