More than a sneak peek

The site is an archive of the work that I completed as part of ENG101 at Emory University during fall semester 2020.

Portfolio Reflection Letter

I’ve always been under confident about my writing skills but now, when I’m writing the last assignment for my English class, I can say this for sure that I’ve immensely grown as a writer. There were times when I would spend hours thinking about what to write but I just wouldn’t take the leap to even begin. However, I’ve managed to take that leap this time. While I’m writing, I am certainly not feeling the same anxiety that I used to. It was not a one step journey for me to evolve as a writer, rather it was a continuous process- a process in which all assignments, major quests or side quests, have played an equal role.

My first assignment, the literacy narrative, made me question what impacted my reading style. This was a question I had never asked myself before. This prompted me to think critically and analyse a larger pattern. I also realised my flaws like being a ‘transitory reader’. This was a raw piece for me- my bare thoughts without any furnishing- exhibiting stage 1 of my writing style. The class not only helped me improve my reading style but also helped me identify myself. Creating my avatar for the class icon made me delve into my personality, which we often don’t get a chance to do. 

Liveblogging was something that I’d never done before, not even heard of it. Writing this assignment was altogether a different ball game. Constantly posting what you see while playing a particular game seemed so real. As a reader, I would always yearn for such pieces of writing and when I was actually writing one, it was as if I was solely responsible for shaping my reader’s views.  We had to be sure that the readers could comprehend it, thus rhetorical composition was of key importance in all pieces of writing. Side quests like What’s in your Bag and Sunday sketches, gave a window for us to express our true self. We were giving them insight into our world through different forms of writing. I recognized that ‘Representing oneself in a catalog of the stuff in one’s bag is a type of writing since it almost fulfils all the parameters on paper. It’s a medium of communication through symbols( objects in the bag) and can be reconstructed by other human beings.’

Then came another major quest, The Player Narrative. By this time, I was comfortable to widen my bounds and express myself. I did not feel the anxiety anymore but remained a little skeptical about my conclusion. Drafting, revisiting, editing and finalising my essay, I thought I had finally understood about writing as a process. When writing most english pieces in high school, we were told to analyse some other person’s work. But in this essay, I was analysing myself as a player in games and in life. ‘I’m not fond of rules in life. I am carefree about them ,but in terms of playing games by the rules, I am a maniac.’ Discovery of such minute details strengthened my connection with the inner self.

Next, we had to do something which most of us had never done before. We were supposed to make three podcast episodes in a group of three. From conceptualising to directing to recording, we had to do it all by ourselves. Serving as the producer, assistant producer and line producer over the weeks, we learnt how to collaborate efficiently. Collaboration required communication. Again, this assignment was about keeping our thoughts on the table for the group to ponder over them together. Since we had to analyse games, evaluating scholarly works of other writers was essential to produce our own argument.n While using other’s points to make our thesis, we learnt how to cite sources. We cited Steven Johnson’s work since we analysed our game around ‘telescoping’. Even when choosing a background beat for our episode, we were introduced to a site from where we were allowed to use music without violating any copyrights or licensing issues. It was about respecting other people’s works. This assignment was a synthesis of all the learning outcomes- writing our script, identifying the audience, working together in a group, trying a different source of communication.   

Throughout the semester, we played various games revolving around the same issue- depression and trauma. The game comparison essay seemed like a reflection on what we had understood about games and what made them different from each other. It required a lot of analysing and evaluating. This was not a conventional deductive essay. Thus, I had to alter my method of writing. I started by identifying the key points that made the two games different, and then elaborating on them. I had written 900 words contrasting the two without knowing where the argument would lead me. Figuring out the thesis in the final paragraph was challenging but I eventually arrived at one. 

 By this time, I’d used multiple forms of media and communication like a photo montage, a podcast, an inductive essay, explaining yourself through your personal belongings. Next, I explored another mode of communication. We were given an assignment to create a game. It was about explaining a topic through a gaming platform. We as a team, wanted to touch upon various adversities in the covid-19 times. In terms of audience, we wanted our game to have a ‘universal appeal’ i.e. it should be relatable to all. Our purpose was to create a game relevant in the current times. Thus, we created a game which drew a contrast between how different sections of the society faced the pandemic. We wanted to highlight the existing economic disparity. I was in awe with gaming as a mode of communication, how you can address such complex issues by breaking them down in the form of a game. Discussion between group mates was the key to nailing this assignment. We had to be innovative and create something that might make a difference to the world. 

Underlyingly, it is communication skills and confidence that I gained from this class. It helped me keep my points forward in all other classes without doubting myself. In case of a conflict of ideas, I knew how to deal with it. During the Health class project where we were dealing with a case study, rhetorical composition really helped me understand more about the setting. My evolved analytical skills and ability to read between the lines to come to conclusions helped me a lot on the project. English is not my first language, yet I’ve studied it for most part of my life. I’ve always wished to excel at it and for that I want to keep improving. I’m so proud of the progress I’ve made in this class. I look forward to experiencing that difference in other fields of my life.

To get to know how this image explains my progress in the class, check Assemblies under Side Quests.

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