It is now the end of yet another college term and just like the rest of us, I get a chance to look back at myself as a whole and reflect. This term has been a wonderful experience for me. I recently moved over here from Central Oregon going into a completely different college. I will admit that I was a little nervous at first but little did I know that I’d find out later how much I enjoy it. Regardless of being a little nervous, I started out with my head held high on success and achieving greatness with the addition of wanting to socialize and make new friends. So far, I have done those things. I have met some fantastic people on this campus. One of these fantastic people that I have met happens to be attending this class. I’m really pleased with the fact that I always feel included here. I will admit for the longest time I had felt like an outcast. Honestly, no one wants that and nor should someone ever feel that way. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful social experiences that I have been gifted with. It means the absolute world to me! It doesn’t end there though. My instructors have been wonderful too. To my professor in my first class with his impeccable yet engaging jokes, to my amazing writing instructor who has given me tools in writing that I will always look back on. This is now the time to reflect on the ground breaking life-tools and experiences that I have endured this term at Clackamas Community College.

Looking back at this term, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot. I have learned a lot both personally and academically. Wow! To building connections with new people in a whole new college to gaining more knowledge in writing. Honestly, I was looking forward to writing and at the same time a little nervous because it had been over two years since I had taken a writing class. The class criteria has turned my nervousness or any kind of faltering thoughts, into sheer and utter gratitude. I am so thankful for the many concepts I have learned this term. One of the most interesting things that I have learned would probably be the use of WordPress and posting blogs. I’m not sure that I fully like WordPress being the learning curve that it is, but I can say that I have become more learned in the fact of posting blogs. I had absolutely no idea how to use WordPress in the beginning of this class and I am now left with some knowledge of this program.

One of the greatest things that I have learned this term would be listening and absorbing information from a podcast and applying it to ME personally. And of course, taking the information from the podcast to write an essay on a subject of choice. The podcasts that we had available applied to multiple topics narrowed down to our choice. I chose the topic about compassion. This assignment made me dissect my thoughts from the podcast along with my own personal thoughts, to put them down on paper. The compassion essay was the first essay we got to write in this class. I found this essay to be a huge release for me. I was able to share how I helped a friend in need going through depression. I too have battled with it and still do to this day. The paper allowed me to express emotion to others so they too can relate. It was a wonderful opportunity. The best part in writing that essay was the fact that I wanted to shine awareness to others in regards to the nightmare, depression. As mentioned in Essay 1, “It’s a plague that somehow finds its way to infiltrate our lives.” My intentions were that it would give others struggling with depression, hope to move forward. It felt so good inside to express the ethos, logos, and pathos in an essay that applied directly to me. My revision plan for Essay 1 is simple. I will tweak some of the wording to be clearer for the reader. Other than that, I will include the names of the people involved with the podcast along with also fixing any grammatical errors that I have. I feel that this paper will be a reward to myself once it is finished. I loved writing it in the first place. After all, This was my most favorite assignment in this class. Even though this was my favorite assignment, there were others that really made me grow as a writer.

The assignment that had me tripped up the most, would be Essay 3. I was struggling with the “Big Picture”of the assignment. We had to find two scholarly sources and summarize what we had gotten out of them. This was challenging. I took it upon myself to check into the writing center for direction. Sure enough, I received a better direction in crafting Essay 3. It turned out to be a huge improvement to what I had already written. Soon enough, it came time for Essay 4. In this assignment, we had to find three individual sources regarding the topic we picked. I picked The Joy of Learning as my topic. Essay 4 was targeted on the use of WordPress to post blogs. We needed four total blog posts about our topic. One of these posts was sort of a pre-write. It was an introductory post to tell others why you picked the topic you picked, essentially. It was a prequel to the three blog posts. In doing this assignment and having completed Essay 3, I found that I had an improved understanding with doing research and providing a good, solid summary.  I can honestly say that prior to this class, these concepts were foggy. I am now left with a better understanding and feel greatly rewarded within myself that I have conquered yet another concept. Sure, I can write from the heart but knowing how to research and summarize the findings within the research, is a whole different spectrum to the writing field. It’s an incredibly important ability to gain and I am happy to say that I have now gained that ability through taking this class. I am truly grateful. Not only am I grateful, but also thrilled to apply the many tools from this class to other subjects. My topic for Essay 4 boiled down to a question, “What Makes Learning Enjoyable?”. I wrote my first post on children, my second on adolescents, and my third on adults. I found this to be exciting. After doing the research and then summarizing it all, I gained some knowledge on how we as humans find enjoyability in learning. Ironically, I found learning about learning captivating. I feel that having this knowledge can be psychologically based. It could later down the road apply to a psychology course that can be a possibility to take. It all depends on my degree though. I’m really pleased with the knowledge I’ve gained in doing this assignment. I will admit that WordPress is a little confusing which also meant that I had been in a learning curve. I now have a better understanding on how this program works.

As far as my concerns and arguments in Essay 4 go, I already had my own personal viewpoint on education. Through my research, I found that most of what I had read were heavily related to my existing opinions on the subject matter. I had my fair share of struggles with school. The biggest struggle I had was motivation and the WANT to learn. I just wasn’t interested at all. I know for a fact that others were in the same boat I was in. In reading my research, some of the things that were discussed were: having a bit of humor in the class, having group work, having warm-ups at the beginning of class, and letting the students do an end-of-class assignment to better imbed the information discussed in class. I craved these things back then. The thing is, the teacher isn’t necessarily there for our entertainment however, having a blase class setting is not ideal for people to be engaged. Especially in adolescents. Teenagers go through a series of hormones: Puberty, figuring out who they are, etc. With that being said, there must be a happy-medium. It felt very reassuring to read throughout this research that most of what was said was in agreement with my behalf. I learned more on how we all think and find enjoyability in learning through the plethora of stages in life. But, the biggest and most important thing I got out of this assignment funnels down to researching, analyzing, and summarizing in your own words. I am ever so grateful. No words can describe the gratitude behind all this knowledge I have gained.

One of the most incredible things with this writing class among the others is the fact that the criteria contains all of the ingredients listed within my research for Essay 4. The journal writing to prep in the beginning of class helped in getting my brain to start flowing. I feel that it is indeed a great tool to get a headstart on the task at hand. It’s a great way to brainstorm too. Journal writing gets your thoughts onto paper so that you may see them crystal-clear. Being that Essay 1 was my favorite assignment, we had the introduction of journal writing beforehand to prep. This helped me get a vision as well as a head start. It was wonderful that our instructor gave us time to start crafting our essay. That was a huge struggle in school. I felt that we as students were expected to know what to do all the time and that is NOT true. The fact that instructors here at CCC realize this means a lot. It means for a lesser chance of students slipping through the cracks. With this criteria in motion, I feel that I have not only blossomed as a student but also blossomed as a human being in general. This term has been a huge gift to me. That is the BEST thing for  a student who works, who battles with depression, who battles with loneliness, who comes from a divorced family, who has deep-seeded emotions held within, could ever possibly experience. Everything about this place just makes me happy except for the frustrations of Financial Aid. That is another can of worms that I choose not to open. It just proves my point that moving over here from Central Oregon was not a mistake. I have found education far superior to anything else I have been involved in. Not only that, but my job. I work up at Stone Creek Golf Club and thoroughly enjoy what I do. Having a college where I feel appreciated and wanted, with the education to back it up, to a job that I absolutely love, is a double-whammy. It literally can’t get any better than that…Wow! All I can say is wow! I am so pleased with what has transpired this term and what has cultivated inside of me.

On a side note, I’m also grateful for the counselling team. I was in the roughest mental state when I moved over here than I ever was before. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It was terrible. But, I finally have hope! I’m learning to see the positives within my days and week as a whole, rather focusing heavily on the negative. It has done wonders for me. Quite honestly, the biggest person to thank is God. I now see some of these things as life-lessons. Some of them may have been painful, yes, but the truth of the matter is I have needed these lessons. I will always look back at these. The important thing to do is to keep living one day at a time, look at the positives, and not give up hope. I will continue to move forward.

To wrap this up, it is now the end of the term with the opportunity to look back and reflect. I feel that there are not enough words in the dictionary to fully express what has transpired in my life during this term. I can honestly just say, “Thanks!” It is a very broad statement but I am so taken back by everything that I have learned both personal and educational. I don’t even know who to say “thank you” toward. Well actually, I do in fact. That person is God. He brought forth these wonderful opportunities, these wonderful people that I am happy to call friends, the incredible instructors, and last but not least my counselor. All of these fantastic people and memorable experiences will last a lifetime. I will always look back at this term. To others I say, “Don’t give up hope! Don’t lose the FIRE inside of you. No matter what you’re going through we somehow get through and move onto another chapter in our life. Life is full of many chapters. Just like a book, some are nasty, challenging, and just plain awful. On the flip side, there are chapters that also bring us joy, laughter, enjoyment, friendships, etc. Even if we go through crappy chapters, those chapters are the ones that make us stronger as a human being. They make us keep going. They make us strive toward excellence for the chapter ahead. They motivate us.”

Bottom line, I am very grateful for this term. With everything that has transpired, I am more than ready for Writing 121. From gaining knowledge in blogging, to listening and analyzing information, to researching and summarizing the findings, I am going into 121 with flying colors. With a plan set in motion for my degree, I am ready to take on the next challenge. I will put forth effort as much as needed to make my future happen. I wish everyone out there the best of luck in their endeavors for their future. We all have a destiny. It is OUR choice to go out and find it. The world is full of endless possibilities. I say, “Never lose site to what is directly in front of you.” So the question is, what is your destiny? What is your vision? The choice is ours. There is a journey that awaits us all… Go out and FIND it…

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