The process I used on my portfolio was to first go through and look at all the writing that I felt I
did really good on and then go through the writing I felt I didn’t do as good on and revise them the best I
could. The films that I made couldn’t actually be revised since they were already filmed and put together
so I’d spend the most time on revising the writing I did. I made sure that I didn’t revise and edit to the
point where there was nothing substantial left or make them too confusing. My points and arguments
on each topic still had to come through and be a solid piece of writing.
Throughout the semester, the projects we had to do helped me realize what some of my
strengths and weaknesses are in writing. One particular project we had that I felt I did really good on
was the annotated bibliography. In fact, I instantly felt it turned out better than my previous projects the
moment I finished writing it. First of all, I’ve been told numerous times that I am a very technical person.
Math has always been my best subject because I’ve always been great at memorizing formulas and I
usually do everything with some kind of format like writing an essay or solving a math problem. I think
this is why the MLA format came easier to me than others. Yes, it can be confusing but for me whenever
there is something I have to learn by repetition or memory I tend to pick it up pretty fast. Research is
also a personal strength for me. I’m constantly researching things online or through books whether it’s
for schoolwork or just personal interest. Having to research in the school library actually was interesting
for me compared to others who would probably say it’s a very long and mundane way to spend their
time. Researching my piece and finding the sources that I did to support my argument worked perfectly
because they all supported the piece’s preservation in different yet important ways. I got very well
rounded and strong sources and I felt that analyzing these sources came much easier than usual
because they ended up relating perfectly with my piece’s situation. With my strength for researching
and my capability of learning technical things like MLA style rather easily, I feel that this ended up being
one of the better projects I did this semester.
I feel my main weakness has always been analyzing. I’ve just never been able to analyze
readings very well and when I do, it’s after reading it over and over. Of course, there were readings that
I found perfectly fine to read like “Elements of the Academic Essay” by Gordon Harvey and “Simplicity”
by William Zinsser because they wrote them in very straight forward ways and they were both clearly
worded and organized. On the other hand, the readings by Dziga Vertov were harder for me to analyze
because of the heavy use of metaphors and his unique style of writing. Eventually I understood his
points but it took a lot longer than say Harvey or Zinsser. Through this semester I became more aware of
what comes easier for me to analyze and I feel that reading Vertov was good practice for me at getting
stronger at analyzing longer, more wordy works.
I also have notice this semester my tendency to write long, run on sentences that aren’t needed.
I use to write whatever came to my head and hope they connected in some way to what I was writing
about but that’s not the best way of writing and I realize that now. Whenever I got comments back on
my writing, there was also at least one comment about the wordiness of my sentences and I took more
and more notice to this each time we had writing to do. This all really hit home for me when we read
“Simplicity” by Zinsser because he described exactly what I had been doing for all these years. He wrote
about how to improve your writing in a way I understood it immediately. I now try to write in the most
concise way and still get my points across and be understandable.
I found that many of my writing skills came to light through this semester. Whether they were
strengths or weaknesses, I’m glad I’m now aware of them. The reading and writing we had to do were
important in showing me these strengths and weaknesses because they were readings I had never heard
of before and projects I had never done before. Before this class, I didn’t know what an annotated
bibliography was or even what a cover letter was. I’m glad I know now because I might need to do them
again in the future. I didn’t know what to expect from this class at the start of the semester but I feel like
I learned things I didn’t expect to learn and I’m going to take it all with me through the rest of the
writing I’ll end up doing in college.
Maya – What’s your name and where are you from?
Matt – My name’s Mathias and I’m from Queens. Are you asking like nationality? (laughs)
Maya – No, just like where you live. (laughs)
Matt – Okay, I live in Maspeth.
Maya – Um, do you have a favorite move?
Matt – My favorite movie would have to be Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.
Maya – Yeah, what do you like about it?
Matt – I like that it takes place in New York and every time I see it, it makes me want to go back
to Manhattan and have fun.
Maya – Um, what was your first impression of english class?
Matt – I really liked it because it was completely different from any other english class I’ve ever
taken. I never really had to work with a computer or make a blog before so that’s what I liked
about it the most.
Maya – And do you have a favorite class right now?
Matt – My favorite class right now has to be philosophy.
Maya – Why is that?
Matt – Because it makes you think outside of the box you’re in. It just makes you question a lot
of logic and it’s really interesting.
When I first saw that our first assignment was a peer interview, I got a little nervous. I’ve never
been comfortable doing public speaking and I’m never really the one in front of the camera so it
was going to be new territory for me. Also, I thought doing an interview with someone I’ve
never met before was going to be hard but it was a lot more relaxing once we both met and didn’t
feel awkward around each other.
We found a spot in Student Union but right when we were getting ready to start filming our
interviews, it kept getting louder and louder. We both noticed this and we decided to just do the
interviews there anyway. Actually, once we were done filming it wasn’t as bad as I thought it
would be when I first heard about the assignment and I kind of felt silly how nervous I was about
being in front of the camera at first.
I think this was a good experience for me because it got me out of my comfort zone a little bit
and it showed me that public speaking isn’t as bad as I thought it was before. It got me more
familiar with the camera and with the netbook and with the programs we’ll be using on the
netbook. To be honest, it took me a good amount of time to finally manage to upload the video to
youtube but this was the very first experience I’ve had with everything and I’m happy with how
everything turned out.
October 13, 2010
James L. Muyskens Maya Stella
65-30 Kissena Blvd. 2805 44
Flushing, NY 11367 Astoria, NY 11103
Dear President Muyskens,
It has come to my attention that due to some new budget cuts, you will be destroying
some art around campus in favor of vending machines or parking lots and I couldn’t help but
notice that one of the art pieces that were mentioned in this situation was the piece I used in my
observational documentary called “Square in Four Parts”. I’m writing to you today because I feel
that all the art on campus is important and deserves to be preserved and because I’m hopeful that
I can change your mind on this matter.
As you already may have seen from my documentary and like I just mentioned, my piece
is called “Square in Four Parts” and has a plaque that reads “Class of 1969”. It sits in the corner
of this little open walking space all by itself just past the cafeteria. I love the simplicity of not
only the name and the plaque but of the piece itself. You have to get really close to it and really
examine it to get the full feel of the piece. Looking at it from far away makes it look like some
silver cube sitting on the ground and it feels forgettable. When you get really close to it, you see
all the technical aspects of it that even I was surprised to see in such a seemingly plain looking
cube. Something like this piece cannot possibly be replaced by anything, let alone a vending
machine or a parking lot.