Setbacks are a part of the Journey

Emma-Leigh Barfield

Professor Weaver

ENGL 1102

4 May 2021

Major Project 5: Setbacks are a part of the Journey

Being an online college student among a pandemic is never something I imagined for myself. Although past Emma would have wanted things to be much different for me, I believe I am right where I need to be. This semester has been my most challenging one yet, but the experiences and the lessons I have learned will stick with me through the rest of my semesters here.

Our first assignment in this class was to talk and describe our academic selves. At the start of the year, I was prepared, eager, and ready to start new classes. I described myself as dedicated and organized; however, as the semester went on, I fell apart. I quickly lost motivation and faced some difficult challenges in my life among my mental health, family health issues, and career difficulties. My academic self was not the same anymore, at least I thought. I felt unprepared and useless. I felt as if I was letting down my academic self because of the struggles I was facing in my life. 

Along with feeling like I let my academic self down, I quickly felt like my values for my academic self were also not valid anymore. In my IP5, I picked patience, creativity, and ambition for myself and my goals. Yet again, as the semester went on, I felt as if I was letting my academic self go and was not representing the values I had set for myself. I had no patience in myself by getting upset with myself when making a mistake, I lost all creativity by not having any good ideas for when I needed to create one for a paper or a discussion post, and I had felt like I lost all ambition when I could not find the motivation to succeed. I thought I was not going to be able to pull myself out of the hole I had dug myself in; however, I was wrong.

Although this semester did not go the way I wanted it to, I still learned more about myself, especially my academic self. I overcame many obstacles and challenges that I was faced with and took lessons from them. I first learned that even though I thought I did not live up to the values that I had given myself, I actually did live up to them. Two weeks before finals week, I had to dig myself out and prepare for my exams so I could succeed. I had the patience to sit down and really focus on what I needed to study so I could pass. I had the creativity to reteach myself the many lectures I had just gone through. Most importantly, I still had the ambition that I thought I had given up. I had the ambition to succeed in my classes even with the struggles from the semester. I then realized that I did not give up on my values, I simply altered them for the experiences I was going through.

Within this semester and this class, I also learned more about how to be a better, understanding person and how to make connections. One of our readings from this year, Student Parent Voices Are Critical To Colleges Civic Engagement Plans by Nicole Lynn Lewis, honestly hit me the most. I realized that many students go through day-to-day struggles in their lives and a minor setback does not determine their future. Every day student parents struggle, whether it is balancing their kids with work and school, financial problems, or not getting the recognition they deserve, these students still continue to represent their values and academic selves. I connected this to my academic self by not giving up on myself just because of a minor setback and continuing to strive to represent my values. This reading and pandemic have also helped me understand that people struggle every day, so stay kind and compassionate. This reminds me of the first time I talked to Manasvi about our project. She had told me that it was her senior year and things were not going the way she planned. During a time like this, I have learned that everyone is struggling so being there for one another is important right now. I also thank Professor Weaver for being one of the most understanding professors I have ever had. Especially during a time like this where I am not able to physically meet Professor Weaver, I still managed to learn about myself in the class.

This semester did not go how I wanted it to at all, but it still taught me more about myself and life in general. Just because I had many struggles and setbacks does not mean that my future is ruined or I am not a good student anymore. A setback is just a part of the journey and success moves at different speeds for everyone. This lesson will stick with me for the rest of my life. So, as I move on to the next chapter in my journey, I will remember to stay patient, creative, and never give up on my ambitions.


Hanah Feinstein Reflection

Hanah Feinstein 

Dr. Weaver 

English Composition 2 

5 May 2021 


This semester has been rocky to say the least. Online classes have been extremely challenging. As Wi-Fi dropped out at the most inconvenient times and communicating with professors seemed almost impossible, I considering giving upMy motivation to complete assignments without face-to-face interactions plummeted throughout the whole semesterAnd while school was hard, general life in a pandemic has not been all sunshine and roses either. In February I had to help my boss close her business. So, while I was losing a job and security, I was watching a family lose their entire business. I had worked so hard for so many years at that jobSo, when I lost that job, I also lost motivation and drive. Yes, this semester, 2020, and 2021 have been rocky, but some of the greatest things come from being rocky. Exhibit A- rocky road ice cream is one of the tastiest ice creams. Exhibit B- Rocky Horror Picture Show and Rocky are two of the greatest movies of all time. During this semester like Rocky Balboa, I have also been rising up to the challenge of my rival. Though my rival, the global pandemic, is an unyielding rival, I have rose to the challenge. I have learned and grown academically and personally through this challenging time.   

One thing about my academic self that is for certain is consistency. The word I used to describe my academic self in the first IP was “stressful procrastinator.” Now four months later that has not changed. Considering how late my last two projects have been, it could be argued that I have digressed into an even worse stressful procrastinator. In my academic profile, I wishfully said, hopefully by the end of the semester, I will be able to look at a blank essay without as much fear.” I hate to break it to you four months ago Hanah, but present day us is still stressed by a blank essay. Seeing a blank piece of paper or an unedited Word document is still my personal Hell. I continue to dread the failure that might come from my writing, so I put off my writing until the deadline is so close that my result is often way less than great essay. I need to continue to grow to get out of my head writing essays, but Rome was not built in a day. I have a lifetime to continue to grow, and I will use the lessons Dr. Weaver taught me over this semester to improve. My favorite piece of writing advice I have ever received is “curse in your first draft” instructed by Dr. Weaver. I am also trying to implement Anne Lamont’s suggestion from their article “Shitty First Drafts” to write shitty first drafts. Cursing and purposely writing a shit show of a first draft allows the freedom for creativity to flow messily. This alleviates the fear of a structured essay, and in this essay that has really helped me. The language initially used in the first draft of this essay would make even a sailor crySomething about writing an essay as if I am my father watching the Alabama football team lose to Auburn makes essays way more fun. I will continue to do this as I continue my journey growing as a writer.  

While this semester was a challenge, it awarded me the opportunity to learn and grow from the adversity. I have loved reading and interacting with all of you on this blog. You are all powerful and strong writers who inspire me to improve my writing. The best part of this rocky semester is if I pass this essay, I will earn my associates degree. With that blissful thought in mind, a huge wave of relief passes through me as I write this final sentence.  

Reflection Essay

There is a saying that practice makes perfect. This semester challenged this famous quote.  It seems that my high school writing experience was nothing compared to this college course. In some analysis assignments, I struggled to make the transition which made my assignment not completed in my best ability.  It caused me to become frustrated as I usually excel in writing and English coursework. After meeting with Dr. Weaver, I began to structure my writing using her techniques to better organize my research and/or writing. My academic self-assessment in the beginning of the course completed by a fellow classmate describe my academic self as impatient, independent, and hard-working. Throughout this semester, these characteristics did not work in my favor because I found it harder to focus, ask for help, organized and concentrate on my work. I was so impatient that I did not wait for the teacher’s instructions which sometime lead to my misconception of some assignments. These misconceptions lead to low scores on important assignments. I became disappointed and embarrassed because I felt like this was not my best work. I found it harder to focus and retain information due to some heath issues and family issues.

                I can relate this assessment to my favorite reading, which is “Some people are just born writers” by Jill Parrot. It says, “Good writing instruction can only occur if the person believes they can be a good writer.” I believed that everything could be solved through my own will. I began to second guess my will and ability to write a paper properly. This led to me not be as confident when turning an assignment. My academic self can now be described if only basing it off of this class as unorganized, impatient, and insecure. I plan on building on my skills during the summer to prevent this cycle from happening again when I take another English course. One thing I learned of upmost importance is signposting as it flags the most important parts of an argument, signals transitions, and clarify the stakes of an argument. These words and phrases helps my structure my writing in order to make it flow and make it understandable.

In the Major Project 3, I had the pleasure of redoing the assignment which rebuilt my confidence. I had a personal meeting with Mrs. where she explained how to organize my text and include each piece of the prompt in the paper. The one takeaway was the strategy of using a T chart to create 2 causes or reasons and 3 sources of supporting evidence. This honestly was a rough draft which helped me fix my biggest issue was misconception and confusion. I learned that it best to overstate and re explain arguments and explanations of evidence because being vague would lead to the reader to be confused or not being able to connect it with the prompt.

 Also, my writing style was very basic, and I could learn to analyze or further elaborate each detail. The purpose was to break down the article of my choosing which was “Taking My Parent To College” by Crucet. I choose this article because I had a personal infatuation with the hardships first generation students. I found the text inspiring and keep my motivated to complete my revision. This was also a topic that hit close to home because I had family members who were first generation college students. I’ve learned and at times experienced the lack of resources for first generation college student. Therefore, it is so important for me to graduate college because I want to pass on the tradition of going to college as it brings better opportunities. I choose this as my research assignment because of my compassion of the topic. I learned of resources of scholarships, waivers, clubs, organizations, and workshops to help first generation student get the financial, economic, social, and cultural help they may need. Many of the students who need these resources are not aware of how to receive it due to their lack of knowledge and parents lack of experience.

Being a dual enrollment student, I find this to be a learning experience that will give me a edge when I officially enroll into college. I will know how to better operate and organize my schedule when I go to college. This semester I took Precalculus, English 1102, Human communications, and Intro to Human Development. I found this class most challenging because I struggled towards the end with the major projects 3 and 4. I love to complete the IP assignments as I found it a great way to express myself like a journal writing. I loved my teacher as they were patient and gave many resources. I know I need to better build my analysis, use of signposting, structure of writing, and using in text citations. I made a positive connection with Young Ahn who completed my academic self assessment 3 months ago. We both found similarities in our personalities. We helped each other by doing each other’s peer review and giving clarified instructions for some assignments.  This class influenced me to not only focus on advancing my math skills but also further study English strategies and curriculum to make myself a stronger writer. I wish I had a more positive attitude when it came to submitting certain difficult assignment because it could have changed my mindset. I believe my mindset was my setback at times as I struggled to find the motivation to complete a difficult assignment. I did not want to bother or oppose my teacher as I completed assignment pass office hours.

Another tool I will make use of next semester will be office hours and iCollege emailing or collaboration with classmates to gain clarity and revision suggestions. I loved the independent of online learning but the fact everyone is also learning at home became a distraction. I had to help my younger siblings while my parents worked which set my work completion back. My schedule began more chaotic but I am proud of myself for completing every assignment to my best ability. This is partial reason for me not participating in office hours. There was nothing I could do about the situation due to the pandemic requiring online learning. Hopefully, I can pursue online courses without the at home distractions which can lead to more time to truly understand strategies and assignment requirements. I felt like I rushed to complete every assignment.

Major Project 5: Reflective Essay

Sabria Hall

English 1102-Weaver

Major Project 5 Reflection

May 3, 2021

This Isn’t the Hard Part

            A global pandemic screamed to educators and students to be more creative and resourceful in their learning. I lit torch on my academic self, found it enflamed with panic and desperation. Who was I but this vessel of years upon years of academic stagnation? Teachers that were uninspired. Teachers that were tired. Teachers that had braved archaic learning structures just so students could open a window to freedom. My academic self lay shriveling instead of ballooning. English 1102 challenged the preconceived notions I had of academic writing. I was a tiny island betrayed by the ominous colonizers, maybe the metaphor seems extreme, but I hadn’t known just how far away I could get.

If you can picture Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, overweight and mumbling his lines a shell of his shiny glory as Hollywood’s affecting prince. I was Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now the brightness of the first assignment, learning another person’s academic self, meeting classmate Hannah via Zoom, immediately recognizing I had been starving to talk to anyone who was facing the identical challenge of learning within a global pandemic. It was remarkable in how our expression of conversation flowed but when I left the Zoom, I knew the solitary pursuit of a satisfying grade in the class would only be my very own journey.  The Tuesday and Thursday videos a glimpse of a professor who was effusive in giving learning a spin, a destiny beyond just a grade. The patchwriting assignment became the first marginal hiccup, dissecting the words of writer Sean Michael Morris and his article ,“Pivot to Online: A Student Guide. An article that surmised  pandemic teaching would require resilience and a bit of fortitude. The author focusing on those marginalized uniquely and willful to give insight into how to help. I hadn’t thoughtfully engaged with the text and my writing reflected as much.  I couldn’t rely on flowery prose I had to open my brain and give it sunlight. It was another bullet in the already weakening academic self.

            I am a bad writer. I’m not a bad writer. I was born a good writer. That’s the voice in my head. I swallowed that voice. I had to if I wanted to complete the SAR Project 3. This scary thing happened I realized if I wasn’t interested in an assignment. I pushed it off a cliff, let it cling helplessly to the stony edge. Since I was five and could make words form sentences, I’d scribbled tales of evil witches and pugnacious girls in a faded tablet. The teachers fawning over the child who writes the tales, “She was born a writer!” they so easily stated. I received an 80, and I didn’t bother looking at the rubric feedback. I was a bad writer. I was staring at a blank computer screen like thousands of other students. If I put my hand to the screen would someone else’s hand reach back.   

Burnout had come quicker this time, the lethargy had fangs. Writing in the first draft isn’t the best draft, that was a pill I needed to swallow. I thought I could use an old remedy of falling apart inside a book. I picked up the Vanishing Half by Britt Bennet. For a while it soothed the ache promised memories of staying awake past midnight to finish a novel. The research project loomed, and I kept flipping pages. I had become Travis Bickel immersed in the darker teasing of my psyche. I wouldn’t self-monologue in the mirror. I knew how to self-destruct, a perfectionist of chaos. I believed in arson; I could set my academic self on fire. Implode. Explode. Expose.

            I miss voices. I miss the curve of a smile. I miss the nervous quiet of an echoing lecture. I miss giggling. I miss flirting and provocative banter. I miss the whispers of a rumor. I miss the classroom. A makeshift desk upon my bed, the sticky kitchen table and the crowded noisy Panera I tried it all to get that old thing back, but it isn’t the same. Fall semester is still in its slumber but when it awakens, I will go back to campus vaccinated and maybe a just a bit stronger.