Semester 1 Reflection

Coming into AP Literature in the first week I was quite anxious as to how my first semester would go. I wanted to make sure that I was going to be on top of everything, as well as have enough time to do other work and my college applications. Having prior experience with starting an Advanced Placement class, I really wanted to show that I was a dedicated learner who wanted to grow in certain areas that I knew I needed to work on. At the beginning of the academic year I knew that I wasn’t very comfortable with writing in-class timed essays. I was always stressing about having to write a really strong opening with a concise thesis that made sense and was able to set up the perfect foundation for an analytical essay. I wanted to be able to work on using my time wisely when writing these essays, and focusing in on the areas that I needed to get better at within the essay writing. This would be being able to organise my ideas clearly, as well as utilise effective language to make my piece a lot more poignant. I can say that I have grown to be a little more comfortable with the way that I approach essay writing. After doing a 10-minute thesis writing drill in class and two more outside of class, it was liberating to know and learn about what makes a thesis work for a paper and what doesn’t. Through that particular exercise, I have been able to point out the unnecessary bits of information that I can write, and now I have a clearer idea as to how I should frame my thesis’s for the next time that we write an in-class essay. As for being able to organise my ideas, I would like to touch upon my short story interpretation essay. With the first draft that I submitted I was able to get really good feedback as to how my essay was veering away from what I was trying to say, and that my overall idea wasn’t thorough/clear enough throughout the piece. While doing the re-write I really wanted to make sure that my thesis was strong going through the entire essay, I was able to sit down and re-read my writing, and really notice that some areas of my essay didn’t even connect with what I was trying to say in the first place. I was able to take out large chunks of my writing from the first draft, and I better organised the re-write. I also think that being in AP Lit has allowed me to broaden my use of words, and I think that one of my strongest areas when writing essays/poems etc is my word choice. I think that I am able to get across to the reader certain ideas that I would think are important, and being able to use effective language is ultimately one of the steps to achieve that.
Starting off the AP Lit journey I can say that I was really excited to read so many new pieces of literature that I have always wanted to read. I was very intrigued with the poetry unit because poetry for me is something that I have been interested in for a few years. So being able to write poetry in this class, and show my main area of writing strength was really liberating. Getting feedback for my original poem #2 actually lead me to re-write it again after I submitted it.
I am really proud with the way that I approach the projects that we have done over this first semester. I really enjoyed being able to research about Sylvia Plath and then present on this poet. Being given the opportunity to explore something that interested me allowed me to really enjoy the process of the great poets teaching project. I think that I was able to show my best communication skills, as well as some of my best analysis work. After that project I came away with a greater appreciation for understanding what elements really make a great poem/poet. I also think that the Dragon Notes video project that we did with a group allowed me to demonstrate my strength in technology use to create an effective resource for further studying. I was able to hone in on my collaboration skills and I was given the time to really analyse a piece of literature. Before this class, I never did a lot of literature analysis, now after a semester of doing it, I think that I have become really concise and disciplined with the way that I approach works of literature.
After this first semester in AP Literature, I know areas that I still need to work on, and areas that I am proud to say I have grown in. I want to continue to be challenged, especially when it comes to the compare and contrast essay because I know that I will need to work on that most of all. However, I still want to use this class as a way to explore my own creative abilities, and write more poetry as well as explore new ways to go about writing.