Last semester I took a course on academic writing as a promise to improve my writing skills to a close professor. He wrote that my ideas and concepts were at an A level but my writing was hindering their success. He awarded me my first “A” in university with the promise that I took steps to improve myself in that facet. Taking the course on academic writing (ENG 210 at SFU) was the one of the best investments I had ever made in to my personal, academic and professional life. One of the first questions the instructor asked in this English course was to write about our favourite form of writing or the one that has produced the most satisfaction. I didn’t have to think long about this and immediately responded with this:
“The type of writing as of late that has produced the most satisfaction has been cover letters and admissions letters. It provides tangible proof as to whether or not one’s words have made a profound impact on the reader. That proof is determined as to whether or you are called for an interview or admitted! I have come from being a delinquent writer to a conscientious student who has a great deal of respect and fear (mostly fear) of academic writing. The reverence I now have for language is as strong as the effort I plan on putting forward and I hope it will spill over in to my personal and professional life as a language user.”
These past few years I have seen some huge leaps in my attitude towards writing regardless of genre (work, academic, personal). I had never taken writing seriously until work and school called for in order for advancement. For example, last sumer I spent weeks going over my honours program admission letter and knew I had slim to no chance in being admitted because I lacked the pre-requisites. I considered buying a lottery ticket because I figured I’d have a better chance at winning the lottery than being admitted. I should have bought a lottery ticket as you know because I was admitted.
Convincing the university to admit me in to the program despite poor past academic performance AND not having the pre-requisite GPA was the hardest reality I had to face. I would basically have to spend 2 years upgrading in order to get my first and second year GPA up to the requisite level. I imagined it as being a reckless teenager with an academic scar across your face and having that visible scar affect your future prospects of ever getting scholarships and into graduate studies. Just knowing that I may not have that opportunity available to me crushed my spirits for weeks. When I made my submission I included academic references from 2 professors who saw a diamond in the rough and convinced me I was honours material. I was and will always be deeply touched by their pedagogical support in bringing me to where I am right now: sitting on the beach in the Cayman Islands writing my honours research paper.