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A little over one month ago, I began my first taste of college life. The mix-mash of cultures and clashing ideologies threatened to overwhelm me but I persevered.  The courses were even stranger–each teacher had their own way of going about their lessons. When I entered my English 1103 class I couldn’t have been more surprised. The room and lesson plan of the teacher seemed to have been structured for a smaller class where the questions were open ended and free-form. In our first lessons, we learned about discourse, something that I personally had never thought about before.

Prior to this class, I had always seen writing and grammar from only one viewpoint. I thought it was cut and dry; that there was a set in stone formula for creating a written piece and to break from this mold would leave the piece open for grammatical errors. To be literate was to be able to read and understand a piece of text and act upon this information, and that everyone around the globe responded to the same problems in similar ways. This could not have been further from the truth.

From the lessons taken over the course of the month I learned that the style of writing, and the grammar used is very dependent on the audience that one is aiming for. For one, an interview or a job setting will require a different level of discourse than a conversation in a bar. There is no such thing as “good grammar” and “bad grammar”, as long as it is understandable and fits the environment of their usage. Looking back, the vast majority of my writings have been written towards reaching a scholarly level, trying to meet the standards of the school to get a passing grade. However, since reading the many articles posted online on this subject, I have started to create my own style of writing. Reading such as Carlin’s have shown that a little bit of humor and bluntness can be incorporated, as well as having an introspective view on yourself.

All in all, my way of thinking has changed drastically since that very first day of class.  My writings have begun to show my true self, and no longer feels constrained to meet classroom standards anymore. By re-examining my past month I can see that my time has been well spent and that I am better equipped to handle all of my written assignments from now on and that through applying all of these newfound skills I should be prepared for the rest of my semester.