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Essay Numero Cuatro

1622 words - 7 pages

When I first arrived at Yeshiva University, I was told that the new liberal arts ‘core’ system required me to take a First Year Writing class. Coming from Bar Ilan University, where I had taken a class an English Literature for two semesters, I was none too pleased. I thought there was no point in taking another English class when I had already excelled at writing throughout high school and my year in Israel. I really wanted to take a class like calculus or statistics that would bring me a step closer to fulfilling my Biology major. Instead, I was thrust into a small class of students, forced to write time-consuming essays about topics I didn’t care about. What I didn’t realize, at the time, was the true purpose of First Year Writing. Not only did the class help my already strong composition skills, it helped me transition into Yeshiva University and become a part of the university community. I soon realized that First Year Writing isn’t even close to the throwaway class I once thought it was. In fact, First Year Writing is definitely my most important class at YU and has also become my personal favorite.
First and foremost, First Year Writing is exactly what its name implies: a writing class. In it, students learn to write with greater skill by increasing their vocabulary and fixing common grammar errors. I myself have seen my composition skill increase greatly. Editing, an area that has never been a strong suit of mine, is also taught in First Year Writing. Peer-editing is a valuable exercise in which students exchange drafts with their peers and edit them for each other. This process helped me greatly during the semester as my peers were able to point out flaws and faults in my essay that I would never have seen myself. This, in turn, has helped me become a better writer as I am now able to take caution against flaws in my writing that I was previously unaware of. For the topic of our essays, my class was tasked with reading several articles that challenged our views on a certain subject. We were taught to constantly read with a critical eye, being aware of the biases of the author as well as the overall point he is trying to prove. I found these exercises in reading incredibly helpful as it allowed me to find deeper meaning in articles I had previously read but not fully understood. At the end of this semester, my peers and I were tasked with putting together an oral presentation. This presentation, along with being a culmination of the writing and reading skills we had focused on all year, also helped us improve our speaking skills. First Year Writing, despite being a single semester course, is able to touch on every basic aspect of the English language.
Malcolm X, in his renowned autobiographical account “Coming to an Awareness of Language”, speaks on how important writing, and language in general, is to him. “I never have been so truly free in my life” (Haley), he remarks, fondly remembering his time in prison when all he could do to...

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