Time flies! Two and half months have passed since the first class of ENGL 119. I still remembered the first email that I sent to Sara, which stated my communication strengths and weaknesses. After two and half months, when I looked back, I was surprised to see how much I have improved and achieved.
I didn’t choose this course voluntarily. I wouldn’t take it if this is not required by my degree. However, now I really want to thank the math department for making this course a required one.
The biggest improvement was made to my presentation skill. I used to hate presentations because I don’t feel confident speaking in front of a group of people. The night before the rehearsal of the TED Talk, I was too nervous that I couldn’t fall asleep. I think I have “presentation-phobia”. I could sleep well even if I have two final exams tomorrow, but I couldn’t fall asleep if I know there’s a presentation tomorrow, even if it’s just a rehearsal.
Surprisingly, the rehearsal went well. Sara’s positive feedbacks gave me a lot of confidence. “Maybe I was not that bad at presentations.” I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is not about the presentation skills, but it’s about self-trust. If I want to do something successfully, I first need to believe myself that I have the ability to do well. And I can’t be afraid of making mistakes. The best way to improve certain skills is through making mistakes and learning from mistakes.
As for the written communication, we’ve done three blog posts, a request for proposal and a report. I’ve never written blogs before I took this course. I found this an innovative way of writing. I can express my ideas freely and don’t have to worry about the “rules”. This is the kind of writing that I really enjoy.
Learning how to write a request for proposal and a full report is an interesting process. When Sara first mentioned that we had to write a 2000 words report, I was thinking, “No way! 2000 words! How am I going to write 2000 words? That’s four times of 500 words! Oh no…” However, it was actually much easier than what I expected. Sara provided us with very good guidance. The entire report was split into smaller parts and it was not hard to complete each part. And after I finished writing all parts and composed them together, I was surprised to see that my report had exceeded 2000 words.
During the process, I’ve learned also learned how to do research and how to speed read and decide if the research paper is useful for my report. We’ve also tried peer reviews. I didn’t know that peer review could be so useful and important. Reading the comments from my classmates helped me identify the weaknesses and strengths of my report. The positive feedbacks also gave me comfort and confidence.
The most valuable thing I’ve learned from this whole writing process is that challenges are usually not as challenging as they appear to be. There’s always a way to tackle the problems and overcome the challenge. What I need to do is to stay calm and carry on. I should always have faith in myself that I can do well and try my best. Then whichever result I get will be the best result I can achieve.
I really want to thank Sara for making this course so interesting and teaching us so many useful tips. This is a course that I would highly recommend. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to sign up!