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Writing Status: Improved

I’m kind of proud to say that I’ve seen my writing improve a lot from when I first started. Usually, I forget that people can’t read my mind and I’ll try to explain something, but then not give all the details. Now it seems that I rarely do that; so that’s one improvement. Another improvement, I’d say, is not trying to make my rough draft perfect. That’s how I started writing my papers this year; but then I made my rough drafts a tool for getting my thoughts down, and from that I’ve seen my final drafts improve. It’s clear, though, that my writing skills still has some need of improvement.

My biggest area of writing that I still struggle in are citing sources and small writing errors: punctuation, spelling, grammar, tense changes, etc.. It’s those small little things that get me every time. Instead at looking for the smaller errors, as such, I look for the larger ones such as organization, clear points, or transitions. But even though I make such errors, I still enjoy writing more than I used to; I also thought that some of the assignments were actually kind of fun.

My favorite, and second most difficult, essay was the research paper. I was extremely grateful when I was told I could choose my topic. I decided my topic would be my favorite genre of books: Navy SEAL’s. Sounds weird for a female college student, huh? I had already read four autobiographies by Navy SEAL’s and a bit of their experience. It was a bit tricky to narrow my topic. Originally, it was going to be based on their training, but as I was writing, I noticed I focused more on who they were and how becoming a SEAL affected their lives. I struggled to make my paper less than eight pages long because there was so much I had read about them that I wanted to say, but I had fun writing it. You’re probably wondering “if this essay was her second most difficult essay, what was the first one?” The answer: the argumentative essay.

I struggle with argumentative essays more than any other essay. I find searching for arguments, supporting both sides of an argument, difficult. This is how mind works when it comes to argumentative essays: choose an arguable topic, find at most three main arguments from both sides, give each side valid sources who argue their point, and make sure my side sounds more convincing. Sounds nice, right? Well, I have the worst time trying to find a topic that can be argued either way, and then providing the best sources that support both sides. I think I work harder than I need to. I guess that’s another struggle I need to deal with in writing.

Overall, my writing isn’t perfect, but I’ve improved and I enjoy it more than I did in my earlier years. Sometimes I’ll narrate my own actions in my head to see to try and improve me first person writing. Or I’ll try narrating someone else in third person and find how I can make it sound interesting or easy to understand. I have to say, again, I’m proud that I’m doing better in my writing, and I hope that I can maybe even try to publish my very own book.

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Past, “I hate writing.” Now, “I love writing!”

If someone would have asked me if I saw writing in my future when I was in high school, my immediate response would have been “no.” Recently, however, I’ve been more interested in writing than I’ve ever been before. During my senior year of high school, I took a creative writing class, and it was near the end of the class where I felt a desire to continue writing. My first assignment in that class was to write a story of my choice; topic, genre, person, tense, etc., that was all up to me. At first, I was going to write a rip off of the video game “Assassian’s Creed Brotherhood.” But one night as I drove home from worship practice, an idea suddenly came to my mind; an idea that was original. Even after I had turned the story in and received my grade for the paper, I still continued to write more to it. I would go to my writing professor and friends in college for their critique on my story and how to make it better. I’ve gotten a lot of help, and even changed some scenes. I might even change the plot. It is now a goal to finish the story and publish it as a book.

If I were to see myself now from only a few years ago, I would have said something like “that’s not me” or “how’d I get hooked on crack?” Ok, the last one is an exaggeration, but you get the point. I have had millions of story ideas come and go in my mind, but I’ve written some down in a book in case I’m interested in writing more. I love drawing characters that I would see in my stories, and I kind of see writing as a style of art; words can create images in peoples minds more beautiful than images drawn by hand. Had it not been for the creative writing class, I would never had written my beloved story Demon Hunters.

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Who gets the glory: God or Tim Tebow?

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Dear Dave Decker,

I believe that you’re missing an important role Tim Tebow played in football: he gave glory to God. I get where you’re coming from when, in a child’s perspective, you say “why did God let the bad team win?” I would have thought the same if I were a child, watching my favorite football team (U of O) lose to the “bad team” *cough* OSU *cough* with the help of the “good guy.” I’m pretty sure that there were Christians who were not sided with the Bronco’s, but still recognized Tebow as a devout Christian. I’m an athlete, and I know that sports are just games, no matter the league. There’s more to life than that, and that’s what Tebow shows when he’s on the field.

Written in I Thessalonians 5:16-18 is “[r]ejoice always; pray without seizing, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for in Jesus Christ.” Tim Tebow gave thanks after every game; wither a win or a lost. You said that the gesture Tebow gave was unnecessary because he was getting all the praise, not God. When Tebow wrote John 3:16 on his face, over six million people googled that verse. Six million people who never heard of Jesus learned of his astounding love for them because one man, a talented athlete who could have given himself glory, chose to give his God the glory. My dad was a high school football coach, and during one of the many football conferences he attended during a year, Tim Tebow spoke at one of them, and my dad couldn’t exaggerate enough about how much Tebow talked about God and not his own accomplishments.

Dave, the only thing you saw or heard about Tebow was either in front of a camera, in the newspaper, or on every other kind of public news feed; what you didn’t see was off camera. I’m not saying he’s the perfect Christian or anything like that, but as an athlete I saw him glorify God not his own hard work and dedication to the sport, and heard from my trustworthy father about Tebow’s undying love and faith for God. ESPN isn’t going to talk about God because they’re going to get a whole lot of criticism from people who listen to their station, or it’s possible that their bosses told them not to talk about God. I think you’re wrong about Tim Tebow and his gesture of tebowing: God was glorified by him and his faith most likely gave me many more brothers and sisters in Christ. 

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“Shameful Lusts”

Tandy made a statement in his article that would make some Christians think twice about homosexuality: is the Bible really clear that homosexuality is a sin? My immediate response was “yes”. I’m not trying to impress anyone, or make it sound like “I’m so smart, I didn’t need to think twice”, but when I read that question the first thought that came to my mind was Romans 1.

In Romans 1, Paul writes in verses 24 through 32 that “God handed them over to their shameful lusts.” These “shameful lusts” include men having sex with other men and women having sex with other women. Paul addresses, in this specific chapter, that sexual relations with the same sex is a sin and not  apart of God’s will for humanity. I think some Christians want to be society pleasers. Gay marriage was not necessarily a large issue until a few years ago. It think some Christians changed their thoughts on gay marriage when people say things like “why can’t we marry who we love?”, “doesn’t God tell us to love?”, or “doesn’t God love gays?” At the end of Romans 1, Paul acknowledges those who commit sin “also approve of those who practice them”. In other words, people who practice any kind of action support and agree with anyone else who does the same as them.

When I was young, I remember reading a Calvin and Hobbs comic: when Calvin’s dad got home from work, Calvin was holding a sign that read “love the sinner, hate the sin.” That’s how God’s love works; love us, but hates our “shameful lusts”. So, when Tandy asks if the Bible’s “really, really” clear about gay marriage, I say “yes. Yes it is.”

 

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Guilty as Plagiarized

Sari Horwitz, a well known and gifted journalist for the Washington Post, copied and pasted notes from the Arizona Republic into her own articles regarding the Arizona shooting rampage in 2011. Sari did apologize for her actions, but claims she did so because of a deadline approaching. From the little knowledge I gained from high school about writers, I know that writers constantly have to deal with deadlines (but, broadly, everyone deals with deadlines), so why go to “extreme” measures to take someone else’s notes as her own? The article described her copying some notes from the Republic and mixing them in with her own. She was suspended for three months for her actions.

She was definitely guilty of plagiarism and, base on her record, a suspension, rather than being fired, sounds like an appropriate punishment for her actions. According to the article I read, written by David Callahan, Sari had never committed plagiarism before in her professional work. Rather, she won the Pulitzer Prize twice during her professional career. But this still doesn’t make sense why such a great writer would take someone else’s work as her own. Because I am an athlete, I think of this in terms of a good athlete; they might be great, but with so much pressure, they might want to be better so they take steroids. I’m not saying I ever took steroids, but this a situation where I can see the importance of the action.

Although I don’t like what she did (or anyone else for that matter), hopefully, she won’t try it again. But you never know.

 

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November 5, 2013 · 1:16 am

How’s the Evidence?

Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Dun state that todays young men are obsessed with porn and video games. As a sister of two brothers -one is a OIT student and the other a high school student- I can testify that video games are addictive to young men’s minds. Even though neither of my brothers watch porn, it’s a common fact that young men get sucked into it and become addicted. They make strong statements like “… they are becoming totally out of sync in traditional school classes, which are analog, static and interactively passive” without providing much evidence to support their statement. Although I do agree with their statements of the addictions of porn and videogames, but because of their small evidence with fairly strong accusations, I would find their argument not very sound.

Tracy Clark-Flory and Brian Fung bring up acceptable arguments against Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Dun’s case. Tracy argues that the average male’s loss of education does not support Zimbardo’s and Dun’s accusation that the loss of their education affects their relationship status. Brian brings up a rather considerable point in his conclusion, claiming that forty percent of gamers are females, and finishes by saying “If videogames are such a scourge upon the brain, shouldn’t we look at both genders?” Tracy Clark-Flory and Brian Fung both fight against Zimbardo’s and Dun’s short excerpt with compelling arguments, making Zimbardo’s and Dun’s arguments sound unimpressive and unprofessional.

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“I am Sam, Sam I am.”

“The Boy Behind the Mask” was most definitely a tragic, yet happy story. I couldn’t believe what Hallman said about the child’s face was true, until I saw the pictures. As I kept reading about his life’s story, how he was like that ever since he was born, and the ridicule he received from strangers, the harder it was for me to stop reading. The story pulled me in. I wanted to hear about his life, what he had face, and to see if there was anything he, or anyone, could do to help him. It makes sense that this story won a Pulitzer Prize, due to the fact it was easy to follow, organized, and made me want to keep reading.

I was mostly interested to hear about his life and how others treated him. Unfortunately, it was as I expected: stares from strangers, ridicules from classmates, and even thought as handicapped. His family, on the other hand, was a blessing. They saw Sam as their own and not as some freak. They supported him in everything he did, even when he decided to have surgery on his face that could cost him his life. I greatly enjoyed reading about the love his family had for him.

The boring parts, to me, were what happened in some of the doctors lives that didn’t seem to apply to the story, and some parts of the surgery that I either didn’t understand, or extended the story long than I needed to be. It was horrifying to read about all the blood that Sam had lost during the operation, how many bags of blood were needed to keep him alive, and all the towels, dripping in blood due to Sam’s tremendous bleeding. But because I’m not a doctor, I skimmed through some of the parts that were directed to a doctors point of view. I didn’t understand it very well, so I saw no point in reading it.

As to what became of “The Boy Behind The Mask”, I couldn’t find any information on Bing of what has become of him, but the conclusion of the story told that he made it through his intensive surgery and attended his high school with a somewhat renewed face.

 

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