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Academic writing is clearly very important for a student and cannot be avoided. Moreover, not only will quality academic writing help to succeed in your college life, it is essential for your career as well. The documentation you present to your manager or supervisor is the direct reflection of your ideas, your knowledge and, most importantly, of you on the paper. Academic writing encourages you critical thinking, brings out the creativity and potentially facilitates intellectual growth. To me, academic writing is an art. Art that requires a lot of research in the field. After collecting all the data, the writer has to put his thoughts on the paper using good vocabulary and phrases in the best way to open up the subject. The benefits of academic writing are very obvious, so are the difficulties that come with it. Courses like English 1101 are designed to prepare students for proper academic communication, however, it's hard to believe that one can learn how to write in one semester. I think my academic writing has developed tremendously, considering the fact that features like MLA and active voice don't frighten me as much; however, using third person voice is still very challenging and is something that I will have to keep working on.
No doubt, using MLA format is probably one of the biggest challenges for students in their academic careers. I'm not going to lie, when I first started the course, I had no idea what MLA was and, truthfully, I was terrified just by looking at aspects like in-text citations, paraphrasing, integrating quotations and, especially, Works Cited page of the essay. To me it was really important to realize the purpose of using MLA style in my academic writing. First of all, it is a distinctive format that creates the proper way of written communication, secondly, it is a system of referencing the sources through the parenthetical citations and Works Cited pages which gives the writer credibility. Given these points, it didn't take me long to realize that I will probably have to use this style through out my whole academic career, and I immediately came to the conclusion that the sooner I will learn all the details of it, the better foundation I will have for the future. Looking back now, I realize that there was nothing to be scared of . Undoubtedly, it didn't come easy: learning MLA was very time-consuming, required a lot of effort and practice. At the end of the day, I am feeling pretty comfortable with it, and if I have questions in the future, I have the right tools to address the issue.
Another aspect of academic writing is using active voice. This is something I was very familiar with from the very beginning, however, knowing it doesn't mean that you can use it. A lot of times I had to catch myself trying to make my sentences sound very â€œformalâ€Â, which often meant putting sentences in passive voice. As a result, I would end up having long, confusing and unclear sentences, that left the reader guessing. It was essential for me to comprehend that not only does passive voice creates an obstruction in understanding who is doing the action, but also passive voice sentences end up being wordy and distracting. On the other hand, using active voice in academic essays helps to phrase your thoughts and ideas straight to the point giving the reader a clear explanation of your point of view. For this reason, I found that using complex-compound sentences in active voice is the most powerful way of portraying your ideas, because it's those elements that add richness and color to the essays. In addition,varying the rhythm by alternating short and long sentences can add playfulness and sound less monotone. Also, varying sentence openings will help to make everything cohesive and add individuality to each sentence. So, my ultimate goal is going to be balancing all of these aspects.
My biggest personal challenge in this course was writing the academic essays in third voice. Even though the whole concept of why we should write in third voice was clear to me, using it in actual essays was extremely difficult. Yes, it sounds less subjective, more credible and professional. No doubt, maintaining third voice in academical writing helps to give a serious tone and convey the information in a clear way. However, the formality of it sometimes leaves very little for individuality and your personal style. Not being able to use I, I think or in my opinion just kind of left me disopinionated. How can you write about your experiences, attitudes and viewpoints without including yourself in them? Ultimately, in this process I had to shift my thought process: by not using the personal language and personal judgment phrases, I was able to express many different opinions. Writing in third voice helps to stay neutral and strictly refer to the facts. Overall, I think I'm on right track, although I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me.
All things considered, I think my academic writing skills improved excessively, especially considering that they were non-existent before. I'm glad I took this course early on my journey because I'm taking a lot with me to the future. Along the way I had a chance to to sharpen up my research making skills, exercise rational and creative thinking and learn about helpful sources like online library and online tutoring sessions. I'm sure I will be able to use these skills not only in my academic life but also in my professional and personal lives in various ways. Do I consider myself a writer? Probably not. However, I'm definitely more comfortable with my writing. I understand there is room for improvement, but I have all the tools to succeed.