Cover Letter

By Maneesha Birdee

Welcome to my UWP 1 e-portfolio. Before you evaluate my writing samples, I would like to introduce myself and share with you the lessons I have learned from this class. I am a graduating senior who arrived in this class because of a technicality I had overlooked. During a degree-check last October, my advisor told me I was indeed qualified to graduate by the end of this quarter, provided that I also take a lower division writing class. I asked her to check my transcript again. Surely, in the 6 years I’ve been working on my undergrad degree, I must have taken some sort class that would fill the requirement. She acknowledged that I had taken plenty of writing classes, but they had all been upper-division. I needed a lower-division writing class. She then kindly showed me my options: a Native American Studies class, an Introduction to Literature class, or UWP 1.

I chose UWP 1, oblivious to what I was getting into. The workload rivaled those of my upper-division classes. Furthermore, the previous writing classes that my advisor mentioned had been several years ago. After receiving a “satisfactory” grade on my first assignment, I realized I had grown out-of-touch with eloquent and well-structured writing. For the past 3 years, I have been writing for classes pertaining to my major, linguistics, or to my minor, human development. These classes assigned grades according to content as opposed to well-worded prose and thoughtful paragraph structure. I had been obtaining high marks simply by correctly explaining linguistic theories, or properly analyzing human development concepts. My actual writing, however, had gotten rusty.

Thankfully, this class proved to be the polish that I needed. By writing multiple drafts with ample peer-feedback, my writing started to heal. I started to again be conscientious about the presentation of my papers. Our teacher went over concepts like understanding your audience, utilizing logos, pathos, and ethos, using effective tools for an argument, and how to properly employ certain literary devices. She guided us through the steps in becoming a strong writer, and provided us with multiple examples of strong writing so we could see what to strive for.

Slowly, I started remembering what good writing could do. While properly explaining linguistics or human development concepts may have gotten me points, my papers could have been so much better with some sound structure behind them.

In this portfolio, you will see the final drafts demonstrating what I have learned. I hope to present you with papers that show appropriate tone and solid organization. In reworking my literary narrative paper, I tried to better show how a particular article shaped my writing. I realized I had treated the essay as if I was being graded on the accuracy of my analysis. I began to edit and re-write; this time bearing in mind the importance of structure and transitions while still keeping a consistent and appropriate voice. In reworking my research paper, I focused on organization and clarity. I realized I had let the content overwhelm my ability to be clear. In rewriting, I tried to make the paper more reader-friendly.

Ultimately, I hope to present you with papers that do justice to the skills I have learned this quarter. This class reminded me of the impact that powerful writing can have when done effectively. I am glad that I will leave UC Davis with these skills fresh, polished, and ready to use.

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