In high school some of my teachers were very strict about MLA formatting, and while my internal citations may not always be entirely correct in terms of formatting, I feel that I am good at knowing where to put a citation and avoiding plagiarism of even small phrases because I was taught to organize the information from a source with the citation. Additionally in high school they taught us to PIPE our quotes, and while I don’t even remember exactly what the letters in this acronym stand for, I remember basically we learned how to introduce a quote from a source into our writing and do it in a way that is mature.

For me coming from high school, one of the things that I had to really unlearn is the five paragraph layout for papers. I remember even in middle school when they began teaching this, there were times that I tried to organize my papers in a different way or make a creative choice and was penalized for it, so this was something that my school very rigidly taught. Additionally, I had to unlearn the way I was taught introductions. While I always felt that the way my introductions were written made my papers seem immature, I did not know another way to do it. The powerpoint that we viewed about all the tired ways to introduce a topic really resonated with me, as those were all things I was taught a lot.

In this class I would say I have gotten a lot better at organization. Instead of looking at the assignments and figuring out what my three body paragraphs would be, I looked at them from several angles before deciding on a way to organize anything because I had the power to do this without penalty (and actually got better grades because of it). This has helped my ideas to be clearer and my arguments stronger, because when I have solid evidence, I do not have to force it into a box to fit into the essay and can organize things in ways that put my research and sources to good use instead of wasting them in the wrong spot. I also have started thinking more in terms of multi-modality, and often would look for pictures to put into my assignments because I felt it made them much stronger. It was always frustrating to me to want to reference something in high school, but because it wasn’t formal to attach an image or video or link a definition, I felt limited in my ability to get my thoughts across.

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