Reflection Ten – Final Reflection

 

My name is Anna, and over the course of a semester I have created a blog that glorifies and galvanizes the dynamic significance of New York City. I was born in late November in 1995 to a New York hospital, and I have wanted to return to my beautiful city since the day my parents brought me out of it, as a colicky infant. In a tiny town in the middle of Connecticut, I bided my time until my chance to go to John Jay College, beginning with books like Face to Face With Serial Killers and documentaries, and ending with a few stints that put me in direct work with felons, police officers, and those struggling through their first or second misdemeanors. While I adored my work, I knew that I wanted more. I wanted to move to New York City, and I wanted to study forensic psychology while I continued to explore music. I could circle the earth with sheets of paper representing all the times someone dared try to tell me that I could not accomplish everything I wanted to in Manhattan, but this is in the past. This is why my blog title is called “New York Loves Me”, instead of “I Love New York”. I’ve always loved New York. I was unprepared with how ready it was to love me back.

But I digress. I created this blog for the English class I had studied in, with a bit of trepidation. I had a blog that required a tremendous amount of upkeep, and I had never used WordPress before. However, with the guidance of my two Professors and the confidence of my first semester’s success, I believe that I have effectively produced a breathing portfolio of the work I have created. I don’t know who this would interest besides my classmates, but should you find yourself perusing my blog, I hope you enjoy it all the same. My blog is a little bit funny and a little bit dumb, but it truly does measure up to who I am as a person (someone who is a little bit funny and a little bit dumb). John Jay College is my home away from home, and when I look out one of the windows to see the way Manhattan dwells beneath me, I am reminded of why I made the decision to never look back.

Throughout this past semester, my class has kept up reflections and reading responses, as well as class writings and key terms. I have read works by Vivian Gornick and Colson Whitehead, and improved my vocabulary by committing new words to memory, because I now know how to use them properly and effectively. The work I have put into this semester has been for one main reason – I want to better understand the city that I live in. I want to blend in with the people and flawlessly converse with all of them. I want tourists to ask me for directions and to have the men selling bus tour passes to stop asking me if I want one, because I no longer look like a tourist. I want to shed myself of Connecticut like the snakeskin it was, and be reborn. The semester has restructured my image of New York City, and I now have a better understanding of exactly what makes it the best of the best. There’s a reason the streets are considered to be gold – now I can discuss why this is true.

In my blog, I categorize all the assignments that I have accomplished under certain tabs, to help me keep track of where I have put everything, but to show me what I have accomplished, as well. When writing my history project, I was nervous that my current observation section was a distraction of the history itself, but it proved to be something that truly enhanced my paper. Because my tone was a bit more narrative than factual, I had created a new  sense of a history assignment (or rather, the kind my professors had been searching for when they warned us that this would not be a normal history paper). The use of descriptive language was necessary for my history report and interview project, but would have been incredibly out of place in my research assignment. Perceptions are useless in a scientific setting, where all that is needed is data (what actually happened, not what you think might have happened). The interview project not only asked for analytical work, but extensive descriptive writing. I had to describe what the interviewed people had looked like, how they had responded when answering, and how they had seemed while they answered things, all while keeping it a relatively short project. In the multi-genre project, descriptive language was called for in my essay, but not the small art project that I had put together, which called for short sentences and not much time to think about it. The assignments had confronted me to challenge and conquer them, and I believe that I did so successfully. This was a great way to help me improve my writing skills – I found myself writing every day.

The genres of my writings on my blogs were something I didn’t fully comprehend until researching it further in and out of class. I had my analytical case studies, my reports and interviews, and my historical narrative pieces to perfect, all requiring a separate kind of structure, flow, and presentation of the information I was going to be giving. The class readings helped me to distinguish what the genres would be asking for, and by comparing other students’ work to my own, I felt competent enough to display my own work with theirs. I cannot believe that Paulo and Anthony thanked me for helping them through their projects, when it was the drive to be half as good as their blogs that pushed me through the different assignments, especially when they got tricky or tedious. The reflections were a way to help me look back on my challenges, or to give me a little pump of self-esteem whenever I had done a particularly good job on something. While my favorite project ended up being my interviews, if only because I had learned so much from them, I was struck by how much I adored each of my final papers, because I had created them and felt so good doing so.

I am going to miss this class when it is over, because it has taught me so much. People do ask me for directions now, and I have perfected my “bored and over it” face that copies everyone’s on the subway, but what is most important to me is walking home, late at night, and considering feeling frightened. I remember Whitehead’s writings in those moments, about how just below me there is an entire history of a city that rises and falls like a phoenix, and that I should never be frightened, because I am protected by the city’s walls. I look up at the Brownstone towering over me and I agree. New York Loves Me, as it should, because I love it more than I can say.

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