Blog #7: Letter to Jes

Dear Jesse,

As you know, this past quarter I was enrolled in English 102 at Clark College. I originally signed up for English 102 because it is a requirement for a general transfer degree. My goal is to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah using my transferable credits to become a sophomore or junior. While taking English 102 I’ve learned many interesting things.

One fun concept I learned was the origin of the word essay. The word essay comes from the French root word essai which translates to mean “to try.” The reason that I found the origin so intriguing is because the thought that essays are meant to be a “try,” puts the whole concept of writing an essay into a different perspective for me. An essay is an attempt. That means all you have to do when writing is to try and everything will fall into place through the editing process. I want to become a journalist, which you already know Sweetie, and I think that this thought progression will help me to become the best journalist that I can be.  

Another theory that I discovered while taking English 102 was to avoid “creepy tree houses!” Our primary instructor, Jen Whetham, taught our class near the beginning of the quarter to avoid what she called “creepy tree houses.” Jen explained that in the book The Lovely Bones, there was a kidnapper who built an underground fort for a young girl to lure her in. Jen likened the moodle and blackboard programs that Clark uses for students to the “creepy tree house” and explained that moodle is an adult creation meant to lure the young kids in. I think it was really funny for our teacher to caution us against adults who are trying to “get young kids to come in and hang out.” Jen always makes me laugh.

After a few classes into the quarter, Jen got a new job and we got a new English 102 instructor. Her name is Lindsay Christopher and I’ve really enjoyed her teaching. She definitely has different opinions than I do, but the things that she shares with me have helped to shape me into that better writer that I’m seeking to become. Last week, Lindsay hosted a student/ teacher conference for me and her in which she shared some insights regarding my 13 page paper. When I met with Lindsay she had an ENTIRE TYPED PAGE of notes for me regarding the progress of my paper. I wasn’t surprised, because I know how much a “hot- button topic” my paper is. Divorce is really trending in TODAY’S SOCIETY (lol, I just had to throw in a tired phrase from class) and I know that most people have an opinion on it.

Lindsay advised me:

1. to stop being so “black and white” with my paper and to focus on “gray” areas. That means that I wrote “we” and “everybody” many times in my paper and Lindsay explained that I excluded the people who don’t follow the mainstream. I don’t want to exclude people so I’m working on fixing my essay to reflect words like “majority” and “many” in place of all my previous statements.

2. to show some concession to my readers! Lindsay postulated that I argued my point so fiercely that I alienated many of my readers who may not agree with me. I, in no way want to be disrespectful to anyone. My paper is not intended to place blame on people, but to explain why marriage so often fails. My goal to rectify this problem is to change the thesis of my paper (and a few other spots as well) to clearly state that my objective is to provide a general solution. I’m working to advocate marriage literacy, if you will. There’s definitely a long way to go on revising my thesis, but I quickly hammered out this additional sentence to my paper:

“It seems more appropriate to identify the culprit of the high divorce rates in America as an alteration to accepted societal standards, drastic transformations in the economy, and individual circumstances. It is imperative that Americans are well informed as to their positions on matters of society, economics, and their individual circumstances before they get married to help reduce the divorce rate.”

I feel like adjusting my current essay will prove to enhance my final copy of my 13 page essay, Divorce: An American Tradition. My short term SMART goals are:

  • to get an A grade in English 102 this summer quarter
  •  to get an A on my last two papers

My long term SMART goal is:

  • to go to BYU Provo and graduate with a BA degree in the next three years

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Thank you for helping me on my journey to BYU and with my English 102 class, Sweetie.

Love you,



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