Essay Self-Analysis

        When I am writing an essay, I am talking to the reader; I want to reach the reader. I used to ask myself, why would I have to use what someone else is saying to show that my point is right? What I am saying should be enough. This was my attitude about writing ever since I have begun writing essays. I would always hate using quotes because I thought that it was my paper, and my paper should have only one author. This was my constant attitude towards citing sources. Half of it had to do with selfishness and the other half in laziness. When I say selfish I mean that I wanted the reader all to myself. I wanted the reader to recognize how good a writer I am, and not how good a writer someone else was. I always knew that this was going to become a problem for me in college, but I didn't know it was going to become as important as it did.
        MThe result of this was a decrease in my grade. My essay "Paradise" was a very good essay, but it hardly used any quotes and for that reason I did not receive the grade I was aiming for. I knew that it was a good essay, but I was a bit upset at the fact that the essay didn't get a grade for what it really was. I felt that the essay was powerful and it didn't matter if I hadn't used any quotes. I felt that I didn't need any quotes because the essay was an essay about the images of beaches and the effect that they have had in my life. There was no need for me to bring another persons opinion when I am talking about my life. But the fact was that my grade was on the line, and I was not going to jeopardize that for anything
        This is an excerpt from my third essay called "Gangsters and Thugs" about the way that gangsters and thugs say and do everything we want to but can not, and the effect of the gangster being from another country.

Warshaw explains that "the gangster speaks for us, expressing that part of the American psyche which rejects the qualities and demands of modern life or 'Americanism itself'" (344). The gangster expresses what we can not express in our everyday lives because we would be considered somewhat crazy by American society.

I was just beginning to learn how to incorporate another person's quote into my essay. This quote was one that I would have been completely against before because it is one of those I would have felt stole the reader from me. This quote seemed to fit in perfectly with what I was trying to say in my essay. In the end I realized that the gangster topic was one that required a lot of quotations because there are so many perspectives and opinions that my paper would not be complete without them. I also realized that topics that have more perspectives and opinions make the best essays because they arouse conflict.
        After the midterm portfolio I promised myself that I would always use a quote from someone else. And ever since then I can not imagine a paper without a quote. When I look back and compare my essay "Paradise" with my essay "Gangsters and Thugs" it seems as if two completely different persons wrote them. While working on "Gangsters and Thugs" I started to begin to explore with the citing technique and I actually found out that I could be very useful. Citing sources has become such an important factor in all of my essays after the Mid-Term portfolio that I can even remember how was it possible that I wrote a whole paper without challenging or agreeing with someone else's idea. The essay right after the Midterm portfolio included quotes, and the goes to show that I was willing to try this new technique immediately, and I worked pretty well. When I compare essay 2 to 3, I feel as if different people wrote the essays. Then after I began to use quotes I began to play with it a little bit and see how I could challenge what someone else was saying like in essay 4.

        This essay was on the whole concept of branding and the effects that it has on society today. This quote was about The Economist newspaper and their opinion on consumers being hard to reach with advertising.

"The Economist also argues "Consumers are also harder to reach. They are busier; more distracted and have more media to choose from". One can see the truth in this statement considering all the ads, billboards, commercials and even internet Pop-Ups. But the fact is that our space is almost always being taken over by the same images, and they are usually the wealthiest companies who can afford this space"

I disagreed with the economist in a respectful way and carefully stated how I didn't necessarily disagree, but mentioned factors that play a big part in proving what he said not so accurate. This shows that I have a fair minded ethos. Showing that I have a fair minded ethos will actually allow the reader to realize that I am a fair minded writer, and that will actually gain me a type of respect from the reader that will allow him/her to feel that they aren't reading a bias essay. I also learned how I can agree with my opinion without having to put someone else's opinion down. I have realized that by disagreeing with someone else's opinion you can actually make yourself a better writer, and the readers will notice it. I realized that when I use quotes, I am not lending the paper to another author, I am just showing another persons perspective and what I think about it. By then adding on and saying what I think about the other person's perspective, I am keeping the focus of the essay on my opinion. I take the reader back from the author whose work I cited, and the paper remains "mine". I found that not only learning to use quotes, but using quotes that are relevant to the topic can be a deciding factor between an A paper and a C paper. I feel that this has been a very important step in English for me because now it seems to me as if I can not write a paper without using any quotes; it has completely changed my writing style. The irony of the story is that now I have found myself addicted to bringing in other peoples opinions to give my paper some other perspectives, when in the beginning all I wanted was to keep the focus on myself and my own opinions.
        When I really come to think of it, I believe that the writer I used to be was a selfish and lazy writer. I say selfish because I would not allow my essays to include anyone else's words. I felt that if the reader has chosen to read my essay, they should get my essay and my opinions only. I also believe that I did not use quotes because of laziness. I did not want to go through the whole process of looking for a quote, adding the quote and then citing my quote at the end of my paper. In the end I found out that the laziness and selfishness were indeed like writing sins. The greed and sloth were keeping me from getting the types of grades that I deserved, it is a good thing that I realized the terrible mistake I was committing in time to be able to show my professor what I am capable of doing. I also learned that one can not say he/she likes or dislikes something without trying it first.

Introduction sets the reader up for a story of discovery (not the only way to begin). 





 Notice the reflection on the problem of using sources





Notice that in order to make a point about his use of sources, he cites his own writing and explains its significance.








Here the writer makes a claim about his growth in dealing with sources.




Here he provides evidence for his claim.


Here the writer discusses the meaning of the evidence that he has presented.






Notice that the conclusion is an elaboration on the material in the introduction.  There’s a clear focus on a thesis.


Self-assessment would have stronger if he’d dealt with more of the Outcomes Statements.


No two people are the same. Race, ethnicity, gender, and age are all factors that make individuals different and unique. Throughout this paper, I will be discussing my values, beliefs and traditions, how I identify myself, and my attitude on diversity.

Family Values, Beliefs, and Traditions

My family is very diverse and comes from many different places. My maternal grandmother came to the United States from England when she was 18 and met my biological grandfather. They lived in Montana on Flathead Indian Reservation. This is where my mother was born and raised. When my mother was in high school, she met my father who was a senior when she was a freshman. My father’s distant relatives came to the US from Ireland and started their family in Montana. Both of my parents have a little bit of German in them as well as Norwegian, but the majority of my heritage is Irish and Native American. My parents had my older brother and me when they were very young and they struggled to grow up while having small children. Eventually, they got divorced and moved apart from each other.

When I was 2 years old, my mother met and married my stepfather and we all moved to North Dakota. In this time I travelled back and forth between my mother in North Dakota and my father in Montana. I spent my school years in North Dakota and my summers and Christmas in Montana with my dad. This was hard on me when I was young because I had no sense of what home was. My mother and stepfather moved to Bismarck, North Dakota after having my little brother and remained there until I left for college. When I was a freshman at UND they got divorced. They were married for 17 years but decided it was the right decision to have separate lives. This was hard for me because my stepfather felt like he was not my father anymore, even though he was the one that raised me.

Because my family has been split up numerous times, it has been hard for me to define who my family is. Because my stepfather raised me since I was 2 years old, I consider him to be a big part of my family. My family was very spread out and separated which meant that my immediate family was the people I considered to be my family. This included my mom, dad, stepdad, grandma, and two brothers. My maternal grandma was on her own after my grandpa left and she lived with us for a couple years.

When I was growing up, my stepfather was the biggest decision maker. My mom was a stay at home mom and raised the kids while my dad worked. When it came to finances and discipline, my stepfather was in charge. As kids, we all knew my mother was the one that was easier on us kids and my stepfather was the one to be tough. When it came to looking for guidance, I would immediately go to my mother. She was not only my mother, but she’s my best friend. I could talk to her about anything.

When I was little, my maternal grandfather would tell us stories of his Indian tribe. He came from the Assiniboine Indian tribe and his great grandfather was the chief of the tribe at one point. The stories of our native ancestors always interested me. He would take us to burial sites in the mountains and tell us urban legends. This became a type of ritual for us to do. Traditions were important for us because our family is so small. Every chance we have to get together is important. Because my grandfather left when I was little, this tradition stopped.

Personal Identity and Values

When it comes to being addressed by strangers, I like to be called by my first name. As I get older, this may change and I would be called Mrs or Ms. I think that it is more proper to be called Mrs or Ms in professional settings and as I get older.

For gender roles, my view is pretty old fashioned. Growing up, it was always clear with my family that the women stay home and take care of the kids, while the dad works and supports the family financially. My parent’s views are the same, which is why my mother stayed at home and raised the kids. I know it is becoming mutual where the mother works just like the father, but I think; as I get older I will practice the same views and beliefs my parents did. This does not mean that I am against the views of feminism; I just believe it is important for children to be raised by family instead of daycare centers. My mother never trusted people to babysit her kids when we were little and her views have rubbed off on me.

I define myself as being independent, self-relying, and strong. I have gone through many hard things in my life and I think it has made me to be a strong person. What makes me unique is my independence. Ever since I was in high school, I have taken care of myself and always felt the need to do everything on my own. Because of this, I have always come off a little rough around the edges. I had trouble making friends because I did not trust many people and always thought people had alternative motives.

Eventually I have learned to give people the benefit of the doubt and to trust others. I consider myself to me a female, daughter, college student, Catholic, friend, sister, and a future nurse. From the list of identities above, I think being a student and a friend to be the most important in my life at this time. Every day I go to school and work hard to achieve my goal of being a nurse. Along with going to class, I spend a lot of time with my friends.

Being a nursing student is very important to me at this time and I am proud to be at UND. The UND nursing program is very competitive and I am proud to have gotten in. No one in my family works in the medical field and my parents are very proud of my accomplishments. I do not think I am sad or embarrassed about any of my cultural descriptors. I think the person I have become and the things I have accomplished have been exactly what I planned for.

Diversity Attitudes

Diversity to me means that every person is different and has his or her own story. Being diverse means to be unique and have qualities that are different from everyone else. Diversity does not just include race and ethnicity, but I think it also includes their background, education, and interests.

My earliest experience of becoming racially aware was in middle school. For my first 6 years in elementary school, there was no diversity in the students. My elementary school was very small in a remote area. When I got to middle school there were a couple African Americans and Native Americans. It was new to me, but it was never a problem. I had spent my summers on the reservation, but I had never spent much time with other kids my age. We live on a lake and the only people around were my family. My parents taught me to never judge a person by what is on the outside. I think North Dakota as a whole is not very culturally diverse and I had no experience outside of my family and the people I went to school with. This negatively affected behavior towards other ethnic groups because of how sheltered I was when I was younger.

After spending a lot of my time on an Indian reservation, I have felt uncomfortable in a few situations. Alcoholism is a big problem on the reservation that I lived on and my parents always made sure I never went anywhere alone. I think this experience has left me with a bias against this ethnic minority group. Alcoholism in Native Americans is not only prevalent on my reservation, but across many reservations in the Midwest. This stereotype has affected me as a adolescent, but as an adult studying to become a nurse it has taught me to not be judgmental.

The way people look on the outside should not be a determinant on how they should be treated. I could increase my understanding of a person of diversity by surrounding myself with a variety of people. This will make me more aware of the beliefs of other cultures. Being aware can help me as a nurse to As a nurse, I will always put bias aside and treat my patients with the care they need. I will also be respectful of different ethnicities and religions while caring for patients.


Overall, I think culture is something that brings people together. It not only makes people unique in their own way, but it makes them feel like they belong to something. I know that being surrounded by people that believe the same things I do is comforting. On the contrary, being around people that are different allows us to become aware of cultural diversity.

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