I have learned many valuable lessons about leadership and the necessity of collaboration and utilizing different skills to contribute to greater success. Last year, during my freshman year, I learned how to best work with a team. It’s somewhat funny because I remember recalling at the time how much easier it would be to just work alone: groups are often inefficient and you are left thinking you could be getting something done a lot quicker if it was just you. Now, I have the opposite feeling and understand it is actually much harder to work alone because others cannot collobrate and supplement your weaknesses.

This year, I have been tasked with leading a social action project on my own, without a team. This at first was a bit of a struggle for me as I had become accustomed to the social action project format of collaborating with a team. While overwhelming, I believe that working alone is sometimes necessary. When in a team, I could rely on others to do things that were not my strength while I specifically focused my work on areas I knew I was already strong at. By working alone, I have had to learn how to not depend on others and get the ball moving on my project on my own.

There are important and necessary lessons learned when working both with a team and alone. While it is essential to be self-sufficient and know how to complete something on your own, I actually think it takes more leadership to be part of a group, because you’re interacting with others and can’t always have things your way. You have to learn how to be a good listener and be conscious of the space you might be consuming.

Dorothy Wordsworth and William Wordsworth both account the same experience under different literary works. Dorothy uses the prose form while William uses the poetry form. While the experience is the same, the writing illustrates different aspects of the experience. While Dorothy’s analysis is concrete, simple, and focused only on relaying the line of events and describing the experience, William’s writing is reflective, more abstract, and writes about the experience as well as it’s long-term implications. Poetry seems to reflect our experiences in abstract and artistic contexts. It is focused on drawing the themes and beauty out of experiences, while prose is often focused on intimately describing the details of an event or experience and then summarizing the implications. William’s writing is abstract and complex while Dorothy’s is concrete and simple (and impactful because of that). Still, despite the differences, there are many similarities between the writing. They both clearly appreciate artistic, descriptive riding of nature. They similarly describe the flowers as dancing and having life of their own. One of the main differences is that poetry is often forced to compact the words into smaller amounts, thus having to be concrete and particular with the vocabulary. While Dorothy says the dandelions “reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake,” William says “Ten thousand saw I at a glance, / Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”

Personally, I find myself more drawn to poetry. While I still enjoy prose, I find that poetry allows both writers and readers to explore the creative writing process with greater capabilities. I also think that poetry allows both writers and readers more room for personal interpretation and allows readers more opportunity to connect with the work. In my own personal experience, poetry is a more holistic artistic approach to summarizing and expressing one selves while prose is a bit more stoic and limited in it’s scope. By using literacy devices and carefully selected vocabulary, the message in poetry can be magnified over prose. Poetry can also entail performance such as in slam poetry, and I feel that poetry, while often abstract, is actually more accessible for broader audiences. That’s because it has more room for personal interpretation, typically is shorter then prose, and also incorporates other elements then just purely writing. Poetry requires more holistic creative vision, which I’ve experienced myself. In high school, I participated in competitive poetry competitions, which challenged us to not only focus on the writing aspect of literature but a holistic focus that included performative and audience perspectives.

Writing alone is one of the most foundational and effective ways to accomplish a litany of things. To start, writing clears your head. Most nights, I get a solid 6-8 hours of rolling around, hot, then cold, then hot again, until I finally can rest and fall asleep. One night, when I couldn’t bear the racing thoughts boiling in my mind anymore, I whipped out my computer and just started writing. I have no idea what I ended up writing, but I do remember immediately feeling much more relaxed, almost as if someone had drained all the little details of the day and anxieties for tomorrow that were clogging my brain. Writing is arguably the best outlet for frustration, stress, and confusion, as it forces us to confront our thoughts head-on while also relieving the stress that comes from keeping everything closed off inside. Writing not only allows us to release those pent-up thoughts but also understand, organize, and filter through them till we find clarity. My senior year, multiple incidents occurred on my speech and debate team that was quite unsettling and isolating. In the months following, I went through denial, anger, shock, and finally felt resolved after I poured my heart out into my CommonApp essay. I wrote and wrote and wrote about the event and how it impacted me. I learned so much about myself and about the incidents. It also brought me comfort and closure and ultimately writing the essay was how I shifted back to my better self. I was finally able to alleviate the frustration and misunderstandings, all because I unleashed everything I was feeling onto paper. While it may not work the same for everyone, picking up the pen and just putting your thoughts down can completely shift your mindset and allow you to understand multiple perspectives. Been going through it lately? Get to writing. You’ll feel better in an hour.

In this course, I hope to improve my technical writing skills while also finding ways to include my personal writing style and voice into professional and academic writing. For the latter, I feel that in academic settings I often will exclusively write in the style deemed appropriate for what I’m writing. For academic research papers, I adhere strictly to the style and tone typically associated with that type of writing, while with creative writing assignments, I adhere strictly to that style. I’ve tried to explore fusing the two and finding ways to incorporate aspects from opposite styles to strengthen whatever I’m writing, but I haven’t found the way to do that well just yet. I think blogging will definitely help that because blogging allows writers to use personal style and mix different types of tone and style based on what the writer is working on. I also hope to love writing the way I used to. For a long time, I would free write all the time just for myself and kept a log of everything I had written. Now, I often feel that I don’t have time to write or would rather do something less demanding when I have free time. This is also why I think blogging will be beneficial as blogging is not as tiresome as much academic writing is. I think that’s because it allows more individualism and is less about the strict rules of writing that academia often pushes in college courses.