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            I have taken enough time to look back at how I have developed as a writer during the first year. I can say with confidence that even though I may not be a perfect writer at the moment, I have gained remarkable writing skills during the year. I have put a lot of efforts throughout the year to improve the writing skills and am sure that the skills are going to be very helpful during the rest of my studies. I have learned many things about writing and am still focusing on gaining more skills, experience, and knowledge in the future.
When I joined the first year, I was confused like many others in the same class, and I did not know what to expect and what was expected of me with regard to writing. The initial assignments during the first are actually examples of poor writing. I acknowledge that fluency in English especially when writing was a challenge to me, and the problem is illustrated by the initial assignments. The assignments are full of grammatical errors since I had never put adequate efforts to ensure that I eliminate the errors in writing. As it can be noted from the initial assignments, I was not skilled in formal writing, and thus, I often used spoken language when engaging in formal writing. Although I had been introduced to what plagiarism means, I did not have skills and experience to avoid it, and thus, my initial assignments had instances of plagiarism. Even when I did not plagiarize, I did not have adequate skills in referencing and adding citations to text, and thus, I ended up plagiarizing without my intention to do so. I did not have the experience to do research beyond what we were taught in class and thus, I concentrated on what I had learned in class when doing the assignments. Also, I did not have skills in critical and creative writing. The issues mentioned above, among others, had adverse impacts on my grades.
After acknowledging the weaknesses I had in writing, I put a lot of efforts to improve it. I had to work hard to improve in all critical areas throughout. To start with, I started reading extra books, especially novels, during the part time. Doing so helped to improve fluency in English. Writing class assignments and course works helped to improve the fluency of English when writing throughout the first year. Continuous reading and writing throughout the year, with more emphasis on proofreading, enabled me to reduce grammatical errors. Although the skills in formal writing occurred naturally, I had put some efforts initially to find its difference with spoken writing. To deal with the problem of plagiarism, I read the resources that had been provided by the tutor about its meaning and how to avoid it. I had to read the sources many times to understand it. Extra sources from the internet significantly helped me to improve in that area. For instance, I browsed the internet regularly to determine different formatting styles, such as the MLA and APA styles. I experienced challenges in applying them well, but my skills are still growing. Putting in-text citations to avoid plagiarism has not been a major problem, but I am yet to be perfect in referencing the sources I use in different editions of MLA and APA formatting styles. Despite this, I have learned different skills, such as paraphrasing, that enable me to avoid plagiarism.
Putting efforts to improve my research skills has been very instrumental in the process of improving my writing. Since the time I learned that the internet contains all information I need, I have been reading extra sources from there throughout, in addition to the course readings. Before going to the internet, however, I have been searching information in sources contained in school databases. I have learned the differences between scholarly and non-scholarly sources. My interest in writing has enabled me to learn and to practice creative writing. Also, reading and writing have helped me to sharpen my critical reading and writing skills, although I may not consider myself perfect in that area. Despite this, I have learned how to criticize the ideas of others when reading and writing. I have been practicing to apply critical analysis skills I gain when writing my assignments. An important thing I have learned from the extra reading is to never relent in improving my skills. I have learned what life-long learning means and how to apply it in my life. Thus, I plan to continue sharpening my writing skills and knowledge even after completing my studies.
From my experience, the process of improving writing skills involves many challenges, but everybody can achieve the desired improvement. What the new students need to know is that they should not relent in improving the skills and thus, they should continuously focus on overcoming the challenges. They should understand that overcoming the challenges is not the end. Instead, they should focus on becoming perfect.