Preface

Laura Steele

If I needed to sum up my writing style in one word, it would have to be procrastination. The second word, closely following that previously mentioned, would be perfection. While each seems very different from the other, their combination can be almost fatal to a college student. I always try to stay on top of things and get things done on a schedule, but when it comes to compiling papers this never seems to work. It becomes too easy to just wait until the night before they are due. This is a habit I am working diligently to correct. Another issue of mine is my drive for perfection. I want the best word to accent a well structured sentence as part of a cohesive paragraph, ultimately leading to the "perfect" paper. Now one can see how merging both procrastination and perfection can cause some problems.

One of the biggest adjustments I have had to face with the transition from high school to college is finding a balance between the amounts of course work and all the different campus activities each day. As the year progressed, I became more aware of the balance needed to excel. This allowed me to spend more time finalizing key aspects of my writings while still enjoying college life. From a writer's perspective, I was able to assemble thoughtful, well researched, papers and have time to revise them.

The first paper I have included is titled "Hybridization of G. fortis with scandens and fuliginosa in Relation to Speciation and Darwinian Concepts." It proved a very difficult paper to complete, due to the degree of conclusions I had to make based on readings from the book "The Beak of The Finch." I was also given free reign to organize the necessary information in a manner that I felt best suited the message I was trying to get across. It took a class discussion after the first drafts were completed and multiple days of revision before I felt my final paper displayed everything accurately. This was the most difficult writing assignment I have encountered first semester, but it has helped me better prepare for similar papers in the future.

My second paper, another assignment from my FYS, is titled "The Darwinian Concept of Natural Selection as Supported by the Microevolution of Biston betularia." This paper had been designed to encompass many different concepts from class and assigned readings, while also including individual opinion on which example of microevolution provided the most compelling evidence. The biggest challenge for me was attempting to incorporate all the necessary information so that someone with no or minimal science background could understand all the key points. I found condensing the immense amount of resources and concepts very difficult, as I tend to find every minor detail relevant.

In addition to the two FYS papers selected, I chose to also attach a biology laboratory report. Although I was hesitant at first to enter it, I reached the conclusion that this paper really showcases my researching and analyzing skills. Throughout high school and other research opportunities, I wrote numerous reports and worked hard to develop my ability to write in a formal, scientific manner. I have known for a few years now that I have a passion for science and plan on majoring in this field while at Coe. The final decision to use this paper rests in the fact that I am proud of the amount of time and effort I put into it.

This portfolio divulges a great deal about my personality and who I am as an individual. All three selections are scientific based due to the fact that three out of my four classes fall under that category. Through the requirements for the papers and reports, I have enhanced my researching skills in the library and feel better prepared for future assignments. For the most part, I revealed my perfectionist drive by going beyond the required research to learn more about the topics. Many times this extra information was found in the library relatively close to closing time, an example of my procrastination issue. In the end I have always managed to find the right balance of procrastination and perfection to finish my work, and am slowly developing better habits with time. In all, I feel that though my writing may not have improved drastically over the past four months, I have gained knowledge that will help me over the next four years at Coe and beyond into the real world.

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