Prior to my enrollment into college, my reading skills were something that I would consider “inferior” to my peers. I can attribute this to my interest in reading being lower than most others. I could not concentrate on reading walls of text on a topic or concept that I could not wrap my head around because frankly, depending on the topic, I was disinterested. However, when I entered my first year of college, I realized that reading is an essential skill that everyone must excel in. I needed to work on my reading skills in order to flow through the advanced academics of college. My perspective as a reader is one that I believe I am currently in the infancy of its development. The first round of readings I took to practice with were the obligatory textbook readings from other classes which were not interesting at first but through perseverance, I understood them. The most influential factor to my development would have to be my current English and Writing class where we were provided readings and articles that I actually found interesting. I was able to reflect upon them and over my response to them easily because of the topics. Some of these readings included “McMansion Hell”, “The Land”, and Jane Jacob’s “Sidewalks”. The intertextual couplings that these readings speak to me is the understanding of the concept and ideologies of public space. I find that these readings really supported in the development of my perspective as a reader.
“The best sentences orient us, like stars in the sky, like landmarks on a trail.” Is a quote written by Jhumpa Lahiri in her written work “My Life’s Sentences” I completely agree with this quote because of how it captures the essence of the impact of a sentence on a person. I believe sentences should guide us to where it wants to and thus should be captivating to us. Personally, I have several sentences that I find to fit the criteria brought by Jhumpa Lahiri. The first sentence comes from a fortune cookie which is known to provide wise proverbs and sentences that give some short-term perspective. My most recent one says, “Perceived failure is oftentimes a success trying to be born in a bigger way”. I find this concept to be true sometimes in life and the story that this sentence is trying to orient is that if you face failure, it should be seen as a catalyst for success. Another sentence is one that comes from a song that I listen to often titled “Come Thru” by Joji, where at the end of the chorus the lyric goes “But you are better by default”. This sentence I find striking and orienting because the story it clearly tells is that despite trying to change yourself to appease others, it is safe to just be yourself. The last sentence is also a lyric that states “Keep your hopes up high and your head down low”. It is clear to see how this orients a reader because of its clear meaning, that being, to keep your hopes up while in your lowest points because it gets better soon. Overall, these sentences are clearly orienting and tell a story that affects me as a reader.
Throughout my first semester in college, the most influential class I believe is my reading and writing class where we mold our reading and writing skills to fit the college narrative and criteria. This is the point where we “evolve” our skills in a more complex manner. In the duration of the first semester in this class, we have had several readings and writings to work with and I believe they do support us to increase our skills. In the reading “If Black English isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is?” by James Baldwin, it elaborates on the concept of language being “a political instrument, means and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity, and connects on with, or divorces one from, the larger public or communal identity.” I highly agree with this concept because it has me understand how complex and important language is to us as humans. Over the course of this semester in the reading and writing class I believe that this concept from James Baldwin can also be applied to my readings and writings. The readings this semester have been all based on architecture and design where they talk about personal connections and ideologies of spaces. These readings include “The Land”, “Beloved Enemy”, “McMansion Hell”, and “The Life and Death of American Cities”, where I believe they have connected me to the greater world because I was able to understand the concepts these readings provided and apply them to the world around me. My writings have also connected me to the greater world because I was able to articulate and reflect upon my experiences that connect to the world. Overall, my readings and writings have connected me closer to the greater world.