This book was a year and a half in the making, six full months longer than I thought it would take. I began my master’s work in January of 2011, but circumstances in my personal life created a turbulent learning environment. Amidst a daily routine of working, parenting, surviving, and occasionally crying, I tried to complete my studies. I traveled across the united states three times. I took more courses than these essays represent. I failed one course, and dropped out of four of them. Still, on August 11, 2012 I participated in my graduation ceremony and closed that chapter of my life.
Organizing this book presented a unique challenge. While my undergraduate work consisted mainly of various styles of writing, my graduate work focused on pedagogy, highly specific literary genres, and the unique challenges faced by second language learners.
I considered organizing this book the same way as the previous one, but realized quickly that this would prove more difficult, time consuming, and confusing than it was worth. A friend suggested organizing the book by literary genre and ESL-specific topics, but that seems like a divisive book. It was also suggested that I organize the book chronologically, to show changes in writing styles and improvements in knowledge. While seemingly an interesting approach, I realized that my writing style had not changed all that much.
Maybe I could organize it by course or even alphabetically after that, or maybe I could simply leave the essays as is and hope my readers appreciated the random as an adequate representation of my personality. I decided that my best approach would be to simply slap the essays into the book, in whatever order they appeared in my files on my computer.
I hope readers will enjoy what they read. I hope scholars and casual readers alike will find use for this book. I hope those with a penchant for editing will feel no shame about contacting me through various venues to complain about this or that error or overlooked research element.
Readers should note that this is not intended to be both the second and last book in my Essays I Wrote In College series. I fully intend to pursue a juris doctorate or a PhD or both in the coming years. I am also quite aware that a scholar’s work is never done—as a faculty member in most universities I will be expected or in some cases required to conduct further research and complete further essays or book-length works. While a doctoral dissertation could not feasibly be pasted into a section of a book like this, shorter essays written while in pursuit of such a degree could.
The essays in this book range in length. Some were merely three MLA formatted 8.5”x11” pages when originally submitted for grading. Others were significantly longer. Should my former professors pick up a copy of this book, they will likely note that some essays I wrote seem to be missing; this is not an intentional oversight—my computer seems to have eaten some of my files.
Another way I chose to change the format of this book is to avoid explaining the context of the text. Each essay is was obviously written for a class, the subject matter of the essay can inform the reader as to the type of class. My bibliography includes books which were read, referenced, or used for research.