Allen’s Portfolio

Retrace Backwards


I‌ ‌was‌ ‌not‌ ‌always‌ ‌a‌ ‌confident‌ ‌writer.‌ ‌I‌ ‌always‌ ‌thought‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌much‌ ‌more‌ ‌confident‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ mathematics‌ ‌field.‌ ‌My‌ ‌journey‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌writer‌ ‌starts‌ ‌pretty‌ ‌late,‌ ‌it‌ ‌wasn’t‌ ‌until‌ ‌my‌ ‌junior‌ ‌of‌ ‌high‌ school‌ ‌where‌ ‌I‌ ‌found‌ ‌my‌ ‌real‌ ‌passion‌ ‌for‌ ‌writing.‌ ‌It‌ ‌was‌ ‌during‌ ‌the‌ ‌time‌ ‌where‌ ‌I‌ ‌had‌ ‌to‌ ‌prepare‌ ‌a‌ college‌ ‌essay‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌admissions‌ ‌process.‌ ‌During‌ ‌this‌ ‌process,‌ ‌I‌ ‌went‌ ‌through‌ ‌two‌ ‌different‌ essays.‌ ‌The‌ ‌first‌ ‌essay‌ ‌I‌ ‌wrote‌ ‌was‌ ‌short,‌ ‌boring,‌ ‌and‌ ‌cliche.‌ ‌I‌ ‌only‌ ‌brought‌ ‌up‌ ‌my‌ ‌family,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ had‌ ‌no‌ ‌context‌ ‌about‌ ‌myself‌ ‌like‌ ‌the‌ ‌colleges‌ ‌wanted.‌ ‌I‌ ‌knew‌ ‌I‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌something‌ ‌different.‌ While‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌writing‌ ‌my‌ ‌second‌ ‌version‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌college‌ ‌essay,‌ ‌I‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌how‌ ‌I‌ ‌could‌ separate‌ ‌my‌ ‌life‌ ‌into‌ ‌different‌ ‌portions.‌ ‌My‌ ‌childhood,‌ ‌my‌ ‌upbringing,‌ ‌and‌ ‌my‌ ‌future.‌  
I‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌each‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌life,‌ ‌and‌ ‌how‌ ‌they‌ ‌affected‌ ‌me.‌ ‌I‌ ‌saw‌ ‌my‌ ‌childhood‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ utopia,‌ ‌where‌ ‌things‌ ‌were‌ ‌amazing,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌completely‌ ‌happy.‌ ‌My‌ ‌upbringing‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌dystopia,‌ where‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌constantly‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌harsh‌ ‌battle‌ ‌with‌ ‌myself,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌things‌ ‌around‌ ‌me.‌ ‌Finally,‌ ‌I‌ ‌see‌ ‌my‌ future‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌neutropia.‌ ‌This‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌time‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌life‌ ‌where‌ ‌both‌ ‌the‌ ‌good‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌bad‌ ‌come‌ ‌together‌ to‌ ‌become‌ ‌one.‌ ‌While‌ ‌writing‌ ‌this,‌ ‌my‌ ‌imagination‌ ‌ran‌ ‌wild.‌ ‌This‌ ‌was‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌knew‌ ‌I‌ ‌had‌ ‌a‌ ‌true‌ passion‌ ‌for‌ ‌writing,‌ ‌and‌ ‌letting‌ ‌my‌ ‌words‌ ‌on‌ ‌paper‌ ‌fuel‌ ‌my‌ ‌imagination.‌ ‌I‌ ‌asked‌ ‌my‌ ‌friends‌ ‌and‌ my‌ ‌peers‌ ‌to‌ ‌review‌ ‌my‌ ‌writing‌ ‌and‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌all‌ ‌pretty‌ ‌impressed‌ ‌with‌ ‌it.‌ ‌There’s‌ ‌just‌ ‌this‌ ‌feeling‌ you‌ ‌get‌ ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌just‌ ‌know‌ ‌you’ve‌ ‌written‌ ‌something‌ ‌amazing.‌ 
I‌ ‌was‌ ‌extremely‌ ‌proud‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌work‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌felt‌ ‌so‌ ‌satisfied‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌finally‌ ‌submitted‌ ‌my‌ ‌work‌ to‌ ‌my‌ ‌colleges.‌ ‌I‌ ‌can‌ ‌tell‌ ‌that‌ ‌my‌ ‌colleges‌ ‌felt‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌way‌ ‌about‌ ‌my‌ ‌writing‌ ‌because‌ ‌although‌ my‌ ‌grades‌ ‌were‌ ‌shabby,‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌accepted‌ ‌to‌ ‌basically‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌ones‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌applied‌ ‌to.‌ ‌Throughout‌ this‌ ‌process,‌ ‌I‌ ‌learned‌ ‌that‌ ‌if‌ ‌I’m‌ ‌confident‌ ‌about‌ ‌my‌ ‌writing,‌ ‌it’ll‌ ‌translate‌ ‌onto‌ ‌the‌ ‌paper‌ ‌and‌ cause‌ ‌my‌ ‌writing‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌more‌ ‌meaning.‌ ‌This‌ ‌essentially‌ ‌pushed‌ ‌me‌ onto‌ ‌loving‌ ‌writing‌ and‌ ‌becoming‌ ‌a‌ ‌much‌ ‌better‌ ‌writer.‌  
Thinking‌ ‌back,‌ ‌there‌ ‌were‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌experiences‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌had‌ ‌where‌ ‌I‌ ‌saw‌ ‌how‌ ‌much‌ ‌I‌ loved‌ ‌writing.‌ ‌Back‌ ‌in‌ ‌middle‌ ‌school,‌ ‌I‌ ‌had‌ ‌written‌ ‌a‌ ‌poem,‌ ‌and‌ ‌it‌ ‌was‌ ‌one‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌proud‌ ‌of.‌ ‌It‌ was‌ ‌a‌ ‌poem‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌importance‌ ‌of‌ ‌family.‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌never‌ ‌really‌ ‌praised‌ ‌that‌ ‌much‌ ‌on‌ ‌my‌ ‌writing since‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌more‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌math‌ ‌guy,‌ ‌but‌ ‌I‌ ‌remember‌ ‌this‌ being‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌times‌ ‌that‌ ‌my‌ ‌teacher‌ ‌ was‌ ‌impressed‌ ‌with‌ ‌my‌ ‌writing.‌ ‌Being‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌write‌ ‌about‌ ‌things‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌hold‌ ‌close‌ ‌to‌ ‌myself‌ ‌is‌ ‌really‌ ‌important‌ ‌to‌ ‌me‌ ‌because‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌few‌ ‌ways‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌can‌ ‌express‌ ‌myself.‌ 
All‌ ‌in‌ ‌all,‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌never‌ ‌really‌ ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌writer‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌world,‌ ‌but‌ ‌I‌ ‌always‌ ‌enjoyed‌ ‌writing‌ about‌ ‌emotional‌ ‌things‌ ‌and‌ ‌things‌ ‌that‌ ‌required‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌dig‌ ‌deeper‌ ‌into‌ ‌your‌ ‌mind.‌ ‌Family‌ ‌and‌ ‌friendships‌ ‌are‌ ‌two‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌favorite‌ ‌topics‌ ‌to‌ ‌write‌ ‌about.‌ ‌Going‌ ‌forward,‌ ‌I‌ ‌plan‌ ‌to‌ ‌become‌ ‌a‌ ‌stronger‌ ‌writer‌ ‌and‌ ‌somehow‌ ‌manage‌ ‌to‌ ‌express‌ ‌my‌ ‌feelings‌ ‌with‌ ‌different‌ ‌styles‌ ‌of‌ ‌writing.‌ 
Something‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌look‌ ‌forward‌ ‌to‌ ‌is‌ ‌writing‌ ‌more‌ ‌poems‌ ‌and‌ ‌stories.‌ 

Retrace Forward

In the future, I want to be able to expand my vocabulary and construct sentences that flow smoothly. Whenever I’m doing any form of classwork or homework, I feel like I’m unable to create interesting sentences that people can really relate to.  I constantly feel lost whenever I write and experience writer’s block constantly. Since I’ve come to Baruch, I’ve been feeling this way, whether it’s for homework or classwork. One class session, you showed us this text about how even the best writers don’t have the perfect first drafts. I’ve been taking these words to mind and I’m trying to be more patient with myself when it comes to writing. However, when I constantly feel lost throughout my writing, and I’m just writing words with no direction, I feel extremely shitty about myself. Something that I want to ask you is how you get through writer’s block when you experience it. Maybe you don’t experience it as much as I do, but what advice would you give me to get over it. For the future, I want to create a habit to write constantly. Outside of school, I don’t write at all, and I feel like creating a habit to write would help me a lot.

Something that gave me this newfound interest is the Teju Cole diaries that you showed me during class. Another thing that influenced my writing as I grew up is how I used to write with pen and paper, and now I’ve been typing all of my writing out. I feel as if my thoughts come together much easier when I feel my hands moving and my thoughts flowing. I just feel as if this is a matter of me having to adapt to things as I grow older. In my future classes at Baruch, I want to be able to write freely about my passions and what I want. When I write about something I’m passionate about such as discrimination or hate, I feel like I can write about it for hours. When I’m forced to write about a specific topic and placed under certain guidelines, I often find myself struggling to write more.

Retrace Outward

While I was finishing up my Layers Project, there were a few things that I noticed within my classmates that I didn’t necessarily see within my own writing. The first thing that I noticed was that my classmates tended to write much longer sentences than me when emphasizing an idea. In my writing, I liked to write shorter sentences. This is because I feel as if I’m able to get my point across with fewer words. Sometimes, less words can mean much more. However, I do feel like this may be an issue that I should improve on in the future. Writing fewer words about a certain situation can sometimes cause me to forget about what I wrote about when I review my paper afterward.

Within my community, I feel as if I’m an OK writer, and I have some stuff to improve on. Specifically, on this project, I felt as if I was constantly losing my train of thought and I didn’t have enough content to write about. Obviously, the topic that I chose is one that can be talked about for hours and hours, but because I chose a specific timeline, it was a little more difficult to write about. I had to relate all of my sources and ideas into the same main idea, and it took a bit of thinking. At the start of this project, I was less educated about my topic than I was at the end. Even after I had my sources from the Librarian, I did additional research on my own in order to write a better paper. Even while I was in the middle of writing my paper, I’d occasionally find a new source and use the information. This gives me the idea that there’s always more to learn even if you feel like you know everything.

Retrace Inward

Writing is one of the most powerful things that humans have access to. It’s a way of expression, as well as a way of understanding how to express. From a young age, we’re taught how to read, and in each book, there’s a storyline. The emotions that these stories come with teach us how to express feelings, and how these fictional characters overcome boundaries. With that being said, I don’t think my writing is up to par with these stories. However, I know that if there’s a will, then there’s a way. There’s potential in my writing, and I know that over time, I’ll be able to express myself through it. When I read the writing of my peers, I always feel like I fell short of the expectations. I feel unsatisfied with my work, and I really do want to improve. Even though this is my thought process, I’m still understanding and respectful to myself. I know that the way I grew up and the way my peers grew up are completely different from one another. The resources that other people had access to aren’t the same as those that I had access to. I know that compared to others, my writing might not be the best, but to me, it’s the best that I can do. Every time I write, whether it’s for class, or for myself, I put all of my efforts into it, and oftentimes, it shows.


There are still things that I’m aware that I can improve on. If I try to use more bold and striking words, I know that my writing begins to take shape. If someone were to read the way that I write, they probably wouldn’t think much of it. It’d probably be a quick read that they wouldn’t think twice about. I’m not saying that my writing is terrible, but it definitely wouldn’t leave a lasting impression on them. There are so many stories out there like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson that leave a life-long impression on me. That’s what I want my readers to feel when they’re faced with my writing. With that being said, from now on, I’ll have to expand my vocabulary and my storytelling to captivate my audience. When my peers review my work, I hope that they’ll be able to learn something from me just like how I learn from them. Even while writing this assignment, I can see my flaws. The repetition in my writing has become a sort of second nature to me. I tend to repeat the same points over and over again, and it’s something I have to work on. Usually, when I’m writing, I tend to focus on the completion of the assignment, and not on the completion of my writing. A lot of the time, this leaves an incomplete feeling to my writing.


From now on, there are a few things that I’m going to improve. Like I’ve been repeating time and time again, I have to work on repetition (Ironic). Expanding my vocabulary is one of my biggest priorities to improve my writing, and it’ll allow me to use words that are filled with more emotion. Although I feel unsatisfied with my work when I compare it with others, I’m going to continue to improve, and it’ll only get better. “The pen is mightier than the sword,” author Edward Bulwer-Lytton once said. This statement, which was said over 10 decades ago, somehow still stays relevant today. The words that I write on the paper unconsciously are the words that I need to consider.s