Coming into college, I had always responded to the questions of what school subjects I enjoy, and those where I don’t particularly like as much the same way. Math and social studies with those I did. Then the whole broad spectrum of English sat on its own. I’ve never been that interested in the subject because of being the type of person who wants one definite answer to every problem. Whereas in English, and writing especially, you can approach a piece of work in many ways. There’s no A+B=C, and that’s that, no ifs ands or buts.

Then I took this Writing 100 course to start freshmen year here at UofM, I had some doubts. It wasn’t exactly on the top of my list for classes I was looking forward to taking. But, as the semester moved forward, my mind shift away from that original thought. Starting off with the first day of class. When we received our syllabus and I realized it wasn’t going to be as I planned out in my mind. I had thought of the course as coming to class for an hour having a topic to write about in a certain style and at the end we would be judged on if it was college material or not. Being told what we did wrong and not how to actually correct it with feedback from the instructor and peers.

As we did more in class, I became more confident in the different ways to approach a paper or writing assignment in general. I actually felt as if I was dictating the the things I was writing. Compared to always being told to put this sentence here or a paragraph needs start there. Instead of being instructed to change something, I was also told why the phrase or point needed to be changed compared to the rest of my paper.

The point in the semester where I really started to open up as a writer is probably in my cultural analysis essay. What helped most in that particular writing was the fact that the paper was totally up to us. As long as it related to today’s culture, all was free game. From the topic, to the style, to how in depth it went. Because of the open ended assignment, I had to really think about what I was writing and use my own ideas and words. Add in the aspect of “showing” that we learned where appropriate. Keep the casual tone throughout the whole piece. Which I probably had the hardest time doing. But, overall, I seemed to do the best with this assignment and hope to take that level of writing into the next semester in English 125.

With all that being said, I feel the Writing 100 course has helped me a great deal. Or at least as much as it can in one semester of taking it. Moving forward, I have more confidence in moving my way through a paper with the same high level of writing I’m capable of. In the end, I’m happy I was able to take this class to help myself become accustomed to college level writing.


Modern Times

Modern Times is one of Charlie Chaplin’s movies set in the Great Depression. In the film, Chaplin criticized that society was controlled by labor. What gets Chaplin’s character in trouble to start off the movie is that his job of tightening screws day in and out causes him to tighten anything in sight. Eventually he chases a woman with buttons on her dress down the street, trying to tighten them with his wrenches. This is just one example of how the movie criticized society of being controlled of labor without a worry of the workers themselves.

In the first few scenes of the movie, there is a “feeding machine” brought into the factory by a few salesmen. They presented their product to the boss of the factory in hopes that he would like their idea and have it be manufactured there. The idea behind the feeding machine is that it will feed the worker so the lunch break can be abolished and workers can continue their job, creating more money for the owner.  The boss is intrigued by the idea and has it tested out on Chaplin’s character himself. The machine fails miserably, causing Charlie to have soup poured on him and be half beaten by the machine itself. All meanwhile, the boss just stands back and watches without any hesitation to stop it. He lets it continue until he wants nothing to do with the machine. Never giving a thought to how it affected Charlie in any. All he had to say was he was uninterested, to clean up the mess and get back to work.

Another instance of capitalist control is when Charlie gets stuck in the middle of a workers march demanding better pay and working conditions. Moments after being caught up in the march, Chaplin is arrested simply for leading a peaceful march for equality. Or so he was framed as doing. He was jailed for voicing his opinion against the wrongdoings of capitalism. Proving that those who had all the money were able to control the law as well as workers with their wealth and power.

The start of this movie alone, with the workers being herded like cattle into the factories does enough to show how society was being driven by labor working tirelessly without compensation during the Great Depression. Charlie Chaplin effectively shows this not only visually, but with the audio as well. Or lack thereof from the workers to make a point that their voice didn’t matter, only the boss had the final say in things. Modern Times’ comical scenes brings light to a very real problem facing factory workers during the Great Depression.

Resting The Right Way

My audience is your average college student or young adult who casually comes across the essay. Weather they find it on a blog or other social media site. Most likely, it would not appear on a journal website nor newspaper. I would assume the readers to stop and look through my essay. The majority of my problems came in the beginning of my essay. I had trouble coming up with a topic for my essay in the beginning. I also had trouble with getting my opening paragraph to sound how I wanted and making the rest of the paper flow along. Keeping a more casual tone was also a problem at times, which is one of the weaknesses of the essay. A strength of my paper would be that is have many examples of how sleeping is beneficial. My being a student-athlete who needs to get good sleep to perform well in practice. Because my essay is very casual the sources are referenced within the text and I have a few of them posted below. Enjoy!


While we may not often think about why we sleep, most of us acknowledge at some level that sleep makes us feel better. We feel more alert, more energetic, happier, and better able to function following a good night of sleep. As a college athlete, I know first-hand how hard a practice can be the day after getting little to no sleep the night before. However, the fact that sleep makes us feel better and that going without sleep makes us feel worse only begins to explain why sleep might be necessary. Getting enough sleep is essential to living a healthy lifestyle.

One way to think about the function of sleep is to compare it to another part of our lives: eating. We’ve all had those late night munchies where, for whatever reason, we consume anything we can get our hands on. When, not surprisingly, the two are much related. Both eating and sleeping are regulated by powerful internal drives. Going without food produces the uncomfortable sensation of hunger, while going without sleep obviously makes us feel sleepy. And just as eating relieves hunger, sleeping relieves sleepiness. Still, the question remains: Why do we need sleep at all? Is there a single primary function of sleep, or does sleep serve many functions?

Scientists have explored the question of why we sleep from many different angles. They have examined what happens when humans or other animals are deprived of sleep. In other studies, they have looked at sleep patterns in a variety of organisms to see if similarities or differences among species might show something about sleep’s functions. Yet, despite decades of research and many discoveries about other aspects of sleep, the question of why we sleep has been difficult to answer.

The lack of a clear answer to this question does not mean that this research has been a waste of time. In fact, we now know much more about sleep in general, and scientists have developed several promising theories to explain why we sleep. In light of the evidence they have gathered, it seems likely that no single theory will ever be proven correct. Instead, we may find that sleep is explained by two or more of these explanations. The hope is that by better understanding why we sleep, we will learn to understand sleep’s functions more and enjoy the health benefits it affords.

One of the earliest theories of sleep, sometimes called the adaptive or evolutionary theory, suggests that inactivity at night is an adaptation that served a survival function by keeping organisms out of harm’s way at times when they would be particularly vulnerable. The theory suggests that animals that were able to stay still and quiet during these periods of vulnerability had an advantage over other animals that remained active. These animals did not have accidents during activities in the dark, for example, and were not killed by predators. Through natural selection, this behavioral strategy presumably evolved to become what we now recognize as sleep. A simple counter-argument to this theory is that it is always safer to remain conscious in order to be able to react to an emergency (even if lying still in the dark at night). Thus, there does not seem to be any advantage of being unconscious and asleep if safety is paramount.

Although it may be less apparent to people living in societies in which food sources are plentiful, one of the strongest factors in natural selection is competition for and effective utilization of energy resources. The energy conservation theory suggests that the primary function of sleep is to reduce an individual’s energy demand and expenditure during part of the day or night, especially at times when it is least efficient to search for food.

Research has also shown that energy metabolism is significantly reduced during sleep. For example, both body temperature and caloric demand decrease during sleep. Such evidence supports the proposition that one of the primary functions of sleep is to help organisms conserve their energy resources. Many scientists consider this theory to be related to, and part of, the inactivity theory.

What seems to be the biggest explanation for why we sleep is based on the long-held belief that sleep serves to restore what is lost in the body while we are awake. Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself. In recent years, these ideas have gained support from empirical evidence collected in human and animal studies. The most striking of these is that animals deprived entirely of sleep lose all immune function and die in just a matter of weeks. This is further supported by findings that many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release usually occur during sleep.

In addition to sleeping at night, there are always the mid-day naps you’re always trying to fit in. Naps are split into three main groups: planned, emergency, and habitual. Planned comes into play when you set a specific time aside to sleep, before you’re tired knowing you will be sleep deprived in the future without it. Emergency is when drowsiness keeps you from being able to function at your normal capacity. Lastly, habitual is practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time every day. Any one of these short naps of 20-30 minutes is said to have a great improvement on alertness and performance with making you feel groggy.

Furthermore, short naps during the day can help you at night while driving. Most people are aware that driving while sleepy is extremely dangerous. Still, many drivers press on when they feel drowsy in spite of the risks, putting themselves and others in harm’s way. While getting a full night’s sleep before driving is the ideal, taking a short nap before can reduce a person’s risk of having an accident.

Depending on the person, a regular day’s work may cause fatigue and performance impairments, especially for night shift workers. In a 2006 study, researchers at the Sleep Medicine and Research Center affiliated with St. John’s Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO, looked at the effectiveness of taking naps and consuming caffeine to cope with sleepiness during the night shift. They found that both naps and caffeine improved alertness and performance among night shift workers and that the combination of naps and caffeine had the most beneficial effect. James K. Walsh, PhD, one of the researchers who conducted the study, explains, “Because of the body’s propensity for sleep at night, being alert and productive on the night shift can be challenging, even if you’ve had enough daytime sleep.” “Napping before work combined with consuming caffeine while on the job is an effective strategy for remaining alert on the night shift.”

Discovery Fit & Health suggests that if you find you need a nap every day, take it at the same time so your body can develop a rhythm that incorporates the nap. If you try to take a nap but are unable to sleep, simply resting with your eyes closed may help restore some alertness and energy. It’s also possible to use naps to temper the negative effects of an anticipated sleep deficit. For instance, if you know you are going to be up late because of special plans, take a prolonged nap of two to three hours earlier in the day. This has been shown to reduce fatigue at the normal bedtime and improve alertness, although it may throw off your normal sleep rhythm temporarily.

In today’s world, we always hear about staying up all night and having the time of our lives. Or the common phrase of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” When in reality, we need that sleep to keep us going.  As college students and young adults, there are always going to be those days where we do stay up and don’t get as much as we most likely need. But, on the other hand, without it, we wouldn’t be able to function as well as we can. So, next time you are feeling exhausted or tired in that lecture hall, go ahead and doze off for a bit. Who knows, maybe the time you gave your brain to rest will result in knowing everything you just missed.

Rembert Browne

Browne does a good job of keeping the flow and tone of the article somewhat casual while also making his own point. He keeps the topic from becoming uncomfortable for anyone to read. He brings up a good point with the Samuel L. Jackson interview, that none of what is being brought out into the public is new. It just hasn’t been shown or critiqued by the media or public on a large scale. Browne finishes with a good question of not if but when this dilemma will be resolved.


I personally enjoyed the article. Even though I have a twitter myself, i have to agree with what he is trying to discretely say. Most of what people say on twitter is pointless and makes you think, “Who really cares?”. It is somewhat ironic at that end though that he posts his own twitter handle. Overall I enjoyed reading the article!

You Are Not Special

I had watched this in my economics class last year and have to say there is a lot of truth behind it. It is rather brutal, but very accurate. When you look at the big picture, you really aren’t special in the place you’re currently in. There is always going to be someone just as good if not better at something. It’s all about how you differ yourself. There is probably an endless number of Valid Victorians at Michigan, but come graduation, only one can be it. Everyone is competing against each other, not only in school, but in the world in general. You are not special unless you differentiate yourself from everyone else.

Sandra Cisneros

The tone for this article is somewhat humble. She was always waiting for her father’s approval, being left in the shadows of her brothers, and then at the very end he is proud of what his daughter has wrote. It’s a good story for anyone who might be in college right now, trying to major in something their parents might not care for. That if you do your best and keep working toward your goals, one day it will all be worth it.