I think one of my favorite pieces in my portfolio is the “Reflection on Tea Poetry”. I say “favorite” because I am not certain that it is actually my best work. I do know it is my most daring work, however. I like this piece because I really explored the nature of one of the poems we read in class. I discovered much more in that poem than I expected by using the “method” on it. I am not certain all of the ideas I had are entirely valid, but I was excited by what I found. I spent extra time writing my reflection because I was so interested in the subject matter, and I think I was able to portray my ideas about the poem clearly. I think what makes this a good piece is my attention and care to explaining each idea and the thought behind them.
The piece I struggled with was the “Reflection on Chanoyu”. There were a few reasons I struggled with this one. When I first started writing it, I was excited about what I planned to discuss, but by the end I didn’t think I had achieved what I set out accomplish in that piece. Also, I don’t think what I wrote is very clear. I think this is partially due to the fact that the subject I tackled was too large to cover adequately in a 2-paragraph reflection (as is, it’s 5 short paragraphs). Also, I think I may have tried to draw too much of a connection between the FYS and my anthropology class. I had to spend so much time trying to explain the significance of anthropological terms that I was unable to really explore their significance in the context of Okakura’s article, which is what I wanted to discuss. If I was going to rewrite this reflection, I would need to choose a small part of my original topic to discuss. That would probably give me enough subject matter to explore without overloading the reflection with unnecessary information.
Overall, I think my portfolio is in decent shape. I have completed everything that is supposed to be in the portfolio, and I have taken time to edit and rewrite certain pieces that needed adjustment. The one thing I think I should work on is the length of my pieces. I didn’t realize until I went back to review my portfolio how much I had written. Most of my pieces are twice as long as the prompts said they should be. I do not think I used empty words—I think everything I wrote has substance—but most of my pieces are still too long.