Before Professor Long’s class, I have only been exposed to academic essays. I soon realized there were many more styles of writing that I have never seen. As an English major with a specialization in writing, I have several writing classes that have changed the way I view creative writing. The poetry courses I have taken have helped me immensely with understanding imagery and paying closer attention to the details in my writing. I even learned a bit about fiction in some of my creative writing courses, but I still had no idea what an essay was. I still felt creative writing was a completely separate entity than academic, or literary analytical writing. After reading pieces from essayists such as Montaigne and Annie Dillard, I have come to understand that when you combine aspects of creative writing and academic, or factual writing, you can create an “essay.” I have learned quite a bit in the writing theory course. I was previously not well-versed in the various types of essays. I can recall my grade school days where our teacher would ask us to write an essay about a book we were reading. The writing we did was always monotonous and none of us kids ever really built any creative skills from those assignments. Flash forward over a decade and I have finally learned that an essay doesn’t have to be a mundane task. I did not think it was possible for me to actually enjoy writing an essay, but here I am writing about all of the essays I enjoyed writing during this semester. I have taken many classes that I have claimed to enjoy, but Writing Theory was different for me. I truly feel that I was meant to take this class at this point in my life. I was really struggling to find my voice and I had no idea where to start. The beginning was pretty difficult for me. I couldn’t understand that we were just supposed to free-write. I felt like I was breaking all of the rules and I needed direction. Much like writing, the class was difficult until, suddenly, it wasn’t. I realized that I just had to let go and have some fun with it (eventually I did). I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn about a new genre of writing because I feel that I have a connection to writing essays and blog-style pieces. I had not heard my own voice through my writing until this very class, and I know that I will find a way to keep using it. I plan to start a blog of my own and continue improving my writing skills and personal tone. I also now have the capability to analyze an essay and understand what the writer is trying to accomplish or get across. I understand how to determine if an essay is working or not. It is refreshing to build a skill that I can use personally, academically, and professionally. I am excited to use what I have learned in writing theory in my last semester at Keene State College and beyond.