College Composition & Research

Portfolio: Joshanna Johnson

As part of the dual-enrollment course offered my North Central Missouri College, we had to cover a broad range of papers and essays. From the Self-Reflection Essay to the Argumentative Essay, all assignments I've done are within this portfolio. They are framed by flowers that represent the relaxing atmosphere used for writing and reading.

Self-Reflective Essay

i used specific and in-depth writing to create a self-reflective letter that covered the course of my writing for this class. I had to evaluate the writing process of the class and evaluate my strengths and weaknesses in my overall writing. The letter was addressed to our professor, Dr. Jill Watkins.

Pre-Write/Post-Write Essay

Facing Fatality

My great-grandmother was a special person to me. She may as well have been my only grandparent. Many of my other relatives who might have claimed that title were either deceased before I was born, or they wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. Because of this, I affectionately called my great-grandmother Grandma. In my heart resides the recollections of her, slowly fading to the steady passage of time. Unfortunately, my last clear memory of her would be the news I received of her death, seeing her body one last time, and attending that mournful funeral.

I was informed of the sorrowful news on a rather dreary day. About two years ago, in September - the exact date slips my mind - I arrived home on the bus at the usual time. The air was still warm with hints of cold, but the season was steadily, inexorably changing to fall. I entered the front door to meet the typical, excited welcome of my black shih-tzu dog Oliver. However, Mom was rather grim. Eventually, she relayed the dark news. Grandma was gone from this life. It hit my heart like a club, completely unexpected. At first, I thought it was impossible. I knew Grandma had been struggling, but somehow she would always pull through whenever she got sick or had a stroke. She hadn’t this time. I didn’t cry right away. Perhaps I hadn’t quite accepted it and was protected, for the moment, by disbelief.

A few days after the news, the visitation took place. The room was crammed with people. I didn’t even know most of them. I was in that room with so many strangers. I knew there were too many unknown faces from people we had never truly been connected with. These unrecognized people were all here for one reason - Grandma’s death. We lined up and walked along to observe her pale, lifeless body within the coffin. It looked fake to me but horribly real. The tears hit me suddenly then, and I started sobbing softly. Maybe this was odd; I was the girl who didn’t cry quite as often as she could. The pain and the regret of not seeing Grandma more often - either as a kid or teenager - clawed at me. I missed her terribly. Mom comforted me by saying, “She’s in a better place now.” However, I would need much more time to accept this.

After that, I remember going to our car to line up for the funeral procession. The body was loaded into the hearse escorted by the police officers. I waited in the car. Dad sat in the driver’s seat while Mom sat in the passenger seat, staring out at the cars lining up. She commented along the lines of, “look at their newer cars, and we’re the ones with the older one.” The mundane words helped take my mind from the situation. My dad responded, “I bet ours is still better though, with all the computer-crap they put in the newer ones.” My parents have a more old-fashioned view on modern technology. I smiled, comforted by the typical exchange. The procession took the highway, and it was a strange feeling to be in one; this was the only procession I’d been in with the deceased being someone I deeply cared about. Upon arrival at the cemetery and the exit of our vehicles, we gathered around the coffin, which had been placed above it’s hole. I saw the flowered lid, and I started crying again. I was not ashamed. This was a time to cry. I let the tears flow and didn’t try to stop them. My sister put an arm around my shoulder. “It’s okay,” she said, but there were tears in her eyes too. The pastor said his words, and we listened in silent contemplation. Then, almost as if the time were intent on leaving us all behind, it was over and done with. Casual conversation ensued, but I don’t remember any of it. I remember, though, that the sun was shining bright, and the wind was warm. It had been much too nice a day for a funeral.

I still recollect receiving the news, attending the visitation, and being at the funeral. True, I know my grandmother is at peace now, but there is a part of me that still mourns her absence. She’d always been around, and it had always seemed she would be around. I recall every good memory of her to bring a small, if sad, smile to my face. I hold will hold Grandma dear in my heart for the rest of my own life.

Narration Essay

In the Narration Essay, we had to focus upon a story in our lives that impacted us in some way.
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Courage Comes from the Heart

Courage is the realization of overcoming fear... That was the focus of my Narration Essay.
Best Piece of Writing

Editorial Essay

This paper was thought of like a mini-argumentative essay. However, it worked more like a persuasive paper. First, we decided on a stance on an issue. Afterwards, we had to create a strong thesis along with multiple assertions. We had to clearly delineate our own stance on the argument.

The Soul Bled Dry

The sports teams stand proudly before the student body in the gymnasium. The students howl and cheer, giving support and enjoying the chance to be cacophonous in school. However, some of them are not cut out for sports. They are not competitive, or physically capable, or even interested in being sportsmen. Perhaps these kids were blessed with other talents. If they aren’t acknowledged too, then no one will ever know or care. Even though many students are recognized in specific areas for their triumphs, some will never be because they aren’t in those zones of success. Chillicothe High School should spend more time on recognizing the fine arts students to motivate them to follow their dreams, work hard at what they love, and contribute to the culture of our world.

To begin with, more recognition for the fine arts students would encourage these students to pursue a career they love and stimulate their creativity. The Chillicothe schools have constantly boasted themselves as encouraging students to follow there dreams. Despite this, the last time fine arts were appreciated by the schools seems to be in kindergarten and preschool, where the teacher gave a child a pat on the back for a scraggly squirrel made of crayon lines. Creation is hard work and takes plenty of fuel and inspiration, neither of which is much given to students. By the time these students reach high school, they’ve had the love of creativity bled out of them and no sign of encouragement in sight.

Furthermore, these students put a lot of effort and work into what they love to do and would be praised just as much if they were reciprocating that toil in a sport or similar activity. Apparently, only certain groups are applauded for that hard work and dedication to their hobby or eventual career. That is correct; some are left right in the thankless but satisfying position they’ve always been in, fueled by their own desires. These determined fine arts students must survive on a strong will supplemented with supreme patience, able to carry on even as shadowed faces refuse to spare them the slightest glance. The risk of draining all the soul out of life is greater than one could realize.

Above all, fine arts students are the heart and soul of human culture as much as anyone else. Arts have always colored society with one of the most important talents of mankind -- the ability to create. The awed gaze of a spectator, the chill running down the spine, the moment when one feels alive: all of these are what fine arts inspire in each and every person. There’s music that fills one with the want to dance or cry. There’s works that bring thoughts that were never considered to the light. These remind all that existence is not just a mad scrambling competition for power and survival. It separates us from the starving animals that rip into each other over a piece of meat. Why should it be ignored where other things are uplifted and exalted? Put quite simply -- it should not.

Summarily, these students’ hopes, creativity, and very soul are on the verge of being stamped out. They should be able to see that their school and peers care about their talents too. Chillicothe High School needs to work harder to recognize its fine art students while permeating their soul with pride of their accomplishments to inspire them to have more goals, work hard, and contribute in their own unique way to society. The minority students - the ones who play instruments, write poetry, and create art - sit there wistfully, wishing they were down there, able to hold a candle to the lean tennis players and burly football champions. Maybe one day, they can.

These pictures are all art, which fine arts students getting recognition was the focus of my Editorial Essay

Summary/Response Essay

This next essay was the one where I summarized an article, and I got to respond to what the author had said. This was a chance to say what I thought. However, I couldn't just throw a lot of ideas out there in a haphazardly fashion; I had to back up my opinions with examples or experiences that supported my claim.


First, we studied two articles, and wrote a summary for both. After that, we decided which article to respond to. I decided to respond to the article "The Ugly Truth about Beauty".

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Ugly Beauty

Many women seem to be judged by their facial and bodily proportions. The summary response covered an essay over that very topic.

Interview Essay

This assignment was focused on one in-depth interview of an interesting individual and called for investigative writing. I took careful notes and jotted down lots of quotes in which I had to incorporate into a paper over the facts given to me. I also had to use approximately ten good quotes in my paper.
Five Pieces of Writing Advice

Argumentative Essay

I had to write the Argumentative Essay with argumentation strategies, including developing a particular assertion or claim, anticipating opposition, and countering opposition.


One important element of this paper was to take up opposing viewpoints and clearly identify these viewpoints as opposition to my side of the argument. Besides advancing my own claims, I had to deal with the claims of others—not only summing them up but also responding to them in a clear, effective way.

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Gaming Controller

My Argumentative Essay was over the effects of violent games on teens. The sides of the controversy are almost as black and white as this picture.