Good afternoon, everyone. I know I’ve stayed under the radar a bit this month, but I am doing well. Rather recently, I finished the first class of my new degree plan. At this time, I am still waiting for the grade. One of the Marine Corps leadership principles is Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement so I guess I’m not as far off topic from my usual writing subjects. The reason I felt it was important to share is although I am pursuing my second graduate degree, there is always room for improvement.
Below I’ve provided readability statistics from the draft of a recent paper (1st visual). My husband pointed out my writing was difficult to read and told me I could check out the readability statistics for my paper. Don’t laugh, but I didn’t know this tool was a thing in Microsoft Word. It probably sounds bad to say I’ve used Microsoft Word for years now without exploring the many tools within it, but I also do the same with Microsoft Excel. (My recently completed course also required learning some skills within Excel…turns out some things that look difficult are exceedingly easy to accomplish.)
The more comforable I am when I write, the more I sound like I talk. I confronted my husband with numerous commas, rather long sentences, and a slew of passive sentences. His feedback is why I now know about the readability statistics in Microsoft Word. I checked out the Flesch readability tests on Wikipedia to gain a general sense of what I was doing wrong to make the appropriate corrections.
The reading ease didn’t change too significantly but it did drop down a grade level; I also knocked down my percentage of passive sentences.
It’s important to share I felt extremely challenged by this 750-1,000 word writing assignment. I write a lot. I like talking a lot. Am I the only person in class who wants more words to discuss life goals? Maybe.
I included this blog as part of my discussion in the paper, but I could write a whole paper about this blog and its purpose in my life. I know more about where I want the trajectory of this blog to go than I do my paid work. There are constraints in the traditional workforce that don’t bode with my creative spirit; as such, I wasn’t too interested in discussing my lack of clearly defined goals. I’m here to learn. Instead I focused on what’s important, my interest in veteran issues. I spoke about changes to GI Bill benefits and continuing to serve veterans in higher education. My road map for success in higher education is dependable on significant variables, not all of which are within my control, and I have to be ok with these challenges.
After re-crafting my essay, my paper was free from lots of ‘fluff.’ I took out the transitions spelling out my history with veteran issues because 1) that wasn’t part of the paper criteria to share and 2) I wanted more space to spell out my social entrepreneurship goals regarding this blog. The fact I am a graduate degree seeking student who already holds a graduate degree doesn’t mean I’m perfect. My writing skills (and many other skill areas in my life) could use improvement and I’m not ashamed to say self-improvement is important to me. The Marine Corps taught me to embrace self improvement to become a better leader and I encourage others to seek the same for their personal and professional happiness.
Below are the statistics for the final version of my recently completed essay. I like the improvements, and now it’s just a waiting game for the grade.