Portfolio and Cover Letter

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Portfolio, Final, December 14, 2018

Dear Reader,
The purpose of this cover letter is to attempt to explain the progression of my writing throughout this semester in the English 1100 course at the City College of New York. Enclosed are three essays that I submitted this semester that reflect the growth in my writing abilities. Included are a literacy narrative titled “Journey to Becoming My own Self”, a profile titled “George Washington: Beginnings to Military Hero”, and a research paper titled “Do Professional Athletes Deserve Their High Salaries”. These works were chosen because they are relevant to the course an accurately reflect the progression and failures of my writing during the fall semester.
In the beginning of the semester, there were a few common problems apparent in my writing. My writing was not as effective as it could have been for a few reasons. First, I included many words and points that were redundant. This was the main problem of the first paper that I wrote. While explaining to the reader that a significant change in my life occurred in college due to the fact that I had to provide food for myself, I finished off the paragraph stating, “I am providing food for myself”. This quote was unnecessary because I had spent a whole paragraph explaining this idea. The redundancies in my paper caused it to be largely ineffective and my grade reflected that. Additionally, I was unable to vary my sentence structure in the beginning of the semester. I would begin multiple sentences in a row with the same word and follow the same pattern. As a result, my original paper was extremely ineffective because it was difficult for the reader to become engaged due to the lulling repetition of the same sentence structure. Finally, I was very vague with some of the ideas that I presented at time during the course. On many occasions, my professor would mark that a certain idea was vague on all of the drafts that I submitted, such as my statement that. “The difference in these salaries clashes with most individuals morals”, which lead to ineffectiveness in my papers.
The first paper that I included in the portfolio was my literacy narrative, which was my first, worst, and least favorite paper. The purpose of this paper was to inform the reader about a significant change that had occurred in our life and explain how it affected us. Although the points that I wrote about were good, the way in which I communicated them were extremely ineffective and contained most of the problems that were previously mentioned. This paper was an important starting point to improve on.
The next paper that is included is a profile paper about George Washington. Its purpose was simply to write a profile about a place or something significant in history. My second paper of the semester was significantly more powerful than my first because I was able to more effectively communicate my ideas to the reader. The sentences that I constructed were a lot more powerful due to my ability to change my sentence structure. Sentences such as, “ Although this is a valid argument against Washington, the experience that he gained during that time frame clearly made him the best choice for the colonies to lead them to their independence.” demonstrated the improvements that I was starting to make pertaining to my sentence structure.
The research paper on if athletes should continue to receive their high salaries is the last paper that I include, the last one I wrote this semester, and my favorite. This paper was my most successful one due to my ability to effectively communicate my ideas and passion to the reader. This paper was my favorite because I enjoy doing research on a topic and writing technically. This paper demonstrates the vast transition that my writing took during the semester finishing off significantly stronger than it began.
Overall the quality of my writing at the end of the semester is significantly better than it was at the beginning. My writing now employs a varied sentence structure and has limited vague statements that were prominent at the beginning of the semester. One thing that I still struggle with is assuming the reader understands what I am talking about. In my research paper draft, I mentioned the term, “ Guaranteed Money” which many people who are unaware of sporting contracts may not understand. My instructor voiced to me that I need to fix it, which I did by explaining it in the final draft. I will continue to work to fix this problem so it does not appear it future papers. The improvement of my work demonstrates the commitment to improvement that I have and I hope that it is evident in my future papers and in this cover letter.
Instructor notes and the writing that I did this semester have greatly affected my future writing. The writing ability that I am able to demonstrate in this cover letter is significantly stronger than it was when I started the semester. I am now able to vary my sentences’ structures, write effectively and clearly, and eliminate vague thoughts and repeated phrases. Overall, this class has helped me to write more effectively and I have learned the proper formats in which I need to write different kinds of papers.
By writing many papers during the semester, I have realized that I tend to use a pattern when I write. The last sentence of my introduction introduces the points that I will make during the rest of the essay. In the literacy narrative, I stated that, “The shock of being completely alone on a college campus has helped me to become my own person because there is no one here to look after me or influence my choices.”. This quote shows the points that I hit in the rest of the essay. This habit is mostly effective, but can cause problems with repetition if I am not careful, which is what I have learned in this course.
During the course, I reached out to a few different sources for help. I asked my roommates, used my professor’s notes, and went to the writing center to seek advice in editing my papers. I found all of these resources to be extremely useful in the editing process of the writing. I was able to use their input to fix most of the problems that had plagued me in the past when I wrote. This course was a great help to improve my writing for the future.
Ethan Angress

“Journey To Becoming My Own Self”
As I turn away from my parents’ car after saying goodbye to my family I suddenly pause. It hits me that for the first time I am completely alone, without my friends and family to look after me and influence my decisions. I suddenly realize that although im alone, im also free. The shock of being completely alone on a college campus has helped me to become my own person because there is no one here to look after me or influence my choices.
The first step on the journey to becoming my own person is being able to provide for myself. My dorm room is suit styled and comes equipped with a fridge, microwave, stove top and sink. Due to the fact that my parents are no longer watching over me, I need to provide myself with three meals and day and make sure that I keep my nutrition to its necessary standards. In order to do this I have had to learn how to cook meals for myself, a skill that is very important for an individual to have. I must also purchase groceries with my own funds and make sure that i always have a adequate amount of them. Cooking allows me to prepare food at my dorm that is healthy and of a high nutritional value when I am unable to go out to get food. I have also been forced to learn where and how to get food when i am unable to cook. This is also an important adaptation because it forces me to budget my money and learn where the places are that I can get good food for a good cost. Being away from my family has caused me to be able to provide food for myself.
Being away from my family has also allowed me to make my own decisions. I am able to make my own choices and mistakes and learn from them. This is very important for an individual to be able to develop their character and who they are going to be as a person. My family has not been there to remind me that I need to eat three meals a day. If I forget to eat enough during the day I suffer the consequences because it is my fault alone. I have also made mistakes such as staying up to late a day before classes or a team workout and suffering the consequences. These are mistakes that help shape who I am and help my decision making improve. These mistakes are due to the fact that my parents are not around to make sure that I am doing the right thing. Being on a college campus has separate me from them and I have been freed to make my own choices and mistakes.
A significant difference between living with family and living alone is that I am forced to keep track of my own schedule. I have to make sure that I schedule my time appropriately so that I can get my homework done on time. No one reminds you that you must be doing something so I have had to learn to stay on top of my homework schedule so that I do not fall behind. I also need to budget my time correctly so that I have time to get everything done. My parents are not there to make sure that I am getting all of my work done so it falls onto my shoulders. This difference has allowed me to manage my work schedule better and with be very important when I obtain a job.

Another difference is that my parents are not there to remind me about other events that I must go to. I must remember my own baseball schedule and when other significant events are. I must remember when I have physical for baseball and get myself there on time. My family is also not there to transport me to these events or remind me when I have to leave. Being away from my family in college has forced me to be more on top of my schedule and leave time for myself to get there. I have also been forced to walk or figure out the subway system in order to get places that I need to go. Being able to get myself to wherever I need to go has been an extreme help in the journey to becoming my own person and it is all because I am only for the first time in my life.
The last thing that being at college has allowed me to do is become the person that I want to be when interacting with others. Due to the fact that I have been forced to start here fresh, without any friends, I have been able to become the person that I want to be. Making new friendships and relationships allows you to put yourself out there and become more outgoing. This helps you to be more confident about yourself and find a bunch of new people to create friendships with. The new friendships that I have been able to experience have opened my eyes to many different cultures and backgrounds. These cultures begin to rub off on you when you create friendships with different people. This impacts personality positively and can even help to shift some values that I have had. These values have helped to shape my personality and character These new people that I have met would not have been able to make an impact on me if I had not been left alone on a college campus.
The journey to become my own person was greatly amplified when I left home and came to college. Being alone on a college campus has forced me to adapt in many ways and helped to create a better version of myself. I have been forced to provide food for myself and make sure that I have enough funds for it. I have also been forced to learn how to manage my time and be able to get myself to places that I need to go. Finally, moving to a college campus has allowed me to experience a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds that have helped to modify my perception of life. All of these adaptations have helped me to become my own person.

George Washington: Beginnings to Military Hero
George Washington is one of the most well-known names in American history. He would become the first president of the United States under the constitution after his victory in the Revolutionary War. The victory of thirteen colonies over the most powerful military in the world, at the time, can be largely credited to the work of George Washington. He is credited as being the winning commander of the Revolutionary war, but how did he gain the military prowess to be able to pull it off?
In 1732, George Washington was born in the colony of Virginia. Washington worked as a land surveyor, someone who estimates or measures the dimensions of land through observations, which allowed him to learn most of the Virginian landscape and develop a great love for his colony. The knowledge of this geography would help him immensely in his battles in the Revolutionary War. Washington was first exposed to military service through his older step-brother. “When George Washington was eight, he watched his older step-brother, Lawrence join the British Navy and become a commissioned captain.” (drexle.edu) Washington was enthralled by watching his brother’s training to become a soldier. His brother indirectly influenced Washington’s membership in the British military.
Washington’s first experience in battle would come when he was a colonel in the British Army. Washington was involved in one of the first battles of the French and Indian War. “This first taste of battle was humbling to the twenty-two-year old colonel. The French forced Washington to surrender after one third of his men had been killed or wounded.” (ushistory.org). This was not a complete failure for Washington though, because he was able to gain much needed experience being in charge in battle. Experience is very significant for a general, because they need to log hours of battle time in order to know the strategic side to armed conflict. Washington could later use that experience as the general of the Continental Army.
During the four years of the French and Indian War, Washington began to learn from his mistakes. Failure is an extremely significant experience for a leader to undergo in order to develop themselves correctly. A leader is forced to learn from their mistakes so they will not make them in the future, which is imperative in war due to the fact that one failure could lose the war for a nation. Washington’s failures at the beginning of the war would turn into successes that would lead him on his path to becoming the general of the Continental Army. He would later return to the same fort that he failed at in his first battle and defeat the French. During his time in the British military, Washington grew to hate the way that the British army operated, which would later cause him to pursue the general position of the Continental Army. “He also observed that the British were ignorant of the conditions of colonial warfare. They were also arrogant towards the colonial leaders…” (drexle.edu). Colonial warfare is considered a war of conquest, which is where one state tries to conquer another one. The British failed to use their supplies efficiently and the army had to wait long periods for new supplies to arrive from England. The hatred for the way that the British Army conducted their operations would influence him to change the way that the Continental Army conducted their actions. Officers from his time in the British Army commented that they were regretful for the, “loss of such an excellent Commander, such a sincere Friend, and so affable a Companion…” (Britannica.com-pg1). Washington’s soldiers greatly respected him as a general and a person, which is very important because soldiers must trust and respect their general if the general wants to be able to lead them to victory.
The Continental Congress voted unanimously that Washington should be the general of the Army to rid the colonies of the British, which Washington graciously accepted. The beginnings as commander of the Continental Army were plagued by failures like his beginnings in the British Army. A lack of resources caused him to pick his battles wisely and the Continental Army did not win a significant battle until The Battle of Saratoga, which Washington was not even at. When the colonists were victorious at the battle of Saratoga, a sense of confidence swept over the colonies. The French then began to back the colonies and send them resources and soldiers to fight. Washington was able to use this new sense of confidence throughout the colonies to develop a more aggressive strategy. Washington no longer sat back and picked his battles wisely, but aggressively pursued conflict with the British. This new bolder strategy allowed the colonies to gain more decisive victories. Throughout the war, Washington again learned from his mistakes and helped the colonies to be triumphant over the British.
Some people feel that George Washington should not have been picked to lead the revolutionaries due to his lack of true success during his time in the French and Indian War. Although this is a valid argument against Washington, the experience that he gained during that time frame clearly made him the best choice for the colonies to lead them to their independence. Most of the prospects from the colonies had logged very few hours in conflict or in command of soldiers. His ability to keep the army together with limited resources and support lead people to believe that the war would have been unwinnable without Washington’s leadership.
George Washington’s prior military experience made him the right person to choose to lead the Continental Army and win the Revolutionary War for the colonies. Washington’s step-brother’s influence and time served in the British Army helped to prepare him to become the general of the colonies. The innate ability to learn from his mistakes allowed Washington to flourish as a military general. George Washington’s upbringing in Virginia and past experiences were able to help him win the Revolutionary War and become a significant figure in American history.

Works Cited
George Washington: George Washington’s Military Career, www.pages.drexel.edu/~cjd327/military.html. October 10, 2018
“George Washington’s Background and Experience.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/us/8c.asp. October 10, 2018
Graff, Henry, and Allan Nevins. “George Washington.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia
Britannica, Inc., 12 Oct. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/George-Washington/Prerevolutionary-military-and-political-career. October 10, 2018

Do Professional Athletes Deserve Their High Salaries?
Professional athletes receive the largest salaries of any profession. These members of society live a life a luxury for playing games that they have fallen in love with during their lives. Due to the dreadful condition of the United States Economy, many citizens have begun to question if these athletes deserve the money that they earn playing games. Many of these people do not understand how someone, such as a doctor, receives significantly less money saving lives than someone that just plays a sport. The argument over professional athletes’ salaries is very prominent in society right now.
The average salary for a professional baseball player in 2018 was 4.47 million dollars while the league generated a total revenue of 10 billion dollars( Gazette Review). Many of the popular sports in America have salaries and revenue margins similar to that of baseball. A professional athlete’s salary is significantly larger than a doctor’s salary which is 168,000 a year comparatively. The difference in these salaries clashes with most individuals morals, which are that someone who saves peoples’ lives should certainly be paid higher than someone who plays a game. How can someone who plays a game for a living make more money than someone who saves lives? That question has fueled many debates over athletic salaries and if they are really worth the millions of dollars that they receive. Most people who ask this question do not fully understand the process of becoming a professional athlete and do not consider their value toward society.
In order to compete at the professional level in athletics, the individual must submit to extreme sacrifices without the certainty that their dream will be fulfilled. Any athlete that competes at the professional level was forced to give up a significant amount of their youth. In The Perspective, Peterson states that “while most teenagers or college-age students spend their free time studying, working or hanging out, younger athletes aiming to qualify for the pros spend all of their free time training”(Petersen). Personally, I trained to become a collegiate and professional athlete during my youth. I am a baseball player on the baseball team at The City College of New York. During my teenage years, I spent countless hours a week training to achieve my dream. During baseball season in high school, I would dedicate around 25 hours a week either playing or training to play at the next level. I missed out on work opportunities, study time, and spending time with friends and family. This time allowed me to play in college, but will most likely not bring me to the professional level because I was not born with enough of the innate ability that is needed to compete at the professional level. The public is largely unaware of this sacrifice and the salaries of professional athletes take into account the sacrifices that the person made in order to prepare for that level.
Additionally, athletes sacrifice a lot of family time in order to participate in sporting events. The length of the professional baseball season is 162 games which occur almost every day during the week. Roughly half of these games are played in other states. This causes the athlete to be away from their family for extended periods of time, many of which miss significant milestones in the progression of their childrens’ lives. Most professions do not cause the worker to spend nearly as much time away from their families. Also, even when an athlete is home with their families, they must spend time training for their sport as well which causes them to miss more time with family members. Those who question the validity of athletes’ salaries fail to recognize the time that they miss with their families, which is another reason why their salaries should remain large.
A significant reason that athletes deserve large salaries is because they remained loyal and committed to their sport with the large uncertainty of success. The profession that they train their entire life to get into is not guaranteed even if they put in the necessary amount of work. On CBS, Lemco mentions that “If you put 20,000 hours into making the NBA, then you have about 0.0000001% odds of making it to the NBA…The threshold to entry is so close to impossible for pro athletes that it makes the profession infinitely more valuable”(Lemco). While putting the same amount of work into becoming a doctor, the chances of becoming a doctor are immensely greater than those of becoming a professional athlete. Athletes should be rewarded largely for their ability to overcome the huge odds against them to make it to the professional level. This profession is so select that it makes it very hard to replace someone when they get hurt or retire. There are very few people born with the innate talent to compete at such a high level that they become essentially irreplaceable. Most other positions in the workforce can easily be replaced and, in most cases, there is an overabundance of workers. It then makes sense that athletes should receive so much money. They are extremely hard to replace and have defied great odds in order to make it to the professional level in the first place.
Injuries are another significant problem that athletes encounter in their profession.
“Whether it is getting the touchdown in football or diving for the ball in baseball, athletes often times put their bodies on the line for the game. The problem with this is that they usually keep playing while they are hurt by taking pain medicines that are provided by the teams to numb the pain.” (Cummins).
Participating in sports can cause the person to go through very significant surgical procedures that can sideline them for more than a year, such as ACL tears. The surgeries are very expensive, require expensive long term medication, and cause the athlete to lose money because they are unable to play for periods of time in which their contracts state they receive less money during. Many athletes end up becoming bankrupt because they are unable to pay for the medicine that they need in order to stop their pain. Athletes need to be compensated for the risk that they take in order to play sports. Many end up needing surgeries that change their lives forever. The chance of injury also creates an uncertainty about the future. Professionals normally have a sense of security with their careers as they can count on having them for years to come, in normal circumstances. This is not true for professional athletes. They are always one play away from obtaining an injury that would end their career and everything they sacrificed so much to achieve. Athletes must make a large amount of money because they could lose their source of income forever from one minute to the next.
Along with injury, the careers of professional athletes are significantly shorter than an average member of the workforce. Members of the workforce retire around the age of 65 years old, while members of most professional athletes retire by the time that they are 30 years old. Average members of the workforce work over two times as long as professional athletes and there are two reasons why this happens. The first reason is that athletes have made enough money to retire by the time they reach the age of 30. They do not need to play longer than ten years and risk injury if they have made enough money to survive the rest of their lives, even if they love the game that they play. The second reason is that professional athletes are not able to compete at the highest level for many years. Younger athletes begin to replace those who have played in the sport for a few years. The “older” members of the sports teams are replaced because they are not able to compete with these young athletes because they are more energetic and nimble than they are. Athletes must receive large salaries because they are unsure of how long they are going to be able to participate in the league. Even if an athlete is able to play for an entire career, that career is not very long and they must receive enough money to survive on for the rest of their life.
When an athlete’s career ends, they generally do not have another career to fall back on. Due to the fact that athletes spend so much time training for their sports, they are generally unable to obtain degrees that would allow them to make a good amount of money. Most collegiate athletes at the division 1 level are trying to get drafted by a professional team so they spend more time practicing than a full time job during the week. This huge time commitment causes most athletes to focus on easier degrees to obtain and they only work on them enough to be able to pass. They are unable to get well-paying jobs in the future because they get degrees that they are unable to use in the workforce or have grade point averages that would cause most companies to reject their application. Since athletes have nothing to fall back on, they have to receive large salaries so they can support themselves for life after their sporting career ends. They will not be able to make enough money to support themselves through regular work.
The imagine for a professional athlete is very important. There are hundreds of thousands of children that look up to professional athletes as their role models. This means that the athlete must conduct themselves in a proper manner during every minute of their life. A good example must be set so that kids will grow up to be productive members of society. Athletes must limit their partying and dangerous substance uses along with giving back to charity. This is all so that younger kids can look up to them to be good citizens. A role model for children must give some of their money to charity, conduct themselves in a respectful manner on and off the field, and treat others and themselves with respect. Athletes are forced to keep their lives in check to be good role models.
Most people do not understand where most athletes’ money comes from. The largest amount of an athlete’s salary does not actually come from the team that they play for. Companies, such as Nike or Under Armour, pay athletes enormous sums of cash to wear their apparel or use their equipment in games. Faust comments that “[Lebron] James, who recently signed the first ever lifetime contract doled out by Nike — a deal that reportedly could pay him as much as $1 billion if certain shoe and apparel sales metrics are met — makes most of his money off the court”(Faust). The money that athletes receive for these sponsorships is definitely earned. The sports industry is televised 24 hours a day and receives the front pages of newspaper headlines. Whenever a person sees an athlete wearing apparel from a company, the company will increase their buyers significantly. A huge amount of revenue will be created just by the athletes wearing or using equipment with a logo on it so they are justifiably compensated for the money that they are generating.
Guaranteed money, money that an athlete will receive from a team even if they do not participate in games or are let go, is also a part of an athlete’s salary that many people are unaware of. Only a small percentage of an athlete’s salary is guaranteed to be received by them. This means that there is very little security in the money that the athlete is told they will make in the next few years. If there is a significant injury, the player is injured for a significant amount of time, or cannot continue in the sport before their contract is up; they will lose most of the money that they were told they were going to receive. This number is not stated when the contract for an athlete is revealed so most of the population thinks that every cent of that contract will be received by the athlete. In all likelihood, this will not happen because it is very common to become injured in sports, so the full contract will never be paid. Also, athlete’s pay extremely high taxes on the money that they do receive. This furthermore decreases the amount of money that the athlete keeps from the contract. Most people are angered by athletic salaries because they are unaware that the person is not guaranteed to receive most of that money and will lose most of it to government taxes.
Those who argue against the high salaries of professional athletes fail to realize that they actually are part of the reason that their salaries are extremely high.
“Events such as the World Series or the Super Bowl are not the only days of the year in which we set aside time to sit back, relax and enjoy the game. Rather, we base our time and conversations daily around this large port of entertainment, and then continue to moan and groan about the price at which it costs”(Rosenfeld).
The Super Bowl is for all intents and purposes, a national holiday in which most people in America tune in to watch the two best football teams battle it out for the championship. Championship events like this are some of the most commonly talked about events in daily life. The millions of people that watch championship games produce the revenue that helps to pay the athletes’ salaries. It boils down to simple supply and demand. If people are going to continue to spend a lot of money watching sporting events, the athletes will continue to be paid large salaries.
Famous professional athletes also become household names. Kids grow up talking about and idolizing the most famous baseball, and football players. They are unaware of who the best or most famous doctor is. The more popular that a person is, the more money they will receive for participating in their practice, which is why professional athletes’ have extremely high salaries. The popularity of an athlete allows them to generate a fanbase to keep fueling their team and, in turn, their salaries. Fans of the most famous athletes, such as Tom Brady, will spend a lot more money to watch them play. Athletes also act as some of the great unifiers in the nation. Their followings are composed of people of all races, genders, political parties, and sexualities. Teams will elevate prices so that fans are able to watch the most famous athletes pay. This means that the teams will be forced to give the athlete higher paying contracts in order to keep them playing for their teams. The athlete becomes more desirable for the team because they generate more profits for them and then in turn should receive a higher salary.
Professional athletes receive enormous salaries because they have sacrificed much of their youth and time from their families to train to be the best that they can be. The innate talent that they have makes them irreplaceable and causes the percentage of success to be significantly less than 1%. Their salaries are not nearly as high as the public thinks they are, due to sponsorships and the small percentage of guaranteed money. Athletes are also common-talk in daily life and are some of the most watched celebrities on the planet. It is no question that they deserve their salaries even while many other Americans are struggling. Athletes give back to the community through charities in order to set a good example, which means they are putting their money to good use and causes. Overall, professional athletes should continue to be paid their large salaries due to the immense amount of suffering that one must go through in order to succeed and partake in the profession.
Works Cited
“Are Professional Athletes Overpaid?” The Waltonian, 15 Dec. 2014,
waltonian.eastern.edu/sports/are-professional-athletes-overpaid/. November 13, 2018 (peer reviewed)
Carmichael, Cody. “Average Doctor Salary 2018 – How Much MD’s Earn Hourly?” Gazette
Review, 3 Jan. 2018, gazettereview.com/2017/02/average-doctor-salary-how-much
doctors-make/. November 13. 2018
Gordon, Ronnie. “Average MLB Salary in 2018 – How Much Do MLB Players Make?” Gazette
Review, 3 Jan. 2018, gazettereview.com/2017/06/average-mlb-salary-much-mlb-players-make/. November 13, 2018
“Lemco: Why Pro Athletes Deserve The Money They Make.” CBS Local Sports, CBS Local
Sports, 16 June 2015, sports.cbslocal.com/2015/06/16/athletes-money-contracts/. November 6, 2018
Miller, Von. “Why Professional Athletes Are Actually Underpaid.” SI.com,
www.si.com/thecauldron/2016/10/20/professional-athletes-underpaid. November 6, 2018
Piccioto, Elad De. “Do Professional Athletes Deserve Their Inflated Salaries?”
Theperspective.com/, 26 Jan. 2018, www.theperspective.com/debates/sports/professional-athletes-deserve-inflated-salaries/. November 6, 2018