Thomas Yeh

Progressive Works of a Developing Writer


Hi everyone, and welcome to my MPortfolio! Here I am as a new member of the Michigan community, fresh out of Athens High School in Troy, MI. I chose to go to this university in the hopes of attending the prestigious Ross School of Business. It'll be tough trying to get in, but after helping run the family furniture business, I know I have the potential for success in this field. However, lately I have come to realize that majoring in Screen Arts and Culture would not be a bad fit for me as well. Filming is a hobby of mine and I definitely wouldn’t mind learning how to get better at it. Perhaps in combining my passion for film and business I could become a Hollywood producer. Other than academics, the Michigan campus has so much to offer and the activities I have become involved in during this past semester are Running Club, Squirrel Club (no joke!), K-grams, Move-In Makers, Alternative Spring Break, and the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.

Now let's get to the thick of things (the reason why you're here). In my portfolio, I have displayed under the Work Showcase tab a collection of essays I have written for my SWC100 course. Having the opportunity to nurture my skills in this transition-to-college writing class, I now feel that I have the confidence and abilities to succeed in future academic essays. Back in the days of high school, I knew I was having trouble with writing. Some of the problems I encountered were: not having clear arguments, poor structure, and lack of valid evidence. However, by practicing these skills through the varied types of writing done in class, I have turned my weaknesses into strengths. A semester's worth of coursework has had me picking at my brain as we investigated a central theme of identity, applying that individually as well as communally. Whether it was through narratives, reflections, or analyses, each essay, as you will soon see, challenged me to become a better writer. And so now it is my hope that by browsing through my works you will have an interesting glimpse into the process of my college writing transformation.

Thanks for your time, and enjoy!

Thomas Yeh 


The Midnight Reader

Grab a hot cup of coffee and get ready to spend the next seven hours living life in my shoes. Alright, maybe not literally seven whole hours, just long enough to experience my literacy narrative. This assignment focuses on the theme of identity in reading and writing. Naturally, what better way to understand who I am in both of these fields than by examining my fixation on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter collection.


"The Midnight Reader" recounts the biggest night in the magical world that belongs to Harry Potter: the release of the seventh and final book of the enchanting series. Cozy in bed with my long awaited prize, I take you readers along on an overnight adventure, drowning you in vivid imagery.

"Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan

"So, what country are you from?"

I get that question a lot. I respond, "Taiwan," and in an almost defiant tone, "but I've basically been raised here in the U.S. all my life. Ever since I was eleven months old."

I'm Asian. I'm American. And I know how to speak Mandarin and English exceptionally well.

The second assignment in this class works on developing critical reading skills through the completion of an analytical summary and reflection. When I first read Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue," I knew this would be my narrative of choice to summarize. It was perfect. We're both Asian, American, and at one point in life, suffering adolescents under the sometimes embarrassing language barriers.

Communication is an important tool in society. So then it'd be logical to think that a person ought to step in and do his best to intervene when it would make the situation smoother, right? Wrong. Not when it means stepping all over family. That's just disrespectful. In my summary/reflection of "'Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan, I examine the importance of compassion and understanding in my family, all while working on drawing critical evidence from Tan's work.


The Annotated "Self-Reliance"

A wise person once said, "if it ain't difficult, then it ain't worth it."

Or maybe I'm just getting that mixed up with the old saying, "if it ain't worth fighting for, it ain't worth dying for."

Either way, I would rather try to make sense of the pair above than go through this confusing topic of an essay again. If you have ever read Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance," you'll be able to sympathize with me here. That essay is darn near impossible to understand without doing some very close reading. Of course, that's why this is the very same skill we're working on for this unit. Through paraphrases and annotations galore, I take a moment out of my simplistic life and attempt to decipher what blast from the past messages Emerson has in store for me in "The Annotated 'Self-Reliance.'"


Athens Cross Country

Talk to me about politics and I'll give you an opinion.

Talk to me about intellect and I'll give you some facts.

But talk to me about running and I'll give you my soul.

I run, I eat, I play, I sleep. That would be an ideal day in the life for me. It is unnatural to some that I could enjoy such a painful activity like running, but there's just something about beating myself up, pushing for those limits, and going for the occasional sight-seeing runs that leaves me feeling more satisfied than having had a good nine hours of rest.

This assignment digs into the core of academic writing in the shape of a research paper. Using evidence from McMillan and Chavis's article on community, it is now my job to tell you just exactly how the Athens Cross Country team fits into that community aspect. Simple enough. Just slap down a thesis, get an organizational scheme rolling, specific evidence, and some pretty awesome pictures to boot. The result? Everything that's needed to construct essay number four, "Sense of Community: Athens Cross Country."

Reflections of an Avid Facebooker

Best thing to happen to the internet? Or biggest waste of time ever?

I'd like to choose both if I may. Sure, it's great for college when you're still meeting tons of new people or keeping in touch with those out of state buds. But what about all the other times where you just have nothing better to do than to sit around reading the newsfeed and browsing profiles for the heck of it? It's times like these that you just have to take a moment and reflect on just what in the world you are doing.


I was told to design my own assignment this time. So I figured, hey, why not get a social commentary of a sort going? I see an emerging identity crisis in my life concerning Facebook and a coursepack filled with plenty of specific evidence on social networking. Then, from the dark confines of my spatial mind, the idea to create an academic reflection with a hint of an informal tone was dragged out. But fair warning, this essay is not intended for the nonusers. And so without any further delay, Facebook friendlies, read on. These are the "Reflections of an Avid Facebooker."

Comments on this Portfolio

Public Comment from Thomas Yeh (12-14-2009 9:43 AM)

great job! - very well-developed welcome page, that makes me want to go check out your works!

Public Comment from Thomas Yeh (12-14-2009 9:47 AM)

clear claim/thesis - it doesn't sound academic but still gives a very clear/thesis about your portfolio and what readers are going to encounter later.