Category Archives: Peer Review

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Draft for Peer Review

Here is somebody’s draft they submitted for peer review, which they wanted to be posted anonymously. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments or to email me feedback so I can post them for you anonymously. I will leave some suggested peer review prompts below the document.

Peer Review Prompts:

1. Try to paraphrase (write in your own words) the writer’s inquiry question and “answer.” The writer can use this feedback to see if what they are communicating lines up with their thinking.

2. What questions do you have as a reader? (This can be things you found vague/confusing or just things you want to know more about) If you aren’t persuaded by something, what more information do you want to know about it?

3. Where is the “center of gravity” of this draft so far? (That is, what seems to be the most important part?)

4. Do the sources used seem to be trustworthy? When the writer refers to a source, is it clear to you how that source/information relates to what the writer is saying?

5. Look back at the rubric/assignment sheet. Do you think there are any specific areas of the rubric the writer could improve on? Does there APA formatting seem to be correct?

6. Are there any places where you think the writer could expand, or any places where they seem to get off topic?

Anonymous Draft 4: This I No Longer Believe (Round 2)

When I was twelve years old I knew that one day I would be a mother. Sure most girls around that age dreamed of doing the same, but this was something I truly felt in my heart. One might say this feeling would be normal for a child that’s the eldest of her siblings and close relatives, who would sometimes have to play the third parent, but that was not the case for me. This feeling was more of an obsession. If bored, I would spend countless hours googling or making up baby names to add to an never ending list. Everything from the nursery, to the school they would attend and even how i would raise them, I went above and beyond planning out the future for my imaginary children. In my mind I thought who wouldn’t want to have children? It’s the most fascinating and supernatural thing a human being could do. Who wouldn’t want to experience the unbreakable bond that could only be felt between a mother and her baby? What kind of sick minded person would think about killing their baby? Who would ever have an abortion?

            Murder is murder. That was my stance on anything that involved taking a life for no reason. In Christianity were told that taking a life is a sin and committing sins would condemn you to an eternity in hell. That’s the well deserved consequence for throwing away a blessing that God gave you. In my eyes I couldn’t see a plausible reason for ending a pregnancy due to your own “selfish” needs. Like most ignorant people I fed into the whole “you could be killing a future president” speech. After all, people like Maya Angelou and Arethra Franklin had children at an young age right? So it couldn’t possibly be THAT hard. My mother had me at the age of 21 when she really shouldn’t have. At this point she had only been in the country for a couple of years, started community college, had little to no money and like most adults at this age, still working out how to get her life together. Instead of making the quick decision to end a pregnancy, she CHOSE to take on the responsibility of raising me. My mother didn’t go on to sell millions of records or become an icon in any way, but she did manage with the help of my father to successfully raise two children. We were never hungry, always had proper clothing and had a safe place to sleep. She did what a mother is supposed to do and put her children first. If she could do it, then so could I.

In my first year of High school I was required to take a health education class. They covered everything from healthy eating habits to mental health and lastly sex ed. We learned how to use condoms, protect ourselves from stds and most importantly how to engage in safe sex with a partner. Admittingly most of the stuff they taught I already learned from the media on both television and social networks, but it gave me a great opportunity to ask more questions and learn what was true from false. Additionally I also took a class on anatomy, where we got to explore the human reproductive system and got even more detailed info on conception and how it happens. A couple weeks into the school year I was having a conversation with a male friend, when they mentioned that a classmate of theirs worried that she was pregnant. Out of curiosity I asked why and the response he gave me was totally ridiculous. Apparently this classmate of his, had her boyfriend perform oral sex on her, while he masturbated. After he ejaculated, she became panicked after she realized that he had used the same hand to penetrate her. I guess she was scared that somehow the sperm on his hand swam ALL THE WAY to her egg. I began to explain to him how conception works and why it would be impossible for her to be pregnant. It surprised me how surprised he was about the information that I told him and even more when he asked me “Where did you learn all of that?”. It was mind boggling how some people knew every sexual position in the book but didn’t know how the sperm meets the egg. As it turned out his school had not offered that class to him or at least at that point in time anyways. But then again it did make sense.  I was in a pre-med program so every once in a while my science based classes would discuss the human body. But this was one program of the the many they had to offer to the 4,000 plus students that attended. My high school was also known for having a high amount of pregnancies, we even had our own nursery.

In my Junior year I took a course in AP English. My teacher gave us an assignment in which we had to pick a random article from a book and write about how the author demonstrated rhetorical strategies throughout the text. I decided to choose the article “ We Do Abortions Here: A Nurses Story” by Sallie Tisdale. This article told the daily responsibilities of a nurse at an abortion clinics and the encounters she had with the people there. I never knew much about abortion but I was very interested in knowing what the author had to say about it. This is where my whole point of view began to change. Tisdale was responsible for providing her patients with all the information they needed to know including a safe environment to have their procedures. There were the usual patients that she’d see every couple of months, the ones hopped up on drugs and sold their bodies to keep them going. After awhile these women were completely unfazed by the procedures. They signed their paperwork, listened to the doctors advice with closed ears and repeated the cycle months later. However Tisdale also had patients that were just regular everyday women or housewives The ones that went to all the town meetings and parent teacher conferences. The ones that did laundry, cleaned the kitchen and had dinner ready by 6. Before getting the procedure Tisdale often inquired why and their answers were either similar or the same. Abusive husbands who beat them senseless and didn’t want to bring a child into it,  partners forcing them to get rid of their babies claiming that it’s their fault they got pregnant, or too many kids and couldn’t afford another mouth to feed. These women assessed their situations and decided to do what was best for them AND the people around them. However what broke my heart the most were the patients that didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t decide for themselves. An undeducated 16 year old rape patient carefully listened and paid attention to Tisadale as she used her plastic models to mimic the procedure. Once finished she asked “when women get so big, isn’t the baby in your stomach? Doesn’t it hatch out of an egg there?”. A 14 year old once asked if she could actually see the babies fingers and toes after the procedure was done.

Around the time I read this article, coincidentally the #metoo movement started as well.  Bill Cosby and Brett Kavanaugh were front and center on all media outlets. I began thinking harder about the women who didn’t speak up and actually HAD to keep their babies. YES, children are a blessing from above, but what kind of blessing would actually come from rape? Even if it wasnt from rape, why bring a child into a terrible environment? And for the children that were taken advantage of and molested, why should they lose their childhood to raise a child of their own? These were things I never considered. These are things that people need to think about. I no longer believe that abortion is wrong.

Anonymous Draft 3: This I No Longer Believe (Round 2)

As we grow older our ideas change and shape into new beliefs. For example, something I used to believe in was trust. It’s not like I woke up one day and stopped trusting all together, a series of events led me to keep this “trust no one” motto. I learned the hard way that people lie and deceive for their own benefit. Growing up as an only child, made me put my trust in the people around me to keep me from being lonely. I believed the relationships I formed were genuine and that multiple people had my back. Yet, that wasn’t the case. Many have failed to keep their word and continued to disappoint me.

The moment I started to stop trusting people completely, began in high school. I had a friend who I was very close to , who betrayed me. She wasn’t just an acquaintance like everyone else. She was my best friend. She met my mother, has been to my house, and I’ve even spent money on this person. We would talk on the phone everyday, we’ve cried together, and we’ve shared secrets with each other. Our friendship seemed like it should’ve lasted forever. It would’ve lasted forever. Until, I was starting to have an issue with a girl who had it out for me for no good reason. This person happened to be a friend to my best friend. Amongst the drama my best friend was trying to be supportive of both of us. It seemed really two faced in my opinion but I understood where her heart was at so I let it be. She began to talk about me with the girl then smiled in my face the very next day. This made me think twice about her loyalty. I realized that she was everyone’s friend. So, naturally I fell back a little and kept my distance because how can I know whether or not she’s being real with me or not? . She continued to try to call me and apologize for her actions. Though it was too late, I was already hurt. 

  Then, I started to be reluctant in trusting even in a romantic relationship setting. My boyfriend at the time was starting to make suspicious actions that were raising red flags all over. For instance, he would ignore my text and calls then make up excuses. What he didn’t know was that I am definitely a private detective at heart and I ended up  putting all the pieces to the puzzle together. I ended up finding out that he was cheating so I dropped him like a bad habit. Even though he tried to justify what he did I wasn’t going to let him make a fool out of me. Hell, no. After this event I began to be more aware of my surroundings and more cautious about the people I let into my life. I absolutely refuse to let anyone get close enough to hurt me ever, again. 

We all are shaped by the experiences and obstacles we’ve faced throughout our life. It’s up to us on whether we let it make us better or break us into a million pieces. Whether they’re positive or negative we learn from them.  Keep in mind, even though I don’t trust people, it doesn’t mean I completely exclude myself from the rest of the world. I’m not trying to be a lonely, old, cat lady in the future (even though I’m more of a dog person). Instead I keep a handful of people who I know I can depend on for certain things and see everyone else as an acquaintance. I don’t open up to people very easily and keep alot of my thoughts on the inside. I truly believe that trust is something that has to be earned. It takes time and patience to develop. It’s not something to be rushed, it’s a process. It’s easier to have those doubts in your mind about a certain person and go on depending on your gut feeling, rather than deal with a broken heart repeatedly. I’ve naturally always been a very observant person. Whenever I meet new people I first try to understand that individual first. Then I just communicate based on the energy that individual gives off. Throughout history we always hear stories of trust being broken and people betraying those who were considered friends to them. 

Anonymous Draft 2: This I No Longer Believe (Round 2)

For decades, science and religion have both discredited each other. Normally, people take sides and neither side can seem to give validity to the other side.

When I was younger, I really never put much thought into how the earth was formed. I just knew it was there and that was it. I knew there was science somehow involved and I also knew there was God, Jesus, and the Holy spirit, back when I was Catholic, sort of. My parents are not from the same religion, my dad is Catholic and my mom is/was Christian.

By the time I was in the 8th grade, I had fully established in my head; the Earth is the way it is thanks to bacteria. We exist and the animals exist thanks to evolution. What better explanation could there be?

At the age of 15, I started attending a Christian church. As the months passed by, I was taught that God created everything. Nothing was possible without God, and science existed because of God’s creation. For a while, I didn’t question it. It wasn’t until the Pastor brought the Hebrew roots into the congregation, that I changed my mind once again.

These beliefs are ones that currently, we are still learning in church. The names, stories and meanings as we know it, are different. The bible we read is the Torah, which means law. It is
the first five books YWHW [1] instructed Moshe [2] to write for the future nation of Israel. The nation of Israel is composed of 12 tribes who are the descendants of Yaakov*. The 12 tribes [3] are as follows: Reuven, Shimeon, Levi, Yahudah, Yissajar, Zevulun, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Yosef (later split into half tribes and named after his sons, Ephraim and
Menashe) and Binyamin. There is a lot to this background that I am still learning about, but through this new belief, is where I felt some inconsities were taking place. Perhaps it is the way the Pastor explained it, that to me, it didn’t add up.

Currently, I am starting to believe that both theories/beliefs have some truth to it and that the Earth or the Universe was neither formed by only God or only science.

The reason why I say this is because both sides have some holes that, in my opinion, can be filled in with one another. It was just random questions, how is it that things happened the way they did? If God was the creator, why did things change overtime? Why were not things just made the way he wanted since the beginning?

My theory starts with the fact that, God made Earth itself, the shape of it, and he added the water, and plants. Land could possibly be due to the movement of tectonic plates overtime.

He also made animals and humans, but they were not what they or we look like today. This is where science comes in again. In the past, animals looked very different, this we can confirm. Huge furry spiders, that over time, have evolved. Spiders, while still deadly, are now much smaller than us humans. Fishes have also evolved, sharks have gotten smaller. Organisms have
evolved in order to adapt to the ever-changing conditions. But change did not come on its own. No, science was also responsible for that. God was the creator, science was the collaborator.

If we go back, before dinosaurs even existed, the majority of then current animals, perhaps mainly lived in water. So how do we have now animals walking the same ground we walk? Or
how did they adapt to water in order to swim and hunt? Perhaps, as each organism was scavenging for food for its survival, food became scarce and they became forced to adapt
to new conditions.

An example can be the Ambulocetus Natans, part of the Cetacean group known for aquatic mammals such as whales and dolphins. Its name means, the “walking swimming whale”. Based on research, scientists believe it wasn’t good at neither living in water or land. It was powerful but not an efficient swimmer. On land, its legs could barely support its own weight, and its snout looked like it made it difficult for it to lift his head up. Regardless, it lived at the bottom of freshwater and was well suited for its environment. If this mammal reminds you of any
other animal, it is perhaps the Crocodile. They both share very similar lifestyles, despite the fact that whales and crocodiles are not related in any way. This is not an example of a direct
evolution from the Ambulocetus to the crocodiles as we know them today, but rather evolution that still went through other adaptations, such as the Indohyus, part of the group known as
Artiodactyls, which consist of hoofed mammals.

Moments like this leaves so much room for so many questions. It leaves so many gaps that any bible can’t really explain. Because it gives a quick summary and more present related version of the formation of our earth.

[1] YWHW is the Hebrew and original name for God
[2] Moshe is the Hebrew and original name for Moises
[3] The 12 Tribes name in Hebrew: the english version is similar and as follows: Reuben,
Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph (sons: Ephraim
and Manasseh), Benjamin

Anonymous Draft 1: This I No Longer Believe (Round 2)

Here I am in New York.

I grew up in an underdeveloped country where there are many taboos, stereotypes, and prejudices. In addition, my family was very conservative and respectful of ethical and moral values. My parents educated me with an altruistic ideal; they always told me that I must respect the rules and laws, obey the authorities, and be an example to others. They considered college education is the only way to grow as a person. That kind of culture motivated me to study law. Indeed, I became a lawyer.

I continued with the conservative way of my family. I saw wrong that a person had a tattoo, that used any drugs, including marijuana, I was against someone for being different from what I knew as “normal.” I made prejudices to people I didn’t even know, simply because of the way they looked. I can tell a vast list of things that I believed, and now I no longer believe in them, or I have modified them or improved them. But now, I’m going to focus on the use of marijuana.

As I mentioned, I graduated from law school. I was working in the criminal area as a Prosecutor for more than five (5) years. Most of my cases were about drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic. Every day, I had hearings to get convictions against those who sold, distributed, or used drugs. According to the law, a person who consumes marijuana can be punished for six (6) months to two (2) years in prison (Art. 75, Law 50-88 of the Dom Rep).

Thousands of people sitting on the bank of the accused looked at me with sad eyes, asking for an opportunity, explaining to me that they were not doing anything wrong. However, I was not listening to them. I believed they were wrong, immoral, dishonest, liars. I only paid attention to my values and morals; therefore, I was never benevolent with them, and they were punished as if they were the worst criminals.

My life changed entirely in the summer of 2016. I emigrated to the United States for family reasons. Here I am in New York. In the big city. In the capital of the world. In a place with a very different culture and a way of seeing different things. I started working in another work environment to meet people of different nationalities, to study, to read the news, to use public transport, to integrate and adapt to a new life.

I could say that my way of seeing things was bombarded day by day for everything I began to experience. Yes, using or trying, but there I was sitting at a friend’s house smoking pot. At that time, I became “the worst criminal too.” What happened to me?

Am I a criminal?

I don’t want to respond to the question because you can imagine the answer. My way of thinking about marijuana changed utterly. Not only was I against marijuana’s users, but also, I persecuted and punished those who used it. Now I see cannabis as something regular and free choice for anyone. Does this mean that I became another person? Or that I no longer believe in the moral values ​​that my family taught me? None of the above. By changing or stop believing in something does not make us another person.

Addressing the issue of the use and legalization of marijuana is very complicated because it covers economic, social, political, and legal aspects. There are several arguments for and against the use and legalization of marijuana. According to the article “The Arguments For And Against Marijuana Legalization In The U.S. [Infographic]” by Niall McCarthy, published on Forbes.com, we can find a survey conducted by the Gallup in 2019, which concludes that: U.S. public support for marijuana legalization increased. The article cites: “Towards the end of last year, a Gallup poll found that U.S. public support for marijuana legalization surged to 66%. Especially noteworthy was a newfound majority support for legalization among Republicans and Americans aged 55 and older.”

I’m not 55 years old, but it is evident that as we are getting older, we are changing thoughts, replacing ideas, substituting habits. This process of evolution makes us see things more objective, impartial, and neutral.  I developed a higher tolerance for diversity, even though I can’t entirely agree with it.

I see life more flexible than before. I no longer believe that marijuana is harmful to society, as I thought back. Marijuana helps people who use it for medical reasons, it would free up law enforcement to focus on other types of crime, it is a matter of freedom and person choice, it will provide a good source of tax revenue for state and local government, and Government regulation of marijuana would make it safer for users.

If I could return the time when I was doing my work against marijuana, I would make more flexible decisions against those people who were not doing anything morally wrong. I know that I cannot return time, so I would like to not only educate people about the positive effects of marijuana but also encourage the idea that our beliefs are susceptible to change, that the human being is in a constant transformation and our point of view can vary without becoming a bad or good person.

In conclusion, I feel more confident in my own beliefs. I grew as a person and made my own decisions. It is fascinating to see how we stopped believing in things that we considered relevant before. I don’t regret anything I’ve done in my life, although it would have been better to grow up with a more open mindset. My beliefs and my way of thinking have evolved due to the enormous diversity of New York and the constant search to feel good with myself.

Anonymous Draft 6: This I No Longer Believe

As any kid, I believed in fairytales, in magic, in love. I believed that we are immortal, and that adulthood is happiness. Most of all, I believed that my parents are soulmates and I was their princess.

Obviously, we all grow out of those ridiculous hallmark movie fictions and be introduced to real life tragedy by time we get to High school. Some of us are more fortunate than others when it comes to the household situation. We don’t know what a ‘normal’ house is. We think that our normal is everyone else’s normal. Our beliefs are nothing less than universal truths. That belief of whatever happens in our house, happens everywhere else fades away when you meet your peers and cannot relate to them. And, that is exactly what happened to me.


A traditional middle-class house in consists of four elements. A breadwinning father, a bread making mother, bread eating children and bread bitching relatives. But my nuclear family had two breadwinning adults and no relatives. A typical day in our lives back in the 2000’s was merely simple. By 9a.m. everyone left the house. I’d come back from school by 2p.m., my mother by 6p.m. and my father by 9p.m. My mother’s busy teaching schedule didn’t stop at her college. She had to continue to be a teacher until I finish my extremely difficult addition and subtraction problems. She is much disciplined. She is the early to bed, early to raise kind of a gal. As for my father, let’s just say that he hates sunlight.

The only interesting visual from my childhood that I remember vividly took place on a warm and dry Sunday… I woke up excited, because I finally get to play a board game that requires 3 or more players, gifted to me on my 12th birthday. My mother was in the kitchen rolling the dough on the cool granite counter top. My father was in the hall room, on his dell laptop. They seem to be not as busy as they generally are. I quickly run to my closet and pull out a very heavy box. I run to the hall room and put everything on the carpeted floor. (full story on how there is not communication between the two)

Cracks in the foundation is an indication of how strong the structure is. When two families come together to decide the future of two individuals that are basically strangers, to get them married and later force them to buy a house, a car and the kids, it is vital that the foundation is laid well. Communication and compromises are essential. But, if those two individuals are strong headed and never compromising type, the structure is bound to fall any second. The fact that they never really talked to each other like the couples in movies or my friend’s parents didn’t stick out until I was in a relationship. I understood that they live separate lives. After a while, I’ve noticed the same thing in my own relationship. In fact, in every relationship that I’ve been in, the magic lasts as long as a mayfly.

There is no magic that binds two people together. It’s just what we’re told is ‘normal’. To stay with a person for the rest of your life and also declare it to the government. This somehow became the natural thing to do.

Anonymous Draft 4: This I No Longer Believe

When I was twelve years old I knew that I would be a mother. Sure most girls around that age dreamed of doing the same, but this was something I truly felt in my heart. One might say this feeling would be normal for a child that’s the eldest of her siblings and close relatives, who would sometimes have to play the third parent, but that was not the case for me. This feeling was more of an obsession. If bored, I would spend countless hours googling or making up baby names to add to an never ending list. Everything from the nursery, to the school they would attend and even how i would raise them, I went above and beyond planning out the future for my imaginary children. In my mind I thought who wouldn’t want to have children? It’s the most fascinating and supernatural thing a human being could do. Who wouldn’t want to experience the unbreakable bond that could only be felt between a mother and her baby? What kind of sick minded person would think about killing their baby? Who would ever have an abortion?

            Murder is murder. That was my stance on anything that involved taking a life for no reason. In Christianity were told that taking a life is a sin and committing sins would condemn you to an eternity in hell. That’s the well deserved consequence for throwing away a blessing that God gave you. In my eyes I couldn’t see a plausible reason for ending a pregnancy due to your own “selfish” needs. Like most ignorant people I fed into the whole “you could be killing a future president” speech. After all, people like Maya Angelou and Arethra Franklin had children at an young age right? So it couldn’t possibly be THAT hard. My mother had me at the age of 21 when she really shouldn’t have. At this point she had only been in the country for a couple of years, started community college, had little to no money and like most adults at this age, still working out how to get her life together. Instead of making the quick decision to end a pregnancy, she CHOSE to take on the responsibility of raising me. My mother didn’t go on to sell millions of records or become an icon in any way, but she did manage with the help of my father to successfully raise two children. We were never hungry, always had proper clothing and had a safe place to sleep. She did what a mother is supposed to do and put her children first. If she could do it, then so could I.

In my first year of High school I was required to take a health education class. They covered everything from healthy eating habits to mental health and lastly sex ed. We learned how to use condoms, protect ourselves from stds and most importantly how to engage in safe sex with a partner. Admittingly most of the stuff they taught I already learned from the media on both television and social networks, but it gave me a great opportunity to ask more questions and learn what was true from false. Additionally I also took a class on anatomy, where we got to explore the human reproductive system and got even more detailed info on conception and how it happens. A couple weeks later I was having a conversation with a male friend, when they mentioned that a classmate of theirs worried that she was pregnant. Out of curiosity I asked why and the response he gave me was totally ridiculous. I began to explain to him how conception works and why it would be impossible for her to be pregnant. It surprised me how surprised he was about the information that I told him and even more when he asked me “Where did you learn all of that?”. It was mind boggling how some people knew every sexual position in the book but didn’t know how the sperm meets the egg. As it turned out his school had not offered that class to him or at least at that point in time anyways. But then again it did make sense.  I was in a pre-med program so every once in a while my science based classes would discuss the human body. But this was one program of the the many they had to offer to the 4,000 plus students that attended. My high school was also known for having a high amount of pregnancies, we even had our own nursery.

In my Junior year I took a course in AP English. My teacher gave us an assignment in which we had to pick a random article from a book and write about how the author demonstrated rhetorical strategies throughout the text. I decided to choose the article “ We Do Abortions Here: A Nurses Story” by Sallie Tisdale.  I never knew much about abortion but I was very interested in knowing what the author had to say about it. This is where my whole point of view changed.