What’s On My Mind These Days? Always Something…

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the junior class going abroad. Me being only a sophomore, I have the luxury of sitting back and relaxing, while I watch the juniors encounter challenging decisions, one after another, about their upcoming semester. Where should they study abroad? Who should they go with? What classes can they take? Will they receive enough credits in a different country? How is the nightlife in whatever country they are planning on visiting? There are many decisions that must be made before a junior at the University of Michigan goes aboard. However, what is commonly overlooked when thinking of a student’s experience abroad is their experiences following shortly after. And by this, I mean summer jobs.

Being that junior students will have minimal time to apply and interview for summer jobs from an entirely different country, members of the junior class often start early in their search. There have been many times where I have sat down in the library to do homework, and have found myself sitting next to a junior filling out job applications. However, I have recently came to the realization that while October is a bit early to begin applying for summer jobs if you not a junior going abroad, my time to apply is actually not too far away. Come December/January, I know parents are going to start bugging me about the job search, to ensure I land a killer internship this summer.

Thinking about writing cover letters, filling out applications, writing thank you notes to potential employers for offering me an interview, and all other things related to writing and the “summer job search” is quite concerning. It is a huge job, one that I do not feel entirely prepared for. I have had two legitimate internships in the past… the first at a local magazine and the second at a local public relations firm. However, this summer I plan to work in New York City, which is somewhat of a bigger task, and a bigger deal, in terms of applications and interviews. One advantage I do have, however, is the work I have done this semester in my English 229 class, entitled Professional Writing. One assignment for this class was to pick two internships and write cover letters as if we were applying to them. I chose Viacom and Cosmopolitan Magazine, which I would definitely be interested in applying to for real. Writing cover letters, I have learned from this class, is a huge and time-consuming job, as they follow a particular formula, but I feel lucky to have had learned from a U of M professor how to write them professionally and correctly.

So, my time is approaching, just as the juniors time has already approached. I am not sure what is in store for me this summer, but I know that I will have to use writing skills to make it through. Wish me luck!

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Challenging Technology

For my remediating project, I am creating an advice twitter account for young, 20 year olds entering the professional world. As a young 20 year old myself, I’m a pretty avid tweeter. I know the ins and outs of the site pretty well. So it’s a little difficult for me to challenge myself in this area. But what has become challenging is changing my image on twitter from a personal to a professional one.

Rather than having a silly background pictured tiled for my design like I do in my personal account, professional twitters have to look put together, with a serious background that is eye catching. Rather than having a selfie as my thumbnail, professional twitters have to have something as their picture that will show what they are right off the bat. My tech challenge was how to create these elements for myself.

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I created this image at cooltext.com, an easy to use sight to create professional looking text logos or images. The hard part comes when you try to use that image in practical use. I made about 20 of these images, each in different sizes, trying to get them to fit in the background of my twitter page. I may be doing this in the completely wrong and extended way, but I figured it out.

This project has made me realize that while I find myself to be fairly knowledgable in technology, just from my day to day uses, there is so much more I can learn about these technologies by taking them at different angles.

 

“But Pinterest is My Homework!”

During class I had an idea. A brilliant one, if you ask me.

I struggle to pay attention in class just like anyone else. Flip the laptop open in Econ lecture and I’m gone, lost in a world of tweets and tumbls and OH MY GOSH how cute are those shoes from J. Crew! Before I know it class has ended and I’m glancing up at the final slide, probably looking something like this:

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When I get to the library, I make a promise that I won’t, will not, absolutely can’t go on Netflix or Hulu or Facebook. And then I get frustrated with a paper and say that I just need a little bit of inspiration and suddenly I have 8 tabs open and not one, not a one, holds any relevance for whatever project I’m struggling to complete.

So what was my brilliant idea, you ask? Well, I made one of my most distracting non-homework occupations into an incredibly addicting homework project! For my re-mediating project I am making a Pinterest page. Boom. Win.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s coming along. A little worried about all my other homework now, considering that I’ve been spending so much time on Pinterest…

 

Image from: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/feelings_-_toddler.html

Adobe InDesign #TechChallenge

For my remediating project I’m using Adobe InDesign to create a small booklet for high schoolers with information about different post-highschool options. The design will be similar to study abroad books I’m sure many of you are familiar with. It will have lots of images, quotes, and different sizes and styles of text, sort of similar to something like this. In order to learning how to produce the ideas I currently have in my head I figured a good place to start a tech challenge would be on the adobe site itself (https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/topics.html#dynamicpod_reference_1). InDesign is an Adobe product after all, so they must have some good resources!

The help site is organized by “getting started tutorials” and then specific tutorials on things like layout and design, text, styles, tables, color, and transparency to name just a few. I decided to start off watching a few getting started tutorials, which helped me through the very, very basics of things like opening a document, setting up how many pages I need, and setting the size. It seems ridiculous to have to learn how to do something so simple, especially because I’m so used to programs like Word and Powerpoint that I almost forgot that I had to learn how to use them at one point! I also learned a few nice tips such as how to re-order your pages at any time, which will be helpful for me since I haven’t decided on the order I want my topics to appear in the booklet.

I’m definitely going to continue watching these tutorials because I really like being able to follow along with exactly where to click rather than reading text of how to do something and then having to locate the buttons. I also want to check out the resources on Lynda.com, and then once I get a little bit better of a handle on the software I’ll check out the tech deck to ask specific questions in person.

E-Portfolio Updates

After a lot of conceptual thinking my portfolio is finally starting to take form! I’m using Wix and I’d first like to say that Wix is awesome (shout-out to Alyssa for introducing it to us all!). I picked a template and pretty much the only thing I actually kept from it was the top header. I love how you can delete and add things to the template as well as change the font, color, and style of literally everything. It’s really making me feel as if I’m not confined by the software and can produce whatever I want, which was one of my early fears about this project. One thing I’m still trying to figure out is the best way to organize the content within headings. For example, I have a writing 220 tab that has a drop down with why I write, repurposing, and remediating. However, I’m not sure if I want to have the parts of each (drafts, proposals, reflection, etc) as sub-drop down tabs, or buttons on the page, or links to googledrive, or download word docs. Little details like this really do impact the overall feel of the portfolio so I have some work to do in that sense. Here’s a sneak peak of the homepage, although I want to take a different headshot before the final

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InDesign Newbie #techchallenge

I decided to explore Lynda.com for some tips on how to navigate InDesign because let’s be honest… I’m not a tech savvy person so this remediation project will probably be a struggle. I figured that after I had gathered all my necessary photos and slogans/quotes/info for my ads, I would just play around with the program. I assumed I would just learn about effects and be able to cut/manipulate images and backgrounds, but there is actually so much more that I can do.

I watched a bunch of video tutorials. One was on “guides and grids”, which help you accurately size and place images on the layout. You can also create layers that you can toggle on and off, so that you can use the guides as necessary. This tool is super cool because usually when I size images, I just guesstimate, but on InDesign, I can be exact and place them in specific locations/orientations. I also watched a video on “placing art”, which will be extremely important for this project because my ads are going to be very visual (hopefully). The number of videos they have is kind of overwhelming, but at the same time reassuring because at least they’re there if I do need help figuring things out (and TechDeck and other resources on campus). I’m just a little worried that I may not have enough time to learn the program well and create a project I am happy with in time.

I think I’m currently at a pretty good place though. I have a fairly solid idea of what sort of images I would like to incorporate, basic layout, and some ideas about slogans. I’m currently working on my storyboard and playing with InDesign + getting tips from Lynda.com helped give me an idea of what I can realistically accomplish.

I hope everyone else’s re-mediation projects are making progress and going well too!

Storyboarding A Youtube Video

I’ve made a few Youtube videos in my day, most of them done with my webcam and an acoustic guitar in my hand, but this video is going to be different. I plan on using iMovie to make a youtube video that attempts to interview college students on campus about their thoughts of pop music. Imagine a Jimmy Kimmel skit that is playful, somewhat mocks cheesy MTV styles of interviews, but makes an argument at the same time. I once saw a Jimmy Kimmel skit where he sent someone to Coachella music fest in California to interview some “hipsters” and find out if any of them know of some fake music artists they made up, since he states that hipsters love to act like they have heard of everybody. It was funny to hear some people lie and say they have heard of them and one person said they like their “upbeat energy,” about a band that doesn’t exist. But the point of my video is not to make fun of people who listen to pop, but more make a mockery of pop music culture by mimicking MTV style shooting and actually talk to people about the state of pop music and some of the values it promotes. I have used iMovie a couple times in the past, and interviewed people on campus in both occasions, so I know I can do that. I am a little worried about my ability to mock MTV with the limited skills I have and make a useful argument at the same time. Any opinions are welcome.

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I’m a Finalist in a Mesothelioma Essay Scholarship Contest – Please Vote!

Mesothelioma-SettlementsHi all,

I was selected as a top 5 finalist for a mesothelioma scholarship contest and could really use your help! Bits of the essay I submitted comes from work I’ve done throughout the Minor in Writing and I’m thrilled to be raising asbestos and mesothelioma awareness.

Voting ends on 11/16 and it’s up to you all to determine if I get $5,000, $2,5000, $1,250, $500, or $250. These funds would help me tremendously as I apply to public health programs and continue to pursue my education. Please, please take a minute out of your day to vote and share – it would mean the world to me! You must vote from a computer (it’s not mobile-friendly) and log on through a Google or Facebook account.

Here is the link to my essay and you may vote on the right side of the page: http://www.mesotheliomahelp.net/scholarship-contest/silent-killer-cortney-segman

Many thanks!

Macbeth at the Michigan Theater

This weekend I went to see macbeth live for the first time and this performance with Kenneth Branagh was entirely unique to the many productions of Shakespeare I’ve seen in the past. It was set in the appropriate time period, but what was different about this piece was the fact that it was set “within the walls of an intimate deconsecrated Manchester church.” The audience is seated in the pews on either side of the stage where the players stand on a bed of mud. This gritty, organic feeling does not add, but rather fits perfectly into the natural sense of the text.

It was such an enriching experience to be able to go to an event like this, that are happening all over campus each day. Not to be preachy, but I really hope that more people will attend events like these, especially students. I feel like most of us as students get so wrapped up in our schoolwork and the stress of making it through the days, that there are better ways to blow off steam than getting completely wasted on the weekend. Many people on challenge campuses suffer from alcoholism, but not too many students are addicted to art. Maybe we should choose the healthier alternative; just a thought = )

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Remediation was the first problem, where to start is the second… (#techchallenge)

I would never categorize our remediation project as easy. In fact, I’d actually categorize it as just the opposite: difficult. However, difficult is not always a bad thing. In this case, the difficulty I am experiencing throughout the different steps of this project are actually teaching me most, second to writing and media, about the importance of decision-making. In transitioning from my repurposing to remediating project, I was unsure as to which medium form I wanted to use. I thought about creating a podcast, however, was unsure as to how I would organize my project in a way that wasn’t simply a script of my repurposing project. I also thought about creating an informational brochure on salsa, later realizing that the transformation from a magazine spread into a brochure would barely differ in terms of organization and appearance. All in all, I wanted to create a project that would enable me to guide my readers on a hypothetical journey across the world. I needed something more three-dimensional. That is when I finally came to a decision: a website. Websites offer interactivity, visuals, display themes, and most importantly, a virtual space for the organization and layout of my argument.

In beginning to design the storyboard for my remediation project, I am using PowerPoint to layout each and every page of my website. Although PowerPoint is limited in terms of its design features, font styles, header features, etc. in comparison to WordPress, it has allowed me to start at a more elementary phase and take baby steps toward the creation of a more complicated website. In creating my storyboard, I am getting a better sense of how my website is going to turn out. During the proposal stage of this project, I had a hypothetical image of my website lingering in my head: the colors I wanted to use, the themes I wanted to use, and the layout that I believed would work best in conveying my argument. However, because I am designing my storyboard on the computer rather than drawing it out, I am drawing upon the computer’s abilities and formatting features, rather than my own ideas. Therefore, I am learning, in actuality, and not just in my head, what the computer will and will not allow me to do, which fonts look best, which colors schemes look best, etc. The storyboard assignment is allowing my project to slowly come to life within reasonable parameters, which is exciting.

In conjunction with my decision to use WordPress, for my technology challenge, I have decided to commit to trying iMovie as the additional program that will aid my project. I don’t have a lot of experience with iMovie, and figured it would be a good program to create a “Lookbook” sort of feature for my website. I am picturing almost a running, continuous PowerPoint presentation of salsa images, ones that are visually appealing to online users. For instance, I could upload images of salsas with, for example, unique and atypical ingredients, salsa spread across lavish and fancy dishes, or even famous renditions of salsa prepared by famous chefs. I plan to create a short movie out of these images, which will offer a visually interactivity and a captivating way for users to “experience” salsa, rather than just read about it.

In downloading iMovie on my computer, I was able to learn a lot of basic information about the program in a short period of time. I put an old video I had downloaded on my computer years ago into the system, and was able to cut and chop up the video. I also taught myself about the transition features, which I noticed is similar to those in PowerPoint. There is also a microphone feature in iMovie, which would allow me to create a voiceover describing each image in my mini-salsa movie, if I wanted to. Lastly, I learned that I could also add text over the images of my movie, which would allow me to create captions describing them. I think iMovie will allow me to get creative with my website, adding video features of my own rather than simply posting videos on my website that were created by other people.

 

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