Two nights ago was a turning point in my e-portfolio journey. Since the beginning, I had been excited about the customization aspect of the project. I chose to be ambitious and code it myself, building off a bit of HTML/CSS knowledge I had acquired through Codecademy tutorials. In my head, I saw a glorious display of minimalism, complete with a flashy title and and a simple table of contents that would link to my artifacts. As I began to bring my website dreams to life, the progress was slow, but the small victories kept me going: centering an element, changing the font. There were tough times, too. My lacking coding knowledge led to me to believe that including an overlay feature would be a good idea. It wasn’t. One class I spent the whole time trying to make the title a cool GIF. Also probably not a great idea. But through the good and bad, my determination remained steadfast. I wanted my e-portfolio to be as personal as possible (and, honestly, to stand out) and coding it completely myself was the way to do that.
That was, until two nights ago. Coming home from a long day I sat down at my desk and decided to show my computer science-majoring roommates my website concept. It makes more sense now, but in fishing for compliments, I was hit with some pretty harsh critique. Quotes heard include, “I’d rather watch replays of the Michigan State game than look at that” and, bluntly, “This is what computer science over the past decade has been working to prevent.” They even hated on the purple white-noise background. At first I tried to defend it. A few tears welled up. But then I began to accept that I needed a change, and through the veil of criticism there was a glow of encouragement. Their intervention forced me to grapple with the truth of the matter, that I was at an impasse and that this was keeping me from accomplishing more important parts of the project. We reasoned ways I could move forward, such as using a template like Wix, or even still coding it by hand but using a template like these Bootstrap ones. Overall, the experience was less traumatic and more constructive. Now I can still apply my original structural ideas without stressing over more superficial aesthetics and formatting. Sometimes, in our personal quests for achievement, we lose sight of reality. This e-portfolio intervention was a much needed reality check, and I, as well as my instructors and transcript, will be more thankful because of it.