I was looking forward to the class pitches for the Capstone project because I was interested to see what everybody else was going to come up with. I felt confident about the core topic of my project because I know it’s something I’ll be engaged with throughout the semester, but I still had to flush out the details of the purpose of my piece and where I see this published.
I want to compare the lives of first generation college students and continuing generation students at the University of Michigan through a series of interviews. Given recent diversity initiatives, this is a topic of interest to many faculty and administration, but the topic would also be of interest to current and future students who want to learn more about people’s experiences at the university. I have decided not to do a podcast and instead transcribe the interviews, although recording the interviews will be key to the transcription.
I got some good suggestions about where this project could be published, and I’d like to like to see my article as a long form interview housed in The New York Times or any other similar news publication. I know past first generation college student articles have appeared in NPR, so that could also be a good avenue because they take on social issues like this.
I think purpose is what I’m struggling the most with because there have been a few pieces of content generated in the recent years around first generation college students. So, it comes down to “What more do I want to add to the conversation?” Shelley questioned why I want to interview continuing gens and what purpose that would serve to my story. I’m still mulling on the answer to that, but I want to use the continuing gens to serve as a contrast to first gens to make the difference between the two more obvious. There has been research showing that first gens have a harder time adjusting to college compared to their peers, but from the editorial pieces that I’ve seen, I haven’t seen that direct comparison from actual student experiences themselves. I’m also interested in if this identity is embraced by students right when they first enter or if it changes as the years go by. I think people tend to identify with their racial/cultural identities more than with their first gen identity, so I want to see if this is true.
I feel good about writing a formal proposal even though the task seems daunting. I think my project will grow and change even as I conduct interviews. I’m excited in hearing about each person’s different story and giving them a voice about their experiences. This could really add conversation to an important topic, so that is exciting in itself.
Doing the pitches in class helped me articulate my thoughts and figure out what more I need to do. And there’s so much more to do.