iMovie to the Final Stages of Project III

For Project III I decided to repurpose my article “Make Your Commencement Count” on The Huffington Post into a video. As of now, the video is coming together surprisingly well. I was a little hesitant at first to use iMovie because I had only worked with it a few times in the past, but it proved to be a great source for this project – even after the countless hours I spent making edits on it.

Throughout my video, viewers are exposed to five key pieces of advice that I recommend to anyone who is giving a commencement address. They were the same five pieces of advice that I used in my article and worked very well for the type of video I was going for. Several different clips from well-known commencement speakers are joined together to give viewers examples of Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 7.24.40 PMthe points I am trying to make. Each video includes the speaker’s name, and what he or she has done to become so well-known. I have also included classic commencement music in the background of the entire video so that each video flows well from one to the other and so that there is music playing during the parts of the video where the advice rolls across the screen. Credits (works cited) follow the video once it has ended.

From here on out, only minor changes need to be made to my video. I may include the name of each school that each video clip takes place at if I notice that it is unclear to my audience. It might also be effective to ass pieces of commentary throughout the video that explains why I have included each specific clip. I plan to wait until my workshop group has a chance to review my video before I decided to make any further changes. I am very happy with the way it has turned out thus far and am excited for my peer to see my final video.

Electronic Annotated Draft FTW

When Shelley suggested that I try a mini-assignment in class on Monday to help with my Capstone revision, I brushed it off. I thought there were so many more productive ways I could be spending my time in class, and decided to continue writing my Capstone piece. In the last week I have basically started over with my capstone, and I’m now writing a personal narrative about my experience with fashion throughout my life.

Today I spoke to Shelley via Skype after sending her my most recent draft. It was extremely helpful to talk it through with her and she had a lot of great ideas on how I should proceed. After our conversation, I realized that it might be helpful to do a mini-assignment. I chose to do the electronic annotated draft and I am so happy that I did. The assignment asks us to go through a draft and add comments in the margins in certain places where you want to know more, are unsure of your point, have questions, etc. Doing this after talking to Shelley was great because I was able to take her comments and pinpoint specific places where I could work on them.

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I may have gone a bit over board with the comments…

This exercise was great, and I will be coming back to my draft in the next few days to answer and resolve all of the questions I posed for myself. Another lesson learned…Shelley is always right 🙂

Who Are You Writing To?

Assignment:

For this blog post, we were required to complete a mini-assignment from “Revising & Refining.” In this mini-assignment, we were tasked with looking at our Evolutionary Essay from the perspective of four peers: a top expert in our field, a trusted peer in the Minor in Writing, a trusted peer from outside of the Minor in Writing, and someone who isn’t an expert in writing or in our field. Reading our essays from these perspectives would help us see in a new light what’s working in this draft and what isn’t. Below, the four peers I chose and my predictions for each of their points-of-view:

  1. Emily Kramer: Emily was the director of the team on which I interned this past summer. Next week, I am interviewing at the new agency she works at. Emily works primarily with numbers, and her work is quite strategic. I think formatting my essay as an outsider looking at my work will make it easy for a reader unfamiliar with writing assignments at the University of Michigan to follow along. However, she doesn’t know anything about the Minor in Writing program or my major, so that may be something I would want to explain better.
  2. Hannah Schiff: Hannah is a trusted friend as well as one of my peers in the Capstone course. I trust her constructive criticism. I think out of all the potential audiences listed, Hannah would be most welcome into my work and understand my motivations best. However, I think she also would buy into it the least. She has experiences in many of the same classes as me, so I know she would be looking for clear, honest analysis of my academic writing.
  3. Joey Schuman: Joey, my little brother, is a freshman at U of M. He also writes for the Daily and is an amazing writer. Joey and I struggle with different elements of our writing. I think that they elements of my writing that I pick out to analyze wouldn’t be ones he would pick out on his own, but that he would understand them with my explanation. I bet he would suggest that I clarify the structure and format of my essay.
  4. Frances Hinkamp: Fran is one of my best friends from high school. She’s a great writer, but she’s pre-med and hasn’t done a lot of writing in college. She also would be very unfamiliar with the courses I took and assignments I completed for those courses. We talk a lot about how the curriculum differs tremendously between the small university she attends and U of M. She also has trouble getting out of her own head when she writes, so I think she could sympathize with that aspect.

Conclusions: My findings through this exercise are fairly similar to what I wrote about in my writer’s note for my Evolutionary Essay rough draft. My main concern is that the way I structured my piece and my reasons for doing so are confusing. This exercise supported those concerns. If I have doubts that Emily, Joey, and Fran, my three trusted peers who are unfamiliar with the minor in writing, will be confused by my approach, then I have to consider making some clarifying changes. I am thinking about explicitly stating who is “reading” these past works of mine and why their objective opinion is important. I also want to clearly mark the transition between my first-person voice and a third-person perspective. Also, I need to do some brainstorming on why I chose to approach analyzing my work this way and synthesize my ideas so they would be understandable for someone less familiar with the assignment than me.

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Pet Peeves: Don’t make me take the lead

Created using the most dangerous writing app.

I don’t know what annoys me right now. I think that pet peeves are one of those things that you don’t know annoy you until they happen. When you try to think of them out of context you cannot but once it happens you know immediately that you hate it and that it is not just an isolated case but something that is much more general. I guess something that annoys me is when people just seem to assume that silence needs to be awkward or a bad thing. No silence can be good. Silence can be comfortable. Embrace it! Also I think what can annoy me is when people try and act nosy which is ironic because I can be very nosy at the same time. I don’t know really what else to say as I am just rambling now. I tend to do that which can annoy me. I think what also annoys me is when other people do not understand that I don’t want to be a leader. I don’t know but for some reason I always end up in group projects where I need to be the leader. Which just annoys me so much. Because that is not my personality. Aren’t there people who are supposed to want to control everything? Where are they? Why am I never grouped with them! I am more than happy to let them sit back and control things. They must all end up in the same group because I always end up with 3 other people who just want to let someone else lead. It is so annoying. Then I end up having to lead just because I don’t want things to get completely derailed. I guess that is a major pet peeve for me seeing as I have went on about it for a long time.

Quiet Please

I stared at my computer screen, willing an answer to come to me. What is my pet peeve? What is it that really tics me?? I knew that that special something had to exist, but for some reason, I was coming up with absolutely nothing.

Then, the beeping started. The loud, obnoxious, impossible-to-ignore, repeating noise. The one that I have lived with from 6am to sometimes 10pm every day since the day I moved into East Quad for the fall 2015 semester. The one that I can hear especially well due to my location directly across the street from it. The one that is identified and begrudged by most East Quad residents. The sound effects from the construction of the new addition to the Ross School of Business.

For the past few months, I would have to say that Ross has become my pet peeve. From the times that I have found myself focused and excitedly approaching a breakthrough to a difficult math proof or an essay, or even those when I have found myself able to go to bed at a decent time, I have been greeted with construction noises – whistles, beeps, machinery, banging, clanging. All with no pause, no relief, no quiet.

Reflecting upon my dislike of the construction noise, I suppose it is not surprising that it is a noise that has become my greatest pet peeve this year. I have always been one to appreciate quiet. When I was a kid, intently reading Nancy Drew or Harry Potter, I would always rudely shush any member of my family who happened to walk into the room; much less dare to actually say something. In fact, it has become a bit of a joke in my family that I cannot stand the sound of unwanted noise. I cannot pinpoint the origin of this pet peeve of mine, but it is part of me. And because of that, I suppose I should embrace it by working with it rather than fighting it.

So please excuse me while I shut my window in hopes of blocking out some of the obnoxious construction noise.

Come On… Keeping Pressing My Pet Peeve Buttons… I Dare Ya

OMG why do I have a grudge against all typos, spelling mistakes, and contractions. It as if one little mistake will impair my entire future. For this reason, this is my second attempt at the Most Dangerous Writing App. This first one was for ten minutes and I lost half way through. Hopefully, I can make it five minutes this time. Ugh everything keeps disappearing because I am trying to fix my spelling mistakes. This app is emphasizing my pet peeves!

UGH I just need to focusing on free writing rather than grammar. I am a grammar perfectionist! I wish this was not the case. It would be so much better for me to be able to write my thoughts out instead of always going back and editing things. For this reason, the Most Dangerous Writing App is probably really good for me even though I strongly dislike it. The app forces me to keep writing, and keep writing, and keep writing.

I have no idea why these are my pet peeves. Unfortunately, I struggle to read anything without correcting simple grammar errors. I always get stuck fixing errors than analyzing the entire meaning of a passage.

In high school, my friends would call me the “grandma texter” because I always had to write everything out. A text like “Where r u?” drives me nuts. Eww I feel weird even writing the example out. Okay, well I just need to keep moving on or else my screen will fade.

Only twenty seconds left! Then, I can go back and fix my mistakes! I can not wait for the screen to be error free! Or maybe I should leave the mistakes and press my pet peeve buttons…

Resting _____ face.

I’m easily annoyed. I think it’s my natural state. Some people are neutral. Others are happy (how). And then there’s me. I’m perpetually annoyed.

Of course, this means that when things are actually annoying, I reach peak annoyance levels.

Like when people don’t realize how loud their voices are. Or when they tell me that I have resting bitch-face. Or when they take off their shoes (some people should keep their shoes firmly on). When people decide that playing their music out loud is an okay thing to do. When people are being loud when I’m trying to study. When people try to explain things at me instead of to me. When cars don’t stop for me. When people walk too slowly in front of me. When people complain about how fast I walk. Actually, I don’t mind that. It makes me feel powerful. I walk with a purpose. I walk with a destination. I walk because I’m perpetually two minutes late to everything.

Also, when the doors to buildings close after 6pm and don’t let students in. Sometimes I’m cold and just want to remember what warm feels like. Why won’t you let me in, Mason Hall. Why. I just want to remember what having toes feels like. I just want to feel dry and warm for the 30 seconds that it takes to walk through your long-ass hallway. Just let me be warm.

When the dining hall serves terrible food for dinner but great food for lunch????? North Quad you need to build up to the ending. John Green said that he would never sacrifice a happy middle for a happy ending, but I firmly believe in happy endings. Why can’t North Quad get with the program. I just want good dinners. I just want happy endings. Please. Please. Please stop serving me dry, unseasoned chicken. And why did you think you could make a watermelon salsa. Nobody should be making a watermelon salsa. Also, there was too much garlic in that pasta yesterday.

 

Draft Development: Do we ever really know what we’re doing?

For my draft development excercise, I chose Option 4, which was to pick a sentence from our first project draft and expand on it in 500 words. I wasn’t sure where this would take me, but I think I ended up with a pretty solid rough draft of a project conclusion:

 

“Essentially, college is a time when expectations are disrupted, questions are posed, and nobody really knows what they’re doing.”

 For four years I’ve lived in a bubble of a college town, where I have the luxury of being surrounded by people similar to me, people different from me, and wifi pretty much everywhere I go. I’ve had the freedom to complain about things like professors and group projects, when I never really had any real problems of my own. After graduating, I’ll have to fend for myself, as my professors become bosses and group projects become everyday work. I’m shuttering at the thought.

 

A few weeks before graduation, one of the most common phrases you’ll hear around campus is “Oh my god, I am not ready for the real world.” These words have escaped my own mouth on multiple occasions, as I contemplate very “adult” decisions such as, “where can I get a job?,” “what’s a 401k?” and “what even constitutes ‘business casual’?” I’m not ready.

 

But maybe we’re never ready. At every transition point in our lives, from high school to college, from college to “adulthood,” and from wearing leggings and sweatshirts every day to having to buy actual clothes, we would rarely face these without at least an ounce of hesitation. Four years ago, possibly to this day, I was probably sitting on my bed sifting through the massive college course guide, thinking about how scary the classes looked and how I’d rather just stay at home and eat my mom’s tuna casserole forever. Still, I drove into Ann Arbor that fall and learned it as I went. When it comes to life’s turning points, maybe we all just need to relax, and start before we’re ready.

 

Earlier, I talked about how college is a time when nobody really knows what they’re doing. But, looking to the future, if there ever a point in our lives when we actually know what we’re doing? Sure, we can strap on a tie or a pair of matte black heels and call ourselves “professionals,” but maybe the answer isn’t as simple as that. I have no idea where I’ll be in ten years, but know that, regardless, I’ll probably still be a little confused, questioning if I made the right decisions, and making Ramen out of my microwave at least a couple of times a month. Safety and comfort are great, but too often these overlap with the mundane. If there comes a point in my life when I get trapped in a pit of repetition and same-ness, I hope I have the courage to start before I’m ready and try something new. Because we shouldn’t always know what we’re doing.

 

Life is unpredictable.

 

That’s what I learned in college.

Discovering Complications Late in the Game

I’ve done a lot of thinking about different aspects of my final projects. This project has many different sides—a serious side, a helpful side, and an overall informative side. But aside from all of the structural and useful elements of the project in and of itself, it embodies a particular humorous side.

Thinking about a food blog, humor may not be the first word that comes to mind. Typically something more along the lines of baking, recipes, or even shopping are bound to flood your mind first. But my blog is particularly aimed at college students attempting to cook for themselves. While this itself could be quite comical, there’s a funnier part: I don’t actually know much about cooking.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a total newbie. I do love food, I do love making new things, and I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and putting it all together. But have I ever actually looked up new recipes to make them myself? Not much. And do I tend to stray away from foods I already know that I like, in an attempt to try something new? Rarely. And so, thinking about the idea of myself actually making this food blog is a bit humorous and absurd. I’m not nearly a professional chef—although I do sometimes image what I would put on my own restaurant menu, and that consists of about five dishes I know how to make well. I also don’t exactly have the college-student funds to buy a plethora of new ingredients to mix them together. And I don’t even have a car at school to get these ingredients—more humor.

But this underlying humorous aspect is what actually creates a purpose for my blog. When beginning this assignment, I was nervous that I didn’t have a particular message to go along with this project. What’s so different about a cooking blog? I’ll admit I still struggled with the purpose well into beginning the project. But as I continue on—and even throughout this mini assignment where I in fact discover the complications within my project as a whole—I definitely have targeted its purpose. The point of the blog is to juxtapose previous cooking ideals. We’re college students, and often we have much more on our mind than simply what we’re going to cook that day. We have tests, papers, meetings, and a range of activities that add to the time constraints of both preparing and eating meals. So this blog is funny—it goes against the ideologies of cooking, and adapts it to a fast paced, confusing, and overall disorganized college lifestyle. Whether you’re looking at where to run into the hottest shoppers, order in late night food from, or simply what to make for dinner with the few ingredients you have, this blog is simply for that.

It’s funny, it’s disorganized, but it’s reflective of the lifestyles we live. So in reality, if I knew much about cooking in the first place, I’d be a hypocrite to the blog.

 

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Annotating with Attitude

I was feeling pretty stuck on my evolution essay. It was really evolving the way I was intending. At least not evolving very quickly. So I decided to succumb to Shelley’s suggestion of annotating my own rough draft.

To be honest, I was pretty skeptical going into it. I didn’t really understand the concept at first. I thought it meant creating an annotated bibliography precis of my piece that I was working on. When I did understand that it meant going though and electronically commenting on your own piece, I thought it sounded like unnecessary busy work that wouldn’t get me any closer to a completed essay. I thought I can totally just think those thoughts in my head, why go through and actually type them out that’s pointless.  (Sorry Shelley! Sometimes I have a bad attitude).

I started annotating reluctantly, like a pre-teen setting out to clean your bedroom after your mom asked them to, thinking in your head this is so stupid.

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Me when I started annotating

But, also similar to a pre-teen who has just finished cleaning your room after your mom asked you to, I realized that it wasn’t really that bad, or that hard, and was actually quiet helpful.

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Screen shot of me annotating my own piece

As I started to annotate my own draft, I was able to look upon my essay like a third party. I was detached from the idea that I was writing this paper. Instead, I was critiquing this paper. This gave me a mindset which allowed me to really pick apart what was working, what wasn’t, and where I needed to add/subtract words. Doing this exercise actually gave me a direction- it showed me specific places where I can work on my evolution essay to improve it.

I guess I should have known to trust Shelley’s advice. After all, being in both her Gateway and Capstone, she does feel a bit like my writing mom.