Hello Babies, Welcome to the MIW!

I am not quite sure what happened, but apparently I either dreamed about writing this advice post and it never actually happened or I somehow forgot to click post after constructing it… who knows? Either way, I still have advice to give! Better late than never, right? Here it goes:

  1. Keep a calendar: As exemplified from my error of late blog-posting, it is so important to keep a calendar of all due dates! Not only that, but make sure to take the advice of making a project plan seriously. Project II and III will sneak up on you, especially since they are made almost entirely on your own time. You will need to be on top of it so as to avoid as much stress as possible. I suggest lots of planning and actual time-tracking. There is a lot going on, and it is helpful to stay disciplined in this respect.
  2. Have fun with it: … but don’t be too disciplined. Because you really should have fun with this class. It is more about taking chances and exploring media and methods you may not have tried before. Experiment. Have fun. Take chances you would never dream of taking in any other U of M class. This gateway course is special for a lot of reasons, but I think the main one is that the environment is so encouraging. You have a tight-knit group of writers ready to offer constructive criticism and support at all times. Take advantage of it. Don’t let the freedom intimidate you; see it as an opportunity to play.
  3. Be respectful: In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” You are going to get close to your classmates, so be kind from the start and all the way through. Sharing writing can be extremely personal, so be respectful and make sure you say whatever you have to say with the best of intentions.
  4. Meet outside of class: whether is be with your professor or with other students in the class, take the time to meet outside of scheduled class time. The writing minor is a community, truly. Meet with others to chat about writing, life, and otherwise. It is all relevant to what we do. We are writers, and writing is communication. So communicate! Chat! Make this more than just another course and meet outside of class.

Best of luck writer! You got this.


Better Late than Never

Well, we’ve arrived at the end of the semester, and it appears I’ve forgotten to do one of my last assignments– whoops, at least I’m getting it done at some point, right?  I think in the rush of finals and completing my E-portfolio, I forgot to write a post introducing it.  Well…… the time has come…… after weeks of anticipation………. I’m ready to unveil my E-Portfolio……. drumroll pleaseeeeeeee…….:

Here it is!! 


At first I was somewhat dreading making the E-Portfolio because I thought it’d be a lot of work formatting the site, but I actually really enjoyed it!  It was a little daunting editing some of the features on the Wix site, but overall it was a lot more doable than I had expected.  I’m really happy with how it turned out because I feel like it is a great reflection of my personality & also shows off a lot of my work.  I think I will continue to use this in the future as a space to store my work so I don’t have to sift through millions of Word Documents on my laptop if I ever want to find a final piece of writing again.  Overall, making this E-Portfolio was a fun experience and I’m sad that the class has come to an end!

The Final Post

So this is it…my last college assignment. By the end of this blog post I will be done with college forever. Honestly I have mixed feelings about it. Although I am certainly ready for classes to be over, I still have not been able to grasp the idea that I will never step foot in a classroom again, or take another test, or writer another paper. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Writing minor. My writing has drastically improved and I have loved getting to know all of the teachers and students in the minor. But before I get teary-eyed, I will share my Capstone E-Portfolio with you.


I am particularly proud of my E-Portfolio, and it feel as if I have been working towards its’ completion the entire semester. For my capstone project I chose to write a personal narrative about fashion and how it has played an integral part in my life. I hope my E-Portfolio gives you a better look into me as a person and as a writer. Feel free to explore!


This semester has been a great culmination of the minor in writing and I am so glad that I have been apart of this great program. Congratulations to the rest of the class of 2016!


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Love/Hate Relationships

I have a love/hate relationship with blog posts. Love because I enjoy the casualness of it all. I don’t have to use perfect grammar or impressive vocabulary—I can just put some words down on paper and that will normally suffice. Hate because I rarely know what to write about. Do I write about something that interests me, that I want to learn more about? Or do I write about something that other people will care about? Do I write about something deep and meaningful? Or something light and funny, in (failed) attempts to make people laugh? Mine have been a mix I think.

Love/hate relationship aside, It’s so crazy that this will be my last blog post. I waited to write it until today because I wanted it to be the last piece of schoolwork I completed at the University of Michigan. I have turned in all my papers and taken all my finals—the only thing left to do now is graduate.

I’m keeping this post short because if you have the time to read something long, I’d rather you look at my portfolio. Through a few quotes and brief explanations, it aims to convey who I am and what I care about. Here’s the link:


I also had a love/hate relationship with my portfolio. I really did love doing the research for it– learning more about capital punishment, about African American representatives, about Rebecca Solnit. I did not love using illustrator. If I had to do it all over again, I’d pick an interface that’s a little more user friendly. I also did not love how much I cared. I know it’s good to care, but it made me spend time on the littlest things: 45 minutes just to decide if I should center a title or put it to the side, an hour making sure all my spacing looked good. In the end thought, definitely more love than hate; I created a website I’m proud of.

Final Thoughts

It still hasn’t hit me that I’m about to graduate, mainly because I am thoroughly convinced that some mishap will occur and I’ll have to stay an extra semester. It’s such a cliché to say, but I can’t believe how fast these four years went by!


My project was kind of a question mark in my head for the longest time, but I think it finally came together. As someone who desperately needs a job, I’m always extremely curious about the jobs other people have. Why this job? Why this field? Why this community? Are you happy? Do you wish you chose a different path? In addition, as someone who hasn’t always been happy at U of M, I can’t help but wonder—why do the people around me stay?


This year, I took a student job in the Markley Dining Hall, and the same questions began running through my head of the Markley professional staff. I was particularly curious about their stories because many have them have worked in Markley for over twenty years. Why Markley? Why stay? What do you know about the University that the rest of us forget, because we’re only here for four years?


I ended up creating three parts to my project: first, I wrote a profile on one of the cooks, Maria, based on four different interviews I conducted. Second, I created a Fun Fact page with a Buzz-Feed-esque format, where I talked about some differences between Markley today and Markley ten to twenty years ago. Finally, I created a page of recipes for food Maria and her co-workers prepared while I conducted interviews.

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The overall purpose of my project (and by extension, my portfolio) was to show U of M students that there are people all around them with life experiences and wisdom that they might find useful in times of feeling lost or unsure of themselves. Hopefully, students will leave with a greater sense of hope and a greater appreciation for the people who work tirelessly all around them to make their college experience positive.


Enjoy! And happy almost-graduation!



This is Probably the Last Blog Post I Will Ever Write…

This is probably the last blog post I will ever write. It’s a bittersweet feeling. Sweet in the sense that these posts are surprisingly fun and will make for a random happy memory somewhere down the road; bitter in the sense that the real world is finally taking its hold of me and no longer will I have the opportunity to write blog posts and have it count as work.

The Minor in Writing has meant a lot to me over the past few years. Not only have I grown immensely as a writer, but I have also made lasting friendships and have worked with some really great instructors. I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t pursued a Minor in Writing, but I’m glad that I did.

At the bottom of this screen, you will see an image of my ePortfolio home screen. By clicking on the image, you will be taken to my ePort.

First, please read over this description of my ePortfolio. It will help get you acquainted with the main ideas:

While pondering my writing evolution early in the semester, I realized that I tend to use writing as a way of understanding myself and the people around me. Because I’m a pre-med student, I am aware that I’ve used science to understand people throughout my lifetime. But until writing my evolutionary essay, I hadn’t realized that I used writing for the same exact purpose. Interestingly, this is nonetheless evident in my writing. All of my work included in my portfolio, including my capstone project, seeks to understand myself and the people around me. When designing my ePortfolio, I wanted to make this a subtle motif. Therefore, I have created a transparent background featuring images from throughout my lifetime. Each image correlates to an essay that I have written at some point in time (though not all are provided in my ePortfolio), reminding you that my writing is about myself and others. Furthermore, the boxed-in reflections on each page, be it a major category or specific essay (minus the “Writing Evolution” tab), emphasize this idea. It is my hope that this message is clear to an audience of friends, family, and faculty/students of the Minor in Writing program (this is why I do not have my portfolio segmented according to minor-specific sections—it is not limited to a Minor in Writing audience).

My capstone project is an article “published” in The Atlantic. In congruence with my other work, this essay also seeks to understand myself and others. At the beginning of the year, Shelley suggested we write about a topic that we could not stop thinking about. For me, that topic was rock climbing. Feeling that an essay solely about rock climbing would limit my audience, I decided to instead write about outdoor adventure in general. This article seeks to understand why some people (including myself) crave dangerous situations of outdoor adventure. Does this not defy logic? Why would anyone purposefully put themselves in a situation of danger? Feeling that my voice alone would not provide a comprehensive answer, I decided to incorporate scientific beliefs on the subject matter in addition to my own narrative. Therefore, this essay is an analytical/argumentative personal narrative (it doesn’t really fit into one single genre so I had to make my own). As I see it, my personal voice is just as important as the scientific voice in this article because I use my voice to remind the reader that there are unique, personal reasons why one would seek out adventurous activities; science alone cannot answer everything. This idea reflects the overall purpose of my writing.

Cameron Fattahi ePortfolio

To my Minor in Writing friends and faculty: It’s been real. Keep writing.


My Last Time

It’s crazy to think my time here at Michigan is 10 days from over. I’ve always been worried that come this time, I’d be overly nostalgic and sentimental and think of everything I do as “my last time [insert activity here]”. I would then become terribly sad and my thoughts would be clouded by the fact that I never want to leave, and it would be a really bittersweet ending.

Fortunately, this has not been the case. Yes, this may be “my last time posting on the Sweetland Minor in Writing Blog”, but that, and the various other “lasts” I’ll do over the next 10 days have been satisfying, not somber. My four years at Michigan have been incredible and I’m relieved that my last hurrah will be marked first and foremost by triumph and happiness.

So yeah, I’ll never post on here again, which means I’m no longer in college, which means I’m now entering the real world, but I’ve never felt more prepared and excited to do so.

My portfolio: http://maxblind.wix.com/captstonemax

A Final Post

Well, this semester certainly flew by. I think I’ll avoid saying that I’ve had a great time at U of M and that I can’t believe I’m graduating in just a couple of weeks because I think everyone else in the capstone is experiencing the same thing. Instead, I’ll just tell you a little bit about my project and stay in my happy place denying the fact that I won’t be returning to Ann Arbor next Fall.

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Something I dream of is living in a world where people are well informed and communication is flawless. Naturally, this can’t happen, but I wanted to dedicate my time to creating a project that would at least give a little push in that direction. Because I am a bit of a science junky, especially in biological science, I created an analysis of misconceptions in science. I focused on GMOs (and a little bit on vaccines) to investigate the question of why the opinion of the general public seems to differ from the opinion of the majority of scientists. My overall goal was to encourage the audience to do more research on anything they don’t fully understand before forming an opinion about it.

So, here it is: http://kngilb.wix.com/capstone-portfolio

And with that, I’m officially done with my work at the University. I can’t believe it’s over already.



The End of the Beginning

I have had a lot of fun in the gateway course this semester. This has all culminated into one final piece that we needed to have complete: the E-Portfolio. Now I am done with that and there is really nothing else to be said here. The projects are complete, the workshops are complete, the discussions are over, the E-Portfolios are done and now the blog posts are being completed as well. There is nothing else to say other than to share what I have completed, my E-Portfolio, and to say I guess that we shouldn’t be too sad because this isn’t the beginning of the end but only the end of the beginning.

My E-Portfolio

&and just like that, We’re Done

So this semester has gone by way too fast. I’m a rising Junior, yet, it still feels like I just got out of my dad’s car and moved into Northwood III (RIP to that freshman dorm).

I’m really not ready to be done with the Gateway. I’ve loved it so much. It was one of the couple of classes I have taken since I’ve been here that I looked forward to every Tuesday and Thursday and the only one I would willingly get out of bed at 10 am for. I’ve learned so much in my time here about my writing and about myself. Until this semester I had forgotten just how fulfilled I am when I’m writing. It sounds so cheesy but it really has been the best kind of ride.

This may or may not be me right now…because of finals and all…ya know.

447&here’s what I have to show for it: http://opuente.wix.com/eportfolio

It’s definitely not something I would show to potential employers. Unless I decide to drop out of school and become a professional eater. (You’ll have to take a peek to see why)

Even though I’m sad this class is over, this Jonah Hill picture is an accurate depiction of how excited I am for summer to begin.

So that’s it, I’ve been trying for a half hour to find a gif of Seth Rogen that will actually move which has proven to be an impossible task so I’ll just leave you with this gem. (& my personal fave)