Writing 220: Endgame

Just in time for Avengers: Endgame to come out, I’m also in the endgame of my Writing 220 gateway experience. As I’m putting the final touches on my Eportfolio and drafting this post, I’ve also realized what an adventure this journey has been. I’ve learned a lot about myself and just like with the Avengers, I am sad for it to end.

Colorism has always been a topic I’ve cared about, so it was a great experience to reflect on how it has impacted my family and I’s lives. I’ve definitely grown as a writer this semester and plan to apply these new skills to everything I do moving forward.

I put a lot of time into my EPortfolio and final project (probably more than I should have!), but I’m really proud and satisfied with the outcome.

There were fourteen million outcomes, and this is the one that I ended up with:


Advice to Future Gateway Cohorts

At the beginning of this semester, or even back when I applied to the minor in writing, I had no idea what would come. If you told me that I would be creating an entire website and making three vastly different experiments- I would probably think your crazy.

Now that this semester is coming to an end, I can look back fondly on this process and the things I have learned about myself throughout it.

Now Advice!

  1. Stay on top of your work- there is nothing worse than falling behind and having to rush through an experiment you really care about.
  2. Plan ahead- really think about which projects will take the most time and order them accordingly (the first one usually is given the most time)
  3. Pick a topic you really care about- you will be working with the topic all semester so make sure it is complex, multi-dimensional, and interesting to you. Plus, if you love your topic then it won’t feel as much like homework and rather an exploration.
  4. Volunteer for a workshop- it is slightly intimidating but really rewarding.

Hopefully some of my advice helps your along your gateway journey.

Talking, Transcribing, and Transforming

I am excited to finally announce my final project!

Experiment #2, a photo essay about colorism across generations

This photo essay will consist of quotes about colorism from my grandmother, my mother, and myself, along with photos from all three of our lives, child hood through adult hood.

I chose this as my final project because it was the only experiment where I really learned more about colorism. My other two experiments were more self reflective, while my photo essay looked outside of myself for answers.

I have already completed my interviews (although I still need to finish the dreadful process of transcribing them!) and have photos collected from my life. My grandma’s portion is complete because I used it for my sample, so all that is left is receiving pictures from my mother, and actually putting all of the quotes online. Luckily, the website I used to create my sample allows for three free photo essays that I get to keep forever, so I am not afraid of losing my work.

One thing that I’m worried about is keeping the balance of all three sections. My grandma’s section is relatively short, mostly due to the few photos she was able to send, but I, on the other hand, have a lot of photos. I want to make sure it doesn’t seem unbalanced when reading my essay.

My next steps:

  1. Finish transcribing
  2. Choose and organize the best quotes from each interview
  3. Pick and choose the best photos and select an effective order for them
  4. Combine these steps and start completing my project!

Surprising Experiences

Initially, I thought that the experiment process would really be interesting and fun, but for some reason, I have not been enjoying the experiments as much as I expected to.

The main reason for this is that I like to finish pieces before moving onto something new. I think it is the idea of creating a sample, rather than a finished piece, has tripped me up. While I like exploring different genres, I find myself feeling weird when I have to quickly hop to a new topic.

I know that I will enjoy my final project more since I will be able to finish it to completion and finally feel satisfied.

That being said, I did enjoy creating the sketch section of my experiments because it allowed me to envision my final project. I also don’t normally make outlines for my work, so it was interesting to test out that process.

For my final project, I want to figure out which of my experiments on colorism made me feel the most inspired. Currently, this is my photo essay that I made about my grandmother, but I all am also enjoying my poetry in experiment 3.

I am excited to see where experiment 3 takes me, and then eventually decide what to turn into my final project!

Letters to the Future

Hello! My name is Akili Echols and I am currently a sophomore.

Here are some quick facts about me:

My major is sociology and I am minoring in writing as well as in Education for Empowerment which is all about education equity. I’m also a student-athlete here at UMich and run track. I love to write about social justice and my observations about the world around me. I also like writing poetry and even enjoy writing essays for class once in awhile.

The origin piece that I plan to use for my experiments is one that I wrote last semester in my English 225 class. My final project was a a collection of open letters about colorism that were addressed to my future daughter. I had a lot of fun when writing this origin piece, but it felt unfinished when I turned it in and I’m excited to see where I can take it.

I am really looking forward to being creative in new ways. For example, I plan on doing a photo essay/case study on someone in my life. I think using other mediums like photos in edition to my words will really allow me to push my own boundaries. I have never edited a video on my computer, so I hope that I am able to use the technology for my photo essay to its full capabilities, using all of it’s cool features. I wonder about where my experiments will take me and what I will find out about myself and others through the process.