Teach Me How to EPortfolio

I wasn’t exactly sure what a “Minor in Writing EPortfolio” was when I was told I needed to have one published at the end of the semester. In fact, even when one of the fall 2014 cohorts showed me his eportfolio at the Minor in Writing meeting at the beginning of the semester, I still wasn’t sure what it entailed.

Upon going on the Minor in Writing WordPress website, I was extremely impressed and even a little overwhelmed by what I saw. I first looked at Logan Hansen’s eportfolio to give me an idea everything it should include. His site was not only visually pleasing, but it was well organized and well constructed. Each part of the site was easy to find and to follow, which I knew I wanted to my own eportfolio. It was nice to see an “About Me” page, especially since I didn’t know him, which introduced him as a writer. I was able to look around at some of his other writing, not for the Minor, as well as contact him on his “Contact” page in case I had any questions for him. Overall I found his eportfolio to be very well done and I found many aspects that I would like to include on my own.

I also had the opportunity to look at Catherine Livingston’s eportfolio. Similar to Logan’s, her site was very enjoyable. She included many pictures that kept my interest and made it so that it was easy for her audience to navigate. She also included other pieces of writing that were not necessary for the assignment, as well as well as her resume. If I plan to use my eportfolio for anything professional, I will be sure to include my resume too. I also liked how Catherine included linked to her projects that would open up in a separate tab, that way I could easily return to the site when I wanted to. Her eportfolio was very well done and I will incorporate some of her ideas into my own site.

As on now, I am feeling much better about the Minor in Writing EPortfolio, especially after looking at many examples. I am eager to get started.

THE Best Commencement Video

From my commencement speech, to an advice article, and now to a video, Projects II and III have allowed me to further explore one the most exciting moments of my life.

My senior year of high school, I auditioned and was selected to give my class commencement speech. It was an incredible honor and to this day I still think back to the amazing experience that I had. For Project II, I repurposed my commencement speech into an article for The Huffington Post that compiled a list of five points of advice that every commencement speaker should include when giving their address. As I move forward with Project III, I am planning on making a video that still encompasses those five points but by presenting them in a different way.

My ideal place of publication would be on the website Soul Pancake. Since I first stumbled upon the website early high school, I have watched dozens of inspirational videos from their site that I think have a similar theme to what I want to include in my own video. As of now, I would love to incorporate video clips from my own speech, as well as the speeches of those that I addressed in my article. To do so, I will need to find the best parts of those speeches and cut them so that they fit into my video in the best way possible. I will narrate parts of the video if need be so that the video flows together nicely. I also plan to handwrite the five points of advice on paper that will be video taped and used as breaks between videos.

I am hoping to use iMovie to make the video as it has been extremely helpful in the past. Project III will definitely be a challenge for me, but I am excited to get started and see where the idea of using my original commencement speech will get me.

Project II in the Making

After many hours of watching (and laughing at) commencement speeches from the past fifty years, I have finally decided on the sources, moreover, the commencement speakers I am going to focus on for Project II. My main theme I am writing about is how to write the best commencement speech. For as long as I can remember, I have loved public speaking. Being selected to give my high school class commencement speech was an honor and since then my love for public speaking has grown.

As of now, I have a very rough draft of my project completed. I have compiled five key points I believe every commencement speaker should include in their address, going off of both personal experience and everything I saw in the videos of the speakers. After each point, I have several paragraphs to explain how and why these should be incorporated into an address, with examples from scripts of speakers I found to be particularly moving. I have formatted my project to fit an Op-Ed article in The Huffington Post.

As I move forward with this project, I am mainly going to focus on making sure the paragraphs flow together nicely while keeping much of my own voice in my writing. Though it is an Op-Ed article, I want to make sure that my piece is something that The Huffington Post would actually publish in terms of sentence structures and word choice.

Overall, Project II is going well for me. I believe I have a solid foundation and am already starting to brainstorm ideas of how I will transform my piece into Project III. Over Spring Break I am going to continue editing what I have thus far and incorporate ideas that my workshop group members have suggested. Also, I will revise my Annotated Bibliography and begin work on the Making of Project II assignment. I am excited to finalize my project!

Commencement Speech Research

For my remediation project, I plan to write an article for the Huffington Post on how to write the best commencement speech. My senior year of high school I gave my class commencement speech at graduation and completely fell in love with public speaking, despite how shy I am.

This week I have begun my research on how to give the best commencement speech, looking into previous speeches given by well-known speakers. I have looked at speeches given this past year, all the back to 1932. From Amy Poehler (who I am currently binge watching on Parks and Recreation), to Steve Jobs, to even John F. Kennedy, the number of influential commencement speakers has been endless. All over the country, all over the world, commencement speeches are given every year. Opinions are voiced and thoughts are proclaimed.

As I continue my research on how to give the best commencement speech, I plan to interview my fellow peers (like my friends Caroline (freshman) and Gabby (junior)) at the University of Michigan who have also given commencement speeches at their high schools. I think that it will be interesting to see different perspectives of those giving commencement speeches.

I have noticed that many of the speakers I have read about have opened with a funny line, or something that catches the audience’s attention. For me, I began with a thought-provoking question, followed by a quote from Albert Einstein. For president Barack Obama, he began with “Go Blue!”

Margaret Atwood – The Paris Review

I was immediately drawn to the interview conducted with Margaret Atwood on the Paris Review. Until last semester, I had not had the chance to explore her writing. After enrolling in an English class all about horror, I had the opportunity to read her short story, Death by Landscape. Because I had not known much about her, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly her story caught my attention.

The interview took please near Princeton University where Atwood was a guest lecture. She was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1939 and by sixteen years old, she committed herself to a career in writing. Like many others, including myself, her writing was inspired by the work of Edgar Allen Poe. In fact, he inspired her first collection of poems published titled Double Persephone.

Since then, Atwood has grown immensely as a writer. Much of her work, like, Death by Landscape, encompasses a theme of survival. Growing up in a rural area of Canada, she learned many ways of wilderness survival that she consequently intertwines into her writing. At the time of her childhood, not many people knew where Canada was. Because she grew up outside of the United States, Atwood was considered a “foreign student,” which also played a common theme in her writing as her career progressed.

As a female writer, much of Atwood’s work has questioned the status of women, bringing much attention to human rights. Although at first she does not admit that she feels it is harder to get a book published as a woman, she later claims that in many countries it is hard to get published at all.

“We have fallen very much into the habit of judging books by their covers,” she claims, but, “let’s judge the results, not the picture of the author on the back flap.”

As the interview comes to a close, Atwood shares some insight on how she writes, which I found particularly interesting, especially after sharing my writing process with my peers in class. She spends much of her first draft scribbling over and scratching out words when she does not like what she has written. Although she can write quickly, her final draft takes a long time before it is even close to being finished. With that being said, she takes the time to write scenes individually instead of writing a novel all the way through.

The interview concluded and I felt as though I knew Atwood personally, not just her writing. She is an inspiration to woman everywhere, including myself, and I cannot wait come across her work again, like I had with Death by Landscape.

I Took Your Advice and I Thank You

Let’s be honest. We have all logged on to Rate My Professor before backpacking a class. Often times, what we read impacts our decision to take that class. It is always nice to get first hand advice from someone who has already taken it. In fact, many times it has cleared up the worries I have had. Other times it has intensified them.

After spending probably too much time on the Sweetland Writing Minor Blog this afternoon, like I have on Rate My Professor, I chose two very different, yet somewhat similar, blog posts to take advice from. I came across both, “To the Minor in Writing Youngins,” by Kelly Hall and “Go you. Do you. Be you.” by Anna Prenzler. I have reread both of them several times, and, like many of the posts on Rate My Professor, they have significantly lessened any uneasiness I felt about entering the Minor in Writing.

Hall offers a list of five straightforward pieces of advice for the Minor that I could not agree with more. They range from getting to know your group members to getting to know yourself as a writer. The Minor in Writing is about experimenting, while exploring your writing and the writing of others around you. We need to be confident and need not to second-guess ourselves, as she mentions.

Prenzler on the other hand offers more of a different approach to the Minor in Writing. I was immediately drawn to her title “Go you. Do you. Be you.” because it reminded me of the old saying my grandmother used to tell me before I set out to do anything: “Go do.” Although the advice might not be exactly the same, they seem to be sending the same message. It is okay to challenge yourself and to step outside your comfort zone. In the end, it will all be worth it.

As I look towards my future in the Minor in Writing, I will remember to keep an open mind to everything it throws at me, while taking the advice of my fellow cohorts who have either gone through or are currently going through the same process I am. So thank you, Kelly Hall and Anna Prenzler. I am excited, and there could not be a better feeling.

HELLO — It’s Me

I know what you might be thinking, but let me start off first by saying I am not an Adele fan. After hearing her song so many times in the car it is hard not to get her lyrics stuck in your head.IMG_8396

My name is Allyson and I am a sophomore from Rochester, Michigan. Unless you are from around here you have probably never hear of it. I guess you could say we are a small town with a big personality (if you have seen pictures of the Christmas lights that are put up in the Winter then you know what I am talking about).

I have lived in Rochester most of my life with my mom, my dad, and my brother, Andrew, who is a senior at U of M. We are incredibly close and I like to take all the opportunities I get to go home and see them during the year. I have a dog, Max, who makes up a large majority of my Snapchat stories and I am currently binge watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix.

When I was in fifth grade I wrote a school winning dream career speech that I presented in front of my school district. While at that time, the dream career I had written about was not to be a writer, I realized somewhere in the midst of the assignment how easily the words came to me when I was writing about something I was interested in. It was not about the career, it was about the writing.

Since then, my interests have changed and I am now looking to major in Communication Studies with a minor in Writing (of course). After I graduate I am hoping to find a job at a Public Relations Firm. I am passionate about social media and would love to combine that passion with my love for writing one day. The possibilities are endless and I cannot wait to see where they take me.