Someway, somehow, I have reached the end of my junior year in college. It sounds so insane to me. As silly as it is when I was little, every night on my birthday I used to cry when I realized I was one year closer to having to leave home and go to college, away from everything I’ve known. Now, I feel like crying when I think about leaving. It has been a crazy few years and I already cannot wait to come back and get back to it in the fall. As I was writing my e-portfolio, though the task seemed daunting at first, I realized that this was the freest project I’d ever had here. I could finally say what I wanted, have people see it and hopefully understand it, all for (at the end of the day) a grade. It seemed like a foreign concept to me to actually enjoy schoolwork. I think in three years, I have been most proud of this project more than anything and I hope it shows. You can check it out here. I hope you have all enjoyed being in this class as much as I have and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has come up with!
For my blog post this week, I wanted to post my current draft of my remediation project to see if you all had any suggestions for improvement!
28 Things That Will Happen Your First Week At College
So it’s your first day of college—move in and you’re like:
Your roommate walks in and you’re all:
But then it begins. She wants the same side of the room that you wanted and you’re like…
Then you walk out onto your hall and you realize there’s some really attractive guys next door in you’re head you’re playing it cool:
But in reality you’re like:
But, you get over it. Your parents remind you to make good choices and you’re like:
It’s time to go out so you check yourself out in the mirror one more time:
And you walk into the frat like:
And you decide to test out some of those awesome dance moves you’ve been practicing:
But then you remember you’re kind of drunk and you want to make new friends so you’re like:
You’re dancing, but you’re not really enjoying it, so you try to figure out how to get out of it:
Then, as if by magic, you spot your roommate:
As you’re finally leaving, that guy you were dancing with has already moved onto someone else and you’re like:
But, the next morning, you’re like:
Then, it’s time for the first day of class, and you walk into class like:
Looking around, you realize everyone is in sweats and you’re like:
But then you spot a cute guy, and you know you look good so you go sit next to him:
You introduce yourself and get to talking, so you make plans to hang out over the weekend, and realize the vicious cycle begins again:
But, you realize by now, you have the hang of it:
And then suddenly, College isn’t so scary anymore.
Well, it’s nice to take a break from the past few tireless hours of book editing. At the end of the day, does anyone even give a crap where the commas are? If the story is good, I don’t usually notice the editing, so I can’t imagine anyone else cares. While I love what I wrote, it definitely gets old after the third read through, especially on a screen, but printing 300 pages over and over again gets daunting! I have fallen into a place lately where it is almost getting too difficult to maintain the books I have written because too much is happening. While I don’t keep a journal, I view my books as a type of journal, where only the highlights get saved for posterity.
Does any one else remember when we were younger that journals used to come with little locks on the sides? They were insanely easy to pick, but as a kid I remember feeling so much security locking up my thoughts. It seems so strange to me to now be willingly allowing others to read my thoughts. It is liberating in a way, to have turned those stories and feelings into something I feel proud enough of to share with the world….or at least the few people who have taken the time so far to read.
There is something about writing that feels so insanely personal and private. Reading memoirs, biographies, or even Wikipedia pages about other people’s lives seems somewhat invasive to me. Reading everyone’s personal thoughts on this blog even, feels personal to me. While it might not be the most scandalous thoughts, even reading peoples own insecurities about their writing is personal. It is liberating in a way though, to just share what you want to. Writing, or at least the writing that you allow others to see, allows you to become whoever you want, which allows you to live within the world you create. It is a big responsibility in a way, to be the one making that world, but that’s why I love it.
This E-Portfolio idea seems like a daunting one. The work that we’ll be putting into it will be done anyway, so in that respect it’s not overwhelming. I think it’s the idea that we have to trust ourselves to not over edit and over analyze what we put into it that makes it so stressful.
I think one of the most difficult things to do will be to decide how you want people to see you as a writer. I think that my voice in essays versus in blog posts or in books is quite varied, and I work hard to sound a certain way in each. I worry that melding these worlds together onto one site might weaken the voice in each of these writings. I also have a very different audience to consider. Though I would hope that my writing would mainly be read by other cohorts, I have parents who are quite interested in reading what I write, and due to the fact I get obscenely uncomfortable about them reading my work, I rarely give them the chance. Now with this website out there, I know they will see it, which for me adds an additional pressure of not just writing work that I will be proud of, but work they will be proud of too, which might not necessarily coincide with my own ideas. I also like the idea of including different types of media with the site. Whether it be a particular song playing over a piece, or a few photos placed within the text, I think adding a new layer to the writing will help to create a unique reader experience on the portfolio pages. Long blocks of text can get very boring, so to make the portfolio more manageable, I think it’s important to break it up.
I think another challenge will be making the portfolio into exactly what I want it to be. Selecting the pieces that will be uploaded, laying out the site and figuring out how I want everything to look will be difficult for the perfectionist in me. A lot of the development as a writer in this class comes from changing and adapting to different ways of thinking, so I am determined to step back, mentally self-edit less, and try to be happy with the portfolio I create!
Despite having taken a variety of English, Communications, Screen Arts and Sociology classes at U of M, I found myself with not much of a portfolio to choose from for the repurposing project. Most of the work I wrote was reflective, or research based, so it wouldn’t make for the most creative work. It was my outside work, however, that I have taken a real interest in repurposing.
My first choice was to repurpose one of my advice or blog posts for HerCampus.com. The site serves as a guidebook for college aged girls, and I thought it might be good to expand upon one and turn it into a full fledged article, as the posts tend to be short. While I liked the idea, I realized that there might not be much creative space there.
My second choice was to repurpose a chapter of one of the books I have written. As I am currently in the throws of the editing process, I am constantly finding myself wanting to add, erase and rewrite various sections. Sometimes I hand it off to others to look at for me, because I think I can get a bit too critical of myself, so I thought that taking a chapter of it would be a good way to expand and perfect it, while looking at it from a different perspective. I decided upon using one of the first chapters of the first book in order to build upon the base that sets up the next three. I see it becoming a script, or eventually a video or even being changed into a series of smaller journals. Although I know it will be difficult to be working on something that I have already been working on for months, I think in the end it will be the best choice for the project, and my in class group seemed to agree! I’m excited to take it through the process and to see how it all works out.
Much of the reading that we have been focusing on this past week has been about the relationship between writing and reading. There have been arguments made about the focus on the skill of writing and the skill of reading and about how they are both owed equal attention and care. I am fascinated by the concept that without writing there is no reading and how reading is so much more than words on a page.
In Brandt’s piece, Literacy and Learning, the idea of mass writing versus mass reading was brought up. I was disappointed with this concept that writing is a good or a commodity rather than something that is done for good. I believe that the power of the written word does far more good than its sometimes trivial purposes. Words are forever, though life is fleeting. The greats have touched hundreds of thousands of lives since their passing, with the written word. There is a reason that people still read Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters. It is not because their writing was done simply for mass-market production. Some writing, like research papers or informational articles might be meant for mass production and consumption, and here, I can see Brandt’s point about reading and writing being a give and take relationship, This is a completely different type of writing and reading, and should be treated as such. Emailing, texting—these are types of writing, for personal, not mass consumption, which could be equated to writing in a journal. There is no give and take relationship here. News, journal articles—these don’t take, they give, and they are meant for informational purposes. This should not be put on the same playing field as good literature.
George Orwell’s Why I Write was the article that resonated with me the most. It’s a question I don’t often think about. I write because I have to, or I write because I want to. I don’t force it, perhaps to prevent myself from resenting it. Orwell discussed the common traits that writers share. He believes they are sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose. While he does not say that every writer is confined to these traits, each person possesses them at different levels. Though it sounds worse than I mean it to, I connect to his sense of sheer egoism. I myself have written two manuscripts and am currently working on a third. His quote, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand,” resonated with me more than anything else we read so far.
While I wouldn’t claim that my writing is fully driven by demons, it is driven by my desire to let people see things from my perspective. I’ve found myself in some unusual situations (by anyone’s standards—they have almost been laughable) over the past two years. While some people have come and gone, some I wanted to leave and others I didn’t, it is the need to immortalize these things that motivated my writing. My hope is that these books serve as a guide to readers letting them know they are not alone in their struggles of their college years and that it does get better, with a little effort. Though some of these things have been painful, frustrating or just amusing, I feel that I have something to say, which is my greatest motivation. As Joan Didion said at the end of her article, “had I known the [answers] I would have never needed to write a novel.” Writing helps me to understand just as much as I hope to clarify things for readers. It is not as much a need to be remembered, as it is a means of healing. It is both amplifying and correcting those who have wronged me, or those whom I have wronged, whether accidental or otherwise.
Writing is the one place where you make your own rules. The confines of academia are not permanent—the formatting guidelines, word counts and hard structure only last for so long. Writing is with you until the end. What makes it so much different from other learned skills is that you are never done learning it. My hope is that through this class and through these blogs, I will figure out why it is that I write and to build my skills enough to be able to develop my story in the way, I believe, it deserves to be told.