As a whole, I feel that my ePortfolio is a 100% accurate reflection of my semester.


Unexpected turns of events, like finding out an exam is cumulative the night before, accidentally turning the house thermometer to 90 degrees at 3 am, and Wix destroying two hours of hard work and only apologizing with a strange little yellow starman who says “Oops! We’re currently experiencing a technical glitch! Sorry”, have absolutely defined this semester.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do love my final ePortfolio, but I have a hard time believing that it will ever actually be finished. It will never really be good enough.


[insert #techchallenge3]

A prime example of something not going as planned is the video on the front page of my ePortfolio. I will never be Jenna Marbles and will never try again. However, I feel as if the biggest #techfail has got to be the wave noises in the background. If you feel compelled to watch it for some reason, please keep in mind that it is about the effort. Maybe also imagine a cute dog or bunny and it could be more tolerable.

The video will be changed in ePortfolio Round 2. No worries, everyone.


Feel free to check out my “final” product here! 

Hey! Who blogged the toilet?

Blogging is uncomfortable.

Writing words that will be seen by people other than my Comm 101 GSI is uncomfortable. Having the freedom to write whatever you want for blog assignments is uncomfortable. The word “blog “makes me feel as uncomfortable as the word “moist”.

Seriously, imagine your 2nd grade teacher saying the word “moist”.

Imagine me in 2nd grade?

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Another thing that makes me feel uncomfortable is the disgrace that is every one of my blog posts in the month of September. A critical evaluation of Curzan’s perspective on something (which I didn’t reread because I fell asleep before I finished the title) was terrible.

While my more recent posts don’t always make sense, they are at least more interesting. My persona as a blogger has evolved from the nervous kid sitting in the corner and only raising her hand because of participation to the annoying girl in the front row that has no problem correcting the teacher. Blogging is still uncomfortable, just in a different way. Here! Read my thoughts!


If I had not taken this class, the chances of me searching through a writer’s ePortfolio would be slim to none.

Therefore, I want to at least make it someone interesting and aesthetically appealing for whoever happens to get stuck reading mine!

3 keys to making my ePortfolio tolerable

1. If it is longer than two mouse scrolls of words on one page, it will not be read

An extensive amount of text on a page is a bigger turn off than wearing an OSU tshirt. Just as I will not even acknowledge the existence of anybody who proudly exclaims that they are from Ohio, I will barely glance at excessive words. This led me to complete a #techchallenge.

Because I want to include a full research paper in my ePortfolio to give viewers a diverse selection of work, I formed a slideshow of images for each page instead of simply copying the text onto a page. You can check that out here.

2. Keep it simple.

Nothing is more annoying than 17 colors and 28 fonts on a single webpage. If I go to a website that looks like it just jogged though the Color Run, I will actually refuse to read it. Therefore, I only included three colors and one font on the entirety of my website.

3. Straddle the fine line between professional and entertaining.

To be a successful writer, I believe that you have to stand out and be interesting. Nothing screams “blah” louder than your senior picture next to an about me saying you “hail” from somewhere and are majoring in something other than rocket science.


My ePortfolio is weird. It’s not very appropriate. And it may not even work. However, if it grabs at least one smile, it will be worth it.

ePortfolios, Finals, and Beaches

Finals. Isn’t it funny how the word “sin” is in there if you move around some letters and ignore most of the other ones?

Reflecting back, this semester has really come full circle. Welcome Week I got a lot of headaches and they are all starting to come back (maybe for different reasons).

Another shining example of the finale of this semester is my ePortfolio. Rereading all of my work from Writing 220 has been interesting. Writing as a process has become so evident in all of my proposals, outlines, and drafts. My ideas have wandered further than my expectations for any Michigan athletic team this year, and the journey is truly amazing (in regards to writing not sports.)

The theme of my ePortfolio, Life is a Beach. Bitch, I meant Bitch, accurately encompasses each of my pieces for this course. My Why I Write incorporates my tweets of the past, most of which describe unfortunate situations that were not funny at the time, but are hilarious to look back on. My Remediation is a satirical newspaper that criticizes ridiculous things people do at the University of Michigan. Finally, my Repurposing project, in collaboration with Beixi, includes strangers’ reflections on past mistakes. Each piece uniquely intertwines some reason for why life sometimes sucks. However, they also stress the importance of not taking life too seriously and allowing yourself to take humor out of every situation.

Feel free to check out the progress of my ePortfolio here.

And try not to stress out too much this holiday, I mean finals, season. Make life your beach!

7 Things I Learned From Ann Arbor Awesome

“Hi, we are doing a project for our Minor in Writing course. Would you be willing to answer two questions and get your photo taken?”

“Yeah, sure”

“What inspires you?” “Is there a moment that you wish you would have appreciated more?”

1.    Ann Arbor is awesome

Ann Arbor is more than a city; it is a community. The people of Ann Arbor are brilliant in so many ways. They’re innovative, successful, intelligent, unique, and most importantly, invested.

The fact that every single stranger we asked to participate in our project shared genuine thoughts is astonishing. Not only did they answer our questions, they were curious and interested in us and what we were doing. We heard, “Good luck with your project!”, after almost every photo was snapped. For that, I would like to thank everyone who made Ann Arbor Awesome possible.

2.    Music is the universal language

One of the first people that we interviewed was an older woman who was tightly gripping the hand of her husband. He would periodically glance in her direction with a loving smile. We walked up to them and explained our project. Then Beixi asked, “What inspires you?” The woman smiled and looked down. “Music,” she said. “It is the universal language.”

We made small talk with the couple for a few minutes, asking them about their children and how long they had been together. I snapped a photo and Beixi and I headed across the Diag towards State Street.

Soon after, we stumbled upon a group of middle schoolers hanging out in the grass. Although Beixi won’t agree with me, I’m convinced that they were on a date (it was two boys and two girls and they were sitting awkwardly far apart). Again, Beixi asked, “What inspires you?” After about 20 seconds of blank staring, one of the girls piped up, “Music!” followed by something along the lines of the freedom and emotion that her favorite artists express. I took photos of the kids and we thanked them.

A number of other participants of varying ages and demographics had the same answer: “Music.”

Music is universally understood and appreciated. The power that music has, to relate to so many people, is insurmountable. Music is inspirational in many ways, but to me, it is inspiring because it motivates and intertwines such a diverse range of people.

3.    Smile at strangers 

Beixi and I spent a Sunday afternoon walking to Main Street interviewing people. Well, at least that was the original intention (we ended up doing more window-shopping than originally anticipated). However, we did take up an interest in the store employees. When we walked into The Peaceable Kingdom, I was frazzled because it was freezing outside and my backpack was getting heavy. Beixi could barely type on her phone because her “fingers were going to fall off”.

A young woman smiled at us from behind the counter when we stumbled in. She was wearing cat-eye glasses and bright pink lip gloss. We approached her and explained our project. She answered, “I am inspired by people who take the time to care about strangers. People that you don’t know the names of and never will. A friendly smile can go such a long way.”

Kindness makes the world a better place. Her warm smile made me feel welcome and comfortable. I never learned her name, and probably never will, but her impact was stronger than that of people that I’ve known for years.

4.    Youth is valuable

The second question that we asked, “What is a moment you wish you would have appreciated more?” garnered a very diverse set of answers.

From each unique response, “kindergarten” to “elementary school” to “high school” to “my wedding day” to “watching my kids grow up”, a theme can be drawn. Appreciate youth.

This premise has led me to ponder the concept of time. I am 21 years old, and I have this theory that every year, every day even, we actually have less time. Is the thought of time relevant to how much we have had already?

When we were children, each day was such a giant fraction of life as we knew it. Every waking moment was something huge, even monumental, in comparison to a moment in present life.

The concept of a day a week a summer and a year is not the same. A day is disappearing into a miniature fragment of my growing time on this planet. A week carries no substantiality, let alone a weekend that flies by faster than the wink of a stranger. A summer gets lost amidst a few days near the water and many more in an office. A year is like reading a page without processing any of the words. Where did it go?

The concept of time is deceiving.

Ten years ago I spent my days raising havoc in my neighborhood.  Now, I am raising hell in a college town. It seemed like a lifetime ago. Will ten years into the future seem like five? Will twenty seem like six?

I am 21. But in the relative scheme of life and time, am actually much older?

5.  Education is important

Beixi and I were turning the corner from State onto Liberty when a man sitting on the sidewalk interrupted us. “How are you girls doing today?” he asked. Beixi responded, “We’re doing well. How are you?” The man smiled and Beixi walked in his direction. At this point, I hesitantly supported her as she began explaining our project. The man agreed to participate.

“I am inspired by intelligence,” he immediately answered. “People that know what they want, work hard, and never give up. Intelligent people have the power to change the world.”

I was shocked by this answer. A homeless man had eloquently described the importance of wisdom.

I often find myself stressed, angry, and wanting to just roll over and quit. However, this man inspired me to push myself. He led me to think about how fortunate I am to be a student at the University of Michigan and that I should take advantage of every resource and opportunity possible.

6.    Say “I love you” more often

After I asked, “Is there a moment that you wish you would have appreciated more?”, I would often notice a glimpse of sadness fill the eyes of our befriended strangers.

One particular young man with a sleeve of tattoos peered back at me for an instant after I asked him this question.

“My little brother died a few months back,” he said. “We went to this concert together the week before. What I would give to have another hour with him there. Even twenty minutes. I just miss him so much.”

After I got home that evening, I called my mom to tell her how thankful I am to have her in my life, that I was excited to see her the next week, and that I loved her.

7.    Follow your dreams, not what you think will make you rich

While every response about inspiration was thought provoking and unique, I found the answer of one young woman particularly relevant to my life right now. She was a junior in the Ross School of Business and had an interesting perspective about people.

“When I want to get to know someone in my classes, I start out by asking them what their dream job is,” she said. “I love to hear how excited people get about it.” Then, she smiled and looked away before continuing on her train of thought. “The next question I ask is what they are going to do when they graduate.”

I replied, “Why do you ask people these specific two questions?”

“I only get to know the people who are actually chasing their dreams,” she responded. “Anybody can dream of being the owner of their own record label but plan to pursue a career in finance. I want to know the people who are actually taking a risk and doing what they love.”

As an upperclassman, my fear about the future is perpetually growing as the uncertainty rises. But as far as I’m concerned, you’re only a failure if you don’t try to follow your dreams.


the People of Ann Arbor

Last Friday, Beixi and I met up to work on our remediation project, which involves stopping random people on the streets of Ann Arbor, asking them a few highly personal questions, and taking a photo that captures who they are as individuals.

Hi, we’re doing a project for our Minor in Writing Course. Would you be willing to answer a few questions and get your photo taken for our blog?

Don’t tell Beixi, but I was a little skeptical about how this would turn out. Would people really take time out of their lives to tell us “what inspires them” and about “a moment they wish they had appreciated more”? People rarely even make eye contact on the streets, let alone welcome strangers into their inmost thoughts.

We stopped 23 people on the street. 23 people gave us thoughtful responses. 23 people allowed us to take their photographs. And we finished the day with 23 incredibly unique answers to the exact same two questions.

A father with two of his five children said, “You can use my photo as long as it doesn’t go on Total Frat Move or whatever you kids call it”. Then, went on to tell us about his wife, his wedding day, and the moments in which his children were born.

A homeless man on Liberty Street stressed the importance of intelligence and wisdom.

A graduate student that we interviewed on State Street went as far as to show us his brand new block M tattoo, which required him to strip down to his boxers on a busy Friday evening and take the bandage off of his fresh ink.

Along with fulfilling any requirements for a class, this project is restoring my faith in humanity. People are awesome. The People of Ann Arbor are awesome. 


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Believe in Detroit #enrichment

Detroit City is the Place to Be Mark Binelli

I walked into a room filled with fluorescent lighting and old people with limited expectations about the presentation I was about to watch. Mark Binelli, author of “Detroit City is the Place to Be”, grew up in St. Clair Shores (a suburb of Detroit). I assumed his presentation would be far from genuine.

However, I was pleasantly surprised as soon as he began to speak.

Binelli began his presentation by referencing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, explaining that many Michiganders take pride in the song because of its mention of South Detroit.

What people don’t realize is that the guy in the song was getting out of there at midnight going anywhere. Literally anywhere was better than Detroit.

Why do people ignore the end of that particular phrase in Don’t Stop Believing?

Because they want Detroit to succeed.

The city has over 70,000 vacant buildings and almost 40 vacant square miles (the size of Boston, Manhattan, and San Francisco combined). The potential is limitless. So, what can be done with the ruins?

Mark Binelli told his story of Detroit, not of how Detroit is presented by the media as a “symbol of the Recession”. He highlighted possibilities instead of failures. Binelli wants to see a world where people do not have to be convinced to keep believing in the city. The potential is there. How can we harness it?

The Eternal Guinea Pig

This is a guinea pig.


We, the millennial generation, are also guinea pigs. Not only this little creature really cute (don’t need to tell me twice), it also explains our entire existence with every twitch of a whisker.

Everything is tested on us.

While I will never understand why Booberry cereal is not something sold year round because IT IS SUCCESSFUL and why some things are even thought of (remember green ketchup?), it is easy to recognize that millennial generation represents the conversion between the old world and what is to come in the future.

Lev Manovich excellently portrayed the transition of virtually the entire world in Software Takes Command. My tiny, black, beady eyes were opened to the realization that writing and communication are becoming exponentially more important for success. With the rise of technology, the world is becoming information based. Writing is no longer about forming documents; it is about expressing information in a way that is relatable to others.

As a writer, how do you maintain professionalism and relate to your readers? What even is professional writing?




Photoshop is a place where brain cells go to die.


My #techchallenge experience with photoshop was initially terrifying. The only kind of layers I like are in cake form. The only channels I enjoy are E! and TLC. And the only paths I appreciate are the hypotenuses in the Diag.

After the most strenuous thirty minutes of my entire life, my understanding of the software grew enough to where I was able to upload a photo and crop and combine to my somewhat liking.

(The entire time this was happening I was reminiscing on my elementary days of easy and fun MS Paint creations).


I also now realize that this portion of the gamefied points system is called tech challenge for a reason, because it is challenging. I’m not sure if photoshop is the platform I will use for editing the photos required for my remediation project, but I am happy that I got a glance into the world of the technologically savvy and hope to one day be able to make new creations as beautiful as my MS Paint masterpieces.

Eportfolio Reflections

Can anybody out there give me a definition for the word “writer”?

Because after looking at everybody’s eportfolio storyboards in class I lost all predetermined labels attached to the word.

Although I have read very few pieces from my classmates, their storyboards gave me excellent insight into which style of writing each person prefers. From very professionally laid out websites to less formal, blog setups, each eportfolio contained a quality that reflected its creator.


My eportfolio, titled “Life’s a beach. Bitch, I meant bitch.” is an adequate reflection of my style of writing. I am a very professional individual and plan to include PDFs of my resume, cover letter, and my biography authorized by J.K. Rowling. I know that my eportfolio will land me a job at a top tier company, such as Goldman Sachs or Blimpy Burger.

Because my last name is Schell (pronounced shell), the metaphor comparing my writing and myself to a beach is nothing short of perfection. From the sun to the boats to the waves, peaceful is exactly how I would describe my college lifestyle (sooooooo much time to frolic).

My eportfolio will be a great representation of my life, in general. Everyday, I discover that each moment goes exactly as planned. I have never accidentally fallen out of my lofted bed or almost burnt down Mosher Jordan because I forgot how to make Easy Mac in a microwave oven. I never even had an awkward stage in middle school.

When I was young, the word “writer” made me think of a philosopher (think Plato) artistically scribbling notes onto fresh parchment. Last week, my brain automatically associated the word with Dan Humphrey from the show, Gossip Girl. Now, “writer” does not have any specific association thanks to my classmates, who have redefined it in so many ways with their different styles of writing and unique personalities.


Make sure to check out my eportfolio when it’s published (still waiting on the biography from J.K.)!

photoP.S. – Do I make this my new profpic? #womancrushwednesday?