A Semester Condensed – The Eportfolio is Ready!


After a busy few days piecing together all of my work from this semester onto a Wix site, I can finally call my Eportfolio complete! Though I went back and forth between formatting and playing around with font styles for far too long, here are some snapshots of the final product –

The landing page
The “About Me” Section
A preview of how most text pages were formatted
The final project embedded into the sight

I am excited that I was able to piece it together without feeling too rushed, and cannot say I’m disappointed with the outcome of my final project. Though there certainly is room for improvement, and I do plan on making adjustments to the site in the future, I think the Eportfolio and the embedded photo essay are in a decent spot. I’ve definitely learned a lot from their creation, and look forward to extending my adventure with fully realizing projects of my choosing!

Choose Your Own Adventure

I entered this semester completely unaware of what I had gotten myself into – in fact, I wasn’t sure if I was going to feel imposter syndrome while sitting in a room with talented writers who I just casually pulled up a chair next to. It took about one class session to appease my worries and confirm that anyone who wants to write has a place to do so in this room. Here are some ways to get the most out of it –

  1. If something tugs at your heart, let it. If you see a writing prompt and have a thought that sparks the slightest bit of emotion, go and explore it! If you have surface-level ideas that spark joy, anger, excitement, nostalgia – anything – just think of all that you’ll uncover when you actually put pen to paper!
  2. Workshop is worth trying. I took a risk with having my paper be read in the first workshop session, and I received pointers that I still gloss over in my mind before submitting drafts of completely unrelated pieces. Receiving feedback from writers with entirely different academic and personal backgrounds is one of the coolest gifts this class gives, so take advantage of it!
  3. Have fun with the notebook prompts. Tell stories, be funny, and show your voice. If for nothing else, it’s a cool artifact of writing topics to keep for the future.
  4. Meet with your gateway teacher if you’re struggling. T has been a great resource for me as a writer this semester, and I always left meetings with new insights.

Starting a Minor in Writing has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I hope you enjoy gateway as much as I did. Take risks, and choose topics to write about that you’ll be excited to work on. Good luck!

My Photo Essay Stole My Heart

From before I began working on my experiments I had a feeling which I was going to fall in love with. Unlike most things I jump the gun on, however, this intuition was correct. As my source material was centered around human fears and how they invade our lives, my second experiment interviewed my friends about what their biggest fears are, if these fears are innate or a product of time, and how their lives have been influenced by them.

I was mildly weary of how the final product would come about because I worried many people would be afraid of the same things. While this is absolutely logical from a human and social perspective, it would be rather inconvenient for my photo essay to rewrite the same sentiments in mildly different wording alongside different names and pictures. To my surprise, however, the majority of the responses I received had different themes, and even when the general idea had been similar, it was justified and expanded upon from a unique perspective.

This project has been far richer and more rewarding than I ever expected, and its made me grow an attachment to working on and fully applying myself to perfecting its creative and visual components. Since submitting my experiment with 3 interviews, I have added 4 more and intend to add another 3. The one concern I’m experiencing now is with regards to narrowing down the responses I employ for the final submission, however I do not want to steal from my friends’ time by not representing them. My plan to handle this dilemma is to take it out on the order I use for the responses.

Lots to Think About

The two experiments I’ve completed thus far have thrown a few trick shots at me. I entered the experience ready to craft the perfect photo essay showcasing the fears of my closest friends, partnered with beautiful reflection and emotionally heavy detail. It wasn’t until my third interview and when I began actually weeding through creative details that I recognized just how much there is to consider in this project. I’ve been struggling to decide on frivolities like my favorite border design and the best page color to fit the mood for about three days now. I also originally failed to acknowledge just how many points there are to stay aware of when involving other individuals in a public project – this was completely my ignorance at fault. Fears are personal, and it isn’t shocking that individuals don’t want theirs’ being available through a quick google search. When interviewing my friends, particularly those who I am not as close with, I’ve come to devise a careful and explicit approach to make sure everyone knows what they’re signing up for. Nonetheless, the responses I’ve received so far have been incredibly personal and reflective, and I’m lucky and proud to have that experience.

Despite this occasional creative and administrative struggle, I find myself opening draft files and revising them in my free time…or simply the free time I gift myself because I need a break from looking at my physiology research essay. I’ve definitely been enjoying this experience, and I’m far more excited to invest myself in it because I know it is entirely mine.

Looking to experiment 3, I can’t say I’m not nervous to write a poem. Poetry has always presented a battle for me. Even writing these sentence brings me to the start of it all when I stared blankly at the 3rd grade NJAsk State Exam stanzas and tried to derive meaning that I didn’t believe existed. I hope I can legendarily write one of the few poems that isn’t as bewilderingly complex as I find most to be.

well I didn’t know this existed, but…!

One thing’s for sure – I guess even if the poem doesn’t thoroughly encapsulate fear, it’ll always be able to evoke it for me.

Wait, where am I from?

Hello! I’m Kat – short for Kateryna, which saved me plenty of anxiety waiting for substitute teachers to massacre pronouncing this ~foreign~ spelling of an otherwise common name (huge shout out to my high school volleyball team for kicking out those 3 extra syllables). I’m currently a sophomore studying neuroscience (on the pre-med track), so sitting in a classroom with under 300 students has brought upon quite a bit of culture shock this semester. It’s been a refreshing change of pace, giving me the creative outlet I wanted to have alongside my other world of frantic note taking (and countless hours decoding these notes).

While I’m a way-too-proud East Coaster from Fair Lawn, New Jersey – 25 minutes from Manhattan, I can’t forget to mention – I was born in Athens, naturally setting my standards for Mediterranean food through the roof. To further complicate things, my entire family is Russian while from Ukraine, so you can imagine the debates I’ve sat and watched people have about where I truly am “from.”

A pronunciation one of my many backgrounds has taught me. Very Important.

I’ve noticed I’m absolutely terrible with letting people off easy by answering “how are you?” with just “good.” I think this endless desire to colorfully give too many details about my life is one of my key driving forces for writing. Being completely honest, I dreaded writing in every regard before my senior year of high school, and I didn’t develop a true excitement for it before completing my English 125 personal narrative “Fashion to Friendships.” By combining my personality into a mix of anecdote and analysis, I delve into the intricacies of my history with friendships and what each one has taught me. This is now the origin piece I am using for my experiments – an open letter, a poem, and a zine – all centered around different components of this idea of friendships and what makes them so meaningful.

While writing a poem will expose me to a medium I’m not too comfortable with, I’m quite excited to decode the components of putting together a zine. The idea itself reminds me of a matured version of my childhood crafts, and I’m looking forward to seeing if I got any better at it during my time off from practicing. I’m curious to explore how people can grow from toxic friendships, and whether or not you can become friends with anyone at all. Outside of the experiments, I wonder how I’ll change and grow as a result of my upcoming work in Gateway.