It’s done! It’s FINALLY done!!

After so many countless hours of painstaking work not only in the writing process but also in creating the website, my capstone project is ready for the world to see! If you’re interested in learning about a girl’s boarding school experience and her journey of growth, click here!

Thank you so much to T and my wonderful class for all of your guidance and help throughout this process. It truly couldn’t have been done without you. And special shoutout to my siblings for sharing their insight regarding their own boarding school experiences, and my cousin who helped me oh so much in making my website just how I want it.

Happy reading y’all!

iris

I’m happy to introduce my capstone project: iris. It has finally taken its final form of ten guidelines for mobile app design. These guidelines have been developed based on the broad themes I’ve noticed throughout the semester as I designed mockup screens for three apps: notes, music, and messaging.

I’ve attempted to make these guidelines as digestible as possible in order to a more general audience than merely other designers. You’ll notice short amount of text for each guideline, augmented by examples on the opposite side of the screen. You may also notice that many of the images on the site scroll at different speeds (parallax), for a more engaging experience.

As many of my peers would echo, this semester has been quite odd. Still, I am happy with the finalized version of my capstone project. The feedback I received throughout the semester was extremely informative and is what ultimately guided my decisions on how to present this project.

Now that the semester is almost over, I would like to take a moment to thank the folks I’ve encountered during my time in the Minor in Writing, especially T–who I had for both gateway and capstone. I will greatly miss T’s impressively consistent positive energy, encouragement, and flexibility, as I’m sure many of my peers will as well.

Speaking of my peers… thank you, too! Your feedback throughout the semester was helpful, but more importantly, seeing your projects come together during the semester was quite frankly inspiring.

Finally, in case you were looking for the link: https://iris.baileystein.com/

Hello future capstoners…

or as T fondly calls us, WRITERS!!!

I’m not even sure where, exactly, to begin, because the world seems so distinctly uncertain. Our semester was cut short by coronavirus, with the essential last month of our capstone complicated by remote learning and a global pandemic and what not. As I write, I’m not sure what will happen next semester; I’m not even sure, really, what will happen next week. Living through such an unprecedented time is odd, because it has fundamentally altered everything, really.

But I am also optimistic that you all will have the benefit of time. The four months between now and the start of the fall semester as it normally would begin are impossible to predict, and I have no idea where you will be taking this class from, and how you’ll be taking it. But so many things can happen in four months, from a vaccine to a horrendous resurgence that postpones colleges resuming entirely until the winter, or after the pandemic—I have no idea, and only you, reading this in the future, do. But whatever situation it is, whether it’s way better than we anticipated or it’s worse, you will at least be prepared, unsurprised by whatever adjustments you have to make. The elements of surprise, of disruption, of shock and fear, dictated time throughout a crucial juncture of our capstone projects, but whether you are partially or entirely remote, starting this project from the get-go in one way, not being unsure or feeling like a real life beta test for your tens of thousands of dollars of tuition, will be an advantage.

As for what to write about? Genuinely, just write what you want. And this seems incredibly oversimplified but I’ve given this advice to all my classmates all semester, even myself too. This project will be easiest to create and the best representation of your writing, the best culmination of your writing minor or senior year or capstone or college experience, if you write from your heart. Apologies for the cliche, but the most phenomenal part about the writing minor, and my capstone class in particular, has been how honest and raw everyone is willing to write and share. Most of these projects are personal, and they make me feel more than a lot of work I’ve seen. I think this is possible no matter what; whether you’re on Zoom or in person or in haptic suits, write for you.

Intro to Feminist Evolutions

After a long semester of work, I’m so excited (and nervous!) to debut my capstone project to the world.

“Feminist Evolutions” explores how people come to be feminists and how they perceive feminism today. I really became passionate about feminism in college, and I wanted to explore why that might have happened. This project was also inspired by the different versions of feminism that I had seen manifesting on campus, and how people were sometimes in conflict with their ideals.

The first part of my project is a photo essay about my own journey to becoming a feminist. I juxtaposed text and photos that meant something for my journey to becoming a feminist. The second part of my project is a collection of photos and interviews with feminists from around the campus of the University of Michigan who I know from various organizations. I hope to update the second section as time goes on, so it is a work in progress!

To T, thank you so much for giving me the flexibility to do this project, and working with me when my original plans got upended by the COVID-19 crisis. To all of my classmates, thank you for your support, encouragement, and advice along the way – the project wouldn’t be as great without all of your help!

Here’s the link to my website: https://maryjkel.wixsite.com/writing-capstone

Advice to Future Capstone Students

I began Capstone not knowing what to expect for my project. I wasn’t sure exactly what sort of topic to do, and I had done so many projects in so many other classes that I sort of thought what else can I do? It turned out that I followed something that I was passionate about and it turned out great in the end! 

I definitely didn’t envision spending the last day of class looking at my computer instead of in North Quad, but it actually turned out okay. As a graduate of online high school, I know that I prefer being in a classroom, but I also didn’t want to catch COVID-19. The transition for this class to online went pretty smoothly! We all shared our ideas in the same way that we would in the normal classroom, and class didn’t feel too different, other than my cat, Koa, coming to meow at me every so often. 

To future Capstone students: 

  • It might be overwhelming to have to jump right in to topics, but you will figure it out! 
  • Pick something that you’re passionate about or that you don’t get a chance to do a lot with in your other courses. I’m a Communication & Media major, so I’m constantly engaging with media in my courses. While I’ve done things with feminism and media, I rarely got to engage with only feminism. 
  • Change your project if you need to! While my topic stayed the same, I had to change the way I presented it due to COVID-19. I’m still proud of how it turned out. 
  • Get interviews done early if possible. I had a hard time getting people to respond to interviews, which might have had something to do with COVID-19, but it helped when I reached out to people early and gave them plenty of time. 
  • Don’t get overwhelmed — I know this is easier said than done, but it’s definitely easier to take a step back from your project and tackle one portion at a time than it is to try to tackle each part simultaneously. 
  • Most of all, try to enjoy creating your project! At the beginning, I felt like it would be so difficult, but I actually had a lot of fun putting time and effort into this project. 

Capstone is truly what you make it, and I know all incoming Capstone students can make it great! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions! 

Advice to Fall 2020 Capstone

By the time you’re reading this, so much will have changed. Will you be online? Will you be in-person? I can’t say. Either way, you were probably looking forward to your Writing Capstone being just like you Gateway – a tight-knit group of writers that meet twice a week to discuss their writing and make cool things – and I’m here to tell you that that is still possible, no matter if you’re online or not.

Before the criticisms start bubbling up in your brain, let me inform you that I do, in fact, have some basis for this claim. Unlike every other semester of Capstones, I was part of the Winter 2020 Capstone in which we spent the first half of the semester in-person and the second half online. I had the advantage of getting to know my classmates in-person before we were asked to move online, but I actually found our online interactions even more enjoyable and productive than our in-person ones. This may be due to the fact that it was the second half of the semester and not the first, as opposed to being an in-person vs. online thing, but I felt that being online and able to see everyone created a sense of community in a way that an airy, spaced-out classroom didn’t.

It is true that you will have to work harder at this than I did. You, potentially, could be meeting your classmates online for the first time and never seeing them in-person after that, but I have faith in you. Hopefully, by this point, you’re accustomed to using Zoom or BlueJeans or whatever program is being used (unless you’re in-person, then yay for in-person!), and, if your class is anything like mine was, you’ll adjust well.

My advice, then, boils down to this:

  1. Treat this like you would any other crazy adventure: roll with the unexpected, laugh when you can, and give other people (and yourself) a lot of grace and understanding if things start working out in ways that aren’t ideal.
  2. Communicate well and often. Gmail is your friend. (Well, maybe not your friend, but you get the idea.)
  3. Don’t be afraid to share your writing! The notebook reading series was one of my favorite parts of the class. The sooner everybody gets sharing, the sooner you start to get a feel for everyone’s voice as a writer. And the sooner that happens, the sooner online class will feel enjoyable.
  4. Give T (or whoever your professor is) a lot of your patience and kindness, but also make sure you reach out if you need anything at all. She’s super helpful and, honestly, one of the sweetest humans alive. You’re in good hands!
  5. Take your Capstone project one step at a time. Especially if you’re having to work from home, deadlines might seem more lax than they really are. Don’t get behind, but don’t stress out. A good (but flexible) schedule is better than winging it.

Hopefully this helps! And hopefully you won’t need to worry about the online bit, but who knows? Either way, have fun with it! This class can be a blast as long as you keep up with the work.

Enjoy yourself, and happy writing/creating! 🙂

an introduction to my project: in her words

Hey everyone!

I am excited to be finishing up my project, In Her Words. As you know by now, this is an oral history project that features audio clips from interviews I conducted this semester with my Nana, Trish Sylvester. In addition to audio, I have included a ton of old photographs, some memoirs, and reflections on the process of creating this project. I’ve really enjoyed working on this website, and although it wasn’t exactly what I set out to accomplish earlier in the semester, I am proud of what I have and honestly believe that I will continue to update and add to the content I have now.

I genuinely enjoyed (most aspects of) creating this project and I hope you enjoy checking it out! I am grateful for all of the thoughtful feedback and advice I have received throughout the semester.

Capstone has been a highlight of my weeks these past few months and I am glad to have gotten to know all of you talented people better over the course of the semester. I’ve loved seeing your progress during workshops and I’m so excited to dive deeper into everyone’s websites with all of this new free time over the next few weeks.

Here’s my link: https://lilysyl.wixsite.com/capstone

Skins of Dirt and Dust is now LIVE (get it?)

Hello, world.

I hope you’re having the best day possible, whenever and wherever you’re reading this. And if you’re not, I hope my project can help.

My Capstone project, titled Skins of Dirt and Dust, is a series of memoir essays (with cool pictures) that explore the muddled nature of life and how good and bad, beginning and end, life and death, etc. are all kind of wrapped up into one giant jumble that can be difficult to untangle. As such, I seek to work through what made certain bad times/endings difficult for me in my life, and then I seek to change my perspective on it – with you along for the ride.

So far, I’ve covered topics of grief and loss (the death of someone I loved), mortality and health (fearing for my life and struggling with ongoing health issues), disappointment and fear (COVID-19 and the end of my senior year of college – need I say more?), etc. I’m hoping to add another essay on hope and heartbreak (aka singleness) soon, but stay tuned. With any luck, this won’t be the last you’ll hear from me!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, my website: https://aaulepp.wixsite.com/capstone

If you don’t like it, thanks for giving it a peek anyway, and you can stop reading now.

But if you do like it, yay! That means all the hard work I and my classmates (through workshops and other feedback sessions) put in to making this website the best it can be paid off. And for that, I am glad.

See, all about perspective.

Now, because I am truly exhausted and more than slightly delirious (and the assignments for this class are the last things I have to turn in for the entirety of my college coursework), please indulge me in saying a few more things before I sign off:

I want to thank T, Louis, and all my classmates for helping me put this project together. I want to thank my mom for helping me find pictures, look up dates I’d forgotten, and for making me oatmeal when I was too tired to think about anything other than this project (aka this morning after 1 hour of sleep).

I want to thank my Gateway classmates for kicking things off right, and I want to thank my Capstone classmates (again) for wrapping things up fittingly. Y’all were (and still are) the best. Thank you for being bright spots in this whole online-class/shutdown/quarantine mess.

In short: Love y’all. Miss y’all. Need sleep. Enjoy website! Goodnight, America.

a small taste of: myclosetedthoughts.

the color of shadows.

everything under the sun has a shadow. and each shadow is more or less the same color.

while i’m aware a shadow on red velvet starkly contrasts a shadow on your yellow sundress, the “shade” is still the same.

there has been a grain of black paint mixed into its complexion––how does one mix colors to find a shadow?

the more i think of it, the more shadows fascinate me. they are what give our world perspective. we are naturally attracted to how shadows fall and grow tall.

they are visible in the day and night, forever attached to everything and everyone. the shadows are everywhere when one looks around, and yet we don’t take time to acknowledge or appreciate.

one fails to notice them anymore because we know the shadows are there, but they don’t catch our eye. however, without them, our world would look flat and fake.

anyway, what interests me in life is not what is easily shown in broad daylight but what those shapes and hues look like in the shadows. what do your shadows look like? 

i’m not asking for your biggest darkest deepest secret, although i’ll listen if you’d like to share. ​no, i speak of who you are in the realm between light and dark. the indescribable color you emanate when this shade of life is part of you.

i am opening “my closet” doors, for people to read some of my closeted thoughts, fears, and secrets. my motive behind creating this with such personal content is to “come out” with a lot of different discoveries and thoughts i’ve crossed during my undergraduate career. i feel as though young college students and young adults today take less time revealing who they really are inside. understandably, being vulnerable leaves an opportunity to be judged or abandoned. but i envision that my vulnerability and bravery to open up in this first collection may encourage others to relate and partake in conversations. click here to read more: https://agalee.wixsite.com/myclosetedthoughts

hello capstone friendos!

welcome to the club! you’ve probably never met me, as i don’t know who is reading this, but we have a few things in common, i already know. as i am leaving and you are entering, we are in our last class for our Minor.  we are undergoing a bizarre quasi-virtual reality because of this pandemic. but we are still here because we love what we do: we love to write. we love to create. we love to connect. and we love to read and learn. 

quite frankly, i don’t have a ton of advice because i’m sure you kind of know what you want to create in this project. by now, after experiencing different courses at U of M to complete the Minor, you have probably been exposed to all sorts of genres, and hopefully you have found your strengths and weaknesses, you know which topics interest you when you write––you have found a clearer sense of your voice. 

and so i can only say––like the former capstone friends told me when i was in your shoes now––trust the process. trust your mentors. utilize your resources. and most importantly trust yourself throughout the whole project. 

you will finish the project on time.

you will find the courage to interview someone.

you may feel like you don’t know what you want to do.

and you will probably change your mind a gazillion times along the way. i have, so have my classmates. and definitely everyone before you have as well. ebb and flow with trust.

i realize this is almost like a pep talk, and i honestly didn’t mean for it to come off this way. i just want to be that voice, advocating for you because i think most fear stems from this idea that you might not like what you created by the end of the semester, or it’ll not meet your standards. i sure feel that way, even when i have a few weeks left. but when you––and me too, i am almost speaking to myself now––care about something so much, you’ll create this beautiful thing that will stand its own, and it will even invite you later to create and build some more. Isn’t that the best part of what we do?

happy writing friendos!

aga.