Capstone Challenge Journal 2

The writing games have begun. My project is two-fold in that there is a personal storytelling component and an analytical narrative component. Originally starting this project I figured the analytical narrative would be the easiest to write as it is the most interesting aspect of this to me, however, in me experience thus far it has been quite the opposite. While the personal storytelling has been hard to think back on, it has been easy to write about. Whereas, when it comes to the analytical component, I find myself more stuck. I believe this roadblock is because reflecting on these experiences analytically will make my feelings about them more real, which can be tough to deal with when they are emotions I oftentimes try to forget about. All in all, I do think this will be a therapeutic experience for me when everything is all done and I look back on it.

On a dryer note, I have created my website. I say dryer because I am not a very creative person. I find the content producing aspect of this to be the easiest while I wish the website would have just made itself. After 4 hours of obsessing over what would be the perfect design for this project, I think I am pretty happy with where everything landed. It is coming together nice with complementary colors working in my favor and the flow of where the content will live seems to be productive for the reader. 

As I continue on this journey, I know I will face more challenges, however, I am excited to tackle this current challenge of analytical reflection in the coming weeks.


The adventure…

Feet, shuffling.

Pavement, buildings, people. People. Everywhere.
The transition from city to city should be easy right? Just water moving down the river slowly until reaching the ocean… wrong. 
Moving with uncertainty to uncertainty with no solace between was not “distracting myself,” it was only furthering the crater I had begun to dug.
And although I am happier than ever I am still sad, because the freedom of summer is freedom no more, even though I am free.
I have begun to realize that as life goes on, I have continued to move from pillar to pillar. I have sought challenges and met them, often failing. But I have immediately set new challenges – larger than the others – more impossible than before.
I never allow myself to relish in my accomplishments.
Maybe that’s the reason why compliments are so hard for me to “take.” I nod my head, slowly, quietly thanking whoever is speaking. Yet inside, within, I am coming up with excuses to continually stay humble…
… you were just lucky; others helped you succeed; it really wasn’t a large accomplishment.
And now I”m sitting here, happier than ever but still not satisfied. Craving the accomplishments while celebrating the failures.. Where is solace?

Busy Yourself.

Opposite of many students, it would seem that the busier I get, the more productive I am. How contradicting it would seem that as you add more to my workload, the accuracy and quality increases? This is how it has always been. People are always quick to ask, “what do you do in your free time?” What free time… I respond, and they laugh, jokingly. But I am without a hint of sarcasm, for it is the truth that I don’t value free time.

I love being busy.

But the difference between myself and others is that I work and immerse myself in areas that I’m passionate about. So what others would call “free time” to destress and do what they want to do for a short period, is what I’m already doing.

All of my friends become annoyed when I tell them that I had “so much fun” at my job last night, or that I was “so intrigued” in a logical reasoning problem for my LSAT course. It’s the truth! I absolutely enjoy working 9-12 hour shifts on my feet, sitting in a classroom for 4 hours going over hundreds of LSAT questions, and attending 9AM meetings for Panhel.

However, I don’t solely choose opportunities and classes and jobs that I’m passionate about. Sometimes it can seem that something really isn’t for you, that it’s too difficult, useless for the future. But for me, I can always find a way to become passionate about something. This is because it doesn’t always have to be about me. If in this opportunity  I have the chance to benefit someone else, to make their lives better, to have them be passionate about something, that is enough for me.

Being busy doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. I love being busy, I enjoy not having free time, and I value the opportunities to work hard. It’s not a personal preference, it’s a way of looking at life.

 

One For The Books.

It can be easy to get lost in the thrill of a new semester. New classes, new friends, new awkward ice-breakers, but most importantly; new knowledge. This semester has already started off as one of the most intense, yet rewarding times of my life. At the end of last semester I was elected as President of the National Panhellenic Association on campus. In short, I act as the liaison between the Panhellenic sororities (all 17 of them), and the University of Michigan. This job was not at all what I expected, however the experience has been exhilarating. My life has gone from occasional all nighters and the library and working 20-30 hours at a local restaurant, to limited sleep and constant meetings and emails. On top of all of this, I am starting an LSAT prep course in the middle of February. This will be a task that I have never endeavored before, but that I am welcoming with open arms.

I’m the type of person who loves to be busy, but this new constantly stressful lifestyle has taught me a lot about myself:

  1. Put yourself first. Not in the sense that everything I choose to do has to be selfish, but in the sense that my health and wellbeing is essential to keep everything I do running well. If I am not putting myself and my needs first, I will fail at all else I try to accomplish.
  2. Honesty is the best policy. No matter what situation I’m put into, no matter who is in the room with me, and no matter who I will potentially hurt; honesty is the best policy. If I am to leave a legacy and my “mark” on my community, I want it to begin and end with honesty and integrity.
  3. Utilize your connections. When you’re involved in as many organizations and ventures as I am, it can be easy to get lost in all the connections you hold. However something that I have found to be crucial is leveraging your connections and now shielding them selfishly from others. Sharing connections with others opens doors for collaborations, connections, and potentially innovative ideas.
  4. Be mindful of others. Working in an environment consisting of many nationalities and being a person of Hawaiian descent, I always considered myself mindful of others. Yet I found that as a culture we speak and act in ways that are not openly offensive, yet still cause harm. I have put it upon myself to be mindful of the way in which I speak and act towards all individuals, to create a respective and welcoming environment.
  5. Break stereotypes. Ah. The number of times I’ve told people that I am in a certain sorority or a member of Greek Life and they have said “what? but you’re so down to earth?” is quite sad. Greek Life has a reputation of wealth, disrespect, sexual assault, and risky behaviors. Although this may be a cultural phenomenon or the act of a few individuals, it is my goal to break stereotypes everywhere I go and to encourage others to do the same.
  6. Leave a legacy. Now, this bullet point is a bit more difficult to write. Solely because the word “legacy” carries such a heavy weight and the need for substantial change or impression. Yet, I believe leaving a legacy can be as simple as making friends who speak highly of you, creating one program that really speaks to a sorority, or just helping one person overcome a mental health disorder. I want to leave a legacy.

The semester has started, but my intentions and hope for the future have only begun.

Fashionably late: The road home

While creating my ePortfolio I spent a lot of time going through the archives, looking at the things that past students had done. This would be where my portfolio would end up after all, like all the others. What could I do to make it truly my own?

I was never the one to present myself on such a public platform, so it was odd creating something about myself, something everyone would look at. It was difficult gaging what was too much information and what was too little, but I think in the end I found a happy medium. It’s cool to see everything I’ve written in class turned into something so visual and interactive. I strove to create a portfolio that would be beautiful to look at and I’m proud of coming as close as I could to that vision.

My portfolio is like an adventure. You can visit and explore, discovering many things. Most people won’t discover much, I’m sure we’re all just browsing casually through each others, looking just to look. Well go on and look as you please.

Check it out: http://rwhutch9.wix.com/rachelhutch

The Final Product

Well folks, here it is: My Final ePortfolio

I really enjoyed this project because I feel like I learned skills that I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life. I also know more about editing websites, which I think will be a very valuable skill to have in the career I plan on pursuing. I definitely appreciate how much work goes into websites now after struggling with applications on mine for hours on end.

I think I struggled most when formatting each page because I felt as if I had to make each page similar enough so the site would look cohesive, but I also didn’t want each page to look the same. It’s also somewhat difficult to lay out the pages in a way that makes sense to every visitor. I changed the format of my navigation bar after receiving some advice during peer review, so that was extremely helpful.

After this class is over, I might continue to use the website, but I’m not sure yet because it contains some things I wouldn’t necessarily want to show future employers. I think I did present myself very truthfully as a writer, however, so I’ll have to contemplate what to leave and take out if I decide to continue using it.

Thanks for a great semester, and I hope everyone is as happy with their new ePortfolio as I am with mine!

Tbh: Reflective Writing is Hard

I don’t like eportfolios. They’re too much. It’s so hard trying to reflect when you’re far away from the process. I wish we could’ve written reflectively and purposefully for the eportfolio right after we finished our projects.

That being said, I’m very happy with the photo on my site. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I designed the entire site around it. I’m happy with how most pages look, besides repurposing. if i could change anything I would make that page a slideshow of documents/screenshots with edits in the margin. I completely gave up on not having a lot of text. Hopefully I’ll master finding the right balance in the capstone course.

The process is odd because you have to build a consistent infrastructure before you do anything else, but at the same time have enough wiggle room for different things. And that infrastructure has to be aesthetically pleasing and be representative of who you are as a person. Well it doesn’t have to do any of those things, but I want it to! That was probably one of the most time consuming parts.

I achieved my purpose of presenting myself as a writer. Did I do it well, I’m not sure. It was hard to create a theme or guiding principle behind the site, because it’s not real. Like we’re inspired by things and we write about them and they are linked because of the topic. But incorporating why i write and outside work makes it very hard to thematically link everything together. So that took a lot of brainstorming. My theme came about when I was trying to create a cover page/home page. I didn’t have a photo that didn’t use text (because there would be too much text if I added my name underneath or on top or below, which I ended up not doing anyway). So I had to improvise. I got pretentious. I wanted to say something amusing like the profile that starts off  “stuff i wrote” or the life’s a bitch/beach one. So that’s where that stemmed from. And that awkwardness continued into my faq page. Which is embarrassing but very me, and very inspired by Baratunde Thurston’s How to Be Black site.

Overall I’m not happy with the reflective writing. I think I was just unable to grasp that part of the assignment. I want to work on reflective writing, because it’s kinda hard. We don’t learn to do that all the time. We learn to write the stuff we write the reflection on.

http://kcchanel.wix.com/portfolio

The final hoedown.

I have definitely come a long way in my eportfolio (click the link).

Weebly has overall done exactly what I’ve wanted it to…except for some weird color vs black and white back splash fiascos that I still need to sort out…which was help me display my work with little extravaganza on my part. It’s been very user friendly, and the simple site building techniques helped me stick to a professional lay out, which I know if I had more options I would have been tempted to overcrowd the design. #knowyourselfshowyourself

See? I’m already branding.

parks and recreation gif
Just to be clear, I’m “Larry/Gary/Jerry”.

So yeah, I’m pretty happy with the writing side of my eportfolio right now. The design side, however, needs a bit of work. But that’s more just me creating better content for my portfolio more than anything. -laughs sardonically-

Aside from that, I’m definitely pleased with what I was able to put together. Along with the repurposing, remediating, and why/how projects I’m showcasing 4 essays (3 and 1 other media project) that exhibit other genres I’m comfortable writing in. I think this will help develop a better rounded perspective with different topics–since the original source, repurpose, and remediate are all about the same thing. My remediation isn’t even technically writing (…OR IS IT?).

Anyway, something I wanted to achieve in this portfolio was a well-rounded showcasing of my relevant talents as a writer and designer. I think I’ve done an alright job. I’m excited to see how this process changes come Capstone.

Everyone has really done a fantastic job though!

parks and recreation leslie knope
Because all of the Parks and Rec.

ePortfolio and Goodbye :’)

This has been a truly great semester, summed up by my pride in the projects I’ve completed… summed up in how cool I think my eportfolio is. Mouth full! Writing220 was certainly back loaded with work to finish up, but I think it all came together really nicely. The eportfolio was really kind of meaningless to me until I finished up the other work in pieces. I realized just how this would all come together right as it did (and with a lot of thanks to peer work we did in the class). Just as I figured out the best structure to the website, the pieces just fell into place and the website looked and felt really representative of (1) the work I had completed this semester – both within and even outside of this class – and (2) who I am. That’s very cheesy, but it’s true. The eportfolio really represents my aspirations as a writer, so that feels like a job well done.

What would I like you to know about my eportfolio… Well, I think you should know that I did not take that big picture of New York. I got that from Google, as it was licensed online for reuse. Pretty exciting when you get a good picture online that’s licensed for reuse. You should also know that in my “Other Work” section, I have written up a policy recommendation for a policy in New York called “421a” that deals with housing developments and, subsequently, the developments of affordable housing within private housing developments. It’s pretty long, but if you’re interested in stuff like that, give it a skim! Maybe you’ll learn something new.

I also want to say thank you to Naomi and to everyone in this class for a great experience. I looked through some of last week’s blog posts and could see that many people advised the next class to really utilize peer review and get close to their peers. It takes open minded and honest people to really utilize peer review and I know I experienced nothing less than real commitment, good feedback, and support in my writing from my peers. Have a good break, everyone.

 

My eportfolio: wefrank.wix.com/eportfolio

Eportfolio Reflection (or: It’s the Final Countdown!)

At the close of this semester, I think I can safely say that the eportfolio was one of my favorite projects of any class I took. Part of that might be because I didn’t procrastinate on it, instead I chipped away at it for a number of weeks. I kind of used it as a “break” from other, more intense homework.

Wix was a great platform. I was very concerned with professional, no-nonsense presentation and I think I achieved that with the Wix formatting tools (with no coding involved!). There were a few aesthetic things I had some issues with, like choosing a background and whether or not I wanted everything on the website to be accessible via the main menu, but I eventually figured all of that out (and I know that I can change them with relative ease).

I think the biggest thing I want to continue working on is content. If I plan on using this website professionally, I want to showcase a larger breadth of my work. That hinges on writing more, of course. Also, and this is a smaller issue, I want to include my professional headshot in my About Me. Right now, my face is kind of obscured.

Learning how to make my own website has been a great experience! I plan on referring back to this portfolio for future projects.

Here is said portfolio:

http://14eacotten.wix.com/emilycotten