Final Projects vs. Final Exams: Choosing between the lesser of two evils

As a naturally lazy person, I would prefer to say no to both final exams and final projects and instead curl up in my onesie and binge-watch Netflix. Choosing between exams and projects is a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils.

Although I am enjoying the projects we do for this class, as a general rule I tend to prefer final exams. With exams, there’s a starting point and an ending point. I usually start studying a week before the exam, and once I take the exam it’s over. Finals are more of a pain than regular exams since they’re often cumulative, but as long as I give myself a week I’m usually set. And by the time finals arrive I have a study method for each class that is guaranteed to work.

Final projects are a different story. For some reason they always end up on the bottom of my to-do list and result in me scrambling to finish them on time. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, so pressing submit always gives me anxiety. What if there was more I could have done? In this class we have the option to revise a lot of our work, but this sometimes adds to my anxiety. With exams, there’s no option to revisit them. Once they’re done, they’re done. I can move on and start preparing for the next exam. Revisiting old projects requires diving back into my work and trying to remember what my original vision was and what more needed to be added. And then with resubmission comes the same question—was there more I could have done?

With all this being said, I would like to reiterate that I love the projects we’re doing for this class. I had so much fun finishing my remediation project (despite the familiar anxiety I felt when pressing submit) because I was able to be creative and explore a new medium I had never tried before. Perhaps if I didn’t have to worry about grades and hard deadlines for projects I would prefer them to exams.

hand written to digital struggles

After creating my digital rhetoric piece, I am now more appreciative of the literal act of writing. Although I am not fully comfortable with my own style of writing, I do feel more comfortable in writing a piece than creating a piece through a new media form. When I reflect back on my writing process versus the process of making a video, I there are more pros than cons for my writing process. I know that I can take my time in brainstorming and if something doesn’t go the way I want in writing, than it is easy to adjust and change. However, for my video project, things definitely did not go the way I had wished, meaning that I had to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm different things for a new direction. Also, it was tough to do that because with the route I decided to go (interviewing people for my project), I was dependent on people answering the questions the way I wanted to them, but only some of the interviews went that way. I just happened to ‘strike gold’ when I was given the opportunity to have a Q&A session with Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, where right at the perfect time in the middle of the session that I started to voice record him and received the best audio to help support my video project just four days before my project was due.

Therefore, I do not feel like dealing with only words is limiting because I am able to guide my own writing easier than any other way. I did not think that I would ever feel like that, but through having these different projects (from remediation to repurposing) I have been able to know what styles of writing I do like.

BUT, do not get me wrong, I am really happy that I was able to have this unique experience and create an iMovie project. Now I am able to know how to use the program and create something (along with creating the eportfolio). It just adds more to my skills that I am excited to keep using and improving.

Projects vs. Exams: The Nightmare that is Finals week

Well, it is that time of year. That time of year that all students despise because of the ridiculous amount of work that you have to do is quite frankly insane. This year alone, I have 2 final exams in 3 days, and 3 project/papers. And although I hate having to do both, I would rather have a paper any given day over an exam. The reason: With an exam, you never really know what you are going to study for.

Think about it. When it comes to an exam, a professor can give you a study guide, they can give you practice exams, they can offer extra study sessions, but you actually never know what will be on the exam. You do not control what is going to happen. When you take an exam, you have one shot. One chance to get the right answers, and if you make a mistake, or you come up against a question you just don’t know what the answer is. When that happens, you are wrong. There is nothing you can do to change it. Regardless of how much you studied, how well you think you know the material, you can always get tripped up on an exam and there is nothing you can do.

When there is a project, you have time. You can work on it at your leisure, and even if you are an awful procrastinator as I am, you can still at least go over what you want to talk about with your professor. That ability alone makes doing projects much better in my opinion. Although projects and essays can be viewed in a more subjective light instead of an objective one, you still have a situation you can tailer what you create to how the professor wants the project to look. Even better, if you complete the assignment in enough time, you can go over what you have with the professor and fix whatever is needed. With a project, you control your own fate.

Finally figured out Why I Write

People ask me all the time if I love to write. I’m a writing consultant, a writing minor, and english has always been my favorite subject… so I guess the question makes sense. But I’ve always struggled to answer it. I don’t love to write like some of my classmates do: I don’t blog, write for a magazine/newspaper, or even journal. I dread being assigned a paper in class and more often than not, it takes me days of frustration and staring into space before I get any words on paper. I’ve always been relatively self conscious about the fact that I spend so much of my day writing (five classes, all writing based) because I don’t actually love to write. But,

this class has helped me change that.

Now, when I go to start a paper, I don’t negatively compare my writing to my classmates. Everyone writes for different reasons and because of that, everyone has a different style and exigency for each assignment.

Despite my newfound acceptance of my writing process, when we were assigned our first paper for the class it’s fair to say I seriously struggled. I definitely knew why I didn’t write– I’m not an aspiring author and it doesn’t relieve any anxiety (usually quite the opposite, actually). I don’t feel empowered with every word I write and I don’t feel Maya Angelou’s agony when she expressed, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you” (although I really wish I did). But even though writing may not affect me in the same emotional way as it does some people, it will help me accomplish my goals. And,

this class has helped me figure that out. 

As I’m sure all of you know by now, I want to go to law school. I’m not sure where I’ll go from there, but I know I want to get a law degree and end up in the criminal justice system someway or another. I can’t do any of this without writing, and I can’t do any of this well without writing exceptionally. The writing minor allowed me to improve my writing and explore modes of writing that will help me throughout my life–even if that life ends up having nothing to do with writing.

I know the blog prompt didn’t ask why I write. I also know we’ve already written a five page paper on the matter. But,

This class showed me, and helped me come to terms with, why I write.

For that I will always be grateful.

Bold Proclamation

You cannot seem well-educated if you aren’t at least a decent writer. How’s that for a bold proclamation? Go ahead, get offended. Disagree with me. Challenge me. That’s all good and well. Will you be able to adequately argue your perspective to me though? Because that too will depend on your skill as a writer.

 

You can be a creative genius, a math wiz—plenty of other things, sure. I didn’t say that you couldn’t be a genius. But in a world where even casual conversation takes place in large part over text message or email, you will sound quite ignorant indeed if you can’t keep your grammar and punctuation in its right place.

 

You need not have brilliant metaphors nor creative rhetoric running through you—not all of us can be Ernest Hemmingway and Kurt Vonnegut. You just need to be able to send a written correspondence or express your opinion using your words.

LOL
LOL

The Fried Turkey Fiasco

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday of the year. A holiday built around beer, football, and eating – seriously, what’s not to love? But, perhaps my favorite part of Thanksgiving is simply being with many of the people I hold most dear in my life and just celebrating being together in one place. Spending the holiday in Boston this year, it was an eventful Thanksgiving as ever. Read More