Challenge Journal, On Time

Settling into my third genre over the course of the semester, I finally feel comfortable. The words truly flow from my fingers at this point and thank God because they surely weren’t before. While I am so happy with the satisfaction I feel in my new genre, as I can now produce something to be proud of, my only lingering concern is time.

Everything came crashing down Sunday night as a prepared to hand in my rough draft. Feeling a palpable disconnect from the work I had produced, I hastily decided to scrap it all and start anew. Terrifying at the time, but worth it beyond belief. Looking forward I’m excited about the project to be completed. I finally found something that will accomplish the goals I set for myself way back in January. But I can’t shake the question in the back of my mind asking, will I?

I faced a similar scenario first semester junior year. For my journalism and social change class’s final project, in groups we had to pitch an investigative journalism project to the class. My group rolled with the first thing we thought of for a bit before realizing we had to change our topic. A few days before it was due, we were scrambling to deliver the high quality project we were hoping for. As a result, we didn’t.

While this is pretty different than my situation now as I’m pressed for weeks instead of days and I don’t have to be burdened with satisfying a group, I can’t help but think about this experience as I head into the final stages of my project. I know that I have enough time to complete something satisfactory, but I also know I’ll always be thinking that it could have been better had I been sitting with it for longer. Personally, my ideas develop over time so when I’m pressed they don’t come to me as readily. It’s when I’ve been ruminating over something for a while when my best ideas come out. So, I can’t help being anxious about the fact that my project could have been better.

Any suggestions on how to make the most out of the time I have left?

2 thoughts to “Challenge Journal, On Time”

  1. Rachel,

    I’m so glad you said this, because I’ve been feeling the exact same. Everyone keeps saying, “It’ll be fine. You’ll finish.” And in my heart, I know I will, too. BUT how good will it be? Will I answer all my questions? Will I get to my point? I think that’s the toughest part for me, as well. If it’s any consolation, I think that since you’ve found your niche in this new genre, it will probably flow out of you faster and faster by day. Have you set deadlines for yourself? I operate best when I block time in my schedule to do certain fragments of my project. I understand it gets tough with scheduling meetings and balancing other homework (and also trying to enjoy last semester of senior year, amirite), but if we’re creating something we care about, it shouldn’t feel like such an obligation, right? If you’re attitude is already there, then I trust you’ll create something of amazing quality and meaning.

    Looking forward to the rest of your project!

    -Meg

  2. Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for sharing this super real and relevant challenge! Capstone is already a huge project that requires way more time than you would expect, so changing directions a month before can seem crazy and stressful. I too changed my Capstone direction last week right before handing in the rough draft, and completely trashed all of the writing I had casually been completing with little time crunch stress. That being said, I know from previous experience of restarting late in the game that it will get done and it will be so much better because of your change. When I was taking my 325 class and writing the essay about my mom’s cancer treatment that inspired my capstone project, I felt really awful about the direction and the topic until the morning that it was due. I was sitting in Beanster’s, lamenting about the poor writing quality and the whiny and directionless voice weaving, what I had hoped to be an incredible essay, together. And then, it hit me. An entirely new direction that would require me to rewrite almost the entirety of the essay. With four hours to go before class, I hesitated. And then I took a deep breath, closed my eyes to find “my zone,” opened my eyes, whispered to myself that I could do it. With a newly clear head, I opened a new blank doc, copied over the sprinkles of gold from the original essay, and started building anew. It was probably the most stressful four hours of my academic career. And yet, when I handed in the completed essay, I felt really really good about what I had done. I think that what helped most was that I put my full faith in my writing ability, and fully accepted that what would happen would happen. And also the fact that I did not move for four hours straight or check any form of social media. Regardless, I think that the key is to relax. Be confident in your writing ability – you are a sweetland MIW for a reason. Be mentally open to whatever will happen. And be prepared to sell your soul to your project for the next few weeks (lol). I hope your capstone continues going well and that you have found yourself in a groove! Looking forward to seeing the final result 🙂
    -Madison

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