Same, but different

I (unintentionally) completed my gateway and my capstone on relatively similar topics. The progression from my gateway to my capstone is so visible, both content and design wise, that I wanted to write a blog post to reflect on it.

My gateway was funny (read: I tried to make it funny). It was framed to debunk common misconceptions that people had about Scotland from movies, books, TV shows, etc. It was niche – I know.

To give some context, my family is Scottish, and we immigrated to the United States when I was 6. All my life I knew about the funny components of being Scottish, because that’s how my parents raised me. My project was fun, it joked around, and didn’t take anything too seriously (even the Scottish referendum, which was actually very serious). My website reflected my tone, and there were light hearted pictures (many of which I took) and animated texts (why is that even a feature, Wix?)

Fast forward a few years. Michigan has opened my eyes to so many perspectives and taught me so much that I slowly learned to think of myself not only as someone from Scotland, but as a Scot who is also an immigrant in the United States. In this day and age, being an immigrant is no small thing.

My capstone project reflected that, as I worked to uncover media misrepresentations of immigrants, and ultimately remind everyone why America is known as the “nation of immigrants.” Much less niche.

The design of my website has changed so much too. From cheesy pictures to (what I like to think are) professional layouts and serious tones.

It has been so rewarding to see how my thoughts and ideas about myself and about how the world views immigration have changed over the last few years. It is especially cool to have both perspectives in an interactive website that I can show people!

5 thoughts to “Same, but different”

  1. Kirsty– I’m interested to hear about how different your experiences have been with the same topic. I think that the evolution from an underclassman to an upperclassman can be reflected in my writing as well. I think a lot of this stems from confidence in your ability to be serious, and still be interesting. It was not until I developed my skills enough this past year that I was confident enough to write about a serious topic in a serious tone. I’m glad I got to look at your project– great work!

  2. Hi Kirsty,

    Your final project looks amazing, and as always, I thoroughly enjoy reading your writing. I experienced a similar parallel between my gateway and capstone projects (which were about colorism and biraciality, respectively). Working on two closely connected, overlapping topics creates a large space for self-reflection. Though I would have experienced this regardless, I do think that this experience is unique in that not many minors have it. Each project remains with its own characteristics, intentions, and timing. However, reading between the lines to see how the writer developed between the two can almost serve as a “third” project. It was awesome reading this post because I absolutely agree with this sentiment.


  3. I also (as a few of us have mentioned or recognized) experienced a moment of realization that my capstone looks like the sophisticated version of my gateway project. Both are focused on overly vague topics (my specialty) and not as fully formed as yours seem to have been. The first on the concept of “knowing” someone or something and the second on the concept of “distance.”

    I think the progression of one to the other mirrors my progression throughout my time at Michigan and through learning. I’ve learned that I don’t know everything (and never will) which is why my gateway in many ways seems childish to me. Despite this, both are told through the same style and even have a specific individual as a special featured guest. I think this speaks to the fact that even though I’ve grown up – all of us have grown up – that person we were when we made our gateway projects is still there somewhere. Those ideas gave us the practice and skills we needed to create our capstones. Of which, I think all of us are proud.

    So even though I often feel like my gateway didn’t age well these past couple of years, it did make me feel like I could do my capstone. Which, now that it is done, makes me feel like I can officially say that I, maybe, am an actual writer.

  4. On top of the other comments here, I also saw that there was something in my writing for this capstone project that was strangely similar to my gateway project. Since that seems to be a general trend among us, it seems to be that many of us are addressing with similar issues that have remained important to the ways we each make sense of our world. Of course, in your case, the cultural backgrounds you have been exposed to were central to your experience with the topics of your projects, so it is not that surprising that there was a kind of an overlap of ideas between the two projects. But especially because of that overlap, we can also clearly sense our progress over the past couple years. Congrats!

  5. Kirsty – I really enjoyed reading this post (and the other comments). For a while, I didn’t think there was any connection between my capstone and gateway projects, but after reading this and thinking things over and looking back at both sites, there is a sense of overlap I didn’t see at first. I think as we grow and change as writers, our work must grow to reflect that, but having an artifact that showcases what we were like as writers at one point in time is so valuable, even if it is hard to look back at sometimes. I struggled a lot during gateway with believing that I was a writer, and strangely enough those feelings came back a bit during capstone, which I wasn’t anticipating as a senior about to complete the minor. But it makes sense now – questioning yourself is a huge part of the process with writing (at least for me) and having that reflected in both processes it one of the biggest areas of overlap for me.

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