The “real world” (CJ #4)

They say that we go to school to learn, so that someday we can implement that knowledge in “the real world”.

I think the idea of the “real world” is fake. 

We’ve been living in the “real world” this whole time. We’ve had to fight our own battles, cry when we needed to, and celebrated when we deserve it. We’ve felt realemotions, and we’ve allowed our scars to become part of us. We’re resilient, smart, strong. We’re real. 

I became a writing minor because I love to write.

I never thought of the privilege that the minor has granted us until now. 

Every day, we are presented with the opportunity to reflect. We are encouraged to use our words to sort through difficult times, and to capture our growth. Our writing has become increasingly personal rather that academic. 

The capstone project has been a unique opportunity for self exploration and reflection. Too often, students are inspired by a prompt. We must fulfil certain expectations in our writing, adhere to the restrictive margins. Throughout this semester, we found inspiration through our unique passions. We set our own guidelines. I think this project has helped all of us find our voice, and ensured us that our writing process won’t end on May 4th.

We’re not being shoved into the “real world”, but rather experiencing the world through a different lens. Without the title of “student”, we are allowed to become more of us. We’re allowed to create our own projects, and are responsible for continuing to write and capture our growth. 

I think we’re all a little uncomfortable with the uncertainty that lies ahead. But, uncertainty leads to opportunities, experiences & moments. I’m certain it will lead to great things for all of you. 

Over it… for now. (CJ #3)

I’m over it. Over homework, over exams, over school in general. With one month left in my collegiate career, it is much more tempting to go on a walk with friends or even apply for jobs online than it is go to a library and write. I guess senioritis is back in full force and I’m just ready to jump into the real world.

But at the same time, I’m hanging onto everything by a thread. I don’t want to be done with my capstone project, or my exams, or going to classes because that means it’s all over. Life as I know it, life as a student is over. I seriously have SIX pages left in a book because I don’t want to find out how the characters were killed, and I don’t want to be done with it. I almost made it through an entire season in a TV series, but quit halfway through the season finale. Maybe I’m a quitter. Maybe I just like the idea that I can go back to something and it still needs me. Maybe I’m just in denial.

Ironically, my letter of interest for the MiW program was all about “getting stuck” in the writing process. I wrote that I wanted to learn how to get unstuck, and help others get unstuck. I hope I have accomplished the latter goal, though it is apparent in this moment I myself am still in quicksand. I had so much hope for this capstone project, so much that I wanted to put into it. While I think it will shape out the way I want it to this semester, I also must remember that the project itself won’t end at the deadline. I can always pick up my project in the future and push it to the next level. The reason I centered my project on a single made up word (Sonder) was because I’ve had years of fascinating realizations that will continue to occur as I move through life. This may be the first chapter, but it won’t be the last.

Stranger Things (CJ #2)

What started out as a project intended to explore the minds of others has drastically shifted to a project about my own anxieties and fears. When trying to find an audience who would read and appreciate my capstone project (besides my lovely classmates who will be forced to read it), I was stuck.

For those who are unfamiliar, my project started with a curiosity for a made up word. Sonder can now be found in the Dictionary of Obscure Words, and can be defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid & complex as your own.” This word has been stuck in my mind for years now, and I suppose I have romanticized it over time. The harsh reality struck that others don’t think the same way about the concept of sonder as I do. Some people think “of course people have their own sh*t going on.” But for me, I’ve realized my affinity for this word is derived from my anxiety of comparing myself to others. With just two months until doomsday (otherwise known as graduation), the countless possibilities my future holds bears a weight on me. As my peers begin to sign contracts, I am forced to consider the likely chance I won’t have a job after college. And that’s probably because I don’t exactly know what I want to do yet. So that’s why I like the idea of sonder. I’m so curious about how others know what they want to do. When I overhear conversations in the street I can’t help but wonder who the people are and what it is they want to do. And how they figured it out. So, I guess my challenge was not only realizing the route of my project, but also trying to find an audience. My audience is people like me. People who are on the brink of a life change and don’t exactly know how to cope. People who feel lost, and look to others for certainty but instead find more confusion. At the same time I’m an optimist, so my project is also about how strangers can impact our own perception of ourselves. How one person can say something to us and it completely spirals and changes what we do.

Blair vs. the Abyss – Challenge Journal 1

I’ll be walking home from class, the icy wind scratching at my face when BOOM – I come up with the most brilliant idea for a book. The next Great American Novel. Perhaps even a Nobel Peace Prize. As I sprint home, characters and plots spinning around my head, I’m really confident that this time, this is it. I’ll fling open the door, grab my computer and notebook, open a blank page and then it all disappears. It’s happened more times than I would like to admit. The ideas evaporate, off into the abyss of Stories I’ll Never Tell.

Why do all my thoughts escape me when it becomes time to write them down? Am I too shy, of even myself? Is it the fear that these ideas, once typed out, become real? Maybe I’ll realize that my idea was silly, or already over done, or just plain old bad. Maybe losing my thoughts to the abyss is better than realizing that they weren’t worth writing out.

It could also be my fear of commitment. Sure, I can come up with some outlandish plots, but sticking to one concept for a whole paper, nevermind a whole course or BOOK is just too much. As the impending commitment to a capstone topic looms ahead, my assurance on selecting just one subject to marry dissipates. What if I run out of things to say? What if I’m ten pages in, and realize I hate it all?

I absolutely loathe to use this quote, but I’m realizing it might be the only proper way to sum up my feelings. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. Yick. But, credit where credit is due. It’s true – I am afraid of failure, of judgement, of having my ideas be bad. I’m afraid to play the damn game. This semester, and essentially the rest of my life will be a struggle to find confidence in my writing. It will be the conflict of marrying an idea, but letting it flourish. It will be the battle of Blair versus the abyss.

Establishing rituals is one way to combat my fears. Open to hear any other suggestions on how to get over my fears 🙂

*Mic Drop*

Well… here it is everyone.

As the semester wraps up and I get sentimental, I just wanted to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped guide my process. From all the peer feedback to the simple smiles in the classroom, all the support was much appreciated.

In regards to how I’ve grown throughout the semester, again I believe I owe a lot of it to the people I was surrounded by (you guys). I think we pushed each other to think in new ways, be intuitive and respectful, and went beyond boundaries we thought we could reach. I cannot wait to continue my exploration with all of you throughout the Sweetland capstone and beyond.

How to Handle(r) an Interview

So… how do you write a Chelsea-Handler-Style interview? Great question. While I’d love to call up Chelsea herself and ask, I don’t think she has time for my bullsh*t between her hobbies of liberal rallying and drinking.

Never watched Chelsea Handler? Well you should. She’s sassy, she’s hilarious, she’s blunt, and quite frankly she’s a little scary (I would definitely be nervous to be around her). Not only does she radiate confidence, but she also exudes intelligence. She is informed on important issues that are often brushed under the table. She’s a diehard Democrat, and she harshly challenge those who lean left. On her Netflix show, Chelsea, Handler discusses several pressing issues in a tone that is simultaneously comedic and serious. One issue that Chelsea is extremely adamant about is feminism, and she is a known figure for supporting equal rights. She often brings other supporters on the show such as Gloria Steinem to promote the empowerment of women.

Although it seems almost improbably that individuals out there don’t believe that women and men deserve equal rights – those monsters exist (cough cough Tomi Lahren). I’m sure Chelsea would have quite the mouthful for them. For this experiment, I would like to construct a series of interview questions that Chelsea might ask one of these individuals. I cannot fathom how they would reasonably respond, so for the purpose of experiment three I am simply writing the questions, and possible follow up remarks. I think this (made up) genre would be an interesting way to enter the current conversation of feminism. Cameron and I were discussing how talk show hosts are now more important than ever. As we saw in class, when these hosts discuss important matters, people listen and respond in positive ways.

While I did make up my own genre, there are already some conventions for writing interview questions in general:

  • Do research on the person. Don’t show up blindsided because that’s just embarrassing for both individuals.
  • Do research on the subject. If you are discussing hegemonic masculinity, women’s rights, and feminism, you better know every angle. You should know prominent figures, current events, etc.
  • Know the answers to your own questions.
  • Know your stance on the subject.
  • Start with a light hearted question to get the ball rolling and ease the interviewee into the conversation.
  • Thank them for their time.

To add my sassy Chelsea twist, here are some Handler conventions:

  • Don’t wait for the interviewee to finish their train of thought.
  • Don’t go easy on them – sass is a must.
  • Speak your mind.
  • Continue the questions as a flow. The interview should sound more like a conversation and less like an interview.
  • Delve into the deep questions… I know this disregards the previous point of easing the interviewee in, but Chelsea doesn’t go easy on anyone.
  • Stay true to your opinions – she always does!


Chelsea Handler makes her own rules as she goes. While she has much more authority than I, in this upcoming experiment I will do my best to channel my inner diva in order to spark an important conversation about feminism with an anti-feminist. Watch out – things will get heated.

 

*PSA: I do not know why these gifs aren’t cooperating properly. I am not a tech wiz. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Drumroll Please…

    After all of the discussions about blogs, and blogs about blogs, and essays about blogs I have decided to write… (drumroll please…) a blog!

    My blog post will be about how hegemonic masculinity infiltrates our society and impacts individuals of all genders, races and ages. The blogging genre affords the chance to be very personal about my own opinions, so I plan on expressing my thoughts on this subject very frankly with readers. The original essay had a purely academic tone, and I did not have a chance to add an emotional appeal. In this blog post, I plan on discussing how this issue personally affects me in everyday life, which is very emotional and I hope readers will relate or understand the struggles of being a woman in today’s society.  Additionally, the blog genre allows me to bounce off of other feminist bloggers who discuss similar subjects such as Feministing. I will use other blog posts as inspiration for how I set the tone of the piece. As Andrew Sullivan wrote in his piece, “Why I Blog” (which, ironically, is not a blog post), “A successful blog therefore has to balance itself between a writer’s own take on the world and others”. By incorporating concepts I learn from other blogs into my own, I will also be able to make more informed and effective remarks.

 

    Although we have gone over a few conventions of blogging already, here are some more guidelines I am going to (attempt) to stick to:

  • Using plain language. Nothing too fancy, but an “approachable” tone a la Amy Devitt’s Genre Colored Glasses. I was relaxed by her comfortable voice, especially in comparison to her excerpt from A Theory of Genre
  • Having a conversational tone – inviting readers to join the conversation, weigh in their inputs and challenge mine. I would hope readers contribute to the conversation in order to spread the message
    • Going off of this point, knowing who the conversation is with. For this blog post, my audience will most likely be other feminist bloggers as well as my fellow MiW friends 🙂
  • Breaking up the format (no walls of text- Thanks for this tip Vivek!). Personally I struggle with finding pictures or other non text visuals that are meaningful yet relatable to the content. Bear with me as I search the internet to find the perfect meme
  • Have a point. People read blogs to be entertained, and to be informed. I need to captivate my audience and give them a purpose to read (and share) my blog

 

     The blogosphere is an unfamiliar and overwhelming realm I am about to delve into… and it looks like I have my work cut out for me!