I almost cried in the Dude… a story by Elizabeth McLaughlin

I hadn’t been to the Dude (the North Campus library for you freshman Markley kids) in over 2 years. So when a friend asked if I wanted to study there Sunday night, I jumped at the opportunity. The dude!? What a magical place. I can’t wait.

I had planned to spend my Sunday evening working on a paper for another class, but as I opened my laptop to begin work, my capstone project website was on the screen.

“Come see my capstone project!” I told my friend. I was so excited to show him my hard work.

But a funny little thing happened. As I went to click on the various pages, some of the text and photos weren’t loading, and my pages were white, blank, nothing-ness. I clicked refresh patiently. Maybe the Dude has bad wifi? But nothing changed. I logged out of Wix to reload the site entirely. Nothing.

I start to panic.

I refresh again. Log out again. Try opening Chrome again. Nothing.

“It’s gone,” I say to my friend.

I search my computer for a Word doc. Maybe I kept the written portion of the website in a Word doc. Maybe this was an easy fix.

Nothing.

I feel myself start to do that thing where you’re about to cry.

I can’t cry in the Dude. That’s so embarrassing.

My friend tells me to get it together. Shit happens, and I will just have to redo it.

He’s really supportive.

Now I’m really about to cry. I start frantically Googling ways to restore a Wix page. I HAD JUST WORKED ON THE SITE EARLIER IN THE DAY AND SAVED IT. WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME. I ALWAYS SAVE MY WORK. My heart is racing. I can’t see the damn laptop screen because I’m ABOUT TO CRY IN THE DUDE.

But wait. What is this? A way to look at SITE HISTORY!? I follow the steps of “help” post. All of a sudden I can breathe again. My site had made a copy of itself on November 7. I can see what was on the screen. I haven’t lost all my prose, all my research. It’s going to be okay.

My friend tells me to calm down and get some work done. I want to hit him. He has no idea what this capstone project means. But you guys do.

Long story short, I’m going to have to re-input all the photos, but I won’t have to rewrite hundreds of words. The moral of the story is don’t go to the Dude. I think the wifi is weird. Maybe the library was angry I hadn’t visited in a while.

Oh, and also save your work.

The UM bucket list continues! HELP!

Alright friends. This weekend, I’m accomplishing two more bucket list items:

1. My first UM hockey game (Friday 7:30PM at Yost)

2. Running across the North Campus “wave field”

I know I want to capture the hockey game through sound (of the crowd and the players) and possibly video. However, I’m a little stuck on how to capture the wave field experience. I’ve done a lot of photos with my other bucket list items: adventuring along the Huron River, painting the rock, and eating hippie hash at the Fleetwood Diner. Any suggestions as to how to approach the wave field? Are there cool photo or video apps that would allow me to capture the event in a unique way? For example, I played around with a time lapse app when I was on a run, and I got some cool effects, so I want to use that video on the “home” page that describes the list.

I’ve also considered using Youtube videos about the wave field as a way of supplementing my experience. I could also capture the entire journey up to North Campus (not just being on the wave field). Thoughts? Thank you!

A moment of gratitude

I have been inspired by Shelly’s “it takes a village” prompt. As I begin constructing my ePortfolio, I am in total awe of how many people have been involved in my writing and professional development.

As I pull together the various written components, I can see just how many professors and instructors have contributed to this final body of work from my college career. I can look back on the revision processes and remember conversations about how to make these pieces even better. Each prompt and course is different, but I feel incredibly grateful that each teacher I have had in these writing courses inspired me to try new things and push myself to become a better writer. How many students across the country can say that?

Beyond classroom instructors, there are many other people who have helped me to this point: internship supervisors and co-workers, classmates, family, friends, and strangers. As I think about how to add reflection into my ePortfolio, I am reminded that every piece of writing could have an accompanying story just about how I got to the final production of that piece! And those stories would often be about those important people in my life.

Do y’all feel similarly? I might break out the “thank you” cards at the end of the semester for those special people who have played a role in helping me to have an ePortfolio I can be proud of.

Conceptualizing my ePortfolio

I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had about my ePortfolio after completing the “Pitching Your ePort to Your Peers” document in class today. Any questions or suggestions welcome! Please feel free to add your thoughts about your ePorts as well!

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Conceptualizing the ePortfolio

I am approaching my ePortfolio as an expanded online resume that specifically focuses on my experiences in writing and media. So for me, the “writing minor” section is one portion of the ePortfolio. The others include “bylines,” which includes links to published writing from my internships and other work, and “WOLV-TV,” which explains the work I’ve done for the campus TV station.

I have structured the section of the “writing minor” tab so that (hopefully!) it takes the reader through the chosen articles in a meaningful, well-thought out way. I start with my “Why I Write” from the gateway course, followed by the developmental essay. These two sections will showcase my writing process. Next, I have the “Remediation Assignment” tab that includes the repurposed and remediated pieces from the gateway course. I want to include these because they shows how I work in different mediums and can conceptualize writing in new ways. The next tab is the “capstone project.” Finally, I conclude with “other writing,” which consists of my ULWR essay and two fiction pieces from a creative writing class.

I think this layout ties things together because within the “writing minor” tab I’ve tried to show two essays about my writing, two projects (one from gateway and one from capstone) that showcase diverse samples of writing, and three “other” pieces to complete my writing portfolio. I am hoping this ties things together. Thoughts? Do y’all think the ePortfolio will make sense? Is it cohesive? 

Audience

Because I have chosen to make this ePortfolio an expanded online resume and work showcase, my audience is most likely professional. For example, it could be recruiters or future employers. This has impacted my plan because I want to maintain my voice in the ePortfolio while keeping a professional tone. The layout will be clean and easy to navigate.

Reflective Material

Reflective material will be incorporated into my ePortfolio through my “Why I Write” piece and as a portion of my “Remediation Assignment.” My Capstone Project also has a reflection portion on its separate Wix website. (My ePortfolio is on WordPress.)

Overall Takeaway from my ePortfolio

My hope is that the ePortfolio will showcase me as a person and writer in a way that communicates my unique talents and experiences in an engaging and professional way. I want the reader to get a taste of my personality, but ultimately takeaway my skills and what I’m capable of accomplishing through various types of writing. 

Pitch Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

The journey begins the first day of freshman year. As a student at the University of Michigan, the world is yours for the taking. But, you need to act quickly. Freshman become sophomores and juniors in the blink of an eye. Then one day, much sooner than you imagine it to be, you’re a senior thinking about graduation and the “real world” to come. I am that senior now, panicked by all the things I want to do before I graduate from this incredible institution. Here enters the “University of Michigan Bucket List.” 

This project will take the form of a series of short essays. Each bucket list item that is crossed off the list will have a written essay attached to it that explains how I accomplished the activity, why I had it on my list in the first place, the history behind that item, and any reflections upon my completion of it. This written form will be accompanied by other media, like photos, videos, and music, that can enrich the description of that particular bucket list item. I also plan to include a written “reflection” that will tie together all of the experiences and provide a greater takeaway from the project. The bucket list so far includes: paint the rock, eat “hippie hash” at Fleetwood Diner, go to a concert at the Blind Pig, run through the North Campus wave field, visit the hydrodynamic marine lab tank in the basement of the West Engineering building, attend a Michigan hockey game in Yost Ice Arena, and play games in Pinball Pete’s. 

The intended audience is University of Michigan undergraduates who may also have a list of things to do before they graduate, or who are wondering what they should accomplish (and why) while on campus. It may also be of interest to alumni and prospective students.

The final project will live as an online article or website. Ideally, each bucket list item could be easily clicked on and expand to show its written and media components. As a website, this could mean each item linked to a separate webpage. I will intertwine the writing and media to break up text and keep the reader engaged. Thus far, I want to look into building a Wix site, using medium.com, or using an existing University of Michigan site. Whichever hosting site I use, I want it to be easily shareable online via social media and interactive for the audience.

I have attached a sample essay portion as if it were online with the multimedia aspects weaved into the text. Through this example, one can see how the multimedia elements will break up the description of each bucket list item to make the project more interesting for readers and how the final project may appear online.

This work should be published because it provides valuable information to Michigan undergraduates hoping to enhance their time at this university. I want this project to be a useful tool so that any student can feel they truly experienced much of what this institution and city have to offer. An online bucket list allows students to revisit the page as they check each item off the list for themselves. 

I should complete this project because I am a creative and engaging writer with extensive experience working with multimedia and online platforms. I also love the University of Michigan, and therefore want to do the best possible job relaying these campus and Ann Arbor experiences to students, so that everyone can experience the magic that is Michigan.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth McLaughlin

Making Another Writer’s Decisions

I came into class on Monday full of anxiety about my project. The prompt was so open-ended! But Beixi completely came to my rescue. She began by asking the list of questions on the assignment handout, and we quickly determined together that I wanted to take this opportunity to write about something unrelated to my studies or future career. When she suggested (really interesting!) project ideas related to my summer internship or job aspirations, I immediately reacted negatively. Beixi was wonderful at redirecting questions and exploring my other interests when she sensed my apprehension!

We started talking about my passion for collegiate, competitive waterskiing, and she developed several interesting ideas about projects relating to the waterski team and my teammates. After I read about this project on Wednesday, I was pretty sure I wanted to do something related to waterskiing, so Beixi and I brainstormed different mediums like a video or a letter as a way of creatively tackling the “ski theme.” However, as the conversation wound to our general thoughts and feelings about our best experiences at the University of Michigan, Beiji sprung on me her BEST IDEA YET.

Her idea about completing a “U of M Bucket List” really excited me. I have been grappling with this being my last year at this amazing University, and I would love to do a project that somehow encapsulates some of the magic of this place. This project would also push me to continue having unique and fun experiences this semester in Ann Arbor.

I think Beixi made the choice to pursue this idea because it arose out of an organic conversation about our four years at Michigan. She was creative enough to make the leap from something I was clearly interested in to an actual project for this class! I could not be more grateful.

After this in-class assignment, I will definitely be more open to sharing my writer’s block with friends, family, and classmates. Other people can bring really unique ideas to the table or at least force me to think outside of the box about my own writing. I also hope to spend more time choosing topics for projects. After doing this assignment, I realized I’ve rushed through the brainstorming process in the past. Thanks Beixi!

-Elizabeth McLaughlin

How I’m currently in the process of not getting sick

On Monday, I woke up with a sore throat. It wasn’t anything crazy, just that awkward lump that you immediately dread because this could be the beginning of something terrible. I dismissed it. I did not have time to get sick.

On Tuesday, I woke up and my throat was slightly worse. I instantly launched into panic mode and started asking everyone I could text/tweet/email/call/Facebook to share their secrets on avoiding sickness. My boyfriend said zinc pills and wearing so much clothing to bed that you “sweat the bad stuff out.” Another friend swore by EmergenC and tea. Some rando in a class told me to just chug water. My roommate said DayQuil was the only thing that would get me through the day. My mom recommended lots of orange juice and vegetables… but then again I feel like that’s her solution to most things.

I decided to do it all. I spent the rest of Tuesday taking DayQuil every four hours and drinking cups of EmergenC every six. It tasted horrific. When I wasn’t drinking the damn EmergenC crap, I drank water through a straw so I didn’t notice how much I’m ingesting. I made a smoothie in the evening and loaded it with spinach. My boyfriend called to ask why I didn’t buy zinc pills.

Today, I woke up and my throat didn’t feel any better. I cancelled my work shift and intramural game. I refused to succumb to sickness so I decided to rest. I continued with my regime of DayQuil, EmergenC, tea, water, orange juice, and vegetables. I go to the bathroom at least once every hour. I haven’t left this spot on my couch since 4 p.m, except to pee and eat vegetables and make more tea.

I guess I’m currently still in the process of not getting sick. I’m becoming so desperate, that I’m considering sleeping in my winter coat to “sweat the bad stuff out.” If this sore throat continues, I might even by zinc pills. But I can tell you the one thing I won’t do.

Call UHS.

Things you didn’t know about March Madness

I found this video on the Wall Street Journal website (http://live.wsj.com/video/five-things-ncaa-basketball-wont-tell-you/8ADB0160-E713-4E2C-96DE-18E38F79FDDB.html#!8ADB0160-E713-4E2C-96DE-18E38F79FDDB) about less commonly known March Madness facts. Some of them really shocked me! Millions of dollars are made in revenue from the tournament, but very few schools every see that revenue. One hundred and thirty four million dollars in worker productivity was lost in the first two days of the tournament alone. Also, players are essentially keeping up with a full time job (39+ hours on the court!), despite NCAA regulations. Because of this, six teams last year only graduated half of their athletes, a large proportion of those being African American players.

I love following the tournament. Brackets provide  fun competition between coworkers and friends. There are always thrilling upsets and close games. But is the cost too much? NCAA basketball is looking more and more like the NBA. If the majority of players aren’t going to end up in the pros, what does this mean for them? What’s your opinion?

(But of course, I can’t talk about March Madness without a “go blue!” Like some of you, I’ll definitely be watching on Friday.)