Looking Back on Creating a Podcast

Leading up to this project, I really had never been a part of a podcast. For the capstone I was drawn to it as this class is perfect for trying new things, so I thought why not a podcast? I had listened to many before, mostly centered around sports, and this medium seemed more informal and genuine to me than writing an essay or creating a video series. However, there were so many things that I did not know and had to learn.

First, I learned that brainstorming and planning is even more important for a podcast than in an essay. In an essay, the headings you brainstorm can almost automatically be filled with material. I have written out topic sentences for each paragraph to lay out a piece and then fill in the body of each thought and offer transitions, and the job is basically complete. However, with a podcast it is completely different. I outlined a list of questions to ask each respondent and planned to follow that script. However, each person offered their own unique narrative as for how they follow sport and how it has effected their own life. I realized quickly that it was incredibly more important to follow the conversation rather than my set of questions. This made my preparation even greater as I tried to prepare for any and every way the conversation could go.

Second, aside from contacting each respondent, planning a time to meet, and conducting the interviews there was so much more this creation process. It took me some time to tinker with and learn about the technology to most successfully record the podcast. It is so much more than pressing play and talking. I wanted my podcast to offer musical transitions and provide smooth alleyways between each interview. This objective had me spending a boatload of time on youtube trying to learn and mimic the ways that others have done this.

Overall, making a podcast was a lot of fun and taught me so many things that I never thought i would know. This was all possible through the minor of writing. While the process seemed laborious at times, it was definitely worthwhile.

How the In-Class Workshop Impacted My Capstone

Leading up to my in-class workshop, I felt like I had worked very hard on my project site and turned over every stone to make sure it was perfect. I am the kind of person that does something until I get it exactly right, or feel like I do. This is how I have approached my project, and even with the minor roadblocks or setbacks, I am very confident and excited about the product that I am putting forward, my podcast and project site.

Thursday was my workshop day. The class and Professor Julie had so many great ideas about how to improve my site. Some included minor adjustments such as adding a “fun fact” section about each of the podcast respondents. Other larger suggestions, offering a much more time consuming process, included creating a tab for each of my secondary research topics. While it took me some time to learn how to do this and complete it, I can already see how my site appears so much less clustered and clearer.

The moral of this blog is two fold. First, this process continued to teach me the positive effect new eyes and my classmates can have on my work. Their suggestions really made my work even stronger. This will challenge me to think even more critically about their projects to hopefully have a similar impact on their capstones. Second, while it originally was a bit hard to take criticism on something that I had worked so hard on and spent so much time with, it was these critiques that have continued to escalate my project to new heights and it is all because of my classmates and our professor during my workshop.

What to do about Writing Problems?

In a way I have never done before, Professor Babcock encourages us to examine and challenge our own writing problems. Before this class, when I came across an issue, or writing problem, I would often try to distance myself from it, almost running from them. Last semester in my sociology of sport course, I was responsible for writing two large essays. The topics were broad, resulting in students developing unique arguments. I remember numerous times running into writing problems such as running out of relevant sources to address from the lectures or readings. Another time in discussion, I found out that another student was writing about a topic very similar to mine. My response in both scenarios was to scrap all of my hard work and start over. I ran away.

However, Professor Babcock has challenged me to attack each problem head on. In re-examining my experiences from last semester, I now see possible solutions. First, I should have researched on my own, finding other relevant sources that could have even challenged my professors point of view.

Secondly. I should have seen the other student writing about a topic similar to mine as a challenge. I could have examined, “How can I make my essay unique? Are there any other viewpoints or avenues the professor hasn’t examined that could contribute to my overall topic?

In regards to my capstone, I was struggling to determine possible sources that I could not only use in my annotated bibliography, but would also positively combine with my interviews. I had thought that my interviews were the only way to “research” this topic, as I did not find any other related studies.

However, my in-class group meetings and consultant, Professor Hetzel, challenged me to think differently and attack the “issue” instead of divert from it.

From my group discussions, I was made aware of mirror neurons. This neuron “mirrors” the behavior of another, as though the observer were itself acting (Scientific American). Whether or not I will use this in my final project, I will research this scientific aspect and view it in relation with my interviews.

In addition, Professor Hetzel challenged me to examine sources relating to sport psychology. Upon initial research and review, I found the points about sport as a communal unifier intriguing. I will continue to research in this regard and prod the respondents to see if they feel this way about their community supporting their favorite team.

Overall, through attacking my writing “problems,” with the help of my group and consultant, my project has gained new roads, ones that I will continue to travel down throughout the capstone.

My Capstone: The Open Ended Conundrum – Challenge Journal #2

I like direction. Well, I am most comfortable when I know which direction I am headed towards. I write essays and complete projects in this frame of mind, tracking my steps and pacing my way to the finish. I feel comfortable.

The capstone project has challenged me to create my own purpose. For the first time, I am not asked to follow traditional rubric oriented academic procedures. I have been trying to brainstorm ideas for the past week, however, I always refer back to a great worry. I ask myself, “What if I pick a topic that I end up not enjoying to research? This will make my semester much less enjoyable.” I was afraid to pick a topic that I could grow disinterested with – until I heard P Carl and Claudia Rankine speak.

Carl and Rankine addressed transforming Rankine’s book “Citizen” into a theatrical performance. I expected a discussion about the difficulty of bringing words to life. However, the conversation shifted to address Rankine’s process, similar to my capstone brainstorming sessions.

Rankine specifically spoke about how some of her best ideas occurred when she was writing to some other end, completely shifting her ideas in an instant. In fact, this sequence was so common that her original intention of bringing “Citizen” to life completely shifted to developing a completely separate theatrical performance.

Upon hearing how such an established and seasoned author/playwright goes through this process, I immediately became less worried about this happening to me. I examined the worst-case scenario being shifting my project to some other topic that I could be even more excited about.

I very much appreciate P Carl and Claudia Rankine visiting the University of Michigan. While I went in to the discussion thinking that I would take away ideas about expressing individualism and the importance of collective communities, I took away a very needed assertion: To not be afraid to shift directions in my own work.

Now, I am even more excited to begin my capstone project. The open-ended nature doesn’t intimidate me. I will take the weekend to continue to brainstorm potential ideas. When this list is compiled, I will move ahead with the option I am most excited about. I will also hold on to my brainstorming list in case I would like to add to or completely shift from my original idea. I thank P Carl and Claudia Rankine for showing me that this is not only okay, but beneficial.


What I Learned in English 125: My Writing Process

In anything I do, I generally follow two main tendencies: being my harshest critic and avoiding unnecessary pressure.

My writing ritual reflects these objectives, only additionally requiring a quiet space and a large block of time.

Prior to college, I would start the writing process early, about a week before the due date. I would write a “stream of consciousness” type of a piece to get all of my thoughts out on paper. Next, I would take a couple of days to distance myself from the text. This made the editing process easier as I was less attached to the piece.

After following the sequence of printing…editing on paper… printing… editing on paper…etc. I usually ended up with my final piece.

I remember my English 125 teacher, Carol Tell, often critiquing, “Why did you bring this [very good point] up so late? The answer to her question would inevitably, and politely, be, “Well, I didn’t think of it earlier.” This transaction of comments surfaced throughout my first two papers of the semester.

She encouraged me bring these insights up earlier, even in the introduction, and to focus on them more in-depth throughout the piece. She was right, even through the constant editing, my final papers reflected the stream of consciousness pattern that I would write in.

I needed to brainstorm and outline before writing. These aspects are just as important as writing the piece.

Today, it is very important for me to know what I am going to write about before beginning to type. This ensures that I have more keenly examined as many aspects of the topic as possible and have selected the best, and most supportive, sources to add to my insights.

How has this impacted my writing process? Well, as you can imagine, I begin even earlier. I locate not one, but two, large time blocks: one for brainstorming and outlining, the other for writing. While I do not always write out a distinct set of points or topic sentences during my long brainstorming and outlining sessions, I walk away with two main ideas. First, I am actually excited to write the paper in a way that I was never prior to this process. The wheels are turning and I feel as if I am bursting with ideas. Second, I actually know where I am going with the piece, making the writing easier and more to the point. This adds more meaning to my papers and makes them have greater insights.

E-Portfolio Introduction

Coming in with an unlisted height, fifteen pounds, from the Internet… My E-PORTFOLIO!!

All jokes aside, after spending much of the semester working on the site itself, as well as the projects that it showcases, I am very excited to share my E-Portfolio with everyone in the MIW community. I chose for the E-Portfolio to be a formal setting, allowing potential employers and even professors to get to know me, through the about me tab, and also see the work that I completed in the minor in writing.

For those of you who aren’t as familiar with my work, I chose to use project II and III to see the motivations behind why other people wrote and created. It was very interesting to see the similarities and differences between creating essays, music, and even posting on social media.

If you are interested in viewing the specifics please check out the E-Portfolio. I have listed the link below.


Thanks to everyone who had a role in this E-Portfolio, from the people I interviewed to my class, who helped me workshop the site. I hope you all enjoy it!

What I have learned, Advice to future students

It is hard to believe that my first semester in the minor is almost over. I have learned many different things about writing and myself throughout the gateway course… (Some suggestions to future minors)

  1. Come in with a goal. My goal was to develop my writing voice and I have spent this whole semester working on this goal. i had to learn to be willing to make mistakes and go over each of my essays numerous times in order to get the best results.
  2. Make several appointments to meet with the professor. This was one of my favorite parts of the course. While the class is great for having the ability to allow others to look at your work, through workshops, there isn’t a great amount of time for you and the professor to spend working specifically your writing process. I know that these added another element to this minor for me and I simply enjoyed the writing and non-writing material that we discussed in these meetings.
  3. Go Out on a Limb Sometimes. While I wouldn’t always suggest on doing something different, I think that these blog posts are a great opportunity to write about different topics and be yourself. This is a great outlet in what can be the monotony of regular classes so I challenge future minors to try to do this.

And finally, congrats on choosing the minor!

Finishing Up My Project III

For my project III I decided to create a podcast of the interviews that I held with the prompt of asking others about their experience in the creation of essay writing, music, and social media. I talked to experts in these fields to see if there was a difference in the motives of creating these media platforms.

After preparing and completing the interviews, I researched numerous podcasts on NPR, including the “TED Radio Hour” and the “NPR politics podcast”as well as others, which allowed me to see how they use music as an introduction and transitions between speakers among numerous other tactics in podcasts. These really helped me in putting together the interviews that I did into one formal podcast.

Currently, I am in the very final stages of my podcast as I am just putting some last technical pieces together. These include fading the introductory music in and out, as well as the overall presentation of the site on wix.

I am looking forward to sharing this with the class and seeing if other people relate to the emotion in completing their essays, music, and social media, as the people I interviewed confirmed.

Time: Tick Tock

I don’t have too many pet peeves, but the ones that I do have, I take very seriously.
First, please meet me at the time that we have previously agreed on. When I agree to meet at a certain time, at a particular place, I expect myself and the other person to arrive on time. The worst feeling is worrying that you are in the wrong place, or arrived at the wrong time, when the blame is in the other person’s hands.
In addition, I don’t respect when I am at a meal with another person and they are consumed with their phone the entire time. Again, the same theme of wasting time remains. Whenever this occurs, I always think, “Am I wasting my time.”

I am.


This is a product of our generation of constant stimulation, in which people don’t want to miss out on anything that is happening in the world when it is happening. Well, they are ending up missing out on the human interaction that comes with eating a meal together. Thus, time is the one constant that I do not like to waste.

After all, all of our time is limited.

Me as an Animal

What Animal am I? Well, I have never really thought of this before, but upon being asked to recollect on this, I immediately thought of my dog. My dog and I have spent countless evenings on the couch watching all types of sports together. Each of us lying down with our heads on a pillow, yes my dog does enjoy sprawling out on a pillow, with our feet up. Two best friends.
About my dog, she is an eleven year old- tri colored bassett hound (pictured below) who really can spend entire days watching the birds outside and greeting people as they walk in the house, but most of the time sleeping. She also enjoys walking around, especially in the snow, outside.
Besides from the constant laziness, I would say we are pretty similar. I wouldn’t mind the life she has.
So that makes me a bassett hound. I am happy about that. Especially, if I was one, I would be honored to turn out like her and have the impact on other people that she has had on me. She always makes me happy when I see her and I am excited to return home so we can pick up on out sport watching together.

(Emmy in her natural habitat)

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