Help: Evolution Essay Rewrites

Has anyone worked on their Evolution Essays? I basically have a mini-heart attack every time I think about this class and everything I have to get done for it. I’m wondering if other people are in the same boat/if I’m behind in this aspect. I’m not even sure how I should go back into my essay and work on it to make it better!

Would people be willing to review my essay in the google doc? (easy assignment pool points!)

Also I’d love it if more people put theirs in the google doc for review, that way I can see what other people’s look like/get ideas from them on how I can better my own. (also I can get points for the assignment pool!)

In Search Of People Willing to Share

Hello all!

For part of my final project I am hoping to photograph people in normal settings and share some information about their mental health or thoughts/experiences on mental illness. I am not confined to only photographing people who experience mental illness–the whole idea of my project is to change the idea that mental health is just for those with mental illness.

I’d really like to share the stories of students at Michigan! I want to photograph people in normal student situations and in the text share their connection to mental health or a quote they’ve shared about it.

Would any of you be willing or would you know anyone who would be? (ps thanks Jamie for already helping me out in this way!)

I Would Love Some Thoughts

Hellooo fellow capstoners. In the process of working on my project, I have found that our class discussions in small groups have been the most effective in helping me move forward and make progress in my ideas. So I’d like to continue that to the blog and see if I can get more thoughts from those I have worked with as well as new thoughts from people who haven’t heard my idea. So here it is:

My overall topic is mental health/illness and the stigma on campus at the University of Michigan. In order to do so, I’d like to understand further the line between talking about mental health with positive affects and talking about mental health in a manner that reinforces negative stereotypes.

I plan combine knowledge from research study research done at other campuses with my experiences at Michigan to create a comprehensive survey for University of Michigan students, portraying their overall experiences with mental illness, mental health stigma, and the University’s existing mental health initiatives.

I will then use this research and new knowledge to inform my creation of a mental health campaign, aimed to destigmatize mental health. My current ideas for this right now is somewhat of a photo essay, which would be used to share on social media to reach students. Or I could create a video (not sure of my capabilities for this). But overall, I think that doing something personal, that shows everyone what it looks like to be involved in mental health (whether that means experiences with mental illness or not) and that those people look just like everyone else.

Any thoughts/ideas/comments are appreciated!!!

Also a specific question: does anyone have ideas of how to get this survey out to more of the University of Michigan community than just my friends on Facebook, etc. I’d love to get a diverse participant base and people who don’t know me.

Writing Your Way to Happiness

I came across this article, Writing Your Way to Happiness from the New York Times and was intrigued by the title. The article discusses multiple studies done showing that expressive writing essentially does wonders for your mood. Most situations were getting out what you were thinking or feeling on paper and experiencing someone else wanting to hear what you have to say. However, one described “rewriting” your narrative and changing how things have gone/will go in the future. This I haven’t tried, but many students did better in school after writing about improving their future. Maybe I will give it a try.

I have always been a very expressive writer, which is a struggle I have in the writing minor or other classes when I try to make things less expressive. I’m wondering if everyone else feels like writing is or can be an expressive, mood-lifting experience or because we are MiW’s it has just become work and something we’re kinda good at.

Cue Putting My Psyche on the Writing in Minor Blog

In my first attempt at conquering the abyss that is this capstone course and specifically this project, I thought of what I want to do after graduation. I’ve always had my mind geared toward this topic in a I-need-a-job-or-I-have-no-place-to-live kind of way. But now, in my final semester, I’m starting to look back at the changes I went through in these past years and wonder, “what came of that?” Do I now know more of myself than I did before? Certainly. Do I now know more of what I want to do with my life and my career? Eh, debatable.

However, very recently, I have felt that I may want to work in mental health advocacy. I have suffered with depression and anxiety, giving mental health a personal value. In my experiences, I originally did not think of mental health as something real because I did not think it affected me. When it did affect me, I felt it was something only I dealt with. Through my time at Michigan I realized there was value in mental health and have come to the belief that mental health is important for everyone, not just people who have been diagnosed with mental illness.

Ok… now what? I have this personal experience and I have my opinion. But as my dear friend John Rubadeau would say most opinions stink (sans his usual vulgarity). But my opinion does not make a great project. So what does?

Something I’ve considered is the stigmatism of mental health and where that comes from. While there are many people of my parents’ generation in the mental health field there are also many people like my parents who adhere to the “suck it up” field of thought. Or in my father’s words “all that stuff is bullshit.”

*This Comedy Central skit is how I see these people*

Also, the images that are associated with mental illnesses or disorders is a compelling area. Freshman orientation, we were so lucky to watch a play put on about the many troubles that freshman endure. In this play, a girl with depression was shown to have made no friends and walked around hunched over with a black cape over her head. I cried silently in the crowd thinking that would be me. The commercials for depression medications show people with depression as stiff wind up dolls or stormy, hunched over grey people. I’d like to consider what the real image of these mental illnesses. What does mental illness look like in reality?

Where and how did mental health get seen as weakness or falsified? Who and what is going to change these stigmatizations?

Comparing Classes

Right now I’m in the process of writing a 15 page paper on a topic that I have no understanding of and now will never receive that understanding. I’m super happy I took this 18th century literature class. While it is a requirement for my English major, I hold the opinion that required classes should therefore be the best classes, as everyone has to take them.

While taking this class and writing this dreadful paper, I have begun to appreciate my other classes much more. Especially my writing minor. If you see a girl mercilessly yammering on to some freshman or other easily influenced person about the minor, that’ll be me. It just can’t get much better than writing all the time and writing about things that you care about.

So go writing minors, am I right? Okay I guess I can get back to my paper now…

Reflection on Why I Write

Although I did not have time to revise my Why I Write essay (finals, am I right?) I did get a chance to look at it again when creating my portfolio. When looking at my writing in a compiled form, I noticed a stark difference between my writing at the beginning of the semester and now.

Firstly, although I thought I knew why I write at the beginning of the semester (personal expression) I hadn’t even tapped into my true interests yet. Through this class as well as my Art of the Essay class I’ve learned a great deal about considering your audience when writing. I had never had reason to think about my audience before, as I was writing in a journal or for a teacher who knew everything already. However, when I began writing for blog posts that my peers would read or with the mentality of a magazine editor I started to consider the other people in this community that I’m interacting with. I’d been ignoring the other side of the page and simply thinking about myself. (I’m a little disappointed in my selfishness, but I’ve grown now so it’s okay)

While I still explore myself through my writing, one of my main considerations is the larger theme and how my writing can be applied to other people. It’s simply just not that interesting if it can’t speak to a larger question. I’d love to go back and rewrite my Why I Write essay to explore how I write to connect with others and learn about others as I learn about myself. Maybe I will one day.

Here It Is! My E-portfolio

Check out my website: The Maine Attraction

The process of creating an entire website on your own takes a lot of intensive time (clicking, dragging, throwing your computer out the window,etc.) However, the process of creating a website that is just about you and your work is just scary. The only material I have to work off of is my own.

That being said, when the product is finally done you have an entire website showcasing your best work. Although my website might not be the most tech savvy (I did find some cool tech tips) I’m very proud of the piece that I have created.

I wanted my portfolio to be about myself as a potential employee or as a professional. I decided to focus on how my pieces could connect in a way to show the variety in my writing and how I could use that to write in a professional sense. I think through my simplistic style and chosen artifacts I achieved this.

I struggled a lot with what I wanted my portfolio to say at first and I didn’t truly figure it out until I started playing with the template of the site, surprisingly. I started with something simple and somewhat childish. Once I began seeing the places my portfolio could go, I got inspired to make it something that I would really use and be proud of.

Overall, I had a great time creating this piece and felt like it allowed me to go back and analyze my work and how I have grown as a writer this semester.

Blogger Style

I think that I’ve learned a lot about blogging this semester from having to do it nearly every week. I definitely still have a lot of work to do in my perspective of blogging, as most the time I forget that there is an audience out there reading my posts and it’s not just a personal diary.

I have however become more comfortable with blogging about a variety of topics. In the past, I had only blogged on things specific to me and what was on my mind. However, through this class I gained experience in blogging on subjects that connected to other people. I learned how to think about what the other bloggers in my community would be saying on the subject and how we can engage together.

Generally, I used to write my blog as if I was just talking to myself. And while I still do struggle with getting out of my off-hand, simple tone, I do spend much more time thinking about what I’m writing, how I’m writing it and the people that will be reading it.

Re-re-re-revise

This semester I have learned an incredible amount on revisions. I am also enrolled in English 325, Art of the Essay in which we spend a lot of time workshopping and making revision suggestions for each other and ourselves. I’ve always viewed the revision process as a time to make the grammatical changes and suggestions from my teacher in my paper and leave it at that. I was very wrong.

One of the most important things that I have learned in my revision process is focusing in on the theme and even changing it. I wrote a paper for my 325 class about my physical ailment of a lazy eye and wearing glasses. The first draft I explored different ideas of lazy eyes. In my second draft I changed my idea entirely to circling the idea of glasses in society. I used my personal experiences as well as pop culture to explain how different people see glasses.

My revision process created nearly an entirely new paper that I was so proud of. It takes a really long time to get your thoughts organized and drafts are ways that you get closer and closer to a narrowed idea. I also spent a lot of time scratching outlines throughout my writing.

I’ve learned the revision process is incredibly important.