Revisions

I just realized that I missed the post about revisions for a few weeks back.  I figured any time is a good time to talk about revisions, though, so I figured I’d just post it now anyway.  To be honest, I used to hate having to make revisions.  I think I was pretty stubborn about my writing, so I was unwilling to make changes to what I thought was my best work.  College writing classes really changed the way I think about revisions, and I’m truly lucky for it.  During my first year writing requirement we did a lot of peer workshops.  At first, I was reluctant to take advice on how to change my work, but as the year went on, I became more comfortable talking it out with my peers and taking suggestion.  I realized that revisions are not just important, but they are vital to the writing process.  No piece is going to be perfect the first time, and it more than likely won’t be perfect the second or third time either.  It is always helpful to go back and revise or edit.  It can only help and will most definitely lead to a superior paper.

#GenreChallenge 2

One of the summer internships I recently applied for asked me to write a personal statement to accompany my resume, so I decided to do another Genre Challenge and earn some gameified , like I did for my resume.

After some research, one of the first things I realized is that the personal statement can be the critical factor in distinguishing you from the other applicants.  It is for this reason that the statement should attempt to entertain and entice the reader, rather than bore him/her.   Structure and writing style is also very important.  Just because the statement is meant to be “personal” does not mean that all formal writing conventions should be left by the wayside.  The personal statement falls under the category of professional writing; therefore, conciseness and preciseness are of the utmost importance.  Although certain experiences you choose to share may be complex, they must be presented clearly and effectively.  While the grades and test scores will highlight intellectualism, the personal statement will underscore one’s ability to communicate.

In order to begin the writing process for a personal statement, the statement instructions must first be carefully read and understood.  Different companies may call for different types of statements, which is why one cannot just reproduce the same one and send it out to multiple employers.  When getting started, it is helps to gather information about yourself in the form of past experiences, activities, personal challenges, and unique talents.  It is then easier to recall more specifics from this broad list of occurrences and capabilities.  When researching the resume, an important theme was showing the company how you would be able to benefit them.  The same goes for the personal statement, as most employers  are interested in what unique qualities applicants will be able to contribute.  The personal statement is the opportunity to showcase deeper qualities than those on the resume.

An extremely important aspect of the personal statement is to keep the focus on you.  The personal statement is all about you.  While there may have been people or experiences that have been influential in your life, it is vital that the focus is kept on you and not on that special person or experience.  An admissions board is not going to care about the accomplishment of someone else in your life, unless you focus on how that accomplishment influenced and affected you.  Most importantly, be truthful.  Readers can tell when someone is not being genuine, or simply exaggerating the truth.

As with any piece of writing, proofreading is always important and writing several drafts can always help.  Just like any other piece of professional writing, the personal statement should be A+ work.  One strategy I read about was writing a first draft, then waiting to review it until a little time has passed so that you essentially have a fresh pair of eyes.  It also helps to have the statement reviewed by as many people as possible, including friends, family members, and letter of recommendation writers.  Either way, it is essential that the statement be free of grammar, syntax, and spelling errors.  While the statement may be personal, the tone and structure must remain professional.

History Paper Struggles

So I’m in the midst of writing my final paper for my History 202 class.  To give you a little background on the class, its called “Doing History” and it is required for all History Majors.  First of all, I don’t even know why I’m a history major, it just sort of happened.  Secondly, this class has probably been the busiest  I’ve taken at Michigan.  Its not that the content doesn’t interest me, in fact, that is the best part about it.  Its just that there is way too much work required for a 200 level course.  While the blogging for this class is all about reflection, the blogging for that class pretty much consists of writing mini-essays every night.  Nonetheless, I am now tasked with writing an 8-page paper on the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and how President George H.W. Bush managed to keep the U.S.-China diplomatic relationship strong despite strong opposition from Congress.  I’ve been searching through old primary documents for hours and to be honest, I’m sick of it.  My rough draft is due tomorrow, and I’ve already written five pages.  The biggest issue I’m having is that I think my thesis may be too broad for what the prompt is asking for.  I know no one reading this can actually help me with that, but I’ve been crammed in this 3rd floor stack for hours and I just needed to vent about this somehow without annoying everyone else crammed in the stacks next to me.  I’m probably going to submit what I have pretty soon so that I can get feedback as soon as possible.  Hopefully my professor is happy with what I have and tells me to just keep going.  If not, I’m not really sure what I’m gonna do but I don’t know how much longer I can stare at the same paper.

More Eportfolio Thoughts

Unfortunately I unable to make it to the showcase today, so I didn’t get a chance to present my portfolio or see anyone else’s presentations; however, I’ve been clicking through a bunch of the portfolios and it got me thinking about the whole process again.  First off, I just wanna say that some of these portfolios really blew me away.  In the beginning of the year, in my Why I Write essay, I wrote about how I thought it was interesting that a group of students can be given the same prompt and they will all write something different.  I always knew that everyone’s eportfolios were going to be different because this is much more of an open-ended assignment, and each student obviously chose to express himself or herself in a uniquely creative way.  I knew all that going into it, but I’m still taken back with how different each portfolio is.  Each one is really unique in its own way.

I ‘ve said it a bunch of times before but I had never done anything like an eportfolio before this class.  It was brand new to me, and I was very nervous as to what my final result was going to look like.  In the end, I am really happy with what I was able to accomplish with such little experience.  After looking at some other blogs, however, it makes me want to make certain changes and improvements, maybe add some different types of media or technology.  I know its only natural to want to make my work better after seeing some of the awesome things other students did, so its not something I’m upset about.  It actually makes me excited to go back and tweak things and for the Capstone portfolio.  Like the prompt for this portfolio said, this time around it was basically a rough draft.  I am definitely pleased with what my portfolio looks like, but it is definitely still a rough draft and I look forward to polishing it over time.

Eportfolio Final Reflection

The whole process of creating this eportfolio throughout the semester has been a very long and arduous process, but ultimately an educational and satisfying one as well.  When we were first given this assignment at the beginning of the semester, I was reluctant to begin working on it because I had never done something like this before and I am far from tech savvy.  I thought the idea of creating my very own website was a daunting task.  What I came to realize, however, was that creating my very own website would actually be a fun, interactive, and ultimately fulfilling endeavor

At the beginning, I definitely struggled with formulating and organizing my portfolio.  In fact, after a few weeks of unsuccessfully working with WordPress, I decided to switch to Wix and start from scratch.  I liked working with Wix much more than I did with WordPress, but I still had trouble turning my page into what I had envisioned for my eportfolio.  I think meeting with my peers, seeing the progress they had been making on their own pages, and swapping strategies and ideas really helped me to develop my page and fine tune it to my final result.  I am really happy with my final product.  I honestly did not realize, until now, how satisfying it is to create something like that your own that so many people are going to see.  Yes, that same fact is also a little nerve-racking, but I am proud of my portfolio, and proud of all the work I posted.  I am looking forward to hearing any and all feedback.

Blogging Persona

At the very beginning of the semester, I was brand new to blogging.  It was something I had never done before, and I was admittedly skeptical about whether or not I would enjoy it.  I have said earlier that I am much more used to doing formal writing, so at first, I was unsure what sort of writing style to use in my blogs.  I didn’t know how personal I should be or how structured my blogs had to be.  As I continued to post, however, things became much easier and I began to feel much more comfortable sharing with my peers.  That whole idea of directly sharing with so many other students was also very new to me, and I didn’t know what to think about it at the beginning.  This was the first time I that I knew when I clicked “Publish” my writing would be on display for so many others to see.  This definitely made me nervous and even more unsure of what kind of writing my blogs should consist of.

I think it really helped me to read other students’ blogs, as well as their comments on my own blogs.  It helped me realize that the whole blogging world, at least as far as I’m concerned, is all about communication.  I saw how other students loved to share what they were going through on a certain subject, even if they were struggling.  This notion really hit home when I read some comments from students offering me suggestions for my own issues.  Now, I see blogging not as a tedious task, but as something that could be very helpful and even sometimes therapeutic.  For some reason, I find it much easier to write about what I’m struggling with than to talk about it.  This blog gives me the perfect forum to do so, and even provides me with potential aid in the form of my fellow students

#techchallenge

I somehow missed the first challenge, so in this blog I’m going to talk about a few of the new technologies I used in order to complete my ReMediation project.

The first new technology I used for my project was Prezi.  Originally, I had planned to use PowerPoint to create a presentation for a guerilla marketing plan for my fictitious waffle house business; however, I had used PowerPoint countless times before, and I wanted to try something new and more challenging.  I had seen a few Prezi presentations before and I really liked the smooth, fluid transitions.  It was definitely something different when comparing it to all the PowerPoint presentations I had created and seen.  The only issue was that I had no idea how to use Prezi and put my vision on the screen.  At first, I decided to go it on my own.  I chose a rather appealing template and began adding my information.  The template was definitely nice, but it just wasn’t what I had envisioned for my ideal marketing plan presentation.  Luckily, Lynda.com was filled with a bunch of easy to follow videos ranging from how to get your Prezi started to how to customize it and make it your own.  That, coupled with the workshops we did in class, helped me to figure out Prezi and become more comfortable operating it.  As I kept working, I became more and more familiar with the ins and outs of my presentation.  I was able to create my own frames, make smooth transitions, and inset media into my presentation.  All in all, I am really happy with the way my project came out, and I think I definitely made the right decision to switch from PowerPoint to Prezi early on.  I will definitely use Prezi in the future when I need to present something.

Another form of technology I used for the first time for this project was the ScreenCast-O-Matic software Naomi used to record our meetings about our Re-Mediation.  I was unsure if I was even going to present my marketing plan, in part because I didn’t know how I was going to record it; however, Naomi suggested ScreenCast-O-Matic, ensuring me that it was easy to use.  She was right!  Besides the fact that I hate hearing my own voice, the whole process was extremely easy.  All I had to do was make the recording box wide enough to fit my whole presentation, press record, and pause it when I was finished.  Then, I just saved it as a video file and it was ready to be submitted.  I had to print out a transcript so that I could read along as I clicked through my Prezi, but luckily I didn’t have to memorize anything which made the process much easier.

Finally, I also used Photoshop to create a logo and T-shirt for my fake waffle house.  I have played around with Photoshop before, but I ‘m not that familiar with it.  I’m a little embarrassed at how long it took me to make something so simple.  My brother is a graphic design major and Queens College back in New York.  When I told him how I ended up with my final result, he explained to me how I could’ve done the same thing in a matter of two minutes.  Either way, my logo and T-shirt came out the way I wanted them too and I was still able to learn a little bit about Photoshop.

EPortfolio Progress

I had originally chosen Weebly as the platform for my EPortfolio.  I made this decision because I had never created my own website before, and after experimenting with several options, I found that Weebly was the simplest, most easy to use option, at least for me.  I wanted my site to have a simplistic, minimalist look and be very easy for users to navigate.  I had seen sites filled with many different colors, which definitely caught my attention; however, I feel as though users could be just as drawn to a page using less powerful colors like blacks, whites, and grays.  I also think that this could oftentimes be less distracting and more appealing as compared to an extremely colorful page that could be overwhelming and even sometimes perplexing.

I had gathered most of the artifacts I wanted to post on my portfolio and was doing my best to organize them in the way the I had envisioned, but truthfully I wasn’t in love the options Weebly was giving me.  I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to change my platform entirely or just do my best to work with what Weebly was giving me to create a site I was happy with.  I didn’t hear about Wix until a few weeks ago and obviously I didn’t know much about it.  The funniest part about making my decision to switch over to Wix was that I actually saw a commercial on TV about it.  The advertisement was all about businesses being able to create their own websites and personalize it to fit their company’s needs.  I’ll admit, it wasn’t the commercial itself that convinced me to start building my portfolio with Wix, but it definitely intrigued me enough to start playing around with the site, and I eventually realized that definitely preferred Wix over Weebly.

At first, I really liked the different templates Wix had to offer.  They broke them down into different categories such as photography portfolios, architecture portfolios, writing portfolios, etc.  The great part about this is that you don’t have to select a template based on the artifacts that you post on your page.  Instead, you can edit these different templates and add your own artifacts.  The template decision is mainly based on the look you want for your page.

I am still in the process of adding my artifacts and organizing my site but the general idea is to separate my pages into five different sections: Home, About Me, Freshman Year, Sophomore Year, and Junior Year.  Each of these pages can be accessed through a bar on the top of the page.  Lists of my pieces of writing also drop down when hovering over these different page titles on the top bar.  While this is a very simple way for users to access my writing, they could also be accessed through pictures on each of the main pages.  Each picture is in some way related to the piece of writing it corresponds to.  I feel like these pictures give users an extra incentive to read my writing.  Once users click on these pictures or on the titles in the top bar, they can read my writing in the form of a page by page slideshow.  I thought this was a great way to add a different type of media or web writing.  I think its also a clean way to display my writing, giving users an easy way to navigate from page to page.

There is still much work that needs to be done on my portfolio before I my portfolio is complete but it is definitely on the right track.  I am really happy with the decision to change my platform from Weebly to Wix.  I think it was the right decision, and I think I am definitely going to be more happy with my final portfolio as a result