#Pivot Essay

As I mentioned in my last post, it is very hard for me to process the fact that this semester is coming to an end.  Upon entering the University of Michigan, I remember countless people telling me how fast the four years would go and how quickly this time will fly by.  At the time, this did not fully register with me.  Senior year, graduation, and real life all seemed like a very distant and intangible future when I was a freshman moving into Mary Markley Hall.  But here I am, writing this post on my last day of classes as an undergraduate college student.  I truly never thought this day would come, but since it has, I would like to use this #pivot essay as an opportunity to reflect on my time here.

When I was accepted to the Sweetland Minor in Writing program, I had no idea that it would end up becoming such an influential part of my college career.  I have always loved to write.  Even in elementary school, writing was always my favorite subject.  But when I began the Sweetland Minor in Writing program, I never imagined that I would be exposed to such a wide variety of different types of writing and different types of people.

My favorite aspect of the Sweetland Minor in Writing Program is the class time.  The fact that this is my favorite aspect is certainly strange, considering it is definitely my least favorite aspect in all of my other classes.  Throughout middle school and high school, English was always my favorite class. There is just something about English classes that is different than all of the other ones.  All of my English classes throughout my academic career have been small classes that tend to engage in deep and meaningful life discussions.  When I think back to them, I think of them almost as a community or family, and have fond memories of our class discussions and the lessons I learned.  Coming to a huge school like The University of Michigan, I was very worried that I would never experience this small and tight-knit community feel in a class again since there would be so many people.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first English course, English 125.  While the rest of my classes were large lectures where the professor had no idea who I was and none of the students spoke during class time, my English class had the same small classroom and tight-knit feel with a professor who led us in engaging discussions during each class. This trend continued with each of my English and Writing classes to follow. While I found myself continuously dreading sitting through each of my other classes, I looked forward to attending my writing and English classes.  Especially in our Capstone course this semester, I found myself fascinated with the class discussions, and excited to peer review and discuss other classmates’ work and ideas.  We had such a diverse group of people in our class, and I really learned so much from each and every one of them.

In addition to my enjoyment of class time throughout the minor, I am also pleased with how much I have grown as a writer.  Writing the Evolution Essay for the capstone course forced me to think long and hard about why I write, how I write, and how my writing has changed.  This is something I honestly have never really thought seriously about until this year.  Performing a critical analysis on all of the writing that I have done since freshman year was both difficult and enlightening.  It was surprising to see what aspects of my writing had changed drastically and what aspects hadn’t changed at all.  This process really helped me to identify how much my writing had grown and evolved over these past four years, but also what I still need to focus on and work on as I move forward.  I also was excited to use these findings and apply them in my final Capstone project.  It was extremely fulfilling for me to find a way to use the Capstone to show how much my writing had evolved, and how I have become capable of writing in so many different formats and genres.

The Sweetland Minor in Writing has really shown me that writing is everywhere.  No matter what I end up doing in the future, writing will be a part of it.  As I have been going through the interview process this semester, there has not been one interview where the Minor in Writing has not been brought up.  “Oh wow, you are a minor in writing? That’s fantastic!” is usually somewhere along the lines of how it goes.  It seems that no matter what industry you are in, you need to be able to write.  The Minor in Writing has exposed me to so many different forms of writing, even some that I didn’t know existed.  I know feel equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in business, professional, personal, creative, administrative, and new media writing.  The Minor in Writing, especially the Capstone course, really forced me to break out of my comfort zone and try new writing styles, voices, tones, formats, and mediums.  While it was certainly challenging, I am thankful for it.  Completing the capstone course, portfolio, and project was without a doubt one of the most rewarding experiences I have had throughout my four years at the University.  I am sad that it has to come to an end, but I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful program! I am looking forward to taking the skills I have learned with me on my next step into the real world.

Final Days #RayRay

I truly cannot believe that tomorrow is our last class for the capstone course.  It really seems like just a few days ago that I was meeting Ray on the first day of class as he immediately frightened us all by telling us about our final portfolios and projects.  This semester has really flown by, but I am so happy that I had the opportunity to spend it in Ray’s class. I learned so much from each person every week, and it was so rewarding to be able to finally see everyone’s portfolios last week.  I know how hard everyone has been working, so having the chance to see how the final products have evolved and come together was so exciting.  I am continuously more amazed each day by the high level of talent, passion, and expertise that each person possesses in our class.  It was remarkable to see what a wide range of genres, fields, and mediums our projects covered.  It was also so wonderful to be able to see some of the portfolios from the other class section and to see what great ideas they had come up with as well. While I am very happy to be done with my project, I am certainly going to miss working on it and discussing it in class.

Self Claims and Project Examples

So to be honest, I am really not sure how much sense this will make in terms of correlation…but here’s what I’ve got:

Self Claims:

  • I am like a “mother figure” to everyone that I love
  • I am a friend that you can always count on
  • I am determined to find a way to make a difference
  • I am openly obsessed with food (especially chocolate)
  • I am always looking for more opportunities to laugh

My project will be in the form of a pitch for a new reality TV show about the launch and management of new restaurants.  Specifically, the pilot episode I will pitch will deal with the launch of a new restaurant concept in Detroit.  Here are a few Concrete examples I think will be useful for my project:

  • Business plan for restaurant in Detroit and for Frita Batidos
  • Interviews with chef/owners of restaurant in Detroit and Frita
  • Layout/structural plan of restaurants
  • Menu concept planning from restaurants
  • Episodes of Restaurant Impossible from Food Network
  • Episodes of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives from Food Network
  • List of TV Networks (current shows and genres)
  • Interviews with local Detroit residents
  • Interviews with Detroit area experts/real estate

Project Stress #RayRay

Hi Everyone!

As the due date for our evolution essays quickly approaches (along with spring break), I am beginning to experience some stress thinking about the looming, monstrous project that we will need to complete by April 14th (oy). As Ray so gently reminded us at the end of class on Monday, we will have essentially one month to complete these projects when we return from spring break.

I guess I am just wondering if anyone else is experiencing this same stress, and what your plans to tackle it are.  I plan to start with tackling my production plan layout, as I think this is a good first step towards figuring out what in the world my project will be composed of.  But besides that, I am wondering what your first step will be in starting the project? What will you try to accomplish before we leave for spring break so we all don’t suffer from panic attacks when we return?

That’s all for now!




Reflecting on Maria Cotera #RayRay

It was a wonderful experience to hear Maria Cotera speak this week at Literati book store.  Maria is a professor of American Culture and Women’s studies here at the University of Michigan.  She has had so many interesting experiences and has worked on a variety of different research projects in the women’s studies fields. Specifically, she has focused on Chicana feminism due to her Mother’s work in that area.

The main lesson that I took away from Maria was to write about something that you have a passion for.  Almost all of her work has been in within areas that she is extremely passionate about learning about and sharing with others.  She argued that if you are writing about something that you are passionate about, it doesn’t even feel like work. I also found it very interesting when she said that for her, writing is primarily a communicative device.  She said the majority of writing she does in her life is for the purpose of communicating messages that she finds important and wants to share with others.  This made me really reflect on the reasons why I write and what messages I am most passionate about communicating and sharing with others.

Overall, it was a pleasure to have the chance to listen to Maria speak, and I am so glad I was able to attend!

Tackling the Project Proposal #RayRay

Hey everyone!

So, I have begun the process of tackling my project proposal for this week.  After thinking about it for quite some time, I have decided that I am definitely committed to my project topic.  As Ray continued to ask us whether or not we think we can happily write about our topics for the entire semester, I have thankfully come to the conclusion that I can!

For my project, I have decided to combine two of my original ideas.   I have always loved food.  I absolutely love to cook and I am constantly looking for new recipes and new restaurants to try, so I definitely knew I wanted to somehow include food in my project. I have always dreamed of opening up my own restaurant someday, so this seems like the perfect opportunity for me to learn the process of what it takes to create my own business plan through writing.  In addition, last summer I worked for a talent agent at William Morris Endeavors.  I worked in the non-scripted TV department, and had exposure to many different shows and concepts.  So my idea to combine the two is to develop a pitch for a new reality TV show that is about developing, launching, and managing restaurants.  The show can eventually cover the launch of restaurants nation-wide, but I will write a pitch for the pilot episode about the launch of a new restaurant concept in Detroit, Michigan.  This will allow me to use my experience from WME to write a Television pitch, as well as learn to write a business proposal for the launch of a new restaurant which is something that I am very interested in.

I would like to do research in order to develop a plausible restaurant concept to launch in downtown Detroit.  Over my four years at the University of Michigan, I have become fascinated with the city of Detroit and its current attempt for revitalization.  I believe that a hip and urban restaurant with the correct business plan would do very well in Detroit and help efforts to revitalize the city.  I would like to create a business plan that includes a restaurant concept overview, a market study (including demographics and location analysis), a plan to raise capital, a plan to hire employees, a marketing and promotion strategy, and an operations plan.

In writing my project proposal, I am still struggling with the best angle for me to take on the “justification” section.  I think there are a few different perspectives that could work, but I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts based on my general topic! Thank you and good luck with proposals!



Finally done!

The ePortfolio is finally finished! I have had such a great semester working with all of you, and I truly have learned so much and grown both as a writer and a person.  I think that my ePortfolio ended up coming together pretty nicely, and I hope you all enjoy exploring my work!  I hope everyone has a great break and thank you for a fun semester 🙂

Check out my portfolio here!

How I Write- Reflection on Suzanne Collins Interview

Since I unfortunately was unable to attend the second How I Write event, I instead chose to watch an interview of Suzanne Collins discussing how/why she wrote the Hunger Games Trilogy

I found it very interesting to listen to an interview with Suzanne Collins about how and why she writes.  As a big fan of the Hunger Games trilogy myself, I was very curious as to how she came up with the idea and the characters, and what her plan was for the story when she initially began to write it.

I think the concept of coming up with a completely alternate story-world with such intricate detail and developed characters is completely fascinating and incredible. I have never understood how someone like J.K. Rowling thought up Harry Potter in her head.  The same goes for the Hunger Games.  There are so many different story lines and specific details about how the world works, and that is what makes the trilogy so rich and intriguing.  Collins spoke about how she was initially inspired for the idea of the Hunger Games through her love for Greek Mythology.  She also mentions that she was flipping through some reality television shows and being bombarded with images of young people participating in various competitions doing crazy activities for rewards.  Juxtaposed with this, she was seeing images of the Iraq war on the news.  She says these two things kind of came together in her mind in a very disturbing and chilling way, and this sparked the idea for the Hunger Games.  It is very interesting to see how different aspects and things you are exposed to in your life can come together and create this story.

I was also wondering a lot about what the writing process was like for these books.  Collins speaks about not knowing that the book would become a trilogy when she first wrote it. She focused on the first book only initially and just wrote that as its own story.   However, when it continued to evolve, she realized that the tale was not over and she would need to continue.  She talks about how she did plan out the basic ides for the next books, but she has found that it is not good to over-plan.  Sometimes it is better to just let the story evolve and see where it takes you.  I really like this idea because I am someone who generally tends to over-plan my writing, but I have learned this year that sometimes it is better to just write (like a shitty first draft) and see where it takes you.

Writing and Food

Now that I have finally had a few minutes to sit down and really think about my E-Portfolio, I think I have come up with my theme….Food.  One way or another, everything in my life always seems to come back to food or cooking.  Since my Re-Mediation project has to do with food anyway, it seemed appropriate to continue the theme over into my E-portfolio.

I have always had a passion for food, and I think it is the most natural fit to use as a metaphor for both my life and my writing style.  I had never really considered it before, but writing and cooking are really very similar.  I began to storyboard the basic structure of my website using the process of cooking (and all the preparation that goes into it) as a metaphor for my writing process.  I am very excited to finally be working on the website and getting to explore many different creative ideas.

One challenge I am already encountering, though, is the heavy amount self-reflection that this assignment requires.  This class has really opened me up to self-reflection as a helpful writing technique, but I think I under-estimated how difficult it would be to go back and really self-reflect on every aspect of my writing process and my journey as a writer personally!  Maybe if I just keep blogging something useful will come out of it….

Good luck everyone!