After the thrilling conclusion of my gateway project, I have been thinking about other things that would have been interesting to write about, and what that would have entailed from a writing perspective. I understand that part of the gateway centered around revisiting an old work and work shopping it, but some subjects of interest to me have no old work that I can fall back on for inspiration. I really was hoping to write at some point about my veganism, and how that effects my outlook on life, but I have not done that in the past. It could be an interesting subject to look at for the capstone, but I do not know how that would work in the context of he capstone project. This was an interesting restriction on our subject matter, as the final work I produced was not very similar to the original work at all, so knowing that the basic direction on which we were expected to go was unclear. I would love to write a work in the future about things that are new topics for me, but that did not happen here.
With the conclusion of gateway comes the next step down my path of the writing minor. I will be enrolling in professional writing next semester, which is a class I look forward to especially as someone who plans on going into a career in public policy. This course will hopefully teach me applicable skills to my work, and will help me with my professional writing skills, which are crucial to my career prospects in any field I hope to enter, especially those in the public policy arena. Coincidentally, my major requires two upper level writing courses on policy, so the proposed changes in the minor requirements will not only help me, but will greatly improve my ability to engage with the material I do have to take, as I will not have to bend my own coursework as much to fit arbitrary requirements. This will help me develop my own policy skills, as well as the writing skills needed to do well in my career. Finally, I hope to take capstone next year to complete the requirements of the minor. I am very excited for what this will hold moving forward, and think that I will do well in the rest of the program.
Like everything in my life, I waited till the last minute. One thing I forgot to do in the haze of it all was the course evaluation. I frequently forget to do these, as I feel like response bias leads me to only submit responses if I feel strongly in one way or another about a course. In this course, I unfortunately did not submit one. I appreciated this course on a level that may not have been evident by my work or by my statements everyday in class. Writing 220, and the minor in writing program as a whole, has helped me open up an understanding of myself I did not have before. As a public Policy student, I try to avid the moral hazard that frequently befalls my fellow policy students, which usually centers around talking aggressively and ad nausea about an issue, but failing to have anything come out of the talk. In Writing, we put the rubber to the road to say, and even in situations where the bare minimum comes out of a conversation or debate, a written statement that is usable is a lot more palatable in the long run than a good talk among undergrad students, however helpful it was.
The course was structured well, but there could be a little more in the way of clarity regarding expectations. I understand that writing is not a “gradeable” subject in the way that math or science is, but there is still a 3.3 GPA requirement for this minor, and being zero percent done with the project 2 weeks before it’s due with 7 blog poss left to write is a little nerveracking.
I learned many things when doing this project. About writing, about myself, and about what these topics mean to me in the context of my work and life. I also learned a lot about how I will do things differently when I get to the capstone course. Of the things I hope to do differently, starting earlier and having a vision of my project earlier are musts, as well as the need for better time management on my end of all things. In context, the project went well, but at great cost to my personal well being. This was easily avoidable, as I should and could have envisioned my project in a more complete setting from an earlier place in the project. However, all in all it turned out fine. I also am appreciative of the get together we had with the capstone class. That significantly helped my understanding of what a good capstone looks like, as well as my path forward to it. I am hopeful and excited for it, and think that it will go incredibly well.
I don’t really know if this is how we’re supposed to do this, but oh well.
I have been reading a lot of Jia Tolentino lately, and I have to thank Ray for turning me on to the concept of her writing. I love the command of the English language that she has, and her latest work “Where Millennials Come From” that profiles the millennial generation in a very unique way. I find that a s a member of the millennial generation, I frequently find myself at the butt end of a lot of bad jokes. However Tolentino makes it clear that generational conflict is nothing new, and that in this context, the battle for things that baby boomers hold dear – including applebees, cars, cruises, and other worthless inventions – mean that we are poised to exists in a world that is much different than the one we grew up in. Tolentino does an amazing job of arguing her point, and I cannot stress enough how she gets her points across by commanding the audience in a way that makes sense and argues well.
Recently, I’ve been going through somewhat of a rough time. It’s a personal matter, and I’m fine, but I have been finding solace in things that inspire me to be a better person moving forward. One of my personal heroes, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, recently talked about her experience with Sexual Harassment in the workplace, and her advice for aspiring leaders in the fight against all things that are wrong in the world. Her quote, in context, earned her criticism, as she appeared to tell off women who have endured sexual harassment, however out of the context of the quote, these words mean the world to me:
“You will go through difficulties in your life – and I hope you will all triumph – and when you triumph, you need to help others along the way, but you also must have magnanimity of spirit. Things change, times change, but it’s not worth my while to go back and revisit those negative moments… otherwise it’s too corrosive, it’s too negative, and does you a double injury because it holds you back.”
To me, this represents what it means to be me at the moment. It may be easy to let the negatives that have happened suck you back in, but in the words of Secretary Chao, it’s not worth my while to revisit those negative moments. I don’t wish to apply this quote to every scenario, but it is something that I look to at times like now in my life. The same can be said about my final project. It’s in shambles right now, and I have not slept in approaching 40 hours, but I am determined to make this project amazing, and have an impact on myself, and the content I produce.
For one of my experiments, I wrote in the genre analysis section about one of the inspirations for my final project. This piece was Detroit, an American Autopsy, by Charlie LeDuff. Mr. LeDuff is a personality in the Detroit media scene to say the least, and his book about Detroit rattled cages, among other things. What inspires me about his piece wasn’t his crass (and sometimes borderline offensive) subjugation of the City of Detroit, but was rather his command of the language and style in which he reflects on his own life and his own story through the lens of place. As a geography interpreted person, who cares a lot about location, place, and physical existence, it was very exciting to read his story. As a journalist, he rattled cages, and did things that came under fire from many Detroit residents. However the use of place was something he did very well. For a news segment for Fox 2, he once kayaked the Rouge River in Detroit, while attempting to highlight the levels of pollution that were effecting the river. He also came under fire for highlighting the plight of EMT workers in Detroit through a secret ride along. While this may be getting off track, the point of this is to emphasize that my story is as much about place and time as it is about me. In doing so, it is crucial that I engage my readers with my content, and ensure that they are well connected to my place, almost being dragged in at times to ensure participation, rather than risking the consequences of failing to captivate the reader.
Roughly once a semester, I read or experience something that truly changes my outlook on the world. This can take the form of a poignant op-ed, or a good book. The last few things that did this to me included Street-fight by Janet Sadik-Kahn (my summer game changer), “Still Alive” by Moe Wagner (my Winter 2017 game changer) and Hillary Clinton’s concession speech (my fall 2016 game changer). This semester is no different, and I can safely say that my game changer article of the year is part of the Survivors Speak Series in the Michigan Daily. Draupadi’s Sari was simply that. The author, who chooses to remain anonymous, moved me on a basic human level. The author does an amazing job of commanding the English language in a way that conveys the message, and calls on their community to understand the difficult topics being covered. I hope to one day write something even half as good as this, from a writing or a content perspective. As I reflect on my own experiences, I haven’t had anything like this happen to me, but I can only read it in hopes of gaining the writing skills needed to convey a message through story like this author did.
This weekend represented the first time I really sat down and engaged with the concept of my final project in a way that helped me see it moving forward. I have been finding it difficult so far to walk the line between something academic and usable on a large scale, and something that is purely reflective in the way that I see it. Combining both is crucial for all elements of the writing process, and is something I have been working on. I see my project combining the creative and reflective with the more academic side that comes naturally in a course requiring this degree of work. I hope that moving forward it shows itself as a type of project I can reflect on well, but for now, it’s a work in progress.
In this article in the Detroit News, columnist (and my almost professor, but that’s another topic) Nolan Finley talked about how Rick Snyder’s policy agenda is being stifled by the constitutional limit on the number of terms a member of the State Legislature may serve. As I read this, I found myself not opposed to the points being made, as I personally believe that term limits in Michigan have set our state back decades with regards to policy, and particularity hurts chances of progressive policy making it’s way through the legislative process. I do however, not trust Finley, as he is notoriously conservative, and I firmly think that carrying policy debates with extremely conservative pundits leads itself to the fallacy of giving an inch, but having a mile taken. While I do agree with Finley here, I don’t know what his ulterior motive is, and that makes me not trust him. I do however, not question his authority to speak on this topic, as he is one of the foremost voices on state level policy in Michigan. His columns, while disagreeable to me, do represent the voice of many Metro-Detroit white people who identify as the same type of traditional conservative that Finley represents.
In this article in “The Oddessy Online” the author – a college student at Bowling Green State University, talks about her rejection of Feminism, and her embrace of the notion that men and women are not equal. While I absolutely disagree with her, at first glance, one would not find her untrustworthy. As members of a dynamic society, we must elevate the voices of underrepresented groups, including women and people of color. In this case, I trust the opinion of a 18 year old college student, and no person is more trustworthy with regard to gender issues. However, the breakdown happens due to the lack of authority that the author carries. She has no lived experience to justify her points, and has never experienced many of the things in the professional and adult world that drive the need for feminism. I also strongly question the motivation behind her views, as parental influence has a large effect on one’s political views.