Introducing my project: Why Students Don’t Vote

Really excited to share with you the work I’ve done.

I took on this topic at first because 1. it’s super interesting to me and 2. because being on a college campus afforded me the resources to lend real insight into this question. The COVID-19 pandemic obviously threw a wrench in some of that plan, but fortunately I was able to produce the product you see below.

I don’t have a ton else to say, though I’ll add my big-picture takeaway from my research and survey analysis and thought and writing: Gen Z and Millenials are often treated as a monolith. They don’t vote because X. They’re not motivated by Y. You know these cliches. I hope we start thinking about this generation in more nuanced terms. The point of this project was to shed light on this idea that people are complication and their motivations are complicated. You have to listen to them in order to really learn.

Hope you enjoy!

*taps mic* Words of wisdom

I hate when people lecture me. Especially peers. Especially digitally. So I won’t pretend I have the world figured out. But here are a few things I learned along the way while making this capstone project. Maybe they can help!

Self-motivation, self-motivation, self-motivation. There are lots of different directions you can take your Capstone; there are infinite topics and styles; you can push all the work until the end or spread it out; you can follow the timeframe the professor encourages or not (maybe bad advice?). But there’s one common denominator: If you’re not enthusiastic about the work itself, you won’t be proud of the result. If there’s a single thing I would most urge you to do, hypothetical future Capstone participant, it would be to invest some real time at the very beginning of the class to thinking. What do you want to get out of it? What do you want it to look like? What do you want to achieve? All these far-off deadlines might encourage you to push off forming your vision until it’s necessary, but that’s the worst thing you can do. Otherwise, you’ll be flailing all semester, searching for a new direction or uninspired by the class altogether. If you’re invested in the work itself, then external factors (say, I don’t know, a global pandemic ripping the end of your senior year from underneath you and moving classes online) won’t have as big an impact on this class. 

Having said all this, I think there are some logistical things that your taking seriously will benefit you. When you’re mapping out a schedule for the rest of the semester, take that seriously and schedule realistically. You know when you will and won’t do work — the less bullshit, the better. If you set actual goals then you can actually meet them and you won’t be sitting there a week before it’s due freaking out. Obviously, those goals will change around the edges; maybe, I don’t know, a global pandemic will shift the thrust of your entire project. But having them eases some anxieties about this big heap of work you’ve got to accomplish by some far-off date. Also, I would say, you have to build some flexibility into your vision. Push yourself to do good work, and maybe push yourself beyond what you’d previously deemed capable, but understand your limitations. If you’re like me and not super talented as a website designer, seek help before the week before. If you know you’ll need lots of proof-reading, find someone you trust to shoot straight with you about the writing. And be amenable to changes you might find necessary, for whatever reason.

Lastly, I’d just say this class is really cool. You’re at a university with unlimited resources in a class with unlimited creativity with a professor (I presume) that allows unlimited exploration. Use that. Don’t aim low. Don’t simply go through the motions. Find what you’re passionate about and pour what you have into it. If you do, you’ll be proud of the final result.

Which is to say I could sit here and lecture you about the virtues of meeting every deadline and making a project worth showing to employers or making sure you do a little bit of work every night, but you and I both know this won’t be perfect. You’ll mess up and get lazy. You’ll forget for awhile and cram. But when you’re sitting here writing this post to future Minors in Writing next year, I guarantee you’ll regret it if you’re not proud of the product you produce.

Roughcut reflection — emphasis on the “rough”

Sup friends.

Spring Break is awesome in about 100000 ways, but in this particular instance, I’m beginning to get a bit stressed about getting everything done for this project. I’m wondering if I’ve bit off more than I can chew.

Here’s where I am:

  • I’ve designed a survey about student voting to be blasted out to students of all kinds ASAP. Do I send before Spring Break of after? I’m leaning toward both.
  • I’ve written an introduction to be feature on my website, which I feel pretty good about.
  • I’ve had discussions with my roommate (shoutout Kev) about helping teach me about website design. He’s a design God #DesignGawd #BDK #KBNTNTEAKBN:OLR.
  • I’ve decided that instead of splitting my write-up of the survey results into two parts (results + proposal), I’m combining them into one. So instead of me explaining in dry, academic terms what the results of the survey was, I’ll be sharing those results and then explaining why I think they matter. The third component will be strictly visual (graphs and things).
  • I sat down with T today and we decided that I’d be going to different places on campus to actually *talk* to people for my photo essay instead of relying on passive submissions. This will require a good deal of time but is important to achieving the goals of this project.

So, yeah. If there’s any extremely minor (minuscule, even) downside to dipping for the Bahamas on Saturday, this is it. Yeah, I know, woe is me, right? It just means I’ll have to come back committed to completing this project and seeing out the vision I had for it (one which I think is extremely attainable!).

My biggest fear is that I’m not able to attract enough respondents from diverse enough groups of people to draw reasonable, fair conclusions. It’s also a huge fear that we have, like, two months tops to get this all done and presented and all. That is extremely not a large amount of time to pull all of this information together.

As for the rough cut in class the other day, I always find those sorts of casual conversations extremely beneficial to the trajectory of the project. We always have such good advice for each other, and, personally, it always leads me down a better path. Shoutout, y’all.

Otherwise, I’m doing well. I ordered my absentee ballot the other day, and it took me like a week to find a stamp and get to the post office, so I felt a little bit hypocritical. VOTE, PEOPLE! Anyway, Roll Tide. Go Blue. Have a wonderful break.

Reflecting and stuff

I’m excited and I’m nervous. I’m nervous because I’m excited, and I’m excited because I’m nervous. You follow, right?

I *love* the concept of a capstone project — the freedom, the creative possibility, the writing, all of it. But it’s precisely that open-endedness that’s left me uncertain. I thought I had a pretty good idea, and then I wasn’t sure if it was too rigid. I added three more good ideas, and now I’m starting from square one, wondering what I should be pouring in four months of effort into. I want this to be something I’m proud of. What if I choose the wrong path, and don’t realize before it’s too late? Are my ideas too academic? Are they too ambitious? Not ambitious enough?

This is also, I must say, Classic Max. Hesitating and pondering, running it all in my head way beyond the necessary, healthy amount. So here we are. And I have to say, both of those feelings — nervousness and excitement — were heightened after Tuesday’s class, both because the other members of my group have such cool ideas and because it’s here right now.

Taking a step back, I know I’m ready to throw myself, my energy, my thought, my focus into this project. I feel fortunate that something in an academic setting could get me this excited, and that I’m passionate about writing, generally.

Which is to say: I’m ready. Let’s do this. I think?

Intro to the live blog

I’ve finally done it. I managed to get away from writing about sports. Big day. Couldn’t have made it this far without you all.

After talking with Julie, I’ve figured out how I will do this — centered around the election and my interest in politics. My origin piece was the article I wrote from the Final Four. My first experiment was a short story, in which I wrote about two characters on the team and about the events that lead up to the emotion seen in the game. My second experiment was a journal about my own experience. This time, I’m switching it up.

I’m going to take that experience — covering a team in a short period of time and issuing immediate reaction — and turning it into a live blog about my experience following the election. I told you it’d be different. Here goes nothing.

This genre will be akin to what most news outlets will do tomorrow on their websites: a live, running blog, with time stamps and reactions. This is a new era genre — one that probably didn’t exist 10 years ago, but one that is highly prevalent with major events these days Theirs often highlight what the results are telling us, and how predictive they will be about any big-picture trends that are developing through the night.

— Here’s an example:

— Here’s another:

Mine won’t exactly resemble that. It’ll be less strictly analytical and will be more a personal stream-of-consciousness rant. Buckle in. I have no idea how this is going to go.

Welcome to the genre of journal entries

Journal entries are a genre we all know — a style of writing we’ve likely all dabbled in at some point. Still, it’s not easy to classify normative conventions. We write journals about all types of things, people, places, etc. What exactly differentiates a journal entry? What makes it distinct?

I think, upon reviewing journal entries and considering how I personally feel, it all starts with tone and audience. Primarily, journal entries are meant to be personal. This doesn’t mean they always have to possess our deepest, darkest secrets. It just means there is no intended audience beyond yourself. This is supposed to satisfy our own personal mode of expression through writing — a style that is as cathartic as it is linguistic. Write how you feel. Write for yourself. Don’t worry about the rest.

Most picture a “dear diary” style confession when they think of journal entries. My project will be slightly different from that expectation. I will be taking my origin piece, an article in the Michigan Daily from the Final Four last year, and turning it into a series of personal journal entries about what the experience was like to travel the country and cover the basketball team. It will be written as if I was reflecting hours or days after the experience — not months ago. This will allow for a more emotional expression. I will write one journal entry for every week I traveled somewhere different (this amounts to four entries in total). It will encompass my experience as a reporter at these events.

Image result for gif dear diary

In terms of language conventions, journal entries are not devoid of them. Largely, they’re casual. They are often written in phrases that might sound like spoken word. People don’t tend to write long entries that wax poetic in fancy language. But it’s also a personal endeavor that varies from person-to-person. As someone who likes to write, my journal entries might be a bit more formal than someone else. This, in my opinion, should be left up to the writer.

If this were to become my project, I’d likely hand-write these entries, and add some design component, filled with images from my time and however else I seek to improve the design. I think there is some potential there, though I’m still not certain whether I want this to be my final project.

Would love to know what you guys think!

Introduction to psychological analysis

The genre I picked can be classified as broadly as a formal academic essay, and as specific as a psychological analysis. I’m using the article I wrote for The Michigan Daily — which centers around the tears of several basketball players after they lost in the National Championship game — to more broadly analyze the role of emotion in sports. This analysis will focus on a few specific questions that I hope to more clearly answer by the end of my essay. When is it socially acceptable to cry in sports? When is it not? More broadly, where do our conceptions about male emotions in sports come from? I will hope to use other situations in sports when athletes cried and there was either a backlash to those emotions or a more generally positive response, like I witnessed from the Michigan basketball team.

There are several potential stumbling blocks in my transformation. I’m worried about how much I should and should not relate back to the scene I witnessed. Since the article itself is obviously very anecdotal — focusing on scenes and quotes and not much broad context on masculinity — I will have to do all the research essentially from scratch. It’s much easier, in my opinion, to take an academic essay and make it an Op-Ed rather than the other way around. But this is the topic that intrigued me and my classmates most, so it’s the one I’m selecting.

The main concern I have is centering properly around the genre I’ve chosen (one that is a bit broad and vague). You all know, generally, what an academic essay is. It’s harder to nail down exactly how this will take the form of a psychological analysis, if that is indeed what I select. It won’t be a “case study” as described best here: But it also won’t be your standard English 125 essay.

I will need to do further research on the topic, because psychological analyses are generally reports from psychologists based on studies they’ve performed. My “study” is quite an inexact one, if you can even call it that. It is also just one example in a plethora. I am excited to explore other examples of emption in sports — I already have a few in mind. But I am slightly concerned about both reaching a proper conclusion if there’s one to reach, and the context I will need in order to present that conclusion.

I think it’s a challenge, but a good challenge, for me to take on this semester, in a topic that interests and confounds me. Because of that, I’m motivated to forge ahead with this project, pursuing every avenue possible to make it as strong of a transformation as I can.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of male athletes crying/showing emotion. Try to guess which ones are generally considered acceptable.

Max Marcovitch introduction

Hello fellow minor in writing students,

My name is Max Marcovitch — or as you might prefer to call me: “that one guy in the class.” When I’m not writing in class, I’m probably writing outside of class. I’m heavily involved in the Michigan Daily as one of the sports editors, covering the football team. Last year I covered the basketball team, and got to travel with them all the way to the Final Four. If you watched some of their games, you might remember where you were when Jordan Poole hit his game-winning shot. I was about 15 feet to his right. (There’s a photo at the bottom from that trip)

In case you haven’t gathered, I like sports, but that’s enough about sports.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia (I’m actually the fifth-generation on my mom’s side from ATL). I’m majoring in Political Science, and have been involved in a few campaigns in the past. I’m also minoring in History of Law and Policy. Do I want to go to law school? You’re only the 100000th person to ask. But this isn’t a forum to recite my resume. I like to think I’m a personable, friendly guy, and always looking to make friends. So come talk to me about politics, sports, existential life questions, pop culture, music, whatever. Looking forward to a fun class!