e-portfolio is up!

Finally, after a lot of tweaking and consideration, my e-portfolio is completed, up and running. Here is the link:

https://msm4229.wixsite.com/mysite

I am very proud of the way it turned out aesthetically and content-wise. I particularly love the landing page:

landing page of my e-portfolio

Because most of my work with my experiments and final project was focused on gratitude for other people, I wanted to include something on my e-portfolio that was personal. A lot of different aspects of my life are captured in the pictures on this landing page, which is something I particularly loved.

I am also really proud of the “Why Gratitude” explanation on my About Me page. I think it does a good job of conveying the importance of the subject matter of my final project to the audience while also showing something about me as a person and as a writer.

I also think the introduction of my final project shows a lot of the process that was involved in it and encompasses every aspect of the project, which was fairly multi-faceted.

I overall really enjoyed creating my e-portfolio and think that it is very representative of both me and my project.

How to Gateway

This class is as much as you put into it. I’m going to say that upfront.

It is really unique that in college, especially one like Michigan, that you have the opportunity to take a class like this. A class that you can mold and make your own, and one where you are guaranteed not only to know everyone’s name by the end of the semester, but their personalities and writing voices. Everyone’s individual characteristics come to light in the context of constantly sharing your writing and collaborating, as well as exploring your interests in ways you never thought of through the experiments.

Some specific ways I can attest will help you have the best possible experience in gateway are to:

  1. put effort into the daily 5-minute writing pieces at the beginning of class (it will be fun to look back on at some point)
  2. when there is something you like that is working in one of those 5-minute writing pieces, share it with the class (bonus points if it’s funny and entertaining)
  3. give feedback to people who share their work! (it will make someone feel really good to get positive feedback and make everyone feel more comfortable sharing their work)
  4. volunteer for workshop – although it seems intimidating, you will get incredibly insightful feedback, and you may find yourself in a direction you couldn’t think of before
  5. get to know the people in your class – like I said before, I haven’t had another class here where I could tell you everyone’s name and something specific about them, which is really unique
  6. meet with your teacher! If you have T for gateway, she is more than willing to meet with everyone individually (it’s actually required a few times), so take the time to really get to know her because she is incredible thoughtful and helpful

Hopefully this is somewhat helpful in how to approach this class in order to get the most that you possibly can out of it. It’s a great opportunity, so you should look to do just that.

Announcing my Campaign

I plan to fully develop my second experiment for my final project, which is a poster campaign meant to inspire gratitude in the larger community of the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor. My posters will include some kind of design I have made with short phrases such as “be grateful!” or “say thank you.” They will also encourage those who read the posters to submit something they are grateful for to the email address thegratitudeprojectAA@gmail.com where I will take any submissions and post them from a Twitter page. I will give that person the option to submit a picture of the thing they are grateful for as well, so I can make the content of the Twitter page a little more engaging. I will put up these posters all around campus and possibly in some off-campus locations where student advertisements are welcome.

What makes me love this project is the measurable impact I will see it making in my community. I have already had the chance to have gratitude impact my life in a positive way, but I would like to see these benefits spread to the community. If someone chooses to submit something they are grateful for, then my project has actively made them reflect on something in their life that personally makes it better. If someone sees my poster and does not choose to submit something, at least I have brought consciousness of gratitude into their day, even if it is for a moment.

My only concern is making sure the Twitter page can reach a wide enough audience, but I believe I can help promote it through my friends and social media and hopefully my posters.

For my next steps, I would like to fully design some versions of the posters and make sure they grab people’s attention, inspiring them to participate in the movement. I am really excited to see how they turn out!

Experimentation in How to Express

I’ve found that I am in love with my origin material.

I love the idea of gratitude and showing some kind of appreciation for what the important people and things in your life do for you. I want my experiments to be the most effective and powerful way of doing this.

I liked the idea of my first experiment, the Humans of New York-like blog that asked people to ponder what they are grateful for. On paper, it had everything I wanted: involved other people, incorporated photography, clearly expressed gratitude. But I felt as though I didn’t have much of a voice through this experiment. I was just a curator, a mode through which other people could express their thoughts.

Experiment 2 feels a lot more promising, like something I would enjoy in the long run. It is a poster campaign where I have designed little images telling people to “be grateful,” or “say thank you.” I have also created an email address (thegratitudeprojectAA@gmail.com) to which participants can submit someone or something that they are grateful for to then have it posted on a social media page or website somewhere. This experiment allows me to express my own creativity, while still being interactive with others.

Looking forward to experiment 3, I know that I have a lot of research in my future. Hard, scientific, empirical research. I am essentially writing a lecture about the correlation between gratitude and happiness in humans. Research is not necessarily my favorite thing to do, but since I am passionate about the subject matter, I think it should be ok. I am looking forward to being able to deliver the final product, once all the hard work and organization is out of the way, and just talk about something that I am really interested in and want to share with other people.

That is what the experience of doing these experiments has been about for me: how am I best going to share the importance and fulfillment that recognition of this special quality of gratitude could add to any individual’s life?

How to Find Happy.

My name is Maddie, and I hope that by reading this post and learning something about me, you will learn something about you as well. All things considered, I have a lot to be grateful for. My family, friends, the opportunities I have been given, and the experiences I have had are things I cannot take for granted. Gratitude was not something that was consciously on my mind a lot before the end of my freshman year. Sure, my family would go around the Thanksgiving table one by one and say what we were thankful for that year, and I would say please and thank you when I was supposed to. But taking time out of my everyday life to stop just going through the motions and actually sitting down and writing down what I am grateful for was not something I thought to do.

In the winter semester of my freshman year, I decided to take a first year seminar called the Science of Health and Happiness. It just sounded fun, and I thought it would be an easy class to lighten my course load. One of the semester-long assignments we had to complete was keeping a daily Gratitude Journal, where each day we would write down three things that we are grateful for. This is a task that was at first easy, then got hard, then got easy again.

The first things that came to my mind were to write down: 1) my mom, 2) my dad and 3) my sister. Ok, night one was a success.

The next night I was still coasting a little bit. 1) my home friends, 2) my Michigan friends, 3) my Grammy.

This went on for the next few nights, as I ticked the important people in my life off the list. Then, one night, my mind drew a blank. I was out of people and places that played huge roles in my life. So I wrote down “my ‘cheel’ playlist on Spotify.” I remember it was the day I left school for spring break, so I had been listening to this playlist on the plane ride home. Small and simple, this playlist has by no means been a major player in the course of my life. But it’s something that makes me happy and that I appreciate.

Finding these small, happy details of my life that had previously gone unnoticed began something I looked forward to daily. Promptly at 11 PM every night, a reminder on my phone would pop up: “Gratitude.” I would eagerly jot down my list of three things that I had specifically curated throughout the day in my Gratitude Journal and take a moment to appreciate their role in my life at that moment.

This Gratitude Journal is going to be my origin piece; it is a collection of the little things that make me who I am. I can read my list from one day and know exactly what occurred that day and who I was with. I can see how people and things in my life have shifted. I can see who I have become and how I became her. And hopefully this inspires you to do the same.