Personal reflection through my law school apps

An entirely new form of writing came to me as I finalized my law school personal statement.  Academic essays stress the elimination of personal pronouns.  Personal reflection essays, in my experiences, have emphasized an informal tone.  Integrating personal promotion and reflection into an academically toned piece of writing has by far been one of the most challenging writing projects for me thus far.  This semester, the majority of my writing has consisted of 200 word or less response questions on C-Tools, so creating an in-depth  essay felt out of place for me this semester.

I decided to reflect on my experiences as a Social Responsibility Committee executive board member.  For those of you not in Greek Life, SRC is essentially the Greek Life party police.  We look for a host of requirements, including sober monitors and proper risk management procedures.  I am responsible about 3 nights a month to go out and verify that all of the requirements have been followed.

Through reflecting on the various components of my experiences, I learned how much more I actually got from my experiences than I had realized.  Initially, I decided to write about SRC because it encompassed ideas of policing, policy, and justice.  It seemed like an easy place to start for a law school app.  Through the process of self reflection, I learned so much more about the underlying lessons that I had learned.  Without writing my personal statement, I would have reduced my experiences.  However, I learned that the law is not just a written set of rules.  The community at large gives the law a purpose and a heart.

Just did at dance in the library…

DONE! YAY! I may or may not be dancing in the Ugli.  28 hours until I’m done with the semester!!!

Click Me. Click Me. Click Me. It’s my e-portfolio!!!!!!! 

Overall, I’m actually really happy with the way that my e-portfolio came out.  I wanted to give it a primarily professional look which I feel like I did with the clean format.  I debated whether or not I wanted to add the scrapbook tab at the top which in the end definitely completed the entire portfolio.  Making the e-portfolio was actually a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be.  I’m already planning on adding other writing pieces to it from my courses next semester which seem like they will fit into the overall politically motivated scheme.  I like the dynamic between the professional and the personal.  I think that it gives the viewer a complete way to seeing the work that I wanted to show while still having a chance to learn about me in my biography and scrapbooks.

I wish that I could have gotten the links to work better.  Originally, I wanted to split the Why I Write and Smoking Ban tabs up to have separate pages for each writing piece.  I wanted to have a home page for the theme and then links to the other pages to make it easy to navigate.  However, the Weebly links were really tricky for me for some reason.  I just wanted them to say “Op-Ed” and “Newspaper,” and they just wouldn’t do that for me.  I ended up putting all of the links on the same page which I’m worried makes it seem a little bit cluttered.

The process for me was actually really enjoyable and brought me back to the MySpace days where I would attempt to go through the html code to change things.  I ended up making minimal changes to the layout because I would try to play with the pixels and mayhem would ensue.  I spent a lot of time debating between WordPress and Weebly and finally went with Weebly because I thought that it looked less like a blog and more like its own website.  I really liked working in the flash based websites so I hope that by the time my final portfolio is created, there is a solid site for me to do it on.  I thought that the flash gave me a ridiculous amount of freedom to change the layout without having to try to navigate html code so that would be really cool in the future.

My main concern with leaving the gateway class is remembering to blog.  I don’t statistically have the best track record with remembering to blog so I’m trying to figure out the best way for me to keep up while I’m not in a course.  I’m currently debating setting an alarm on my calendar so it emails me to remind me which I think should be useful.  I look forward to being able to keep in contact with my cohort.  I’ve really enjoyed the dynamic in the class.  We all know more about each others lives that just what pertains to the course which is a nice environment to work in!

 

 

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… remediation style

So after toiling with my YouTube special project and being inspired by the Prezis in class, I came to the conclusion that I should totally be a Prezi creator.  So that is exactly what I did.  And let me tell you, it was the best decision I have made to date this year academically (well, maybe second after my decision to write about alcohol habits of pre-Prohibition America).  I’m feeling much better about my presentation now, and I think it is much more effective and easy to follow.  My ridiculous video editting ended up being more distracting than I thought was ever possible.  My message is much more clear and concise.  I think that my facts are much more clear.  Throwing away my mediocre video was not too upsetting needless to say.

My New Prezi

 

 

More Things I am not good at…part two: iMovie and Macs

I really, really, reallllllly like words.  In case you didn’t get that vibe from my last personal exploration of technological failure aka “I’m not a Computer Programmer,” I’m going to re-explore why words (and this time friends who stayed up with me until 3 AM) are great.  Sitting in our in-class iMovie workshop, this movie creation concept seemed totally do-able.  I thought to myself, random people post random videos on YouTube everyday that involved some editting, I can totally do it too.  This idea is false.  My video roughly looks like it was made by a 12-year old.

Writing is terrific because you can outline your essay before you execute it and get pretty much exactly what you want.  I tried doing this with my video and I promise, it looks nothing like I ever anticipated.  I’m trying to be positive here and think of the baby accomplishments.  I successfully split a video from its audio! It may have taken me a full 7 minutes to figure out how to right click on a Mac (true story), but I did it.  I did in fact throw my hands in the air with excitement when I right clicked.  I also figured out how to use the Finder on a Mac.  Also huge seeing that I didn’t realize that not all the programs were accessible through the bar on the bottom.  I can now perform pedestrian tasks on a computer that isn’t a PC…. I’m pathetic.

Back to my video- its not pretty.  But, more importantly, it actually does convey what I want it to say. It tells about the law and it says why I don’t like it.  And for that, I am excited.  Go me!

 

Things I Now Know About Myself: I am not a Computer Programmer

I’ve discovered that designing my e-portfolio is an absolutely terrific way to procrastinate productively.  I literally have six different sample e-portfolios going currently.  I could be doing homework, or….I could play on WordPress and Weebly.  I pick the latter.  Why do I have so many of these e-portfolios? I absolutely for the life of me cannot become a productive programmer.

Programming is just as complicated as I thought.  We tend to thing of writing just in formal languages through sentences and paragraphs to convey an argument.  We focus on diction, connotation, and sentence structure to complete a presentation for the piece. As writers, we choose to create our own forms of exploration with words.  Making a website is actually really similar in concept to writing.  How is the layout going to affect how people perceive a sight?  Colors, different Web 2.0 feeds, fonts, and design play into programmers form of exploration just as our choices play into our writing. Writing is something that is so comfortable for us.  All of my non-writing-loving friends don’t seem to grasp this.  I never understood how this didn’t make sense until…..well right now.

We write.  They program. The same way that we think writing is terrific, they seem to really like to program.  I am going to stick to writing I think and let them do their thing.  After thinking I went through the html code to create this masterpiece only to see literally jumbled up madness (I should have taken a screenshot…darn, I had the prophetic epiphany that I am not a computer programmer.  Though fun to mess around with, my effectiveness is quite minimal.

Needless to say, I am baking my friend Danek a batch of cookies this weekend and begging him for help.

I think that I am going to go with E-Portfolio version 4.0... <—click it. (I’ve got random commentary places to play with formatting.  emphasis on random).  What do you guys think?

Pearls, Polo, and Glocks: Paige Meets the Shooting Range 2011

Shooting a Glock is the best stress reliever ever.  Nothing beats the smell of gunpowder in the morning.  I promise if you have never gone shooting before, you will absolutely think it is the greatest thing ever.

I went to the Firearm Exchange in Livonia last Sunday for my first gun range experience of my life.  My uncle, a Marine veteran who loves all things involving guns, has been trying to convince me to do this for the last 20 years of my life.  An organization that I belong to decided to go so I thought, “Why not!”  We walk in, a group of 40 college students dressed like we are ready to go out to Easter brunch, ready to go only to meet our counterparts at the range for the day: a group of about 30 straight up gangsters right off of 8 Mile.

After signing in, they hand you some giant ear protectors and some glasses that look like they came out of your chemistry lab from the 10th grade and point you to where you are going to go shoot things.  First thing I noticed: GUNS ARE LOUD.  This may seem ridiculous to state but when you have 8 guns going off in a cement room, things get crazy.  My friend Tony puts the gun in my hand, shows me how to load it and how to fire, and that’s it.  They let me, a 20 year-old girl in a pink button up with a big bow in my hair, shoot a 22 with about 30 seconds of training.  Granted, I was being supervised, but still.

Let me tell you, never in my life have I felt cooler than when I was reloading my gun and getting to lock the clip in place.  Please envision how cool it looks when you are watching Criminal Minds and they just whip out a clip and reload on the fly.  It feels just as awesome as you’d think.  They even let you take your target home (I put mine on my wall).  I propose a Writing Minor Range Extravaganza.

So much fun.

Politics and Pearls

E-Portfolio Proposal

Overall Goals:

  • For my E-Portfolio, I would like to present my writing within the framework of politics.
  • The title will be “Politics and Pearls,” because it reflects the political nature of my website while still insinuating that I am quite girly.

Layout:

  • I would like my layout to be very simple with very muted colors that are still feminine without being “whoa this is very pink.”
  •  I would like to have a main page with different tabs across the bottom for my biography, writing, resume, photos, and contact information.

Content:

  • My writing is very focused in an academic direction so I will keep the format most likely the same as it is already in the essay format.  I may consider changing some pieces into a more editorial format.  If I change them into an editorial form, I will allow commenting on the articles.
  • Images will be used to show the less academic side of life.
  • I don’t think that I will include a Twitter feed because I don’t  tweet frequently and my tweets are not relevant to the purpose of my more academic website.

Collaboration Tools

For our presentation, Hannah and I are working on collaboration tools.  Collaborating is a broad term that can be applied to any way that a group comes together to share information.  We have a few versions different collaboration programs and web-based systems for examples:

Voice thread:

  • Voice thread is an web-based service that presents information as a multimedia slideshow
  • Allows for voice, video, and text comments on presentations
  • You can continually edit the presentation even after sending a link to it
  • Different options allow you to control what type of input your viewers can display
  • Do not need to download software
  • Two options: free version and a paid version.  The paid version has more sharing features
  • Example of a third grade French class making a storybook
Diigo:
  • Collaboration site that is designed at sharing sources and annotations
  • Allows you to archive a site, highlight on it, post a sticky-note, and save all of it for access later
  • Bookmarking allows you to take snapshots and save pdf files of the articles
  • Sharing options allow you to make your findings public or private
  • You can create groups to include people researching the same topic
  • Con: the basic version is very limited in how much you can do.  In order to get full access it is at least $20 and all of the people in your group need to have some form of the software downloaded.
  • Overview of site
Jing:
  • Free!
  • Main focus is screen-shots
  • You can mark up the screen shot with some editing tools
  • Creates a link to send the screenshot
  • Screencast function: allows you to make the videos of your screen like the tutorial videos that we have been seeing
  • Overview of site
Google Docs:
  • Provides a simple way to work on a document together.
  • Documents
  • Presentations
  • Spreadsheets
  • Forms
  • Drawings
  • Tables
Google Wave:
  • Features profiles and blurbs that let there be a social element to collaborating
  • You can comment without changing the document
  • Cross between email and Facebook
Paige prefers Google Docs.  They are simple to use and do not require anyone to download any software.  They are user friendly and already widely used so everyone seems to be pretty familiar.
Hannah prefers Google Wave.  It ads a cool social dimension to collaboration.  It is good for more informal settings like a screenplay with friends.

 

How I ended up enjoying storyboarding

I began this storyboard process very frustrated to try to come up with how I would make  a visual outline for something.  I finally concluded that I was just over-thinking the entire process.  As a writer, I often end up over analyzing everything to make sure that I’ve covered every nuanced item on a rubric.  I liked that my storyboard gave me a chance to make a really rough sketch of how my project would look.  I am looking forward to making my next storyboard with more detail.

As ridiculous as it sounds, my favorite part of storyboarding was definitely the coloring part.  I needed a stress reliever and getting to color little pictures of myself definitely was a nice way to get away from my other essays.  In high school, my AP US history teacher would randomly bring in coloring books, and we would all sit in class that day and color…for extra credit actually.  (Welcome to all girls high schools) Movement to bring coloring to college please!  I even support productive coloring like the storyboard.  Something about coloring eclipses an essay about American imperialist agenda setting in Haiti and Vietnam….

Hand drawn with love

 

Jung’s Reflective Writing

For my reading this week, I wrote on Jung’s “Reflective Writing’s Synecdochic Imperative: Process Descriptions Redescribed.”  Initially, her article came across as an overly complex description of the purpose of reflective writing.  Digging deeper (a lot deeper…), it became more clear that her main point is that reflective writing is best used to improve the entire writing process as a whole.  One should make their comments about the writing process.  By questioning the writing process through a historical account of what happened, writers should be able to see how their intentions were manifested through their writing.

For me, I’m not particularly sure what this would mean in a reflective comment.  I view writing itself as a process.  I picked the words that I wanted in order to convey my point, I made sure the sentence made sense, and now I have realized that the thought makes sense?  I’m not particularly sure how this fits in to essay writing for me.  Going from a brainstorming session, to a formal outline through research, and into a final paper is my narrative of what happened.  I think that the only way that I can see this type of reflective writing as a useful tool is in revision for our final portfolio.  I think I would have to distance myself from my writing for a while to be able to examine what I did and if it was effective.