Best Kept Secrets Found Down the Rabbit Hole

Being a (mostly) science writer in my studies, I had heard of a good portion of the links that came up in my click through Health Sciences > Hematology/Oncology. For example, the journal names were all familiar, PubMed is my go-to database, and I even knew some of the jargon being tossed around. But, it really is true that you learn something knew every day.

Through my search I found a magical database that I only ever dreamed about before. It’s called Web of Science. (Cue glorious music sound) It’s the simplest and most needed database I’ve ever come across. You use it to search for published papers by topic, title, authors, author indicators, year, and the list goes on. Then, you can refine your search based on how far back in time you want to search. Click go and the magic flowing out of your computer is comparable to that at Hogwarts. This database tells you how many times each article has been cited by another source and, wait for it, will produce for you a citation map. That’s right folks, the Rabbit Hole problem has been solved. This map will show you who cited who and when. If any of you are science majors or have worked in a research lab, you’re probably as excited as me about this.

Web of Science Screenshot
The easy-to-use Web of Science Database.

Of course, there are other great features to Web of Science like MGetIt so you can see the full articles. The point I’m trying to make, besides a defending trial for Web of Science, is that I really didn’t know there was more we were being offered. I usually just go to PubMed or even just search the library search bar at the top of their website when I’m looking for papers or references. After 7 full semesters here, you’d think I would have gotten the University’s die hard message about all the resources, but I haven’t. My advice to any underclassman is to search around. I know you feel like you don’t have time and you just want what’s right in front of you, but there’s so much more and you’ll really save time in the end when you find a more specific and helpful resource.

Bye for now!

I really wanted to quickly blog about this semester and specifically about this class quickly before the Friday deadline for posts was over. We can probably all agree that over the last couple months we’ve come really far from the beginning of class when we were all awkward classmates around a table. Although I don’t know everybody in our cohort, I think it’s really awesome that we have this small group of people that we’re basically going to be with for the next year and a half. We’ve come such a long way in writing and probably just personally, too, so congratulations on this semester!

One of my favorite things about this class and about this minor is that now, when we see each other outside of section we wave and smile or say hi. I think that’s honestly great. Even if you just recognize the person from the minor it’s totally okay to smile and wave. We’re kind of a team, right? I feel like we’re a team guys. Everyone always has such nice things to say about each other and each other’s work and that’s what a team is. A group of people put together to encourage one another and help each other reach goals. I definitely think that’s what we do.

Thanks so much for the memories! It’s really been so great getting to know the people in my section. Best of luck to everyone in their last few semesters here. Make ’em count!

Oh and I hope all of the people going abroad next semester will post little things on the community blog with lots of pictures. I’ve always wanted to go abroad, but could never fit it in. We’d love to live vicariously through you while you’re gone!

I Have an E-Portfolio?

E-Portfolio Tag Image

It’s actually beyond me how I managed to pull off what I have in the last few days. Because I have an exam tonight, I won’t be able to make it to the showcase event. I did a lot over this week, but not enough to be ready for Physics 135, which maybe nobody ever is. That’s possible. But I have created an entire website portfolio that functions as a look inside my writing as well as a look inside the mind of the reader. I think that’s a pretty impressive feat for one semester if I may say so myself. We should all be really impressed with ourselves, even if our sites aren’t what we imagined.

Mine definitely is not what I imagined at first, but it is really close to that vision. Of course there are things that I wish I could have done differently throughout the process, the main thing being to not procrastinate as much, but in the end I have an awesome collection of my work and I can’t be mad because it’s not perfect.

A couple things that I don’t much like about my e-portfolio are the home page and the fact that I didn’t get as much of my own poetry on it as I was hoping. I messed with the home page so many times and it never came out quite right. I tried different layouts and different colors and different set ups of the text, but nothing looked the way I had imagined. I’ll probably end up tweaking it a bit later. As far as the poetry part goes, I’m still working on it. I’m no Walt Whitman, but I enjoy doing it. The problem with that is that I never got to the point where I felt the pieces were publishable. I have some decent pieces lying around, but I guess I just didn’t feel good enough about them to put them on the portfolio.

I do love some things about my e-portfolio, though! I love the fact that it’s a little bit different from a lot of the others who have been done for professional use. I really wanted my creative side to come through in this portfolio and I believe it has. I also am glad that I could finally figure out the colors. I spent a really long time (which was dumb) working just on switching in and out colors to see what looked the best. The black base with the few vibrant color accents is what I was going for. The last thing that I’ve decided to embrace about my e-portfolio is the song on the home page. I know it seems really tacky and like I’m throwing it back to middle school with the Myspace thing, but I’m really not. I assure you the intentions are rhetorical. My thought really carefully about which song to choose and I think the one I’ve got on there is a perfect representation of everything I mean to do with the e-portfolio. It’s got the right tone and the right music and even the words portray the self-reflection and self-discovery aspect of what I want the reader to get out from this. It’s okay if you hate the music on the homepage idea. Generally you either love it or hate it, but I can’t make everyone like my choices, so I’m just going to go with the one that works for me.

Anyway, here’s the link! It seems rather serious now that I’m here at the bottom of this post, but it’s really just for fun. I made everything on it purely out of enjoyment and I hope you don’t feel anything less while browsing around it.

Ketchup

No, seriously though, I’ve been playing catch up like nobody’s business for the last 24 hours. It’s really pathetic actually and I’ve realized that I need a serious turn around in my life next semester. This has gone so far past procrastination. There isn’t much I can say for myself except that I need to do better. So backtracking on this semester and following with the theme of unhelpful things I’ve done in the last three months is Storyboarding for the Re-Mediation project. Because I missed not one, but two posts about storyboarding (somehow. . . I really swear I did at least one) I just wanted everyone to learn from a mistake I made.

This is my awful storyboard:

Photo of Storyboard Photo of Storyboard

Okay, it’s not totally awful and in my head it was the greatest thing I was ever going to create. Until it wasn’t.

Sticky notes are lovely. I embrace them every chance I get. However, when it comes to storyboarding, perhaps they weren’t the best choice. I thought it would be really interactive and different if I took sticky notes and drew out the plot for my video on the front and then when you lifted them, there would be details about length of slide, transitions, music, etc. Well here was my first problem. Sticky notes are large. They do not neatly fit on a regular sized sheet of paper. But, of course I am in college and too cheap to get larger paper, so I just did this layout on three different pages. Now the rainforest hates me and my storyboard didn’t really help at all either.

The only thing I can say that went well for this idea was that the textual ideas I wanted to include were on the sticky notes. . .

Literally, that’s the only thing this format helped for. The music was in theory a good thing to include on the storyboard, but until you’re actually in iMovie, cutting together pieces, you’ll never know what’s going to fit and how long you should make the slide so it can be easily read. There was just so much I didn’t take into account and in the end it would have been better to use another method that was more suited for a video project. This would potentially have been helpful if there weren’t so many small details that I needed to consider.

But that’s life right? Live. Make mistakes. Learn. Yeah, this semester really didn’t go as planned, but I learned a lot about how to deal with next semester. I thought that by Winter semester of Junior year I’d have had that figured out. But I guess I’m learning that, too. I will likely never have it all figured out. I’m pretty sure that’s a fundamental thing about this life. You can never have it all figured out. And if you think you do, then you’re doing it wrong.

Revising

I have a strong love/ hate relationship with revisions. There’s nothing I hate more than having to re-do something I’ve already done. I’m more of the get-er-done type instead of the take your jolly ol’ time and mull it over type. But generally, this means that revisions are really necessary because I didn’t take the time to get it right the first time. I guess if I tried slowing down for a minute to outline or storyboard instead of just diving in, I might be able to avoid massive revision parties.

Regardless, I find myself constantly zooming through assignments and then having to go back and heavily revise them. Therefore I have a lot of experience with fixing and workshopping my own pieces because they often really need that extra attention after they’re done. I think this is a reflects a lot on how I live my life as well. I like to just get it all out there and then go back and fix after the fact. That really just doesn’t always work the best, though. I think in the end, that way is going to get you to a result you might be happy with, but it has to be a little bit about the process as well.

One thing I would personally like to work on as far as revising goes, is having more time to do smaller revisions. This would likely mean doing things earlier and taking more time on them. It would also probably mean outlining before I just start writing, which I generally find a waste of time. However, I can completely see where in a lot of situations it would help out greatly to the overall process.

I guess in a way, my love for revisions comes from that end product being really what I want, but the hate is the way I go about revising. With a new strategy, who knows? Maybe I’ll end up loving revisions all around.

A Whole New World

I’m a Disney fanatic. So when thinking about how my thoughts on blogging have changed throughout this semester, Aladdin popped into my head and now I have the song “A Whole New World” stuck in my head. I’m hoping you’ve all seen Aladdin, but if not, just try to roll with me on this one…

Magic Carpet Ride

In the beginning, I completely wrote it off. When I found out about the blog I was so annoyed and all I thought was that blogging is not for me. Just like Jasmine completely wrote off Prince Ali as just another pompous, pretty boy, I felt like blogging would never capture my attention.

After my first post, I became slightly obsessed with finding little things that made me not want to do it so that I could fuel my hate fire. I thought, “this is stupid because I can’t insert videos.” Or, “nobody is really reading this so why does it matter?” Everything I wrote followed a certain prescriptive style that I had invented to get through each post. Just like Jasmine obsessed over getting Prince Ali out of the palace, I kept looking for a way out.

But just in the midst of my obsession, I saw something in blogging that reflected a joy I had once known. Blogging reminded me of the journals I had kept in middle school that contained free writes and poetry that simply filled my life with something new and adventurous that I hadn’t had before. [Here’s that magical moment] “Is it safe?” “Sure! Do you trust me?” And then Jasmine realizes she’s met Prince Ali before as Aladdin and it clicks and she grabs his hand and the carpet takes off.

And now it’s all been “a dazzling place I never knew” since then. I really enjoy the blog and what’s more is I really enjoy reading other people’s posts more than anything. I think this new way of keeping up with each other is one of the great things that has come with this generation of technological rhetoric. I think my style has stayed very similar, reflecting the emotional and personal touches that I loved about my middle school days, but with an added depth.

Since the song is now stuck in your head as well, here’s the link to the YouTube video. You’re welcome.

 

Overwhelming Options

There are about 101 ways to upload your artifacts onto the E-Portfolios. You could just paste the text directly in, you could link to an upload, you could link to a page, you could link to just about anything.

Why I Write on E-Portfolio

I’ve tried a couple of different ways to do this with my Why I Write and the Re-Purposing essay. The Why I Write is a creative piece and isn’t that long so I pasted that one right into the page. I think it’s working pretty well so far. I’m not sure if I’ll add any media to this page; although if I do, I might have to move some things on the page around. Due to it’s pretty short length though, I thought pasting it directly in would be most user-friendly.

Unfortunately, my Re-Purposing is a 19 page research paper about Views on Body Image and Sexuality. There was no way I could just paste this into the page. I thought for a little while about what would be best for this. I also thought about generally how research papers are presented on Google Scholars or on the library’s website. Usually, you get a little tidbit, like the abstract or a paragraph from the intro, and then you are linked to downloading the rest of the paper or to a pdf. Therefore, on my re-purposing page of my E-portfolio, I decided to paste directly the Abstract section and the first paragraph of the Introduction. At the bottom of that info, I put a hyperlink that says “Read More” that links you to a GoogleDoc of the entire paper.

After looking at some other E-Portfolios and getting some other ideas of what others are doing, I’m not totally loving this idea anymore. I think you have to log into Google to read it (maybe) and that’s not the most accessible it could be. I’m thinking potentially taking screenshots of each page and uploading them into a slideshow on that page might be better. Potentially I would still keep the link so that a reader could also see the whole thing on a doc. Does anyone have thoughts on that?

Click here to see exactly what I’m talking about. Choose the Projects tab and then subsequently “Why I Write” and “Re-Purposing.”

Portfolio Perseverance

The E-Portfolio is something I keep putting on the back burner. I guess I want to make it so perfect and give it all the time it needs and I never have sufficient sit down time for that. This portfolio that I’m sticking with was not the first I started to create. Or the second. It was the third. I finally think I have the layout that I want though. I really envisioned the set up like this so I’m happy with that.

Before you look at it here are some things you should know:

I have decided to take a more creative, poetic turn with this E-Portfolio. I know a lot of people are making theirs for an audience that’s comprised of future employers/ professionals. I think I want to reserve that for my Capstone Portfolio and do this one for me and for my peers my age. Therefore, there will be a lot poetry and creative pieces such as my intro and Why I Write. The intro is going to be a poem that I’ve yet to finalize and the Why I Write (which is up under the Projects tab, as is the re-purposing) is a creative non-fiction. I say non-fiction because it’s a dramatization of how the writing process feels in my mind. Therefore, I feel it is real to me and to my identity as a writer.

A lot of things on it are still from the template. I haven’t really made it very far on any of the pages. However, I know what I plan to put there and they are as follows:

  • Projects – This is where the Why I Write, Re-Purposing, and Re-Mediation will be found. On that general page is going to be a description of Writing 220 and the Minor in general as well as why I chose the minor. It will also probably be a creative writing piece. 
  • “Artifacts” – Remains to be re-named. It’s where I’m going to put outside this class work. Likely it will be poetry that I write in my free time.
  • The Ride – Also may be re-named. Not sure yet. However, that is where I’m going to put the process of all of this and of my pieces, etc. Basically, the reflection section.
  • Contact – This is really just self-explanatory…

I’m very excited to finish up this re-mediation and put it in there because right now there’s just a place holder video. I’m also really excited about the “Artifacts” section because I rarely get to share my poetry and even lately haven’t had any real time to write about anything I care about. So I’m really excited for that aspect. My portfolio is kind of… I hate to say it, but dark. I’m intending the feel to be about discovery and therefore have an element of mystery to it. I don’t really know how that’s working so if you have feedback about that let me know!

Here’s the link. Have fun searching around and please feel free to leave comments either on this post or directly on the contact page of my portfolio (it could be cool to find out if it actually works…)

Thanks and I hope you enjoy it!

Re-Mediation Countdown

This re-mediation project has taken me to so many new places and has fostered so many new ideas for me. In making this video, I not only had to learn new technologies, but also think in a new creative way about a topic that lots of people probably know about, but don’t necessarily always think about. Body image and sexuality are things that are definitely prominent in our culture, but to think critically about what they mean for college students and the impact our society has on women is something that requires an interactive discussion. That’s how I ended up at the video and through this vision I had on day one, I wanted to hold an event that women on campus could come and be a part of this project. I can’t tell this story or create a message on my own. I needed outside perspectives. So I camped out on the Diag for a few hours on Saturday with some signs, chalk, and my video camera to capture the passerby viewpoint. It went pretty well and I got some people with great feedback on the issues. It was very enlightening to get that outside perspective; however, now I’m feeling the pressure to work on the video, because I’m feeling like it needs a new direction. We’ll see how it goes.

So as this project is quickly wrapping up, I’d like to take a second to reflect on the experience.

  • ISS is very serious about their equipment, which I cannot blame them. But seriously, do turn their cameras back in on time. 
  • iMovie is pretty awesome, but also pretty involved. You should get familiar with it before you dive right in to a project.
  • Your peers are your best resource. Special shout-out to Patrick Beger for helping me with tons of the aspects of my video.
  • Perspectives of a variety of people can really change your entire way of thinking and it’s so important to see the issue at every possible angle before you can get it right.

Here’s a few pictures from the Diag event last Saturday.

P1000553
Chalk Outlines. They were meant to represent how different each woman is. However, with bulky coats and sweaters, everyone ended up looking about the same.

 

The only man who came over to ask me what I was doing. I'm excited to put his perspective into the video.
The only male who came over to ask me what I was doing. I’m excited to put his perspective into the video.

My Case for Enrichment

I’m not totally sure if this counts as enrichment; however I’m prepared to plead my case as to why I believe it should.

As I’ve stated so many times before, I work for the Center for Campus Involvement and we host… well it doesn’t really matter at this point. The point of the whole intro is that there was an event tonight in honor of Native American Heritage Month hosted in part by CCI and so I was working. Basically I swiped MCards and then got to hear the lecture and get paid, which is a pretty sweet set up; I know.

Winona LaDuke
Image from http://voices.cla.umn.edu

Here we go:

So reason number 1: The speaker is an author.

Winona LaDuke was the guest speaker and thus is reason number 1 as to why tonight’s event should be recognized as enrichment. To elaborate, Winona LaDuke is an author (see that, she writes… it counts) who primarily focuses her attention on sustainability and the environment as well as how these issues pertain to Native American tribes today.

Reason #2: I learned a lot about this Earth and it’s resources (it’s dwindling resources at that) that I had previously little knowledge on. Sounds a lot like enrichment to me…

She talked first about her tribe and her experiences as a Native American environmentalist. She then went on to talk about the issues surrounding sustainability and the environment today. She started with the obvious issue of climate change and how it’s affecting crops and animals and the life this Earth sustains. It was all stuff I’d heard of, but never really cared too much about. Then she went on to talk about fracking and how this country is being torn up and burnt down to piles of sand and oil and toxic waste that is ruining our land and our water. Lastly, she discussed food supply and genetic engineering. She talked about how much of the food industry is about business, not really about nutrients at all. That’s actually pretty hard to argue against nowadays.

Finally, reason #3: I learned a new way to think about sustainability and how to spread the word about it.

She concluded with an interesting take on these issues. She basically made the claim that this climate change because of the way we are living today is inevitably going to happen; however, what you do about that change is up to you. I was expecting her to say, “Save the Earth!” or something very dramatic. But I was shocked when she started to talk about how the change is coming and learning to adapt is crucial to survival. One of her examples was corn and how there are hundreds, or possibly it was thousands, of types of corn that can be grown according to what type of soil you are using. Her whole point was that eventually, the country and the world would need to adapt to generating food and energy that is local and is sustainable simply because there won’t be an option for outsourcing once the oil is gone. Which by the way is fairly soon. Like very soon. I saw the graph so just trust me.

 

There’s that. Enrichment. Lots of new knowledge from a Native American activist, environmentalist, writer, former vice presidential candidate for the Green Party, and the list goes on and on. She’s a really inspiring and down to Earth person. You should all look her up now.

Thank you.