Done Done Done Done Done.

This marks the end of my semester! Yayyyyy! I am very glad about the way my project turned out. It is pretty much exactly what I had in mind. There were many moments during this project when I wasn’t sure if I could do it but I pushed through and Volia! being done is worth the fact that I was bawling in the fishbowl the past like 3 days because I was so frustrated with technology. The final project, though, is amazing, in my not so humble opinion.
This has been a tough process and quite frankly a very tough class for me. I never expected a writing class to be such a challenge but the technology aspect kind of threw a curve ball at me. I think that technology allows me to express myself fully as a writer. I think my e portfolio is representative of me as a writer and I think it is the perfect final project for this class!

yay! I am done. done. done. done. with the hardest semester of college!!!! I am going to go celebrate! 🙂

From the desk of J N Smith

For my website, I am hoping to have my main page be the image of my desk where certain items are clickable and will link the user to new pages. I write for a variety of mediums and hope to encorperate all of them into this project. So, some of the ideas I had for things on my desk were my ipod which would link to my poetry, a school folder which would link to my serious academic pieces, a stack of novels which would link to my creative writing/short stories, ect.
I am not quite sure which platform would be ideal for this undertaking, hopefully after our workshop in class I will be able to figure out how to do this/if it is actually fesible.

My inspiration for this idea is JK Rowling’s site: Jkrowling.com
It’s super well done. Obviously, I won’t be able to do alot of this since it invovles flash but I am think a basic version would be cool.

Rumination

Sometimes, I wish my brain had a off switch. I wish I could be a computer. While I am awake, I would be constantly going, organizing searching, and operation on specific information. Instead, I feel like my brain is a filing cabinet that someone flipped over. Thoughts are scattered everywhere, and I have to sort through them all to get anything done. Then, sometimes I feel like my brain is like the alert system on the t.v., interrupting normal programming with a blaring, annoying message, repeating over and over and over and… I wish I could just turn it off.
But I can’t. Not even when I try to go to sleep. I will get up multiple times to go do something that crosses my mind while I am trying to sleep. Wash the dishes. Paint my nails. Email my GSI.
I CAN’T GET ANY RELIEF.
I’ve tried everything: yoga, meditation, deep breathing ect. but I am just plain too high strung.
I want to sleep. Help?

#hypocritical

I finally broke down and made a twitter. It was a step by step process. First, I simply made one to look at other people tweets. Then, I tweeted once. Now I have an incessant urge to tweet every five minute. I swore I would never make a twitter. But I did. So now instead of just wasting three hours everyday checking my email and facebook, I also waste time checking my twitter. But twitter is already a fading fad. My housemates are harassing me to make a pintrest. As if I need another distraction… but let’s be real, I give it a week till I have one.
Why is social media so addicting? We humans are all so self centered that not only do we want everyone to know our every thought and interest, we actually think other people care. The generations before us were no different. They just put their thoughts down into novels. Twitter and facebook are the lazy version. In today’s day and age of constant multitasking we are limited to a mere 140 characters to express ourselves. Nobody has time to read the book, so they watch the movie. Nobody has time to make a phone call, so they send a text message. Nobody has time to write a book, so they update their twitter?
I am a skeptic about all of this new technology, and yet, I am just as addicted as everybody else.

Empathy

Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickenson, F. Scott Fitzgerland… All fantastic artists, masters of wordcraft, and all fantastically depressed. This is a problem, or what I see as a problem, that I have struggled with for several years know. I make no secret of my aspirations to write a novel, but it seems those that I look up to were largely unsuccessful in other aspects of their lives. I have always considered myself an enthusiastic person. Yes, I am sensitive, but I would say I am usually more happy than sad; however, I have noticed that I write my best when something is upsetting me. This definitely poses a problem: is beautiful writing worth a lifetime of sadness? It has become an old cliche that the artist must suffer for their work, but does that mean a lifetime of suffering? Can you produce art and still be happy? I am not entirely sure I have the answers to these questions.
The problem with writing is the more you write about human behavior, the more you notice the flaws in human behavior. To create something believable, you must be sensitive and observant of the world but that requires a certain amount of vulnerability. How can you write about these emotions and evils without being consumed by them? I think of it the same ways as the detective or the prosecuting attorney who must understand the motives of the serial killer, get inside their head, become them, without letting this identity consume them.
I don’t know how to end this post, because I don’t know how to do this, or even if it is possible. I wonder if I can be both content and a meaningfully writer, and if I cannot, how can I possibly chose?

Ed-u-ca-tion. Verb.

There are several points examined in Rodgers’ article that I agree with, in particular, Dewey’s assertion that education should be treated as a verb instead of a noun. Education is not a thing. It is an action. It requires conscious effort on the part of the learner, or, at the very least, an occurrence that leads to a change in the subject. We should all recognize that we must be active participants in our learning experience. It is not merely a thing that will happen or has happen, but we must make it happen. Dewey proposes that reflective thinking is more or less synonymous with with action of education, and without it, very little actual learning will occur.

This is not my first exposure to Dewey. In fact, as a psychology major I have encountered him several times previous. Dewey is the founder of the pragmatist movement. This is based on the functionalist theory of mind which states that the mind is something that has evolved and each process of the mind has a specific purpose. There is some biological reason that the mind is doing the things it is doing. The pragmatist movement takes this theory one step further stating that we should take this knowledge and apply it to make people learn more efficiently.

On of the struggles of Dewey’s movement was and is a flaw with educators. Many educators do not use psychology research in the classroom. I do research in the psychology department about preschool children’s motivation and self regulation. One particular aspect of my job is to code teacher interviews. Over and over I hear about teachers practices in the classroom that contradict the most basic psychological principals. This expresses to me one of two possibilities, both discussed in the article. First, the average preschool teacher is probably not well equipped to decode the dense nuances of a text like Dewey’s. The failure to implement useful techniques could be a lack of information brought on by the inability to translate scientific texts for the average individual. Second, and more likely in my opinion, is a lack of motivation. Rodgers notes that for reflection to occur, there must be the desire of the teacher to introspect. Many teachers, I feel, lack the motivation to really examine the failings of their classrooms. If they do realize a flaw, they then must become motivated to research how to change it and then furthermore to implement the change. This is a significant amount of effort on the teachers part.

Rodgers notes reflection in the community as an important aspect of reflection as education. In my opinion this may be the solution to the above proposed dilemma and also where writing enters into my perspective of reflection. What is needed to generate change is reflection upon the nature of education that is accessible to teacher. Sure, there are essays and texts like Dewey’s written from a scientific perspective and these, of course, are the fundamental provable facts on which the physiological principles of education are based; however, they are reality useless unless they are put forth in an easy and implementable way for teachers. What I propose is a concise, plain language explanation of psychological principles of education accompanied by suggested methods for easy ways of introducing them into the classroom. Then I propose the community of teachers meet and discuss the success and failings of these activities. Making it understandable and simply for teachers to educate themselves and uses these techniques with there students is, in my opinion, the basis for education reform.


We can live like Jack and Sally if we want.

Halloween is (and always has been) my favorite holiday ever. I love Halloween like some people love Christmas, that is to say, I am entirely obsessed. I don’t think my house mates realized just how much I love Halloween until I decorated our entire house with lights, stuffed ghosts, signs, and pumpkins. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of candy in our “Candy Cauldron”. Not only have I had my costumes carefully planned for weeks (three of them), I have an entire duffle bag full of past costumes for my friends to borrow.
Why do I love Halloween so much? Well, yeah it’s great to get candy, but mostly I love Halloween for the same reasons I love writing. On Halloween, you get to use your imagination. You get to pretend to be someone your not. It’s not that I would want to be anyone else, but sometimes it is fun to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to live a life that is so far from your own. This Halloween, I got to be Sailor Moon, a Navy Seal, and Sookie Stackhouse, all which are extremely different, and extremely different from the everyday life of Joline Nichole Smith.
When I write, I get to be whatever character I create. I get to go on wild adventures, all with in the confines of my safe reality. Halloween is all about being scared, right? Well, what is scarier than living a life you aren’t used to? Being the characters in my writing, living out their adventures, is thrilling for me, but at the same time, it is comfortable because it is only pretend. When I finish that story, I get to go back to my mundane life. Similarly, when Halloween is over, I can take off my costume and just be myself again. It is a shame Halloween only comes around once a year, but I am lucky I have realized I can celebrate through my writing any day.

Wasting Time. Wasting Words.

So as I was sitting in class today reading “Death in Venice”, something occurred to me. It’s not just that I dislike it when professors waste my time. I hate it when anything wastes my time: waiting in line at the grocery, time spent driving in the car.

Writing is no exception. It drives me crazy when I read a piece of work, and I feel like it is wasting words. For example, Death in Venice. I get that it is supposedly a masterpiece, but I couldn’t stand it. He extends what could take 8 pages into 80. I like description and all, but only when it serves a purpose. Sometimes I think less is more. Don’t write it unless it matters. It shouldn’t be there unless it is enriching the piece. As I believe I have previously written on my blog, art must carry its justification in every line, and if you ask me most lines in this piece should not exist.

This makes me think about my own writing. Since I find it so frustrating when other people’s writing “wastes my time” and “wastes precious words” I need to be careful that mine doesn’t. If I can’t justify that paragraph, that sentence, that word, then it needs to go.

In Time.

Dear professors,
this clip that has absolutely nothing to do with what we are learning. It is not a good break. It is not funny or interesting or adding anything to my learning experience. It is a waste of time.
There is nothing in the world I hate more than wasting time. I love learning. I have a million questions, and learning about one thing often spurs me to research said topics outside of class. There will never be enough hours in the day, enough days in the week, enough weeks in a month for me answer all my questions, to live out all my aspirations.
I am not lazy, but I am bored by these pointless activities. I would rather do something to enrich my learning experience, my life experience. Time is not a reusable resource. We can’t get it back.
So, dear professor, I do not want to watch your “clip of the day”. I don’t want to take a break. Just let me out five minutes early so I can do something worthwhile.

I am full of indifference.

The truth is, I just don’t seem to care about anything right now. I have never had this problem before. I am the most high strung, intense person that many people know, as I am quite frequently reminded. My passion and determination is something pride myself on. Nothing is more of a rush that that do or die moment, where reaching this goal is the end all be all of my existence. There has always been at least one, and usually more than one, thing in my life that inspired me. But lately, there is nothing. Nothing seems to ignite that spark in me. Everything is just blah. Maybe it is the weather. Or maybe I have just come down from the high of an overpacked week. Who knows. All I know is that I hope this feeling passes soon. It’s making it hard to write. My writing has always been a reflection of my emotion. I can’t seem to feel much of anything at all right now.