Came Out the Rabbit Hole With Some Cool Stuff For All You Science Geeks!

When I landed on the Research Guides page, I immediately clicked on Health Sciences, a subject that I have always been and always will be interested in. Not sure yet if it’s an area I’ll pursue for my Capstone Project, but it’s definitely one that I’ll be involved in for many years to come. I found many resources that I think will be useful for not only other undergraduates who are taking Health Sciences related courses, but also for medical school students, physicians, and researchers! I definitely think I will be using many of the databases I found today long-term.

Having just taken an immunology course last semester, I was interested in what sources were available on Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and boy were there a lot! I’m pretty familiar with article databases, such as Google Scholar, Ovid, PubMed, and Scopus, from using them in the past, but what I didn’t know existed were Drug and Image Databases! I’ve always been interested in learning about how diseases present, are diagnosed, and treated (hence my interest in entering the medical field), and finally I’ve found a few places that provide all that information!

Two databases stood out to me in particular. Natural Medicines provides information on both conventional and natural medicines for specific illnesses, a move that I think establishes its credibility well. The cultural awareness this database seems to implicitly have offers objectivity; specific interventions may or may not be socially acceptable depending on the culture a patient or doctor is a part of and this site provides information that would be relevant to many different audiences. AccessMedicine not only provides FULL TEXT textbooks (which can save students a ton of money!), but it also allows you to search for textbook images. I find visuals, such as images and diagrams to be extremely useful, as it allows me to understand and remember a high volume of information quicker and better. I’m really bummed I didn’t find this source earlier in my undergraduate career now! I’m definitely going to be recommending these to younger students so that they can take advantage of these superb resources.

The Finale Is Here!

We’re finally done! It’s been a long semester full of both frustration and glee. All the projects were a lot more work than I had anticipated, but in achieving the final products that I did, I learned a lot. With this final e-Portfolio project I learned how to build a website, played with a lot of cool website features, and realized the importance of aesthetics. This project was the most frustrating, tedious, and time-consuming, but it is the one I am most proud of. It gave me complete freedom on how I wanted to present myself as a writer.

I really liked using writing pieces I’ve done outside of Writing 220 to help shape my identity. I ended up uploading 7 artifacts in addition to the 3 done for this class. I didn’t think 1 would be enough to really interest the reader or allow them to understand me fully. It took A LOT of work to create multiple pages for each and then format each so the footnotes would line up and button links would work. I also spent a lot time on the reflective/contextual text. I had to write a lot more because I think I have a few more extra pieces than some others do, but I didn’t mind. What I did mind was how frustrating it was to translate my emotions and beliefs into concise effective words. It’s easy understand why racism, vaccines, food, writing, etc. are important to me in my mind and in my heart, but to put it into actual words was extremely difficult. I was/am nervous that my explanations might not be enough in showing how important these topics are to me. But after many hours of staring at the computer screen and biting my nails, I have words that I’m fairly satisfied with. I’m really happy with and excited about how the final version looks.

I’ll be using my e-Portfolio more for personal reasons than professional. I don’t plan on using it to attract future employers which is what some students are doing (which is really cool by the way!). I plan on using it as a public archive and as a way to see how my identity as a writer changes as I add to my collection. So check it out! Read some pieces if you’d like! I can’t make it to the Portfolio Showcase (I have my Endocrinology final then, boo), but I’m still excited to check out everyone else’s. Leave your link if you want!

So here it is. My e-Portfolio. TADA!

Newbie No Mo’

I had never written blog posts until the start of this semester. Blogging seemed tedious and awkward in my mind and it definitely didn’t seem like my kind of thing. After becoming more familiar with the blogging community, I’m still unsure about how I feel about blogging, but I’m definitely more open-minded about it now.

I’d definitely say that my blogging style has changed over the past few months. My style and tone in my first post was much more formal and essay-like. I was very particular about how the sentences sounded and definitely flowered things up, as if I was writing a paper. With each additional blog, I think I relaxed my words and tone more. The posts became much more conversational and thought-like, which made them more interesting to read and more relatable for the readers. I still care about how the words sound, but I’m not as concerned about sounding intelligent or deep. I used to write a sentence, make edits, write another sentence, make more edits, etc, which made me nitpick details. Now I just write down my thoughts and then re-read them to make some small edits (making my life easier and your reader experience more enjoyable).

Though we were all required to comment on each other’s posts, I didn’t anticipate much interaction through the blog. But I’m pleasantly surprised to be wrong. It was actually nice to receive comments and feedback from others, and to then respond to them. It was fun reading other student’s posts of their opinions and thoughts and giving them suggestions or opinions. As a class, I think many of us may have dreaded this part of the course (I admit, I did), but I think we all learned a lot more from this experience and from each other than we expected to.

Finding the Perfect Synonym

I’ve been writing a lot of birthday cards lately, and one thought that kept running through my head was “What’s another word for…?” You’d think it’d be super easy to just get down your thoughts and feelings about someone you’ve known for many years and have many memories with, and it is. That’s not the real problem. The real problem is making those thoughts and feelings sound nice. Sure I could just list the qualities that I love and I appreciate about that person, but how many times can I write the sentence “I love that you… I love your… I love doing this and that with you” before it starts to sound super repetitive? That’s how we wrote in elementary school when we first learned about sentence structure and how to write complete sentences; we’d begin every sentence with “I” + verb and it was fine. But as adults, we now also care about the way words sound and look, which can influence meaning.

So I looked to a thesaurus for synonyms for “I love”, “I hope”, “awesome”, “great”, etc. but a lot of the words it provided, though close in meaning, just didn’t seem good enough to me. It’s frustrating when you have the perfect idea in your head, but you can’t find the right words to express it, and when you finally do, you can’t overuse otherwise it’ll become overworked. Does anyone else have this problem?

I realized this struggle happens a lot when I write papers too. Most of my time spent on a paper is on editing and coming up with ways to make the words sound smart (let’s be honest, we all do it). I don’t see how “flowering things up” can be avoided when so much of our world depends on how things appear and sound, but I wish it wasn’t so time consuming.

Revision Process

I found myself doing A LOT more revisions for these papers/projects than I thought I would or normally do. To be honest for most papers and projects that I’ve worked on in high school and college, I usually bust out the bulk of it in one sitting and then just come back to it the next day to finish it up, read over again, and make some final small edits. And bam, I’m done.

But our Re-purposing and Re-mediation projects demanded a lot more thinking, creativity, and time. The freedom we had with both projects allowed me to incorporate a lot of ideas and in some ways, that freedom made it more difficult to narrow down and focus the final product, which inevitable makes progress extremely slow and frustrating.

I’m focusing my attention on my re-mediation project right now and I did a lot of revision before the first draft and have done a ton of revision since then. I’ve revisited my ads countless times, each time shifting the placement of the text or photos, changing the font, changing the text color, or adding more text. It can be frustrating to have to keep changing things, but I actually don’t mind for this project. One strategy I like to use is to put time between each revision. During that time, I’ll jot down more ideas and think about the things that can be improved/changed, but I won’t look at the actual project. When I finally open the file/doc again, I can look at it with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. This strategy helps figure out what’s working, what’s kind of working but needs some changes, and what’s not working at all. Working on a project in pieces instead of finishing it all in one sitting is much more productive in my opinion. You get a more thoughtful, cohesive, and successful final product.

ePortfolio Update!

I’m pretty excited with how my e-Portfolio is turning out so far. I’m happy with the layout, fonts, and navigation; they’re all pretty close to what I had in mind when I drew the storyboard for it. It’s simple, but still aesthetically pleasing (I hope, let me know what you guys think).

My ePortfolio is based on the idea that identity can be defined in multiple ways, so I’m exploring the facets that make me unique/interesting and contribute largely to who I am. We can’t accurately define ourselves without considering all the issues, events, people, and ideas that influence us and my page will give the viewers a glimpse of some of the things that are important to me. My navigation bar will read: Home, Writting 220, Social/World Issues (this may be renamed), Food, and Personal. Each category has it’s own landing page on which I provide a brief description of what the pieces in that category are about and why they are important to me. I also included button links to the pieces (so that the reader can easily access them without having to return to the navigation bar) and subcategories (only applicable to the topic “Racism” which is listed under Social/World Issues). Here is a glimpse of one of the category landing pages:

ePortfolio Preview

I want to make the point that the part of me that cares about social issues is not separate from the part of me that cares about food; we are who we are because of how these seemingly different parts of us connect, interact, and influence each other. At the moment, I have 9 additional pieces (I will probably cut a few out, but for now, they’re all uploaded), but they are not each listed under just one tab. For example, in one of my pieces, titled “Oh, How the Times Have Changed… Or Not,” I compare and analyze 2 Asian cookbooks. It seems like this paper should belong under “Food” but I’ve also listed it under the subtab “Racism” under “Social/World Issues.” In the paper, I connect how the recipes relate to racism and stereotypes in the 1950s and the present. I want it to be clear that the things that are important to me affect all aspects of my life, whether directly or indirectly. I want to show how these seemingly unconnected writing pieces can come together to reveal who I am.

I’m still working formatting the papers and footnotes, as most of the pieces are academic, which is taking awhile since some of them are pretty long, but I’ll probably just sit down one day soon and get it all done all at once. I’m also working on the reflective notes, which are proving to be a bit harder than I expected, but again, I think I’ll just need a day to really just sit, think, and articulate my thoughts on identity and writing.

 

Footnotes #TechChallenge2

Many of the pieces I am uploading to my ePortfolio in addition to the ones we’ve done fore this class are academic research-based pieces so my challenge was to incorporate them in a way that wasn’t obnoxiously inconvenient OR in your face. As much as I would love to leave out the footnotes altogether, I don’t really want to be called out on plagiarism… I really like how Margot incorporated hers as a column on the side so I decided to give that a try (thanks for the idea!).

W

I lined each footnote up with the paragraph it comes from; doing that was a nice way to separate the long list of footnotes and make it easier for the reader to find the footnote they’re looking. I don’t really like the empty space next to the introduction (you can’t see it in the screenshot) because the footnotes don’t start until the second paragraph, but I don’t see how that can be avoided because I want to keep the footnotes in line with their corresponding paragraph. It just looks a little weird because when you first arrive at the page (before you start scrolling), you can’t see the footnotes of the first paragraph so the text just looks like it’s off-center. Not sure if I’m going to leave it like that, but I guess we’ll see when I work on it a bit more this upcoming weekend. I also made the footnotes text smaller than the text of the paper just so that the reader  can see right away that the second column isn’t a continuation of the main text.

I’m going to try this format with the other papers and see if it works well for all of them.

Let me know if you guys like/dislike it or have any suggestions!

Color Theory #StyleChallenge

My Re-mediation project is extremely visual so I thought I would look into color, because while my photos will and should be the focus of my ads, the background color and text color can be just as important in influencing viewers’ responses to and opinions of an ad. I came upon an article on coloring meaning and psychology on Squidoo and it was extremely interesting and informative.

Some colors that I think will be useful and I plan on employing are blue, grey, and red. Blue is often viewed as trustworthy, dependable, and committed. It is the least gender specific color and has equal appeal to both men and women. Grey is the color of intellect, knowledge, and wisdom and many designers recommend it as a background color due to its neutrality. It is controlled and carries authority. Red is a powerful stimulant and can evoke enthusiasm. It is inherently exciting, draws attention, and encourages action and confidence, though too much may be overpowering and evoke negative emotions, such as anger. These colors cover most of the positive emotions I hope to get out of people who look at my ads.

I also read about the importance of balance between image and text (which we all know from personal experience with media), but I think balance between colors is extremely important as well. I obviously don’t too much of one color, but I don’t want to include every color possible. The colors need to interact positively while still appearing visually pleasing, so I’m playing with different hues of these colors to see which combinations work best with the tones of my photos.

Writing & Memory

As I’m taking a break from this long weekend of studying (it’s only 9am on Saturday…oh boy), I realize how much writing helps me learn. I notice a huge difference in how well I know course materials when I take notes by hand vs. notes on the computer. I much prefer taking notes by hand because physically writing it and seeing the words as I think helps reinforce my memory of that information. I find that taking pen to paper forces me to consider the material more and involves more of my senses. I’m very particular about neatness so I’m always extremely concerned about how my notes look (I’m known to recopy notes, front and back, if my handwriting is subpar or there’s too much wite-out on the page… don’t make fun of me, I’m working on it), and because of that, I’m very careful when I write. I focus more on the words and see them for a longer period of time since writing out a sentence by pen takes much longer than by computer.

This reinforcement works really well with diagrams and images as well. I’m currently studying for biochemistry and endocrinology and both classes focus A LOT on pathways, intermediates, enzymes, and things that regulate intermediates. Drawing out and seeing the entire system helps me see how the information is connected and what the relationships are. It’s even more helpful when you use colored pens (who doesn’t love color coding? I know, I’m a dork).

Writing helps me study better. Even though working by hand is much more time-consuming, it’s more beneficial in the long run.

Here’s an example of how I wrote out one of the pathways (if there are any fellow biochem students reading this, maybe this’ll help you too!):
CAC

Here’s too the cramped wrist that’s bound happen after what’s going to be long weekend of writing! Cheers!

The Struggle Is Real

Taking photos of food for my re-mediation project was a lot harder than I thought it would be. How hard can it be to set up food side by side and just tweek some details? Really hard.

I borrowed a Canon Rebel T3i camera from my friend (thanks Kaiyi!) who was kind enough to lend it to me for this project. I was pretty excited to use it to get high quality photographs for my ads.

I started with the apple photos. I placed it on a small plate and took a photo of it from above; it turned out pretty nice. But then I proceeded to take that same apple and placed it on a larger plate for its companion photo. It was hard to get all the details right for the second photo because everything needed to match. I had to adjust the apple multiple times to make sure it was placed in the exact same way so that it wasn’t tilted too far to one side. It was a huge pain to make sure the small apple stem was aligned in the exact same way as the first photo… Maybe I’m just super picky and meticulous, but I knew that if I was having this much trouble with taking the “easier” photos, then this photoshoot might take awhile.

I moved on to the pasta. Taking this photo was an even bigger struggle. It was like working with 60 apples at once. It was so hard to make the pieces of pasta stay in place. It was impossible to make the pasta positions match in both photos so I gave up on that detail, but it was hard to make sure the diameter of the pasta pile was the same (an extremely important visual detail for that particular ad) so that there would be an equal amount of empty space surrounding the food on different colored plates.

I know being a good photographer isn’t easy, but boy was it overwhelmingly frustrating to be one for just an hour, especially for someone who is extremely detail-oriented. I had to consider lighting, angles, zoom, negative space, etc. It was a pain, but I have much more appreciation for photographers now. How can they remain so calm when their subjects don’t cooperate? I could definitely use some pointers on patience.

Here are the best shots of the apple that I could get if you’re curious:

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