Final Capstone Project <3

Wow, the moment has come. Here I am, submitting my final capstone project. It’s been a long journey, but I am pleased with the result.

This project began as a small idea to document my violin journey through different stages of my musical development. Eventually it morphed into an interactive website called The Independent Musician which features stories from my experiences. Why independent? Well, in college, I wrestled to maintain confidence in my violin playing. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me because I had never struggled like this. It got so terrible that I could barely play a 3-minute piece from memory in front of one person (as opposed to performing a 23-minute sonata for 50 people).

More importantly, I felt like I had lost my musical independence. I was insecure in my unique abilities while surrounded by creative beings.

Over time, and through a lot of soul-searching, I got most of my confidence back. I’m not going to say all of my problems are fixed, but I am feeling truly confident for the first time in a while, and I give a lot of the credit to this project.

My intent is for this site to be a resource for fellow music students (of all ages, but primarily collegiate-level) to read each other’s stories, to discuss issues in the music field, and to be inspired as fearlessly independent musicians.

Many many thanks to my writing teachers and my capstone friends for their feedback and support.

~Rebekah Ruetz


Here is my final project. 🙂

When is an okay time to cry? Asking for a friend.

heh heh senior year is forgetting your password to the miw blog & having to reset it in order to turn in your capstone project.

Here’s the result of so. much. blood. so much.

Sweat, and TEARS also. Mainly tears. I’m exhausted from being elbows deep in murder and missing women for the past three months. BUT, I learned so much about myself in the process. Like the fact that I am capable of watching 8 hours of Law and Order in a row for “research” –as long as the star is Edie Falco.

Anyway, here’s my website that for all intents and purposes is “done”. But if you’re really into true crime, and this story interests you, I am definitely going to keep revising and adding to it…so check back if you want!

Congrats to us all, we freakin’ did it.

omg we’re done, xoxo Gossip Girl

Hi MiW Cohort!

Okay – I figured I should revise this post now that I’m actually done done with all of my finals. When I wrote it yesterday, I was in the middle of writing another paper and I couldn’t even think about the euphoria or gratification that everyone around me seemed to be feeling.

Anyways, here is my project (link below). The site is a look into the world of tattooing and an exploration of the meaning of life. I wrote a semi-autobiographical short story about a girl who copes with her absurd existence by getting tattoos. As the introduction notes, “One tattoo session shifts two people. A story about the simultaneous search for and rebellion against making order of life.” The site also features quotes from prominent people in the tattoo world in an effort to extend the conversation of the meaning of tattoos past the short story.For perusing – I suggest reading the short story first. It is under Work–>Capstone.

Creating this project was a delightful test in the art of resilience and burnout. In other words, it was so exhausting (but in a good way). One of the pleasures of the Writing Minor is that it allows you to do ANYTHING. This is a double-edged sword because then you want to do EVERYTHING. I think I changed my mind about my project like four times throughout the semester, and it didn’t really click until just a few weeks ago. But like all things in life, it turned out to be okay.

For future 420 classes my advice is twofold: start early and do what you love. Thank you Shelley for letting me to that in your class. Also thank you for the brilliant titles to my project site tabs.

When I finished the gateway class, I uploaded a video of Kanye giving a speech (see here). And to commemorate that, I will upload another video of Kanye giving another speech.


Droushia to Detroit: Introducing my story of my grandfather’s journey in life

The website, entitled “Droushia to Detroit: Nick Zingas’ Story as Cypriot Immigrant to America” is a personal project for me. Nick Zingas is my grandfather, who I refer to as “Papou” throughout the site. The stories held within the site (which you can access here: family stories. But though this is very personal and introspective for me, I still believe others — especially for those dealing with adversity and trying to find the strength to carry on — can learn from the story of Papou, as well as my reflections.

Telling of his hardships in Cyprus, Detroit, and eventually as owner and manager of Mama Mia’s restaurant (see “Looking Back: Listen to the Story”) has helped me look back into my own life and examine what’s important to me. Using that, I now look forward with a rejuvenated perspective on what it means to be successful in today’s day and age (see: “Looking forward”). My reflections, which are scattered throughout the project, try to capture what this story means to me, and try to relate to readers how they might be able to learn from this story as well — whether they are already familiar with it, or not.

The webpages are arranged scrap-book style. Imagery, video, audio, and writings thrown onto each page with no particular consistency. Each page is meant to provide an appealing visual, while creating an informative narrative for each particular aspect of Papou’s life. Though in my writing I tried to hit on things that I thought was important, I left a couple things unexplained. For example there is this quote at the bottom of the home page on my website:

“Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle, would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal, so neither would I myself go on fighting in the formeost, nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory. But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us in their thousands, no man can turn aside or escape them, let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.”
— Homer, The Iliad.

I put this quote on the home page of my project because I think it does a great job summing up what Papou’s story means to me…

Basically, I am “escaping the battle”. My grandfather and my father worked tirelessly to give me everything I could have wanted as a child. No cold nights on the streets — rather a warm bed and a babysitter to take me to school in the morning. I didn’t have to fight to survive — rather, I could go my whole life without “fighting in the foremost” and be ok. But, because of the family that I’m from, I don’t want to do that. I feel that looking to my grandfather as inspiration helps me realize that “the spirits of death stand close about us in their thousands” and that “no man can turn aside or escape them”. So now, as I move forward into the future — having learned from my Papou’s story and reflected upon it — I can go on and win glory for myself, or yield it to others.

I hope you enjoy this project!

My Final Project

Hi everyone,

I’ve done it! This blog post officially announces the completion of my final project, entitled Girl Walks Into the World: Essays.

I wrote a collection of 7 essays. I used a feminist perspective to engage with slang, social media, and more.

You can read my essays and my introduction and check out all of my sources on my site.

I hope you check it out and I hope you like it.

Thank you!

Together Through the End: Final Capstone Project

Together Through the End is a collection of creative non-fiction essays with the purpose of giving comfort and guidance to people currently taking care of loved ones at the end of life. The essays revolve around the stories of past caregivers and medical professionals in palliative care.

Special thanks to all five people who have shared their stories with me, Chaplain Paul Arnold for mentoring me, Shelley Manis for teaching and advising me through the Sweetland Minor in Writing, and my capstone class for their feedback and support on this project.

The Rhetorical Circle


It feels really weird being done with this semester-long journey of a project.

Like, I’m not sure how to comprehend and process this information.

It doesn’t help either that I’m about to graduate in a week and am still denying the reality of having to be an actual adult.

In all actuality, writing this post is really bittersweet; I remember way back in the fall of my sophomore year when I took the gateway class. We were pushed to write in mediums that were alien to us, and we would eventually publish our work onto a website. Which is the exact same thing that I did for this capstone class (with which said website can be found here). It’s really amazing to compare the work I did in the gateway class with this capstone project; it still retains the humor I like to include in any writing, but it feels so much more mature. It really highlights the fact that I learned a lot in that small window of time. Got to love that Greek rhetorical circle of starting and ending at the same point, am I right?

I guess since this is going to be my last blog post, here’s some advice to anyone about to do the capstone class and is looking for guidance:

Do what you love. It’s going to make the project a hell of a lot easier if you do something you are actually passionate about. The trick here, though, is that you have to know you’re passionate about it. Don’t go into it thinking, “Oh, this might be a cool thing to do,” cause I can almost guarantee you that it is not going to turn out in your favor when the work piles on top of you (although you may be one of the lucky few: if you want to take those odds, then go for it). Find something that you would be willing to spend many sleepless nights on, something that you wouldn’t mind researching for hours on end, something you wouldn’t mind working on for more than three entire months. If you can find that, then it will make the class, the project, and the semester an incredibly vivid and amazing experience. I was lucky enough to find a project that I had such a passion for, and it was even better in that I could include my friends in it. If I’m being honest, I don’t think I would have changed my project in any other way. It’s something that I’m happy with–both in the end product and the road getting there–even with the inhuman amount of coffee I ingested this semester.

There’s more advice I could give, but I give a fair amount of it on the website, so I’ll incentivize you to check it out that way.

For being a Minor in Writing, I’m surprised at how difficult it is for me to come up with more things to say about this project and the journey it took to get here.

So I don’t think I’ll say much else: just sit back, enjoy, and, as always,

Freaking out

I HAVE NO TIME! I didn’t realize how ambitious my project was until I started writing. Maybe I should’ve known that thinking through 21 years of relationships in tandem with my identities would not be an easy task…

As I’m trying to finish up my project, I’m finding myself getting stuck on the details of the past. I think this is why it’s taking so long–because there’s so much of my life to go through, I can’t figure out what moments to focus on, where to end the stories, how to connect them. After talking to Shelley, I decided to completely edit my structure and make parallels between current moments and moments from my past, but even still.

Now that I’m thinking about it, there might be a deeper reason for my getting stuck on the past details: for some reason, I find myself avoiding writing about my current relationships. That’s the whole point of my project, but with graduation literally right in front of me, it’s sort of scary to actually confront them…

Basically, I’m mildly freaking out because I have, like, three days to write and all these barriers. Any advice or words of comfort would be appreciated!

Final Challenge Journal: The Challenge of Being “Done”

It’s over! The project is turned in and I feel ~weird~ about it. I cannot believe this journey has ended (that’s cliché ew). But, I really cannot believe that I am done with the Minor in Writing. I am so happy that I stumbled upon it my sophomore year. This minor has introduced me to the best lecturers, peer-edit groups that actually work, and a new appreciation for the craft. I cannot imagine the last two years without it.

The challenge of saying goodbye is one that I wish I could postpone a little longer. I cannot compare this to any other experience. That’s the challenge. I want to reflect on how I felt after I turned in my Gateway Project, but when I turned that in, I knew I would be coming back to work on something new.

Turning in my Capstone has left me feeling nostalgic and proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish at this University. If I could offer any advice to a future Capstone student, I’d say “trust yourself.” You know what you are doing and what you want your finished product to look like. I struggled to understand how I was going to get to a final product, but somehow it just came together. It took months to start writing, but I eventually started, and that’s what matters.

Shelley’s words of advice to “just start writing” really do help. Just start writing. You will surprised at what comes out of you.

Thank you, Minor in Writing team, for giving writers a place to express themselves. I am so excited to see everyone’s Capstone Project.

Here’s to us and the challenge of being done!

Welcome to My Capstone: “A Court of Silence”

“A Court of Silence” is a collection of testimonies from my experiences working in legal offices, observing court hearings, and interviewing attorneys. These stories reflect the blatant discrimination that exists in our legal system. This site is their home. These stories live on here. I have had many fears approaching this project. One of which is the fear that you will leave this site without feeling the anger that I’ve felt; the anger that I am still feeling. If nothing else, I hope you walk away from this site feeling like you’ve learned something about the criminal justice system.

This has been my favorite project to date. Thank you to my mentor, Erin Lavin, for her words of wisdom. Thank you, Shelley, for always offering your eyes and ears at any time of day.

Let’s shatter the silence.

Find my project here: