winter break travel vibes

just in time for break, check out my final project to get some travel vibes:

I created a zine that takes you on a journey through my travels last summer. There’s a haiku on each page, for each city, along with photos and other artifacts from my trip. I wanted to keep the website simple to let the zine speak for itself, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of condensing huge experiences into simple, short haikus, trying to still convey the feeling and most important details of each city. So, take a glimpse into some places across the world and get a little taste of my travel experience.

Thanks everyone for such a great semester!


At the end of the semester, I can finally look back on the work I’ve done and comment on it. Briefly, I’ve grown as a reader and writer this semester. After dabbling in a variety of genres and learning more about the term genre itself and its allowances and constrictions, I feel a little bit more liberated in terms of my writing. Standard, traditional definitions of specific genres do not dictate my writing — I can take them as guidelines and help in formatting, but ultimately, what matters is my purpose. Genre is simply an outline, a platform from which to enunciate a message. If the message isn’t thought out, then it doesn’t matter what genre is used. 

I’m going to continue to build on this by practicing new genres in my writing. I would like to go further out my comfort zone from now until the capstone by trying out genres I’ve never tried writing in before. 

Anyways, here’s the link to my ePort!

goodbye for now!

Usually at the end of a class, specifically writing or English ones, I don’t tend to actually see my growth. This class was SO different. I think the greatest way that I grew was in my creativity. With each experiment, I got more and more creative and challenged myself to really go outside of my comfort zone. I think that this really paid off in terms of the quality of my work. Looking back at my first experiment, there is not much there that is much different from my origin piece. Now, I am working with a completely different medium and addressing a completely different point. This is something that I’m super proud of, as I feel like I’ve started to lose my creative side a bit in college. I’m really happy that this class has given me an outlet to channel that side of myself.

I think that the biggest way in which I’ve grown is in regards to the revision process. Although this isn’t a totally new strength of mine, I have found revision to be especially important in this writing process. Building off of my last paragraph, I have found revision (as well as FEEDBACK from my peers) to be essential in helping me create my best, most creative work. I’m really excited to keep growing and seeing how revision can impact my work. 

Overall, this class has been an absolute pleasure to take part in. If you’d like to check out my zine, here’s the link:

Have a great winter break!!!!

words for days.

in the end, i feel like i’ve found my voice–expanding on the prose is something i am realizing i seem to enjoy. up until this course, i have been insecure, almost ashamed, of sharing my writing. perhaps it was the content i always immersed myself in. looking back now, it baffles me how i have never done any creative writing. ever. i would only bury myself in the comfort of academic essays–research, research, and more research. to me, i could research and write, without ever exposing what i actually thought or felt. i guess this was why i was so insecure. i realize that my minimal exposure to creative writing, and vast, endless writing of only academic essays has taken a toll–i seem to have lost my voice amidst reiterating research, regurgitation of facts to support an idea etc. sometimes i would read past essays and not recognize that it was my own writing. but this course, the creative route i chose to take in my experiments and project, has allowed me to find my own voice. i now recognize my thoughts and can almost hear me reading aloud. currently, i feel as if i am blossoming out of the fear of not being able to write. writing is fun. and i am most proud of my newly discovered love and confidence in writing.  

because there may be some goodbyes to the wonderful people i met in my gateway class, i would like to say that i am quite grateful for everyone’s guidance and encouragement for what may be one of the more important things i do in life. i have been stretched during my final project, and have grown towards a niche i’d love to explore in writing about: human conditions, emotions, relationships, etc.

check it out here:

in my time before the capstone, i hope to continue down this path, open to whatever comes my way. taking an idea, and running with it to see where i end up!

All good things must come to an end

In all honesty, nothing is coming to an end in terms of the work I have done in this class. What is coming to an end though is this semester and my time in Writing 220 with Shelley and the rest of my class. It was a really challenging semester for me in all my classes, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all my time in North Quad on Monday and Wednesdays. And while I am not sad to say goodbye to the long walk from my house at 9 am, I am sad to say goodbye to this course.

I had so much fun in this class. I really truly enjoyed the experimentation process and feel content as can be with my final project (if you want to skip to it, click here.) I can’t say how happy I am that I chose my common application essay. It allowed me a lot of flexibility in terms of focus and I also was able to write about something personal, which I don’t get to do enough in college. Personal writing is something I’ve, well, always kept personal. So it was difficult to sit through peer review sessions with brand new faces while they read about some of my lowest points. That being said I can’t say enough how much I appreciated the peer review session. I am so grateful to all of my groups for their honesty and sensitivity during the process. My portfolio would be nowhere without you all, so thank you!

As a sophomore, I have a lot of time until the capstone class. I want to have something I am ready to point my finger to and say “that is what I want to do!” However, I don’t have that. At least not right now. It’s on my mind though and I can’t wait till I have that aha moment when I know I see what I want to work on. I also fully acknowledge that may not happen until I am sitting in the Capstone class with a new group of friends.

Going back to the personal writing, I think I have realized a strength of mine is writing about powerful moments. This is a little random, but I realized intense writing is something I have fun doing and get really push myself in. I also really enjoyed scripting my podcast episode. Maybe I should dabble in screenwriting. These are all just some fun ideas. If I’m being honest, I am brain dead from this past week and can’t wait till I wake up tomorrow morning knowing that everything is calm in my brain until January 8th.

I hope you enjoy my final product 🙂 I plan on showing my grandparents tomorrow when they come over for dinner. Stay tuned if you would like to hear what they think.

Sincerely, Maddie 


Goodbye until Winter 2021. Let’s hope senior year takes its time getting here.

How I Learned to Write Like Myself

Let me start out by stating the obvious: I had so much fun writing this semester! Although my writing was pretty personal and often serious in tone, I had a blast experimenting with genre, audience, and voice. That’s probably the biggest way I’ve grown this semester: I’ve learned to embrace my writing style. Instead of conforming to a tone I thought the audience (i.e. the professor grading the paper) would appreciate, I was able to make choices about how I wanted it to sound and what would work best for my project. I have these blog posts to thank for that, at least in part: blogging has allowed me to write in a loose, informal way, which has really helped me learn to love the sound of my own (writing) voice. This is what has made my experiments and final project so fun to create: I’m able to put so much of myself into them.

That thought connects nicely to the advice I have for new Gateway students: pick an origin piece that you love, something that means a lot to you. You might find it easier to transform that research paper on polluted waterways, but is that really where your interests lie? Picking a subject you’re passionate about is gonna make writing so much more fun and fulfilling, and it will allow you not only to grow as a writer, but as a person, too.

Without further ado, some information about my e-portfolio. My origin piece is a transcript of an interview I conducted with my grandmother about her early married life, in which she learned that my grandfather had Hodgkin’s lymphoma (practically a death sentence in 1959) and had to keep it a secret from him for many years. This semester, I have made exploring her emotional experience of this period my main objective. My final project is an artist writing that explores a fiber arts piece I created to compliment my origin piece. The writing connects “women’s work” like weaving to societal expectations for women, as well as to themes of grief, monotony, and perfection. (This all makes much more sense when you actually see the artwork, which is why I’ve included images of it in my final project.) Along with my artist writing, my e-portfolio includes all three of my experiments in their entirety, along with a comprehensive introduction of my origin piece and why the topic of my grandfather’s disease matters to me.

You can find it here:

Writing 220: The President and the Press

My final project considers the topic of misinformation in terms of the clash between the Presidency and the press over control of the truth. The concept sprouted directly from the verbal clash between President Trump and CNN Reporter Jim Acosta at the White House in November, as claims that President Trump’s behavior is unprecedented emerged. These claims and the clear despise President Trump has for the media made me wonder about past presidents’ relationships with the press corps that covered them. What I found both erases the notion that President Trump’s behavior is unprecedented while also revealing there is something different about President Trump which makes him more dangerous to the freedom of the press. The entire experience of researching, analyzing, and reflecting on this topic, which took me all the way through the history of the United States, has been the most challenging, thought-provoking, and rewarding piece of writing I have taken on.

I have grown substantially as a writer this semester. The focus Writing 220 places on the process of writing was its greatest gift to me. My largest challenge as a writer has always been getting the ideas in my mind onto the page. Writing 220 forced me to dissect the way I went about writing something, breaking up each experiment into sections. Reflection was also another aspect of this class which allowed me to grow as a writer. Reflecting became synonymous with learning in this class for me. Each experiment pushed me in unique ways and reflecting on each one made me more prepared for the next one. I will carry this habit of reflecting in my future writing.

As you go about reading my final project I ask you to consider the driving question behind it: who determines the truth and what forces impact our understanding of it? As I dissect, that question has only become more muddled over time, but it’s worth struggling over. The relationship between the president and the press has had concrete consequences on the lives of Americans for centuries, and it will continue to impact us and adapt with changing technologies in our lifetimes. I hope you reflect on and struggle with the concepts I flesh out as much as I did. Enjoy.

TED Talk: What You Didn’t Know About Shock Therapy

For my final project, I wrote and filmed a mock TED Talk on electroconvulsive therapy (“shock therapy”). The TED Talk, titled “What You Didn’t Know About Shock Therapy”, was inspired by a Michigan Daily article I wrote after Michigan Medicine published a study finding that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a cost-effective treatment. In the TED Talk, I pretend to be one of the authors of the study, explaining why the results are important and attempting to debunk some of the misconceptions surrounding ECT.

Looking back on the past semester, I think Writing 220 made me a little confused (in a good way) about what kind of writer I am. Especially over the past few years, I’ve really only written in journalistically, academically, or scientifically, and I love these styles because they’re so straightforward. As I discuss in my narrative introduction, I really enjoy words and the actual mechanics of writing, so I tend to focus less on creative writing or storytelling. Writing 220 definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, forcing me to experiment with genres that I don’t know well. Although I still wouldn’t say that I’m confident in my creative writing and personal storytelling abilities, trying out genres such as short fiction reminded me of how I used to enjoy writing creative, fictional pieces and poems. Also, the class made me think a little harder about genre, and I realized that some of the styles I’ve deemed “uncreative” — like scientific writing — actually do involve creativity, because the author needs to tell some kind of story (even if they’re writing about data) to show the reader why their topic is important.

To summarize, I guess I’ve realized that I can write in more ways than I thought I could coming into Writing 220. The Minor in Writing is a great way for me to explore genres that don’t feel so comfortable, so as I work towards the capstone, I want to keep experimenting. My goal is to figure out what I can do as a writer.

What a semester!

What a semester it has been! As I discuss more in my eportfolio narrative introduction, I have undergone many changes this semester, both academically and personally. The minor in writing gateway course really pushed me out of my comfort zone, just as my recent life experiences have done as well. I loved being given the freedom to explore who I am as a person and writer through the flexibility this course allows for.

My biggest take-away from this course has been that you have to start somewhere. You won’t get a writing piece perfect the first time, but without starting with something, there is no way to improve. I used to be scared to write things that I knew could not be perfect. From this class, I learned that that is the fun part! Being able to put something on the page and then edit and develop it along the way are what writing is about. The experiment process really taught me this.

I also learned that you cannot compare yourself to others. As a class that is majorly consumed by peer reviews, this is hard to understand. I constantly felt bad about my writing when sharing it with others. I would apologize to my peers before reading it. However, I have learned that if you do not have confidence in yourself, then no one will. We are all learning and we can only do the best that we can do.

My favorite writing piece from the eportofilio was my narrative introduction, not my fully-realized piece interestingly enough. I think this is because my fully-realized piece was not personal. For my capstone project I decided that I want my writing to be more personal than the project I did this semester. I think personal pieces are more enjoyable to write and I think I am better at them. That being said, I am proud of myself for trying out creative writing, but I definitely have a lot more to learn!

Here is the link to my eportfolio for the minor in writing:

I learned more about myself while making it and I hope you learn more about me as well! Enjoy!!

Minor in Writing: A Proper Noun

Enrolling in my first, gateway course to pursue my minor in writing at the University of Michigan molded a unique experience that I never expected.

During interviews, people ask me, ‘tell me about yourself’ and to ‘walk me through your resume.’  I scan through my few years as an undergraduate at college: my accomplishments from before, my projects right now, and my goals in the future. ‘I am pursuing a minor in writing because you learn how to tell a story. You learn how to convey meaning, so that the customer understands. Because you need to empathise with the customer; you need to know how the customer can feel and understand something in the same way that you do,’ I tell my interviewers. I still hold true to this. I still believe this is one correct way to interpret writing and transfer it to my career aspirations for marketing and communication for life, in general.

I came in with the assumption that I would be working on a ‘professional’ and ‘formal’ piece. ‘What is the minor in writing,’ people would ask, ‘what kind of writing do you do?’ In September, I told them that my focus was in formal writing, ‘like essays and research.’ By the end of October, my answer flipped into creative writing. That, precisely, is my growth pattern whilst enrolled in my Minor in Writing Gateway course. I always advertise myself as a ‘generalist’: someone who holds many curiosities and interests, many abilities and backgrounds, and wishes to apply it in every corner of their life. But, my refusal–my fear–to stray away from formal writing contradicted that very philosophy. This course inspired absolute free-thought and wild creativity, that many other courses would frame as a deviation from institutional formulas and their structured checklists. And that is where the takeaway, growth message derives.

I learned how to not conform to my and others’ historical successes–to not limit myself from taking new risks.

My final experiment was a prologue to a novel, which is something I never expected to start entering the course. But, that is precisely the lesson. I tried something new and, consequently, expanded my writing expertise on the more creative side of writing. This, I think, is the true ‘storytelling,’ that I always mention during my interviews and when people ask me about my minor in writing. I grew as a writer, in these past three months, as I took the uncomfortable risk of writing a prologue to a novel (in the style of collection of vignettes, which is also newfound to me), for the first time. My expanded progressiveness toward risk-taking is the very strength that I am excited to expand as my Capstone course approaches, thus concluding my Minor in Writing experience.

What I find even more phenomenal, though, is that this project is incomplete, in a sense. I have ideas bouncing in my head; sometimes it is the only thing I think about, as I walk to-and-fro between my class meetings. I adore this passion that I have nurtured through this course, along with hearing the many stories that fellow classmates have composed, too. Now, I understand why the ‘Minor in Writing’ is capitalised as a proper noun: it is, truly, a unique experience, inimitable in any other course at my university.

As my graduation approaches closer with each passing day, I eagerly look forward to expanding this prologue into a full-fledged chapter for my novel.


To Tommy and Alex, the two narrators in my novel’s plot: see you again in Fall 2019!



Final ePortfolio for the Minor in Writing: