#Pivot: Last Thoughts

In sum, my last thoughts for Writing 200 is: this was a rigorous course that concluded the Minor in Writing (MIW) and my college career in a thoughtful, pleasant way.

I entered college with no idea what I wanted to do and ended up pursuing the MIW as a resume builder. Little did I know that I would actually enjoy it and that it would change my perceptions of writing. I never thought about why or how I write; to me these things were not that important. I wasn’t pursuing a career in journalism and I never found a need to have the answers to these questions ready to go. But what I found is that I learned more about myself than my writing abilities in answering these questions. And through the course of the MIW, I realized that writing became a way for me to discover my beliefs and opinions on subjects that I otherwise didn’t think much about.

In the meantime, I was improving my writing skills too! I learned to write in different mediums, how to address separate audiences and how to really think about the reader as I composed my work. And today, whether I’m drafting an email or a 30 page research paper, I feel more equipped to explain my point and communicate effectively. I am very thankful for the skills I have attainted from the MIW.

The MIW was a process that didn’t come full circle until the final class, Writing 400. (But before I say anything about this class:Don’t be fooled! Points take FOREVER! So get started on them early!) Although the expectations are high, the workload seems unattainable and your are asked to give the most effort during a time when you have the least motivation (second semester senior year), you may find that it truly was worth it in the end. At least that is what I found. Writing 400 pushed me to view older pieces of writing from my college career in a light that I had never viewed them in before. Truthfully, I had never given many of the pieces much thought after I turned them in and only thought about the grade I was going to get on them. But writing the annotated bibliography caused me to analyze each piece and explore what I learned from it and how I could have made it better. Then I was pushed to write my evolutionary essay and connect all these pieces together into an argument. This was difficult. How was I supposed to connect every piece of writing I had composed in college into one, seamless argument. Oh, and then connect it to the capstone project. Well initially I just thought about how my writing had affected me. I realized that it was a way for me to converse with myself and discover my thoughts, feelings and emotions. My “thesis” (I guess if you want to call it that) was,

Writing is the how for me. It has been through the process of writing that I have been able to explore, discover and develop my own thoughts.

And then I had to think about this project. Something I cared about so much that I was going to be married to it for over half of the semester. And pour more thought and energy into than any other academic assignment… EVER. I thought, sure, I’ll skim by like I always do – I won’t really be married to it. Well, looking back, I had a ring on my finger, vows exchanged and was cohabiting with that capstone project. But the coolest part was that it was honestly by choice. I was given the autonomy to direct my own project. And write about essentially what ever I wanted. At first this made it almost impossible to choose a subject, but once I did, I fell in love with it. Absolutely head over heals.

Now I would like to say it was love at first sight, but it wasn’t. It was more like meeting someone at the bar and the next morning you remember that person being really attractive but you really have no idea. You’d like to think they are but you can’t remember what they look like. And then you start texting them and forming an image of what you think they like in your head, but again you have no idea. And then finally, you meet them for coffee and it all become clear. Boom: you’re in love.

My project was this fuzzy idea. And then I started talking about it with my classmates through workshops and open group discussion. I met in office hours with my professor Ray (who is great – you should definitely get in his class if you can) and you start to form an idea of what your capstone project will like like. And then you’re forced to write a proposal and make a plan with deadlines and then, basically start working. Once you get past the research faze it becomes clear and Boom: you’re in love.

So you write this project and you display it on a beautiful website platform and you are so, so proud of it. And then you’re asked to make the evolutionary essay a bridge between your portfolio and the capstone project, and then add a bunch of additional pieces to your portfolio. And you realize, they are all connected.

It is amazing but viewing my writing is like reflecting on my college journey. It’s silly, flawed and choppy yet enlightening and story-like.

The capstone project was a way for me to reflect on myself, my interests and all the knowledge I had gained from college. And it is really cool to see!

As for the rest of my life I really have no idea. I am one of those fortunate ones that has a plan for post college. I’m traveling through Europe for 3 weeks and then moving to Boston to do sales for an IT research and advisory firm called Gartner. It is all  very scary and exciting but to be honest, I have absolutely no idea if this is what I want to do with my life. But hey, it’s a start and an income. So I’ll take it.

Someday I want to find and do something fulfilling. I could see myself returning to school to get my masters in social work or education and pursuing completely different career but who really knows. And as for writing, I know that it will follow me wherever I go. I want to continue writing to make sure I don’t loose the skills I currently have. But the cool part is I think this won’t be too hard. I can write for personal interests of diary keeping and thought discovery or discernment. I can write about things I learn in the future or about books I read. In the professional sphere of my life I will write reports summaries and explanations.

I’m excited for what the future holds and I am certain the MIW has better equipped me for what the future holds. And I’m not just saying that! I learned more about myself and my takeaways from college.

So to you I say: stick with it, you won’t regret it. And…HAPPY WRITING!

#TopTen Books to Read

And ladies and gentlemen, for 50 points…….

drumroll please……

Here are my TOPTEN most recommended books for you to read!

  1. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  2. Power, Privilege and Difference by Allan G. Johnson
  3. On Purpose by Vic Strecher
  4. The Last Time I Wore a Dress by Daphne Scholinski
  5. The Alchemist
  6. Toward a New Vision: Race, Class and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection by Patricia Hill Collins.
  7. The Help
  8. Great Expectations
  9. The Art of Racing in the Rain
  10. The Go Giver

I hope you at least read one of these books in your lifetime. And if you already have, then kudos to you! Congrats on your completion of the MIW!

<3 Angelle

Peer Review Please

Hello! If your work ethic mirrors mine in any way, you are frantically making edits and navigation changes to your portfolio today. If this is the case: GOOD LUCK, YOU GOT THIS!

And don’t loose sight that: THE END IS NEAR AND THAT IS GOING TO FEEL GREAT!

But, if any of you have time to do a peer review of a one page document, I would greatly appreciate it! I need help on opening my capstone project. I’m not sure if it is clear and sets the stage for what I’m going to do (so please tell me what your interpretation of my project idea is, based on this page). I’m also fearful that I sound too knowledgable and arrogant about what people should and should not be learning, in regards to my Sociology education.

So please go to my portfolio, click on the Capstone tab and peer review the first page. Please be harsh! You can send your comments/edits to me via email: Angelle Kettlewell – ankettle@umich.edu. And yes, throw these comments in your drop box and you will receive points!!

Thanks and happy writing.

#mixer, #rayray, #help

Project Make-over #mixer

*advice, please!*

I’m speaking to those who are making/have made personal blogs about a particular experience, trip, or phase.   My blog posts sound like diary entries. My concern is, how to speak to an audience beyond myself.  I changed their statuses to “unpublished”.  They seem lame, stagnant, and unrepresentative of my experiences.   My original capstone project plan was to make a blog about the making of a double bass recital.  I’ve hit a wall. Is there reader appeal to reading someone’s diary about making music?  Paul does not want me to scrap the whole thing but…oy

///

My own solution has been to try and create something in a different medium. I remembered Ray advising me to generate questions.  I remembered a Q&A with myself becoming the foundation of my Gateway project.  I decided to make a zine (self-published, hand-crafted, magazine; a medium likened by 90’s female punks), centered around the question, “Why do I music?”. Yes, it is a reference to George Orwell’s “Why I Write”, but I think it works.  Here’s the cover page.

zine cover

Making the Personal Something Relatable #mixer

For my Capstone project I am doing a case study on my family’s meat market in Detroit’s Eastern Market area and trying to find quick and effective procedures we could put in place that would make our business run more effectively and therefore decrease the stress my parents deal with as small business owners. Within this very specific and personal case study I hope to find tips and suggestions for all small business owners in Detroit to use in order to improve employee engagement and efficiency.

For this project I am most excited for the fact that this is really pushing me as a writer in areas that I’ve improved in over my last four years at U of M. After writing my Writer’s Evolution Essay it really helped me understand that what I have started to improve upon (and what to continue) is taking personal things, like my family’s business and delivering that information to an audience that does not know me in a succinct and meaningful way, where they’re able to understand where I’m coming from. I think when I am in my career, my time at the market will affect my actions and the way that I see things in corporate america, and it will be important for me to explain and defend my opinions, while utilizing my unique background, in a way that people will understand.

I am most nervous about the fact that I have A LOT of moving parts in this project and I hope that it will all come together on my WIX page in an aesthetically pleasing, coherent way. I have video, pictures, text, charts, etc. and I’m still in the process or organizing everything. I hope I can pull this off!! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

From Research to Finished Product #Mixer

BuzzFeed

What are you doing?

I’m asking three basic questions in my capstone project: Why do people give up comfort, safety, and security to travel for extended periods of time; What do those adventurers know for their experiences that I don’t (yet); and How can I make my goal of extended, solo travel into a reality?

Why are you doing that?

When I say to myself, “Self, you should really get your shit together…what do you want to do after graduation?”  I always come back to the idea of adventure.  My worst fear isn’t being jobless…it’s having a 9-5 that steals my soul, cripples me into a permanently seated posture, and makes me forget all the things I said I was going to do with my life until the day I wake up middle aged and realize I missed the point.  Answer: adventure.  You’ve got to admit, just the sound of that word is pretty sexy.   Hence, I’m researching people who have done it, polling people who may or may not want to do it, and figuring out what I need to do to prepare myself for it.

What’s that going to look like?

Good question.  This is where I keep coming up short.  Originally, I had envisioned a lot of buzzfeed-esque list articles along with original photography (both mine and from my survey respondents).  Then I started to write one and realized that my inner academic positively bucked at the idea of squashing weeks of reading, interviewing, and internet scouring into bullet points.  Then I thought, “Well maybe I can add an elaborative paragraph after each point in the list…” but soon the list got totally lost amid the surrounding text.  Then my professor suggested, “Maybe you can make each article a number on the list…sort of ’10 reasons I can do this’.”  That idea struck a cord–maybe I could make my entire portfolio a list, with each artifact/article/post/whatever as a number, a reason, and then it’s own academic elaboration.  Would that work?  Would you read it?  Would that fulfill a goal to be both entertaining and academic at the same time?  Thanks in advance for your input!

Catholicism in Asia

asiaheader1

Above is the graphic that will serve as the introduction for my Minor in Writing capstone project, an interactive essay on Catholicism in Far East Asia. I am studying this topic because I want to better understand some of the issues–particularly those involving politics, inculturation, and evangelization–that affect how the Catholic Faith is lived in this region of the world. In doing so, I hope my project will help my Western audience to become more aware of the unique challenges and hopes of the Church in the East and to better appreciate the global face of Catholicism.

In many ways, I think my graphic is emblematic of my own challenges and hopes for this project as well. For example, I am very excited to consider the aspect of evangelization–how can the Church make new converts in an area that is predominately non-Christian and, in some areas such as China and Vietnam, even hostile to the Faith? Accordingly, I chose as my theme a scriptural quote to highlight this challenge of making the Gospel relevant “To the Ends of the Earth.”

Similarly, my graphic also represents a challenge I am facing in my project. The inscription at the top is the very same scriptural quote in Latin. At first glance, this may seem out of place. Why Latin? Wouldn’t a rendering in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese be more appropriate for a project about Asia? Actually, this is precisely the issue I’m struggling with as I progress in my research. Latin is the official language of the Church, a powerful symbol of the universality and timelessness of the Catholic Faith–whether in Europe or the Americas or Asia. Yet recent times have seen a shift from the uniformity that once characterized Catholic practice and worship to more culture-specific forms, especially in Asia. As a result, this exchange, this interplay, this–to some extent–tension between the Catholic Faith and the culture in which it is lived is sure to become a central theme of my final project.

In the Works

As my post suggests, my Capstone Project is certainly still “in the works.” For those of you who do not know, I am using this opportunity to combine my love of movies and language in a really interesting exploratory way. I am interested in tracking the changes in comedy films, specially with topics having to do with sex, sexuality, and language, from the 1950s through the 2000s. I have selected one comedy film from each decade. While watching these films, I took notes to myself, paying close attention to the topics I mentioned.

So far, I have not really worked on the analytical aspects of my project. I still need to look through my notes from each film and decide exactly what changes, trends, and similarities I would like to display through my project

I am extremely excited about putting the whole thing together. However, I am very nervous as well. I am not sure yet how I am going to lay out the various points I am trying to make : on different pages of the website, in different tabs, across an interactive timeline, or on a tumblr page (or something similar).

First things first – I will need to decide exactly what information I want to display. Then I will work on the format of displaying that info!

I would appreciate any and all input! Thanks for reading!

Portfolio/Project Progress #mixer

For my project, I’m interviewing/surveying young Indian American women about their perspectives on dating, love, and marriage to find out how they navigate different, sometimes contradictory cultural forces when it comes to relationships. I’m a part of that group too, so I’m also writing something  about my own family: my grandma’s “love marriage” in India, my mom’s arranged marriage in India, and my experiences trying to bridge two cultures when I date and consider whether or not I want to marry. I want my audience to get a better sense of what Indian culture is like, especially what it’s like in this country, and to challenge some of the stereotypes they may or may not have in mind. I also want to demonstrate the range of experiences that come with this particular blend of cultural identities (Indian and American) and how this diversity shapes different experiences of feminism.

So far a lot of people on campus and in other parts of the country have responded to the survey I distributed, so I have a lot of interesting information from that. But I’m still in the process of interviewing people and freewriting about what I’ve gathered so far, so…I don’t really know how I’m going to organize any of this yet. That’s what I’m trying to figure out. All I know is that I want to split the writing up into different subtopics and pages so it’s more digestible, and I want to use as many photos, video/audio clips, and direct quotes as possible to let these women speak for themselves. My job will be to write the connecting threads and try to synthesize everything in a clear, engaging way.

I’ve decided to use Weebly as my portfolio and project platform because of its drag-and-drop site builder and customization options.

Weebly Site Builder

I’m excited about how many opportunities there are to incorporate visuals and audio, both of which are important for my project. It’ll be easy to create a landing page and put the project on display using an image gallery, and I think it’ll look really nice. But on the other hand, I’m worried about having enough high resolution images to make the best use of all that visual space! The Weebly templates all, of course, have huge, beautiful images. I want to make sure my images are relevant to my project and/or portfolio in general and that they’re high quality.

So anyway, my biggest problems right now are organization and time. Big ones. I want to be able to pull everything together without rushing it so I can be happy with the end result, but time is flying and I’m not where I was hoping to be at this point! But I trust that the more I work on it, it’ll come together. This weekend is definitely going to be dedicated to my capstone and my portfolio.