Week Six Reflection

Finding Purpose Anywhere and Everywhere

What an adventure the last month and half has been in terms of my career, education, and really just life in general. I feel as a bevy of opportunities are presenting themselves to me that even a few months ago I would never have expected to arise. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future,” (Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.). I found this verse from Scripture about four years ago and do my best to live it through day by day. The hope and the future that God promises is more fulfilling than any plans I could ever imagine for myself, but that does not mean people find it easy to surrender what we can control our lives.

The two years post UD graduation have challenged me to live out this verse in challenging ways. I am not a naturally patient person, so waiting for a phone call from the HR department of a company-especially when unlikely to happen—has not been easy. Working at a job that does not fall within the realm of the career I am passionate about has truly tried my patience. I love reading and writing; I love to learn and be challenged, and explore new ideas, concepts, and activities. But I currently work in a static job that is highly unlikely to encourage career growth, and thus my patience in waiting for those dream career job opportunities seems even further away than before. I like the company I work for, I enjoy working with my coworkers, and I am entirely grateful to be employed and have gained professional experience. However, waiting for the opportunity to pursue a job that is so essential to fulfilling what one is passionate about means that every other experience most likely pales in comparison to one’s dream.

More and more as I continue to grow up and experience what it really means to be an adult I find that my patience is expanding, my trust in God is becoming stronger, and my confidence is developing. I always trusted God—I know that everything He brings me to and through is done for a purpose and that I will grow both spiritually and physically because of those experiences. I am learning, however, that more than just growing in those two areas I also cultivate a deeper understanding of what it means to live my life as a Christian in every aspect of my life. Sure my current employment is not as fulfilling as a writer as I would like, but perhaps I am at this company to reach other people as a friend, spiritual advisor, and confidante. I may not be writing much in my current, but I am developing leadership and computer skills.

For whatever reasons I am at my current job—and I will never know all of God’s reasons—I will continue to do my best an employee and to honor Him because that is really all that matters in life. Trusting Him and having patience in His good will bring about God’s glory: for example, a few weeks ago I was offered a position as an adjunct professor of English at a local college. This position offers a whole new path for me to explore in my professional career, and I am now able to pursue a career amongst a subject I am passionate about. In the meantime, I continue to interact with people with whom I may offer friendship and spiritual advice. I really could not ask to be in a better position in my life right now. God is good!

Week Five Reflection

Portfolio and Narrative Development

What a week it has been since returning home last Sunday after the Brock-Cornell wedding. Despite my best efforts to stay ahead of the syllabus, this week was filled with many late nights playing around with Web 2.0 tools to enhance my portfolio. How did that happen? I spent four hours the day I left for State College—along with many hours the evenings before my departure day—working on homework precisely so I would not end up in this situation. The life of a graduate student, I suppose. And yet, even with those late nights this past week, I’ve come away with a feeling of success at how my e-portfolio is turning out. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but many times over the last few weeks I’ve found that I am actually enjoying putting together this portfolio. The technological requirements of WordPress, Vimeo, and Youtube continue to frustrate and befuddle me, but the reflection, decision-making, writing, graphic design, and layout provide a lot of enjoyment for someone anxious to use her professional writing education.

I’ve found that one of the best—and continually surprising—elements of the professional writing program at NEC is the expectation that students will push themselves outside of their comfort zone to learn and use new aspects of the profession that before they would have never considered. Many times throughout this program I thought I would never succeed in a certain area of writing, or indeed even enjoy working within that area. New media, e-portfolios, and blogging were all relatively new activities that I was not ready to tackle. How could I, when I just learned how to text-wrap in Microsoft Word or schedule meetings in Microsoft Outlook? Nevertheless, with the patience of my professors and classmates, and my own perseverance I’ve excelled beyond my imaginings in these areas and many others of professional writing. I am grateful for and excited about the possible pathways I can now take with experience in these (and other) new areas.

My e-portfolio is turning out really well. The suggestions in peer reviews of my professor and classmates provided excellent ideas for what to revise and edit in relation to layout, graphics, and content within the portfolio. Now that I know how WordPress works I am pushing myself to experiment with more and more of the website’s features. I hope to explore more of these features in the coming week because all of my content is now uploaded and revised for completion. The resume page needs some work, but as I am out of ideas of how to play with it I’m waiting for feedback from my professor and classmates. I am excited beyond belief about my digital narrative. I really love how the script turned out—again thanks to the peer reviews. The suggestions on revision for the sentences about teaching were invaluable. I spent many hours yesterday uploading pictures and figuring out to work MovieMaker; surprisingly enough, the application wasn’t too difficult to figure out. Thank goodness for built-in microphones on laptops and Audacity. The tutorials on Audacity were not that helpful, but Google provided some good websites for how to use the program. My only pitfall was uploading the narrative to a video site. Thanks to Shea Winton for pointing me in the right direction for my upload.

Only two weeks left to go: onward and upward!

Week Four Reflection

Digitzing an E-portfolio

Each week the assignments in PW 6950 bring about new skills for the students in the class. I’ve been dreading week four of this course: as mentioned in earlier posts, I am not technologically inclined, so an assignment dealing heavily on a student’s computer skills was not appealing to me. I knew coming into this week that I would have to plan ahead, allow for long periods of time on homework, and prepare for a challenging assignment. In addition to working on an assignment way out of my comfort zone, I was wary of this week’s intense workload because I am a maid of honor in a wedding this weekend. My feelings were justified: the homework load this week has kept me crazy busy, and I’m sure that feeling will intensify as the weekend comes along in all its wedding frenzy.

However heavy the homework load, I have still been productive on my assignments this week. The letters with pre-written questions to answer on my classmate’s rough drafts of portfolios were challenging and informative to write. I am planning on using my thoughts in the letters for a self-assessment of my own e-portfolio. In addition, the peer reviews from my professor and classmates provided excellent feedback on my rough draft. The detailed letters should allow for in-depth analysis of what I need to improve upon in my e-portfolio. Both my professor and classmates were critically positive in their reviews. I appreciated their honesty and supportive evaluation of my work. The points that came across all three reviews will definitely be added upon or edited as necessary for improvement in my e-portfolio.

Braving the idea of creating a digital narrative for my e-portfolio, yesterday I wrote my script with pleasant results and feedback from my classmates. I was originally unsure of where I wanted to go with this script: a personal story, an analysis of Pride and Prejudice (my favorite novel and movie of all time), a synthesis of why I love English? I needed something catchy, so I utilized the all-to-familiar question, “What do you want to be when you go grow up,” as a hook for how I became involved in educational professional writing programs. For the most part the script works; however, my astute classmate remarked that my comment about switching to professional writing from a secondary education major could hurt my appeal to employers because I recently became employed as a college professor. She’s absolutely right, and I will revise my script to reflect her comment. I continue to hesitate moving forward in the process of creating my digital narrative because I know the challenge of recording audio and merging text, graphics, and sound follows script writing. What looks to be in-depth directions on creating a digital narrative from Module Two’s folders will hopefully guide me through this process.