A Semester-End Review

If I’m being totally honest, blogging isn’t really my thing. I mean, I know my way around the english language, but I’m not too keen in general on sharing much about myself. I can understand how something like that might be therapeutic for some people, because I would imagine that one might use a blog similarly to a journal. Even knowing that hardly anybody would ever read it, I just find it hard to see why anyone would care to read what I think, so what’s the point in sharing it in the most public way possible. That being said, I think working on these blog posts over the course of the semester has been a great and worthwhile exercise in stepping slightly out of my comfort zone. I don’t know if I would say that it’s enough to make me want to continue blogging, at least on a personal level. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy putting some of these together, at least a little bit.

How to Learn (if you’re me and you also don’t really like learning):

Of all of my blog posts this semester, I think that this one really stands out as being the most honed and formatted. In this post I essentially delineated my process for learning. Coming from the background of being a less than stellar student in my early high school days, but eventually coming to love learning, I thought there might be some worth in sharing that journey that I took. Even though other’s journey might not be the exact same as mine was, the points that I made were broad enough to be fairly applicable to anyone who might be in a situation similar to the one I was in.

Paying Attention to Paying Attention:

This post was a reflection of the time I spent doing the little attention experiment wherein I was tasked to focus on a number of different things while I used social media. I kept track of things such as where I was, what I was doing, or how I was feeling when I was using social media. Surprisingly enough, I had somehow not noticed the subpar way in which I was using social media. I too often used it simply as a means of stimulation when I was bored. It’s kind of like when you keep checking the fridge even though you just checked it 8 seconds ago and you already know that there’s no food in there, but you’re really just going through the motions. I like to think that I have gotten better, even though I still “check the fridge” from time to time. Even though I am not consistently using social media to its fullest potential, I have surely taken a step in the right direction.

How do I create something that matters?:

In this blog post I posed my “big question,” and talked about how it relates to what I want to do with my career in the future. I also hit on why it is that I am so in love with film, and the potential that it has to make such a huge and lasting impact. I also touch on the idea that making something that matters comes as a result of making a good film, and not necessarily the other way around. If you go into the filmmaking process with your only goal being to make something important, then it becomes much easier for other aspects that are more important to the quality of the film to take a backseat, thus resulting in missing the mark by even more.

Making a Difference (with movies):

The point of this post was to find a TED talk, or any educational video really, that pertained to our big questions, along with a list of people, both on and off campus, that could assist us in our future endeavors. Despite being a few years old, the points that Jeff Skoll, a former E-bay executive turned film producer, really stand true. The pertinence of this video to my big question really helped me see it from a different perspective, especially in terms of the sheer scale of change that one film can bring about.

Is Equality Possible on any Platform?:

In this one I talk about equality in regard to the internet. This idea of equality comes up in two places in particular, the obvious one being while on the internet. Even with all of the benefits that the internet offers, there are still some downsides when it comes to equality. The “lack of visual cues” that was once thought to be customary on the internet has quickly faded away, with it now essentially being our second identity. The second instance of inequality comes in terms of access to the internet, which most people, myself included, too often end up taking it for granted.

No Technology For (15 Minutes a day) A Whole Week:

This exercise made a nice contrast to the previous attention experiment. Whereas the earlier one taught me what I could be doing to better utilize social media better, this one helped me see how many other productive things I could do when I’m not buried into any technology. For, as useful as the social media and technology can be, it is not always used for solely that purpose. While I cannot speak for everybody, I would be lying if I said that I don’t ever use it as a distraction.

There is not as much of an overt trend as I imagined there might have been when I began contemplating this final blog post. I expected to see a clear improvement as time went on and I progressed through these posts, but the results seem to be a bit skewed. I think that I would have seen a trend more similar to the one I imagined if I hadn’t been able to go back and edit these blog posts with constructive criticism from my classmates. If I could have the chance to do this same semester-end review with only the first published drafts of these posts, it would likely be quite a different story. If anything, having edited them with the help of classmates has acted almost as an equalizer, putting the quality of each one more or less on the same level. The scope of what I discuss in the posts varies, but I think the quality is relatively equal, and I don’t think that would be the case if not for using blogging as a medium. In conclusion, I think that is the biggest thing that I learned over the course of this class; how to use the internet and social media in a way that is much more collaborative and educational than how I used it before. Now, that’s not to say that I am forever done “checking the fridge,” but at least now I am better equipped to use it to my advantage.

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