Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

26 Letters in 26 Days

It is very convenient this year that Thanksgiving (for us Americans) falls on the 26th of November and that there are 26 letters in the alphabet. Do you see where I am going here?

I propose a 26 letters in 26 days blogging series, going through each letter of the alphabet and describing something we are thankful for (I know cheesy) in the spirit of being thankful all November long. From the silly things to the serious I hope this will be a fun and challenging way to blog during the month of November.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by floodllama

So anyone else want in? Maybe a good tag to go along with this? 26in26? I don’t know, I am open to suggestions for guidelines. In any event starting November 1st I will be starting off  at the letter “A”, hope to see you there.


The First

Happy New Year everyone! Here is the first post of 2009 on the first day of 2009.

Last years resolution to blog daily failed spectacularly around February I believe, but I got a lot out of it for the time I did. It pushed me to be creative and put those half-finished thoughts out there, make a mess.

I have more to say, but right now I am battling a cold that won’t let me go.  So there are resolutions to come and more thoughts that have been in pieces in my brain that I hope to get out there.

For now I am drinking my tea and watching old home videos. It is a good life.

Breaking the Silence

This semester my blog has been fairly silent. A lot of the silence stems from the embarrassment and anger I felt over losing my campus job at DTLT. Its a long story but because I did not meet satisfactory academic progress for campus employment this past semester; I could not work or receive federal financial aid. So it has been a tough semester financially and my ego took a bruising too.

After losing my job I was forced to reflect on my reasons for being at college. I’ve known for some time now that I have very little interest in academics and have a tough time motivating myself to do work in classes. The question, ” then why am I at college?” has been asked many times. And truthfully I don’t know how to answer that in a non-complicated way. But there are a lot of things I do enjoy at college and I have learned a lot. So for the moment that is just alright.

I learned a lot this semester about doing things you don’t want to do (and the consequence of not doing such things), but I’ll admit that this might be the semester when I learned the least about the course material. I was stressed about getting good enough grades and about being a student that I lost interest in actually learning the material in favor for old methods of playing the system that would help me just get through. As it turns out I didn’t really have the fortitude to go through the motions the whole way through and just ended up sputtering to the end of the semester. Yeah, a terrible idea, I know. So I spent most of the semester feeling like a fraud and any motivation I had to write in this space was just gone.

But now the semester has passed, I have limped across the finish line and have decided to move on. More outlandish thoughts and more nonsense. Maybe I didn’t keep that new years promise to blog everyday, but perhaps in the last few days of 2008 I can overload everyones feed reader and come close to 365. Too much? You decide.

shattered memory” originally uploaded by millicent_bystander

I Love The Kool-Aid, But…

    Now that Joseph has stirred up the pot, and it is a pot that definitely needs to be stirred, I thought I’d do a little bit of a response at this late hour.

Right off the bat I think Joseph is right in saying that students don’t use what they don’t think they need. I see this apply to blogging a lot, if a student doesn’t see an intrinsic value in it they will not use it. For those skeptics it takes a lot of convincing that blogging is not really like writing a paper in a word document. I would also say what they have to blog about may make it harder or easier for somebody to write. I will even admit that I have been behind on my blogging for my Digital History Seminar because a lot of what I am doing for that class involves technology and I don’t really like writing documentation. But sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it. I am really looking forward to the idea of talking about solutions for these kinds of problems at Faculty Academy, like really excited. I see this also be connected with something Martha recently blogged about, along similar lines with the FSEM. Basically, I am excited hah.

Jeff also responded to Joe’s post with a lengthy comment/post, there is one particular part that stuck out to me:

Yes, I’m asking students to do something new, or to push themselves, or to think about doing something in a different way, and yes, that potentially takes away from their time to read (or learn) about those darn battles, but that’s a choice I’ve made as the creator of the course. That choice is based in my desire to balance the skills and content portions of my class (that’s an over-stated dichotomy here) to provide the best possible experience for the students going forward, not just in that course, but hopefully in others as well.

This goes back to something I have been thinking about lately. What exactly is the purpose of higher education? Is it about content or is it something more? I would like to think that it involves more than content, in fact I can’t stand the thought of purely a content driven education. Personally, at this moment I am not planning to teach history (my major), or work at a museum, or necessarily do something along those lines. I am investing in a college education because of the experience and the skills, the content is more a coating on the pill to make it go down easier. This is just my opinion, but I am guess that the majority of students are traveling down this same road.

There is more I want to say, but its is too late and I have to get up early. More to come.


I’ve got to remember earlier in the day to start on this daily blog post. It is already past my bed time so this post will be brief.

I think blogging everyday is a challenge, but as I do it more I feel more comfortable in my “blogging skin”. I’ve always enjoyed blogging, it’s fun and it’s conversational. Recently though I feel it is even more an extension of my thinking. I find myself returning to the blog to think through ideas or just what is on my mind. Less of a finished product and more meanderings. It feels more natural and less forced. As the days go by I worry less and less about what exactly I am writing and whether or not it will “the best post ever!”, I’m enjoying the process of writing more.

This has been coinciding with the fact that I’m also feeling more ok with not knowing everything. Once I have admitted to myself that I don’t know a whole lot and that I am still naive, I can move past the feelings of bitterness and wall building that happen when I feel like my intelligence is being attacked. I now rather be ignorant and willing to listen and learn than a fool pretending who clasps her hands over her ears.

Trying to Expand

About a week into the year of blogging and I’ve already realized I can’t go about ranting everyday, without driving myself crazy. I think I edited yesterdays post about 10 times after publishing it. So I’m trying to push myself to think outside my normal cycle of “real school kool-aide”, I’ll admit I am bit addicted.

I had a conversation with Joe (who has also fallen into the trap of working as a student aide at DTLT) and his different view on real school and web 2.0 matters has stimulated some thought. As we chatted I talked about how blogging is important to me because I feel more connected with everyone and that I value having a pathway to converse and learn from other bloggers. Joe responded by saying he never really thought of blogging like that and for him blogging is another form of press. Our conversation carried on and I felt like I was getting that other perspective I have been wanting for awhile. One of my problems is that when I try to think of counter-arguments I tend the counter those counter arguments and I am stuck with the same old record playing in my head. I’m still learning to be critical of my own beliefs.

So one of my goals over this year of blogging is to critically examine my ideas and beliefs, play a bit of devils advocate. In some ways I am looking for an argument, someone to challenge what I have put out there, to stretch my thinking a bit. I could put something ridiculous out there, I’m not sure yet, but whatever it is, it will take some thinking.

Now taking a few steps back to something I mentioned in the first paragraph. As I mentioned, blogging has been important to me because of the community that is involved and the connections between people. So another goal of blogging over the year is to come up with questions I want other people to respond to. I would respond to these questions too, but I’m really looking what you guys have to say. Nothing incredibly personal, but questions that encourage the community to respond and share an experience. Again I’m not exactly sure what kind of questions I will ask, it could be anything I suppose (off the top of my head: describe a class that changed your life) and I would even encourage other bloggers to put out questions of their own. It sounds kind of creepy, but I want to know you! Growing up I didn’t want my parents to tell made-up fairy tales, I made them tell me stories from when they where younger. So, whats your story?


I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned that in the presence of the many brilliant people I get to spend time with I feel like a young pup staring wide-eyed, jumping around in excitement, waging my tail furiously thinking, ‘What are they doing? What is that? Oh that is so cool! I want to try!’ (at least that is how I imagine a puppy’s inter-dialogue at times).

So in the spirit of puppy excitement I am copying Gardner’s blogging new years resolution and attempting to blog everyday and leave comments too. Prepare yourself for lots of half-baked angsty college student goodness. And if you get sick and tired of my blogging you could always blame Gardner for planting the idea in my brain. : )

Hold on tight 2008 is here.

Lessons I Need To Remember: On Writer’s Block

I’ve had occasional spots of writer’s block, everybody does, but this semester I experienced one that I did not know how to deal with.

Late in September this writer’s block started to make its appearance. I was not only busy being stressed about having less time to get school work done, but all the sudden it seemed I had nothing to write about or when I did write it sounded like garbage. It didn’t bother me too much at first, I’ve handed papers in late before and it didn’t turn into a problem. But then it started to spread to all my classes and suddenly I had several papers that were late, it was a virus slowly killing my grade. The most I could seem to muster up was a paragraph and a comment on a blog post. I could not write about anything at great length, I felt I had bits and pieces sitting in my brain, but I couldn’t build anything with them. Even in English class where I had to write a paper about myself I was coming up with nothing, is that even possible?

Why was it so hard to write about anything?
Why didn’t anything sound right?

As time went on I became increasingly gun-shy (or is that pen-shy?) and an endeavor I once enjoyed was something I had come to really abhor. Had I become such a perfectionist that nothing I wrote was as good enough?

Steve always being the concerned mentor was helpful and honest. “What is Nike’s slogan?”, he would ask. “Just do it”, I would respond knowing all to well he was right (how annoying). I’m sure those of you who follow me on Twitter were subject to many tweets of complaining (thanks for not blocking me). The nice thing about twitter is that I could also receive helpful advice from people. For instance Sue Fernsebner pointed me to a website that contained the following quote:

“Commit yourself to the process not the project. Don’t be afraid to write badly, everyone does. Invest yourself in the lifestyle not in the particular piece of work.” -Frank Conroy

So I’ve been trying very hard to write. Even when I have felt that every sentence I was writing down was crap I’ve kept trying. Somewhere along the line I had convinced myself if it wasn’t going to be great it shouldn’t be written at all and of course that is mostly complete rubbish.

Maybe not everything I am writing is worthy of a gold star, but that isn’t the point. I should be writing for myself. If I want a random post about my love of CSI why not go ahead and do it. I can no longer just keep this blog dedicated to those “golden ideas”, I don’t want my blog to be like that at all.

No one has a perfect life and why should my blog make it seem like I think I know all the answers, I am certainly do not. I’ve just got to blog in the way that works best for me, and be ok with that.

There will be a time for posts that require a slow blogging approach and there will be time for a more “bavatuesdays” or “Bill’s Stuff” stream of thought of just getting what you need to say out there. Both foster conversations in their own way.

Just blog it.

I’m A Real School Fool

Recently Steve, my perpetual muse, asked me this question:

“If you were President of the College, how would you create a culture of trust and a community of learners between faculty, staff and students? What are the key issues and questions that would need to be addressed? ”

I gave him a list of a couple suggestions and key issues I thought would need to addressed. While I was typing out this list I had one of those flashes of new understanding that linger on the edges and then pop out of nowhere, often occuring while in the midst of writing. So as my behavior often is when I am in a chatting mode I impetuously wrote out a rant and sent it off to Steve, who doesn’t seem to mind my lack of proofreading too much (thanks Steve!).

So here is the cleaned up version of that sudden a-ha moment I wrote in one shot, late at night. Why I am a real school fool, or, why I think Real School is really awesome:

A thought occurred to me while reading Computer Lib/Dream Machines. The work (and play) I am doing now, the discussions I have been having, could have a real world impact. This has obviously been true for quite some time but, it struck me differently all the sudden. Thinking back on my previous school experiences, I thought about how much of that time was spent performing tests and writing papers that didn’t really matter. The tests and papers required answers in a vacuum and now that I have stepped outside the vacuum, and know there is life outside the vacuum, my actions outside it have a deeper impact. For a long time I have understood school as such: A poor grade reflected on my inability to remember an equation in math (or whatever), that didn’t mean much to me in the first place. The poor grade only affected me in my own bubble and ultimately determined whether I would go and where I would go to college, which, is the real goal of making it through grades k-12 (apparently). On the other side of this you’ve got real school. In real school not participating has real world consequences, what happens in real school effects real life, real school is real life. Problems are no longer discussed in a vacuum but, cut across subjects and time. Why shouldn’t these things connect? Aren’t subjects just human creations designed to organize ideas? Of course, more often than not in school, ideas end up being placed in a various subject-sealed containers. I cannot think of anything more exciting than the world no longer being about me but, about others! In real school students are freed from being the centers of their own universes and no longer have to have to hold everything together themselves. Participation in real school is not just for my own benefit of learning but, for others too. To share and connect, to journey on the caravan together, earth is a school. 545419366_d07e46e7a21.jpg

Originally uploaded by staylor336.

Transistions and Change

The transition from high school to college is complex enough and recently I’ve been wondering if technology has made it easier or harder. I don’t have much analysis on the matter because it is more a problem I have been dealing with and have felt more acutely since being home. College has long been regarded as a time where you can start over and find out who you are but, how easy is it in this very connected world? In this transitional time where society is becoming more and more dependent on the technologies that make us connected is my generations college experience (or our lives for that matter) setting a new precedent?

For instance, cellphones keep you connected at all times and even screening calls is a little more difficult because people know you can see their missed calls. People even get upset if you are the type of person that keeps your cellphone off regularly (I used to be this type of person) because not being able to contact someone at every moment is just horrible, right? I’m not trying to put down connectivity because I have been enjoying the benefits of applications like Twitter ever since the Faculty Academy but, I’m wondering how do we go about disconnecting from certain things? Isn’t there a time when we need to move on or readjust our connections?

Perhaps I feel my worlds (yes worlds) are colliding (or will soon be) and I don’t know if I should put up boundaries or just let it be. Most of my family knows I blog but, I am still reluctant to give those who ask the URL. I can think of some family members I wouldn’t mind sharing it with but, others I rather not see it. The same thing goes for friends from high school and friends from college. My blog is out there though, isn’t it? I don’t make posts private and I really don’t talk about embarrassing personal stories that I wouldn’t want my mom to know but, I can’t help feel that there needs to be a separation. In an attempt to try to sort out who I am my thoughts often end up being showcased on my blog. A simple solution would be not to blog about it or limit it but, I don’t think I could really consider that option. Maybe I feel like I am under a microscope of sorts and because my generation spends countless hours on Facebook following people I fear if I shared my blog with peers I would be subject to that same watchful eye, especially since there aren’t many student bloggers. Maybe it is my fear of being known or maybe I just care too much about what others might think?

Today I googled my name and on the first page there was multiple links connecting people to me. It is becoming easier to find me and things I have said.


One of my friends recently left a post on my wall on Facebook and told me while doing a google search she found my blog.

Am I really afraid to fail and “fail gloriously”? Yes. Years of being subtly told failure is to be avoided and making a mistake is a sign of sloppiness, stupidity, or apathy. I’m struggling because I’m not sure I am really ok with making a mistake. When people are more likely to ask me what my GPA is than what I learned I cannot help but feeling failure needs to be avoided. People will try to put learning from mistakes in a shiny light but, more often it feels like it would have been better to have avoided making the mistake in the first place.

Here I am though, sharing this with the whole world. Although while I am writing this I am thinking about the people who read my blog and comment, more than I am imagining everyone on the web. A wise friend recently said to me it is “…interesting how the audience can call something out of us. We know that at least a few trusted readers will read it. Later we learn that many other folks will also love it–but it’s the trusted circle that calls it forth”. I think that is one of the reasons I continue to share and put this out there, it is these people who I can trust to respond with something meaningful to say. If I fail in front of these people I need not fear being ridiculed, these people embrace “making a mess”.

My life is the editing stages, preparing for a major mashup of my past and present lives. As my online life becomes more transparent and as I plan to purposely do this starting this fall (atleast that is what I am telling myself) I have come back to idea of connections. It is clear that not all connections are equal, some are more valued than others. So as I deal with feelings of anxiety and worry about how well things will come together I have to remember to take a deep breath. I am starting to realize I am not enslaved by these connections, in fact I may very well be in charge of these connections. This may just be a matter of asserting myself and taking risks but, that is an issue for another blog post.

Tagged! My Feed

Photos Huzzah!