First of all, Past Rian was a dummy and deleted practically all of the pictures, and so every post prior to “Social Media.” doesn’t have any images, besides the Harry Potter MotW introduction and my signature. Oops. 😦
Second of all, this post is inspired by Kelsey Empfield because I read her end of the semester posts and couldn’t help myself because she’s so quality and you should check her out.
The beginning of this semester kind of reminds me of the very first YouTube channel that I ever created.
I didn’t know how to edit videos at all at the time and so all of them were about 10-15 minutes long with extremely awkward pauses.
Re-reading my first handful of blogs for this class reminded me of the time I went back and watched those videos and they made me feel awkward and weird.
But that’s how a course has to start: Awkward and weird.
Unless you’ve previously known your classmates, you don’t know anybody and you don’t know how they’re going to respond to your work and you don’t know how you’re going to respond to theirs. And it’s even more difficult if it’s an online class. You can’t look at them and vibe off of what they’re saying in real time, you can only respond to something that they’ve already posted.
This semester can be summed up into 8 numbers: 36. 300. 177. 30+. 80+. 27. 16. 3.
Summed up into 8 little numbers, that was my semester.
(This is about to get very “12 Days of Christmas”-y, I can already tell. It’s a good thing these aren’t birds because that would be quite a lot.)
First and foremost, are my own posts, the content that I have contributed to this class.
I am not a blogger, nor have I ever been a blogger, and I don’t think I will ever call myself a blogger.
I have a Tumblr blog, but if you’ve ever been on Tumblr, you know that a Tumblr blog is significantly different than a WordPress blog.
In the past, I had always tried to have a blog, but they would fizzle out after the first month, sort of like every single journal I ever owned as an adolescent.
Two memes were consistent on my blog: “It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” and “Harry Potter Moment of the Week”. (Fun fact: At the beginning of the semester, I would call it HPMOOT, instead of HPMotW. Good job, self!)
My personal favorites of my post would have to be “Harry Potter Moment of the Week #10 || Favorite OTP” and “Speaking Out About Speak“.
As I was re-reading through my posts, it was interesting to see how different “my voice” sounded through the words. (That was a weird explanation, I’m sorry!) As my posts got more and more recent, I saw that I sounded more passionately through my words than my first few posts. The Harry Potter MotW posts are the ones that I really saw this change and I feel like “Favorite OTP” was the one that really stood out among the rest.
“Speaking Out About Speak” was also another one of my personal favorites. We had finished with the Twitter Chat for the book, and I felt like I needed more than 140 characters to express how I felt about the book and how important it is to have such heavy topics like rape in YA novels. Going back to read the post and its comments made me feel an overwhelming level of emotion and support.
Unlike a handful of people in this class, I was familiar with Twitter and didn’t need to read up on “Twitter 101” on how to work it.
When I found out in Contemporary Literature that Twitter could be used as an educational tool, I was kind of mindblown. I have a personal Twitter and I pretty much just use it to “shoot the shit” with my internet friends.
I liked being able to connect with people over Twitter about a book or a certain topic, but at the same time, I feel like Twitter is more of a hinderance for me. When I talk (or write), I talk (or write). Currently, I’m already over 700 words for this post, and I’m not even halfway done. (Kudos if you read the entire thing!)
This number includes other’s comments and my own because WordPress doesn’t give you that number. (Or maybe it does, I don’t know)
177 Comments over a span of 36 blog posts. That’s an average of 4.916(6666667) comments per post. Of course, this isn’t an exact number, some have more than others. But with those comments, people thought that what I had to say was interesting, or they felt the need to add their input, which is fantastic. In order for a class like this to work, participation is necessary in order to bounce ideas back and forth with each other.
30+ different articles over a plethora of different subjects: Social Media, Young Adult Literature, Assigned Reading, Self-Censorship, Diversity, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on and on.
80+ Reading Hours.
Before reading the 15+ page syllabus (Yes, you read it right! 15+), there is a paragraph in big, bold words at the very top:
WARNING: This course comes with its own warning label! First, it’s heavily reading-intensive: You should expect to read 1-2 full-length books each week plus 1-2 critical articles. The good news is that most of the books are fast, absorbing reads. Second, most of the books include controversial material. Young adult literature, for reasons we’ll discuss, deals with the hard stuff. Some of it may push your buttons. Be prepared for story lines that address death, drug use, rape, abuse, sex, power, poverty.
Two years ago, I had attempted this class and withdrew halfway through because I fell behind in the assignments. This semester, I was determined not to make the same mistake and so I read and read, read and read, and read some more. The first week of class alone, I read four books, which is completely insane. Some of my friends can tell you: I am a really slow reader. One of my friends can read 120+ pages in about 2-4 hours. With that same book, it would take me about 8 or so.
One of the things that I love about this class, is that it gave me an excuse to read up on Young Adult novels that I had wanted to read for a while. I have a ton of YA novels piled up on my shelves, and a convenient public library that is right down the street from where I live. Not only did I have plenty of physical copies of books, but I also had my Kindle Fire that I was able to take with me and read on the go if I had any free time.
I have never read almost 30 books in a year, let alone 27. Yes, compared to some people, that might not sound like much, but reading 27 books in 16 weeks is something that needs to be celebrated all on its own. It’s crazy to think that, just four months ago, I was anxious over the fact that one must read 1-2 full length books in this class as a requirement.
This semester reawakened my love for books and for reading. It introduced me to some of my favorite books from when I was younger, and some new favorites. All I want to do now is curl up with a book and just, read, read, read, read, read.
I tried to read a variety of different genres of books, but that wasn’t always the case. As I said in the middle of the semester, I tend to stick with dystopian and romantic comedy-esque young adult novels. But this semester also taught me that, if I continually see a book on a shelf at the library or a book store, I should just read it because turns out, it’s a fantastic read.
My favorite books this semester were “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell, “The Treatment” by Suzanne Young, and “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson.
Each of these books, in their own unique way, showed that life isn’t all about sunshine and rainbows. It shows that being a young adult in society, whether in the past, present or future, is harder than what people make it out to be. And although it might be nice to have a happy ending, that isn’t always the case.
One book that I wished was added to the required reading list was “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. Yes, I have already read the book, yes I already know what happens, yes it’s sort of predictable, and yes I cry every time. John Green’s writing style is phenomenal and he’s able to convey the voice and personality of sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace so well. Also, his videos on the book and the movie on his and his brother’s YouTube channel should also be a must to watch whilst reading this book.
I mean, any John Green book would work in this situation. DFTBA!
I was very anxious at the beginning of the semester because, once I put my work schedule and my class schedule into my calendar on my computer, I didn’t think that I would have time to do anything. From 7 AM till 4 PM, I am going from work to class, back to work, back to class, and back to work. For the first couple weeks, I would come home and end up passing out on the couch till about 8 PM (Which may have been what happened tonight. Oops!)
This class wasn’t about the credits. Yes, it’s nice that I will receive 3 credits for this class, it’s been much more than that and will continue to be more than that.
I’m a very indecisive person, so telling me to choose which classmate’s blog I enjoyed the most is almost an impossible task. I enjoyed reading everybody’s posts about what they’re reading, the different blog memes that everybody chose, and reading their different views. But out of everybody’s, I really enjoyed Staci Brandner‘s blog. She had some really great ideas and I enjoyed reading her Harry Potter MotWs.
I plan to read allllllll summer and, since I’ll have more free time, I also plan on posting plenty of YouTube videos as well. In terms of reading, I plan to read the rest of the Harry Potter series since, after I re-read the first book at the beginning of the summer, I kind of dropped off of that since I got so busy. I also plan on reading The Chronicles of Narnia series since I have had all of the books for over a decade and have only made it through part of the first book.
One question I wished Ellington had asked about our learning and reading is: What other social media tools did you wish we used in class? (YouTube and Tumblr :P)