I can confidently say that I have never taken a class anything like Professor Morgen’s Play, Make, Write, Think ENG 101 class. Looking back on the past semester, not only can I notice the difference in my writing abilities, but I can also notice my change in perspective. I do have several regrets from this semester, but this class was extremely enjoyable. On the first day of class, when professor Morgen mentioned that we would be creating avatars and names to go by, I was so confused, as I have never taken a class remotely similar to what was described on the course website. However, throughout the semester and through my work, I can see my changes in confidence.
I had never created a website before, so creating my WordPress site was extremely confusing. However, throughout the semester, after posting more and more, I got a hang of how to work the website, and even began venturing out to customize it into looking like a “real” website, something I never imagined me doing. Looking back at my very first post on my WordPress, I remember how confused I was, as there were so little instructions in the assignments with such vague guidelines. Because my previous English classes have just been me trying to please my teachers through my structured essay-writing, I was extremely confused. One of my biggest regrets is that in the beginning of the semester, I did not take advantage of this ambiguity of instructions and did not explore my creativity from the beginning. I reluctantly settled for a simple avatar and began having a little fun with the What’s In My Bagassignment, when I realized that this class would allow me to explore more casual types of writing.
Consistently throughout the beginning of the semester, I always questioned if I was completing the assignments “correctly”, and I remember my confusing peaking when liveblogging about Gone Home. Itwas such a new experience for me, as I have never liveblogged before, nor have I played a scary game like that. Because I have never played a game like that before, I struggled to advance in the game, as I could not find the clues and items needed. I felt helpless and like I was not skilled enough, so my WordPress post was very vague for this assignment.
The assignment that really allowed me to open up creatively was Fiasco. Again, because an activity like this was so new to me, I was a little insecure speaking up at first, but after going through it and getting a hold of what Fiasco was like, I began speaking more confidently. This game then became very enjoyable, and I had some good laughs.
The most memorable assignments were the podcasts for Playing Yourself. The entire process, again, was so new to me, and it taught me a myriad of aspects of myself and writing that I had never realized. I always knew that I was not the type to necessarily speak up in class, so when told on the first day of class that I would be producing a podcast, I instantly got so nervous, as I hated listening to my own voice on recordings and automatically froze during public speaking. However, it helped that I was able to co-produce for the first one, so I learned a lot from the main producer. Through this process, I learned how to naturally spout ideas from my brain, rather than read off a script, as well as take his ideas to form my own. Reflecting on my first podcast, I wrote on my site that “I struggle with projecting my voice and making it clear in recordings,” which sprouts from my lack of confidence in public speaking. However, in my second podcast, I got more used to hearing my own voice and speaking clearly. I also learned more technical aspects of writing, such as using a professional microphone, Audacity, and Canva for the thumbnail, all while giving credit to respective sources. I found these technical aspects to be very interesting and entertaining, and I feel more skilled with these new abilities. Through creating podcasts, I learned to compose texts aside from simply writing an essay. These podcasts were also interesting because I was able to discover more information about two topics that I have never really given much thought: the SAT and the Sims. I feel like I would not have had the opportunity to dive into the background of these topics if it weren’t for this class.
Another assignment that taught me more about myself was What’s Your Number, which helped me realize more personal things about myself, and the superficial aspects of my life that I let determine my overall mood for the day. I noted on my webpage that I “noticed that I easily let one event ruin my entire day,” as “after one negative feeling, I constantly felt sad or angry throughout the remainder of the day.” I had not noticed this about myself prior to this assignment, where I was given a reason to observe myself. Assignments like these also gave me the opportunity to focus on my emotions, typically not found in academic classes that I probably would not have done if not assigned in class. Again, this also redefined writing for me and allowed me to learn more of myself as well.
Lastly, creating a game for freshmen at Emory University was a great end to this class, as the game was intended for Emory freshmen, like myself. I was able to learn a lot throughout my freshman year, so with my groupmates, we created a choose-your-own-adventure game to maximize meal swipes used at the DUCling, as freshmen tend to avoid the dining hall due to its mediocre food. In this process, my previous experience with Canva from the podcast allowed me to create one of the flyers for this project that matched the theme and tone of the game. Through creating this game, our original idea of simply being rewarded for swiping into the DUCling was revised several times, with us adding new components to it each time. I learned to take this constant revision as the process of improving, rather than taking it as failure, which I had struggled with for a long time.
Overall, throughout my English career, a constant struggle I faced was insecurity, not knowing if what I was doing was “correct”, or how my teacher would react to my work. Even in “casual” forms of writing, there was a certain structure and formality expected, preventing me from truly letting out my creative ideas. Because I would focus so much on abiding by the rules, I was never able to portray what I wanted to say in my writing. However, through the work done in this class, especially on the WordPress site, I have discovered my interest in letting my ideas flow out of my brain onto my MacBook keyboard, and I have begun looking into blogging. As cheesy as it sounds, this English 101 class has sparked new interests and overall changed me for the better.