Looking back to the beginning of a semester has always been quite intriguing to me because I am baffled by how much can happen in such a short period of time. Although it seems like we began this journey only a few days ago, I am astounded by the amount of work that I have actually completed for this course. In writing my opening blog post, I was quite optimistic yet anxious about the upcoming tasks because I do not consider myself to be a technological genius. Having an understanding and obviously passionate instructor alongside fellow students who actually care about the course content made it quite easy to get over my anxiety and produce some of the most interesting work I have ever produced.
When this semester began, I was primarily focused on using this class as a way to market myself while simultaneously gaining experience combining literary journalism with visual storytelling. I was mostly excited to try new things, particularly in regard to operating a blog, but I never expected to learn so much.
Not only do I feel that I gained the experience I was looking for in terms of marketing oneself and diversifying my journalism skills, but I also feel that I gained a lot of useful skills that will make me marketable to wide range of professional positions. In a world that is only becoming more digitized, it is important that prospective professionals have a toolbox of e-skills such as managing a post, being able to edit and publish videos/sound, and understanding how the use of these e-skills can help to reach an audience that may not have been as easily reached using more traditional means of production such as television and newspaper.
Although gaining endorsable skills is essential to anyone seeking a job in a competitive job market, this class also helped me to refine some soft skills that I will always remember. Despite my hypothesis that some of the video/audio editing skills I gained will be lost or eventually obsolete, the soft skills I gained or sharpened while working on these projects will carry with me throughout the rest of my professional life. One of the biggest lessons I learned that will be useful to me in the future relates to taking photos and videos. As I stated in an earlier post, I like to consider myself to be a relatively self-aware human, which often leads to me worrying about being invasive or obnoxious about taking photos or videos of people. Perhaps one of the most useful lessons I took away from this class is that your comfort level as a photographer or videographer will have a direct effect on your subjects. For example, if you just dive right in and take photos and videos, no one really seems to care. On the other hand, however, if you are having a hard time getting comfortable, you will inadvertently draw attention to yourself and make the job that much more difficult.
Setting aside the fact that this has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had as a college student, there were indeed some projects that I enjoyed more than others. Our most recent project involved putting together a video of some sort. I really enjoyed the amount of freedom we were allowed in our approach to this project, and getting to go to Laramie’s sesquicentennial birthday celebration was an absolute blast. I really enjoyed walking around the event and trying to look at things with a slightly different perspective. It is interesting to me that I can often overlook some very interesting and eye-catching details until I remind myself that there is probably more than just one way to look at something.
On the other side of the same coin, the project that I enjoyed the least was the social media critique. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned a thousand times by now in this blog, I only subscribe to one platform of social media which I rarely update, meaning that the amount of work I had to put into this post went quite a bit beyond what I had initially imagined. To really get a good look at the different social media profiles of two different organizations, I had to create fake social media profiles (which meant that I also had to create a few fake email accounts). Although this allowed me to have fun coming up with interesting and fun aliases for myself, it was quite time consuming and didn’t feel like the effort was worth the reward.
If I could step into a time machine and give myself a piece of advice for this course, it would have been very simple: get ahead! What I mean by this is that I often found myself “under the gun” when working on assignments, scrambling to make sure that my write up was finished even though the major part of my work had been done for days. I feel that if I had put more effort into my blog post write-ups, I would have performed significantly better than I did, even though my experience was still very much a positive one.