Welcome to my smashing website, created for my English 101 writing class at Emory University called “Play, Make, Write, Think.” Coming into this English class, I thought I was a terrible writer with no clear sense of how to write a good essay. I was worried that the professor wouldn’t like my style of writing or think that I was not talented as a writer. However, I quickly learned that this class was all about changing the stigma behind writing. Professor X encourage the class to look at the rubric for assignments but to find ways to push the boundaries and make the writing your own. He encourage breaking away from templates that have been used in the past or conforming to writing based on a certain instructor. With these tips, I was able to break free from my high school thoughts about what an essay should consist of and really tried to incorporate my own style into my works.
Reflecting on the semester, I realized I had accomplished composing texts in multiple genres, using multiple modes. Not only did I publish written posts to my website, I collaborated with my classmates to create a podcast series called “Playing Yourself” and a kickstarter campaign. Previously I had a terrible perception of group projects, being that not everyone does the work or contributes ideas. This class altered my idea of group collaboration and turned it into a positive that can lead to creative teamwork. Playing “Fiasco,” showed how a story can be told by feeding off group members ideas and how a movie worthy idea can come from a role playing game. The podcasts created by my partner, Moon, and I allowed me to analyze a deeper meaning of a simple game. We were able to uncover the real reasons for why a game was created and the message it is trying to convey to its audience. Moving to the kickstarter “Dooley Rider,” my main role was to create the digital artwork for the website. It included the main image as well as different character and race track selections. This semester, I was unaware about how many different modes of writing we were going to create. This approach helped me broaden my view of writing and become aware of the process. I realized that writing isn’t just words on paper but commentary in podcast episodes and visual artwork. Writing a paper or a post on my website this semester, allowed me to figure out how to write up a draft and then apply editing or revisions through trial and error. The reflections mainly helped with this learning curve. I was able to go back to my previous works and understand what I would do better the next time. It’s one thing to just say what you would improve on but, to put it into words, really benefits recognizing the weaknesses.
The reading for this class, SuperBetter, had an intriguing way to transforming our lives into a game. The book jumped into how McGonigal transformed her recovery from a brain injury into a game. I never understood how powerful a game could truly become until I heard this story about how transforming her recovery process into a game saved her life. This idea was super relatable for me. Coming into second semester, I just had knee surgery over winter break. It not only put me on crutches for about two months of the semester but also took me away from playing volleyball. Gamifying my recovery, I found to be a help technique that got me through those months on crutches and through physical therapy. There was also a unique way McGonigal chose to write her book. She placed challenges in each section of the book that she wanted her reader to preform. This atypical way of writing a book gave me an example of pushing the boundaries of writing that was successful.
This English class not only had me thinking differently about writing but also allowed me to do things I never thought I was capable of. If anyone had told me I would have created a full blown website by the end of this semester, I wouldn’t have believed them. Creating this website, was a challenge because I’m not the most tech savvy. However, through this process, I almost found it soothing to create and design a website. I was able to add a unique and corky title that fit my alias, Smashly, for the class. I enjoyed picking out the font of text as well as the visual aspects of the website. This taught me how to use technology appropriately and use online spaces responsibly. This skill allowed me to help my mom edit her wordpress site for her law firm. Not only was I able to better organize her website, I edited the text she had that explained her practice.
Reflecting on all the quests and side quests from this year, I enjoyed the role playing game,“Fiasco,” the most. I have so many great ideas but am sometimes too reserved to share them. This process of a role playing game brought me out of my shell and allowed me to contribute to the storyline. It was also fun to see other members in my group step out of their comfort zones and see their creative side. I found a quote from my reflection of the game that I still believe to hold true, “a value that Fiasco incorporates into the game[…] is the sense that there is a depth behind people that we might not always be aware of.” This relates not only to the true personalities of the people in my group but also to the character relationships in the game. All the characters relationships were intertwined in some way that created for a cohesive story. The teamwork that was incorporated into this process allowed for a successful game. If members of my group would have been shy the storyline would not have ended the it did. The promotion of creative ideas and energy brought artistic collaboration created for a safe environment to brainstorm.
I truly had a smashingly good time in this class and learned more that I thought I would from a freshman writing class. https://eng101s19.davidmorgen.org