Unleashing My Originality


Unleashing My Originality

     Being a part of this English 150 class has been quite a learning experience. As a math major, the thought of taking an English course was a bit intimidating, as the subject has never been my strong suit. In all honesty, I signed up for this class with the sole intent of fulfilling a general education requirement. Little did I know that this course would turn out to be one of my favorite classes during my time at UNC. It pushed me out of my comfort zone of writing structured essays, and forced me to unleash my creativity through transforming my interpretations of various literary works into homemade videos. Through using Camtasia, I was able to express my creativity in many ways. For example, I was able to show my innovation through finding various media sources and fusing them together to create a video representing a single literary work. I loved this class because it strayed from the traditional structures of writing-based English classes, and instead encouraged innovation and creativity.


**Poetry Essay**

     Our first assignment in this class was to compose a 4-5 page essay in which were to discuss a poem in terms of a related concept or reading. I was relieved that our first assignment turned out to be writing-based, as writing essays is a skill that I have grown very accustomed to. For our poetry essay we were allowed to choose any poem that we wanted. This ended up being a little overwhelming. Finding a poem that I liked was difficult at first because of the extremely wide range of options. I began thinking of poets that I enjoyed studying in high school, and fondly remembered reading Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” in my AP US History class. In my paper, I discussed the poem from a historical standpoint, relating the poem to the United States Civil Rights movement, and the struggles that Angelou faced as an African-American woman during the time.

Link to the first draft of my Poetry Essay: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jIBmfCSb22x80bv2pYSO4uPtG9TX3ZsfG_cUbn_S8As/edit


     After receiving constructive criticism from my peers on how to better my essay, I revised my work twice after initially turning it in. I did not expect to revise my paper so many times, but in correcting it so much I believe that I was able to produce a very well-thought-out and strong paper. My revisions mostly included discussing “Still I Rise” in terms of the narrator of the narrator instead of Angelou herself, and correcting grammatical errors. I also took out the quotes that included in my first draft, as I believed that they seemed forced, and did not flow well in my essay. Receiving feedback and revising my work definitely resulted in a worth-while end product that I am proud of. I believe that my creativity was put to the test in this assignment, as interpretrating an essay through a non-literal lense requires a great deal of creative thought. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this essay and becoming so familiar with the Maya Angelou's poem, "Still I Rise."

Poetry Essay Revision 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/198V2pVaLVa0Xpy7FAYRWg_Y6Q7513O2KND4aH57jaRI/edit

Poetry Essay Revision 2: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19Xs6tUdCuRu3l15-5HH8uotnIVoHlXhY79F2mD5nPZE/edit



     Our next assignment was a little more intimidating to me. We were asked to use Camtasia to create an E-Poem. I had never used Camtasia before, and was overwhelmed by the many features and tools that the program offers. I did not think that I would ever be able create a video on my own! Luckily, it did not take me long to get the hang of Camtasia. I actually really enjoyed using the program and discovering everything it had to offer! For my E-Poem, I decided to use a different poem than “Still I Rise” as inspiration. I wanted it to be shorter than “Still I Rise.” I remembered in high school I was asked to create a painting based on literature. I used the poem “There Is Another Sky” by Emily Dickinson, and thought this would be perfect for my E-Poem assignment. To create my video, I read “There Is Another Sky” line by line in order to decide how I wanted to interpret it in my E-Poem. I used the words and imagery that stuck out to me to create a visual story of the poem through using various clips of YouTube videos and other types of media available on the Internet. This is what I ended up with:

Really pleased with the way my epoem turned out! Making it was a very rewarding experience #ilit

— Caroline Key (@carolinemaxkey) February 25, 2016

     I was very pleased with the first draft of my E-Poem. I spent many hours working on it, and tried to utilize a lot of the features offered on Camtasia to show creativity and innovation. After turning in our first draft of our E-Poems, our next task was to create a walkthrough video, in which we described the methods behind our creations. I loved making this video, as it gave me the opportunity to describe my point-of-view, and allowed me to explain why I chose the media that I did. This is my E-Poem Walkthrough:

    I received positive feedback on my E-Poem from my peers which was very exciting! However, there is always room for improvement. I used some of the constructive criticism that I received from my classmates and from Professor Anderson to revise my E-Poem. The most noticeable change I made was that I altered the text seen in the video in order to make it look less harsh. The white letters are more subtle, and I believe that they allow the E-Poem to flow in a more transitional manner. The text also shows up on different places of the screen, which I believe makes the video a little more appealing and interesting to watch. Another significant change that I made to my E-Poem was fading the music out at the end of the video. In doing this, the E-Poem ends less abruptly. I feel as though the changes I made to my E-Poem were much needed, and that they make the video look more professionally done. This is my revised E-Poem:

     Our final project regarding our E-Poems was to create a citation video in which we gave credit to the sources that we used within our videos. This is another project that I thoroughly enjoyed. I used this video as a way to explain my thought process behind choosing the clips and music for my E-Poem. It gave me a way to communicate the meaning behind each of the pieces that I decided to use. This is my citation video:  

     I am very satisfied with the videos that I created for my E-Poem. My creativity was definitely put to the test with these projects, but I am immensely happy with my end products! I had a lot fun making my videos, and I am so glad that I was introduced to Camtasia because I believe knowing how to create videos is a very valuable skill in this day and age. 


**No Country For Old Men**

    We were assigned to read and watch No Country For Old Men, and then compose a video-based review that considered both adaptations of the story. Beginning this project, I was interested to see how the two would differ from one another. I read the book first, and I was intrigued by the storyline. I also was fascinated by Cormac McCarthy's writing style, as it was definitely out of the ordinary. I thought his lack of punctuation was interesting, and that it gave the book a simplistic feel that went along well with the overall mood of the novel. I also appreciated the movie, and found the two adaptations to be similar, while also including a few key differences. I discussed this in my movie review. Creating my movie review was easier than making my E-Poem because I had already had some practice with Camtasia. Although I was more familiar with Camtasia, I was not as pleased with my end product as I was with my E-Poem videos. I felt that while creating a video-based review was much more creative than writing a paper, it did not allow as much room for innovation as the E-Poem project did. I only used clips from the trailer of the movie for my review, and struggled to have my creativity shine through the visuals of my video. I enjoyed reading and watching No Country For Old Men, but I believe that my video for this project ended up being the weakest of all my works that I composed for this class. This is my No Country For Old Men Movie Review:



     Although I had a difficult time reading Watchmen, I am glad that I was given the opportunity to experience a graphic novel. It took me a while to read this, as I was distracted by the graphics, and probably spent more time admiring them than interpreting the text. The in-class discussions that we had on the book gave me a deeper understanding of it’s meaning. I liked how Watchmen is not just a typical tale of a superhero. It shows the struggles that come along with holding a multitude of power, which gives the book an interesting twist.


    I found Watchmen to be a fascinating form of literature. It showed me a creative way in which a story can be delivered. The captivating images that went along with the text expressed a great deal of creativity, and reinforced the powerful storyline of the book. Even though it was a little hard for me to read Watchmen, I have a great appreciation for the story it tells, and the way in which it was creatively produced.

**Importance of Constructive Critism**
  Throughout the course of this class, we were asked to give others constructive criticism on their works, while also receiving constructive criticism on our own works. This is an example of my work being critiqued by my classmates: 

     Because I received feedback on the work that produced, I was able to take into consideration the things that needed to be tweaked and changed. This class has helped me learn that constructive criticism is essential to the process of improvement. Through giving each other feedback on our pieces, our class was able to improve our works as a whole, and become stronger composers.


**Final Thoughts**

    English 150 has taught me so much. I learned many useful skills, and was introduced to various methods of composition. I greatly enjoyed the projects that we were assigned throughout this course, and I loved how they challenged the "status quo" of a typical English class. I cannot express enough how pleasantly surprised I was by what this course had to offer. The most important thing that I take away from this class is the importance of expressing creativity, and finding new and innovative ways to create pieces of work. I further described my creative process througout my time in this class in my E-Portfolio: 




I feel the same way that this course helped broaden my mind when it comes to literature in various forms. Who would you recommend this class to outside of the English major?