Wrapping Up: Paige

Ransbury-cupidAs a CUPID Associate this semester, I learned how to fail. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve learned this (nor the last), and I certainly learned how to succeed as an Associate as well, but I think it’s important to reflect on everything that went wrong in order to appreciate everything that went right. And a lot did go wrong. Whether it was printers conspiring against me or my academically debilitating tendency to procrastinate, some things just didn’t turn out the way I wanted – but that’s okay. My failures were fuel to help me learn from my mistakes and grow. Here are some thoughts on what I did wrong, what I did right, and what I learned in the process:

Writing blog posts: I love writing blog posts – no, wait, I love brainstorming what I could write in blog posts. In my mind, everything is related to rhetoric because everything is an argument. The possibilities for posts are endless (and they get even more interesting when they are concerned with ethics, or identity, or world-making). My problem wasn’t coming up with ideas; it was getting them on paper (er, computer). I tried to come up with a schedule for posting that would help keep me accountable…

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…which was obviously hugely successful. My posting was sparse and sporadic; however, towards the end, I began to get a sense of what I wanted to – and would – write about. While I wasn’t a prolific blog writer, I sought advice on how to write effectively and paid more attention to my surroundings (physical and digital) in order to find something to write about. I found rhetoric’s thumbprint on everything from class discussions to campus events, and as I thought about how and what to write about rhetoric, I practiced rhetoric – invention, style, delivery, kairos, and audience analysis were never far from my mind.

Spearheading Video: While I helped Emily and Rachel develop and implement the Digication and WordPress workshops, they were not my main focus. My main focus was learning video and editing software and creating a video to post. I was initially very excited about this; I wanted to learn the basics of producing a video and this seemed the perfect way to get my feet wet. Ideas were generated, software was researched, and plans were made – only, I never got around to bringing my ideas to life. Over the course of the semester, they went from being plans to being suggestions for Associates next semester.

I was able to familiarize myself with a Flip Camera I rented from the Studio over Spring Break. When I got back to school, I edited the clips using iMovie. The resulting video was pretty silly, but it felt good to have one foot in the video editing door. Learning how to add titles, transitions (the punctuation of film language), and music helped make disjointed clips of my friends playing Wii and spontaneously breaking into an a capella performance look like a semi-cohesive video. This experience gave me the confidence to attempt a video project for another course, ENG 212 Multimedia Rhetoric.

I’m happy with the groundwork we laid this semester – preliminary research is always important, and it was extremely useful for my class project – but I could have worked harder to get video implementation off the ground. One of the biggest things holding me back was fear: my ideas wouldn’t work, my video would suck, and I would look dumb. Fear sucked the creative initiative out of me, and it became easier to put the project off. I wish I had confronted that fear earlier on and just forged ahead with the project. Even if my ideas didn’t work, and the video sucked, and I looked dumb, I would’ve had something to show for my efforts. And really, school is the perfect place to fail with dignity and learn from it.

Connecting to Ricoh: This one was not my fault (!!!) but it still didn’t turn out as I had hoped. One of my tasks early on was to figure out how to connect personal laptops to the Ricoh printers in Alamance. It was impossible. As soon as I downloaded the 318 printer onto my computer, I was given the option to print to 315. When I tried to actually print something, it gave me three different kinds of warning or error messages. I called the Technology Help Desk twice, talked to an Elite student in the library, and went to Tech Support to figure out the problem. No one could help me. There is something wrong with the printer. I had started a flier in InDesign detailing instructions on how to print from your own laptop and, although I loved designing it and using C.R.A.P. principles, I ultimately abandoned it because I didn’t want other students to go through the same mess I did. The positive side? I learned how to track down a problem and be persistent, even if it didn’t pay off.

I didn’t expect to be a CUPID Associate this semester, but I’m grateful for the experience. I thought more explicitly about rhetoric than I ever have, and practiced it in entirely new ways. I’ve loved working with RPR, Emily, and Rachel, developing ideas, and collaborating on projects. My understanding of the discipline increased from being able to practice rhetoric in this context, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow as a collaborator, rhetor, and student. I’m excited to see what the Associates will do next semester!




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