Today was my turn to ‘man’ the exhibition at the Corn Exchange in leeds from the Exhibition module. Each of us were required to sit in and do a four hour shift looking after the work and helping people who came to have a look round to find their person of interests work. The exhibition was particularly quiet today with people generally only coming downstairs to use the toilet, and Kerry and Jono, much like myself, had thought ahead and wanted to utilise this opportunity to crack on with a load of work.
As the deadline is only a couple of days off, I had to force myself to write my article for the Daily Mail whether it would be any good or not. This article was the biggest struggle for me with the whole module and caused me the greatest deal of stress with not being able to get ahold of anyone and when a chance opened up it never went through as I would have hoped. Then I couldn’t decide what to write for the article but now I had sort of got my shit together and planned what I was going to write so I just needed to get it all structured and written down.
I pasted all the articles I had already written into one document so I could use the word count tool to give me an idea of how much more writing I would need to do in order to fulfil the 5,000 word criteria of the format I had chosen. It came in at around 4000 words for the other 5 articles so I only would actually need 1,500 words from this single article, this would give me even more space on the page than I had worked out previously. Which would be good for showing off the images that I had taken for this.
I felt as though I had plenty to write about using the survey that I conducted amongst the Leeds Grammar School teachers as they had some decent quotes and some good talking points to use however the ones that left the good comments were generally the ones who wished to remain anonymous so I could not refer to their names. I managed to get my introduction written and a brief idea of where I would take the article sorted out during my time at the Corn Exchange as well as about 2,000 words worth of reflections, quite a successful day in my eyes. But after my Corn Exchange cameo I had to dash to work where I was to assist there for an hour and a half before leaving and going straight to cricket training, so that meant that work for the day was complete and I would have to go again tomorrow. Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.
After a successful session at the Corn Exchange yesterday, I thought I would return again today because the quiet atmosphere and lack of distractions really assisted my work ethic and as I have a hard enough time concentrating as it is, anything I could do to improve my productivity would be greatly welcomed.
When I got to the Corn Ex, Peter was there and he was taking down some of the A2 prints from the opening night and asked if I would be able to give him a hand. Obviously I had a tonne of work to do but as the only student there that could possibly have helped him, I couldn’t say no. This task ended up taking a little bit longer than I had hoped and took over half an hour but that cannot be helped. I still had plenty of time before my Dad would be arriving at half past 4 to collect me with my prints after I had taken them off the wall.
I sat and worked through the whole of Jonny and Jordan’s Corn Ex shift and after they left I stayed sat with Maddie, Samantha and Rachel. I was talking to Maddie about her work and she was asking about mine. Upon hearing my subject she mentioned about the fact she had been quite horridly cyber bullied when she was in secondary school and so I asked her if I could use the questions I had written for my online questionnaires and make some notes of the answers she gave. A bit of a last minute thing, I know, but better late than never!
Here is a shot of the questions I asked her, and the notes I made about the answers she gave:
I only had my photography release forms on me at the time so I asked Maddie to sign and date one of those on the understanding that I would pin it to a questionnaire form to show that it was supposed to be for that one.
As this interview occurred as more like a chat than an interview, the questions and answers don’t really match up here because were going back and forth between the subjects of the different questions so I ended up just taking what she said down in note form. Besides, this article was for the Daily Mail and they don’t tend to bother too much with exact quotes.
Today I had booked the day off work because it was so close to the hand in that I thought I would be requiring this day to make any final alterations. I in fact ended up using this day to do a little bit more than that with having to fully construct my InDesign layout for my Daily Mail article. This was left to the very last minute due to the fact that I only just got round to writing up the actual article and getting that finished after having lost total belief in this particular article and finding it considerably more difficult to write than all the others. Perhaps through fear that it didn’t quite fulfil the potential of writing that I felt myself to have, but I think this was down to not being able to properly organise someone to talk to me about cyber-bullying and instead ending up talking to a fellow student about her experiences.
I printed out all my work for my Dad to have a read through before sorting it out myself. I had spent so long in the past few days reading through what I had written that I really couldn’t face reading through it all to begin with, so I handed it to him to check the spelling and grammar before sitting down with it myself. He handed it back with a few red ink corrections on it but not too much damage, which I was glad to see. I then sat down to read through it myself an there were a couple of things that didn’t quite read right, and I moved them around and changed some wording to hopefully make the copy flow a bit better.
As I seem to not be able to get myself out of the terrible habit (excluding a brief period in the second year of Uni) I have once again left something to the very last minute. My presentation, due today at 11 oclock, was not evene started at the time I woke up. A 6 o’clock rise and straight into Uni to give me a good few hours putting it together before I was due to enter the boardroom. Having a checklist was a bit of a help and also having heard from other people the sorts of things thye had put in their presentations was also useful.
Here is the slides I used in my presentation:
I tried to go for quite a minimalistic approach with my slides just noting down key points that would jog my memory and remind me what I was supposed to be talking about as if I didn’t have much text on the pages then there would be no opportunity for me to just stand there and read straight off it.
To say I was still exporting my Presentation to a format accepted by Windows, when Alison came out to inform me that I was due in for my presentation, I think it could have gone a lot worse.
Final Presentation Reflection
I started off by exporting my presentation as a PDF as I thought “at least if anything fails, this is a format that will play on any machine” to avoid any problems with my slideshow not working. I then, without thinking saved the file normally to my memory stick but was then puzzled when I plugged my USB stick into a WINDOWS MACHINE and it didn’t recognise a KEYNOTE file. Duh. Good job I had the PDF (Y). Forward thinking paid off.
Other people had told me that during their presentations, the tutors were sat in different corners of the room to each other, which I was looking forward to as it would feel less like I was being ‘ganged up on’, not that this was the case but it is just how it feels. I was disappointed to walk in and find the tutors sat in a row about 5 yards in front of where I would be stood, I felt a bit endangered but knowing the tutors as I did I wasn’t scared or put off by this in anyway, just still nervous about the fact that I believed my work to be truly shit.
I felt nervous whilst talking through my presentation but that was mostly to do with me not believing in the work I had done and so I thought I would really struggle when asked questions about it. I feel as though this may made me rush through my slides a bit fast and try and talk too quickly but I am still unsure whether this was actually the case, but if it was it was because I just wanted to get it over with.
I then opened the floor to the tutors to ask me any questions that they may have about my project and the presentation that I had given:
Sarah asked me: if I had changed the size of the InDesign document to match that of the newspapers or whether I had just left it at the default A4. – I HAD in fact remembered to change the sizes of the documents and in order to find these out I had physically checked the sizes of the pages with a ruler as well as looking the sizing up online. The Daily Mail is a compact tabloid and so was slightly smaller than the Guardian which was a Berliner size and is slightly bigger. I had forgotten to mention about the fact that I had done this in my presentation, although when Sarah looks at my finished product she will be able to check the sizing herself to clarify that I had in fact set the correct sizing.
Chris asked me: how had I managed to make the article appeal to the 65+ section of the target audience of the Daily Mail. – I responded with what I had actually thought of at the time of writing. This was that a lot of over 65s will be getting to the stage where they have kids if not grand-kids, and so I tried to appeal to them by comparing cyber-bullies to rapists and paedophiles and stating that younger people are in danger to these types of people in the online world due to the trouble with anonymity. This would appeal to their grandfather/motherly nature and may help them educate their grand children about the dangers that are out there.
Honey asked me: …. nothing. :O
Alison asked me: why I hadn’t mentioned early on in my reflections about my disappointment with my own choice of subject – I explained that I hadn’t really talked about it much early on in my reflections because I didn’t think it would be that much of a problem and I would be able to overcome and so shouldn’t worry, but then I explained that I had some of my later posts saved as drafts as I had forgotten to publish them and so they would hopefully explain to her about my doubting myself and she would be able to read that and understand where I was coming from.
Presentation over… Beer.
A lot of people complained about the work load that came with having to create the Gantt chart and they whined about having to constantly update it, but I thought it was a very effective piece of software for what it did and I picked up on the little tricks of using it quite well, if only I’d have picked a better subject to research and write about, I may have been slightly more inclined to actually sticking to the plan I had made on it. I felt a bit all over the shop and whilst still managing to perform the majority of tasks I had listed, I did often feel as though I didn’t really have a good sense of where I was at with my work without checking the percentage complete in the project information panel.
I would definitely not hesitate to use this software in the future, but I think it may be a bit easier to work in a new situation. This was because this time, we were having to learn this piece of software, and put together the project plan, but this was at the same time that we were actually creating the project. Which meant they overlapped and it became a bit confusing. In the future I would already know how to use the software and I would be able to create the plan before starting work on whatever the project was.
I feel as though the tutors, for this module, have offered a tremendous amount of support and opportunity for students to go and speak to them, with 75% of them offering good critical feedback. Unfortunately I didn’t utilise this often enough and should have approached them early on in the process with the fact I was unhappy about the subject I had chosen and tried to find a way to work around it.
I feel as though you can really tell the different in quality between my two different articles. The one for the Guardian looks a lot better quality and although the images are illustrations, it is easy to tell that a lot more time was spent putting that layout together than the one in the Daily Mail article. I have also just noticed that in the DM article there is an ‘orphan’ on the top line of the second column, which I didn’t even notice before and will probably bug me for eternity. I feel as though, if I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to write about from an earlier stage then I would have been much better off and could have got it all written up a lot earlier and cracked on with a suitable layout. Whereas it does in fact look rushed and of low quality and I’m very disappointed in myself but still feel relieved of the stress this module put on my mind whilst having to work over 20 hours a week out of University time, which is over 20 hours more than a lot of the students on the course.
Ironically I appear to have suffered in silence much like the cyber-bullying victims within my writing and I think this has crippled my ability to get a top grade. I was too proud to admit defeat to begin with and it ended up reaching a stage where I felt there was nothing I could and no going back.
If I were to start the whole PRP stage of the module again I would definitely go back and choose something I had a deep interest in, such as sport or video games and find something to write about one of those. There was a lot of research involved and a lot of time spent thinking about the topics and so picking something that wasn’t an honest favourite of mine was a bad choice and something I believe we were advised against to begin with, and now I can see why.
My ability to decide on what to do for my artefact was slightly hindered by a particular tutor contradicting their self and telling me to do one thing and when I tailored my idea to that, I was asked if I had considered doing the hybrid model, which was my idea that they had initially been approached with. Anyone would have thought no attention had been paid to what I had initially approached said member of staff with. Let’s be honest, third and final year at university isn’t particularly the best time for a tutor to be fobbing you off and getting you seriously f****** p***** off.
But it’s over and done with so there is nothing I can do to change that, other than thank god that I won’t have to let it bother me any more.
My work ethic hit a good spot in the second year of univeristy with the pressure of working in a group encouraging me to get my work in on time, but this year doing everything for myself I seemed to struggle a little bit more and I’m unsure as to whether this was solely affected by my disbelief in my work or whether there was something else affecting this.
I am really happy with the appearance of my Guardian pages, and I am really happy with the images I have shot for the Daily Mail article. I’m a bit ‘meh’ with the writing I have done and the layout (something I pride myself on being good at) for the Daily Mail article is shoddy and that is due to bad time management and leaving everything to the last minute.