“This class will most likely be one significantly unconventional compared to what you’re all used to. The SMASH and GRAB they filled your heads with in high school.”

Hearing such a statement your first day of class during your first quarter of your freshman year in college is not exactly something you expect. But then again, it is the expected that is just the beginning and the unexpected that changes our lives. Grant it, no religious conversions occurred, no epiphany accompanied by angelic, white doves; however, a new mode of thought did begin to sprout, a new form of critically analyzing, questioning, and comprehending began to take form amongst not only I, but my fellow peers.

This class has challenged me in ways I did not expect to be challenged with during my freshman year, let alone my first quarter. However, I am glad it did. Never would I have imagined I would be capable of imagining, creating, and conveying my thoughts and gathered facts into a webpage, let alone a website. Through the use of in-class discussions, outside reading aids, assigned reading, Adobe Dreamweaver, and many questions (some of which more difficult to answer than some), I believe this course has allowed me to not only discover new interests and skills I never knew I had, but acquire the resources and tools to develop them.

From my personal hypertext, dealing with the loss of a dear friend, to my analytical hypertext, delving into the modern day phenomena of Facebook, and finally to my latest work in my research hypertext, revealing the low wage life of sweatshop laborers, I have certainly grown not only as a student in general, but as a writer with a purpose. For each topic we were all confronted with one thing I particularly struggled with: free reign. Not in the sense of formulating a project on any topic, but having the freedom and the challenge of choosing to write on what you are passionate about.

Through many drafts, sequences of trial and error, as well as the critiques from both my professor and my peers, I have grown to become a more conscientious learner and critical examiner of the world around me and myself. Moreover, the class overall pushed me to ask questions and find my own answers.

My goal for fall quarter was to allow myself to be placed in new, and admittingly challenging, situations and be able to deal with each and every one successfully. I believe looking back I have done so. It is with my challenges that allow me to relate Tamara Draut’s novel Strapped, and the challenges depicted within it, with the struggles all low wageworkers face. Each project, most especially my latest piece was extremely humbling and incredibly introspective. I look forward to continuing my growth in the spring and a continuing to hone in on my newfound interests and skills.