The Quarantine Tales of a Graduating Senior

By Mikayla Gilmer, Secondary English Education Major & English Department Social Media Intern

College Undergraduates,

Last week I received an email from the University Registrar and Provost congratulating me on the approval of my graduation for May 2020. As a college freshman I watched a Buzzfeed in preparation for my years to come. The video was titled “College: Freshman Year Vs. Senior Year” and was uploaded September 11th, 2014. The video compares a student’s perspective on dating, class preparation, diet, Friday nights, etc. The video ends with both the freshman and senior at the end of their year saying the same thing: “I never want to leave”.

Today is the last day of classes and the end of my undergraduate career. To incoming freshman, current freshman, sophomores, and juniors—If I could just offer a bit of advice: don’t take a single thing for granted. Going to class might seem like a drag, but this is the last time you will get to experience education in a classroom setting. Hogan Dining Hall is actually a gem (you might only realize this once you move off campus and have to meal plan). And as a reminder, The Power Center is included in tuition. After this you’ll have to pay for gym services.

This is the time to join a club/organization, live on campus, wave to your friends on A-walk, make mistakes…Your undergrad is your time to do it, so make it happen!

 

To the next social media intern,

I am excited to see what you do with the accounts! Here are some pieces of advice that might help:

  • Make a Calendar for Yourself: Color coordinate twitter/Instagram posts to stay on track
  • Use Canva: Canva is an easy template designing source I used to make all of the Instagram posts. Use this free service to your advantage!
  • Get Inspiration: Follow as many College Department pages as you can and get inspiration from them. Study how they use color schemes and templates to their advantage.

 

Congratulations graduates!

In Defense of MLA Format

 

Mikayla Gilmer

Duquesne University

English Department Social Media Intern

March 12, 2020

In Defense of MLA Format

          As I approach the end of my undergraduate senior year, I find myself reflecting on my academic career as a whole. Now that I think about it, student teaching 11th and 12th grade English may be the cause of my introspection. When teaching high school, especially upperclassmen, they are no longer asking “Why”, but rather asking “How will this help me in my future?”. My classes are currently working on MLA Research Essays; they are only required to complete 3-5 pages, but no matter the number of pages I would have assigned, I would have gotten a response of moans and groans from the classroom. When I first started student teaching, I found myself telling the students “When you are in college, you will want to make sure you know these things because your general education or UCOR teachers may not walk you through this”. However, this statement would only be valid for the students in the classroom that choose to further their education past high school. In addition to this, what can MLA formatted Research Essays teach me past college? I promised my students I would do a little research on my own on the purpose of MLA Format and why it should be important to my students and me.

          In exploring the purpose of MLA Format, I first have to start with what I already know: MLA Format is an acronym for the Modern Language Association which was founded in 1883. Although, the first MLA Guide was published in 1951. The most obvious purpose for MLA Format would be to provide the general public with a consistent essay form: High School writing argumentative essays in Washington would follow the same form as Graduate Students writing research essays in Florida. In John Alvis’ essay “In Recognition of Superior Sophistry: A Guide to MLA Documentation”, he states, “The MLA has developed a reliable standard, and A Guide retains most of what one expects of a standard: comprehensiveness (subject to the qualification hereinafter detailed), clarity, consistency, and simplicity” (Alvis 48). Additionally, MLA Format is supported by effective note-taking strategies and organization skills. In a high school setting, students are still developing these skills. Being able to have a form attached to them helps these developments progress. Furthermore, at the very center of MLA Format is the citations. When using MLA Format, you are training yourself to be able to back up your claim with credible evidence: “Once they have identified their purpose and their audience, some writers don’t know what to do next and stare at a blank page or computer screen waiting for inspiration” (Campbell 4). Even adults have trouble sticking with a claim and finding evidence. Think about job interviews: Employers ask you questions in which you have to have a claim and evidence from your personal experience and/or research to back it up. Unbeknownst to me, my High School English teachers prepared me for my future job interviews.

           From this, MLA format has taught me to be consistent, develop note-taking & organization skills, and backup a claim. Does this mean all my text and social media posts are going to be in MLA Format? Not a chance. However, next time my students ask me what MLA can do for them, I will have a semi-MLA formatted blog with credible evidence to support my claim.

 

Works Cited

Alvis, John. “In Recognition of Superior Sophistry: A Guide to MLA Documentation.”Academic Questions, vol. 3, no. 2, 1990, p. 48. EBSCOhost. Doi:10.1007/BF02682731.

Campbell, William Giles. Form and Style: Theses, Reports, Term Papers. Up-to-Date Information on Chicago, MLA, and APA Documentation. Houghton Mifflin Company, College Division, Wayside Rd., Burlington, MA 01803, 1990.

A Quick Reflection on Social Media

By Mikayla Gilmer

You have waited a full day to post a picture that took about 50 different tries and 1 hour to edit. You wait until around lunch time on a Wednesday or Friday because you know that is when you will have the most Instagram engagement. Once the dopamine from all the notifications wears off, you slump back into your couch and wonder what you are going to watch next since they took Friends off Netflix.

Calls and texts messages are not enough if you are living in the Digital Age. If you’re like me you use Facebook to keep in touch with family members while also staying updated with clubs and activities on campus, Instagram for posting pictures and higher quality stories, Snapchat for lower quality stories and quick photo communication, and VSCO for editing photos you deem “edgy” or “artsy”. College students tend to spend so much time on social media, it should be considered a marketing internship for the self.

There are hundreds of different types of social media apps out there in the world, and there are more and more applications being created even as I write this blog. When using social media, you have to ask yourself—Why am I using it? Since there are so many different types of social medias for so many different uses, this question is a hard one to generalize. However, I believe that the purpose for social media can fall into one overarching category: Information Provider. Facebook will inform you about a friend from high school getting engaged. Instagram can let you know that a new burger place opened up down the street from you (and didn’t think to invite you along). Snapchat can show you videos of your friends new dog. VSCO can show you the latest filters for photo editing.

So next time you post, snap, or tik tok, ask yourself “What information am I releasing to the world?