As a child, I loved writing stories. I used to take notepads with me on car trips (even five minute drives to the store) and jot down narratives and day dreams. Although these scribbles paved the way for embarrassing discoveries in recent years, such as forgotten stories of my childhood spiciness recorded by yours truly, they serve as gentle reminders of my long lost friend: my voice. My written elementary school memories and my fictional short stories- written “just because”- were put through somewhat of a “refining” process. But has my voice really been “refined,” or has it been so edited that it is nearly lost in the rules and regulations of the academic classroom, weaving in and out of the maze of grammar and guidelines?
After years of essays in specific formats, projects about a restrictive list of approved topics, and teacher instructions to write with minimal description, I find that my only written expression is flowing from my hand to reach a grade or a grant. I have very little time for myself. In other words, I have very little time to allow my deepest thoughts to escape my engineering-focused mind. I am so accustomed to double (and triple) checking every piece of my writing; I must ensure that my knowledge is relayed in the most direct and concise manner. I very much value the importance of rules and regulations in scientific writing; yet I have forgotten to find the time to value other forms of expression. I am at risk for losing connection with evolving methods of communication, and connection with my very own voice.
In Scott Rosenburg’s “How Blogs Changed Everything,” he refers to the ability of bloggers to control their voices. I previously feared that blogs could lead to an undesired, uncontrollable discussion over my personal thoughts, and thus public embarrassment. I realized as I read this post from Rosenburg, however, that I am in control of this content and my role in a general discussion.
I understand that blogging has become a popular method for remaining connected in academic institutions. As a hopeful future professor, I know I must become familiar with blogging in a way that could help me better connect with others (especially future students). Rosenburg reflects on the technological growth of the telephone, and how something that once caused such paranoia among people desiring privacy now serves as a comfort we take for granted. This comparison eased my anxiety of public sharing, and sparked the question of what will be “new” when communication through blogging becomes second-nature.
Seth Godin and Tom Peters’ discussion on blogging mentions the humility involved with creating and sharing a post. The importance of blogging is not only placed in the audience’s reception of a blogger’s thoughts, but rather in the process of creative thought formulation. It is this very process of creativity that I feel I have stifled over the course of my educational pursuits, and I am convinced blogging can help me rediscover this creative voice.
6 thoughts on “Where is my voice?”
I like that you mention the humility required when you make a blog post. Because blogging is such a part of the larger, connected world, it does take a dose of humility to put your thoughts out there. In an effort to write the first entry in what likely might become a conversation through comments, trackbacks, pingbacks and others citing your blog, you have to be humble. Engaging with a bloviator is no fun at all.
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I see where you’re coming from where creativity is sometimes stifled in the classroom. We’d like to think that creativity is encouraged and our ability to be expressive is a good thing, but as we get older we are definitely restrained and confined to the regulations of grades and grants that you mentioned. I think many of us (myself included) become jaded by our educational system as we get older, but it’s refreshing to see that those passionate about connected learning think there is an outlet to get back to our creative side!
I had the same worry as overt personal thoughts often associated with misunderstanding and unexpected embarrassment. After reading the suggested post, I started to believe that I should not be too anxious about the potential risks. As long as the bloggers are aware of what is going to be public and obey the ethics, the readers should be open to the diversity of opinions, and respect others’ thoughts. In this way, better communications is achieved instead of locking ideas in the coffer to rot.
Thank you for bringing up this idea. As a kid, I used to draw all the time. It was the thing that I would do whether it was drawing cartoons, cars, and even technical things like architectural drawings (I have been a nerd for a while now….). However, once I hit college, I stopped drawing for fun. I would still do some technical drawings, but it was not the same. I often wonder whether engineering drives the creativity and fun out of some students. I always enjoy when the new freshman engineers roll into Tech. They have this passion and attitude that they can do anything and solve any problem no matter how large. This attitude is GREAT and something that we should be fostering. However, as time goes on the attitude seems to change. Maybe it is the students maturing, but if you talk to many seniors in engineering, they are no longer talking about all the things they will solve or figure out, but what job they have interviews for or where they will be working. While this may be more realistic, I wish there was more of the unstoppable attitude. Did we do something along the way to suppress that passion and fire? I certainly hope not…
This post resonated with my own life experience, and reminds me of two statements, one by my advisor where he said ‘i find that the more I try to teach students the less they learn’ and the second by a very famous structural engineer Helmut Krawinkler ‘don’t believe anything I say’. I feel like in a world of cut throat competition and importance to stick to norms, free expression is always under attack, and the blogosphere is definitely the place to reclaim it.
Thanks for letting me think the blogging way seriously. Previously I just wanted to finish assignments and finish three comments and one post article. After last class, I think it is totally interesting course. Lots of new learning ways and teaching methodologies have been used in practice. It is not only for me to take a course. It helps me prepare my coming career path.