Eric Banisadr my blog

Meta Journal

First and foremost, it’s been made clear to me that I’ve been remiss in not discussing our “Journal Read Around” in one of my own journal entries. This unfortunate occurrence is due to the fact that I’ve entirely ignored the recommended (and explicitly optional) journal prompts given to me when writing these entries. However, because I never checked the prompt document, it turns out that I missed a mandatory one:

Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the WISE journals you read during the recent peer evaluation. Be sure to evaluate the +/- of your own journal. (500 words) Be specific. Select 2-3 qualities and characteristics that you could emulate in your journal. Reflect on the experience of sharing your journal with fellow WISE students. Copy comments from your mentor, teacher, and peers that were helpful, honest, and accurate. Compare your experiences, research, and journal to those of your classmates. What did you learn?

Here we go.

A few weeks ago, our WISE team met up at academy and we all traded journals. I got the chance to read each of their journals, and it turns out that we all went in completely different directions. First, a little background though.

For the first time in a while, WISE has two classes and 50+ students, so we’ve organized into teams. Mine has five students, and two staff members:

Students and their projects:

Staff members and their jobs:

The read around was the first time I’d read my group members’ journals, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Especially since we have a wide array of projects, I was excited to see what some other WISE students were up to. Because eight out of the ten people in my close group of friends are in the WISE program, I know that each student can have a pretty exciting third space and project. And, while I often keep up with my friends’ WISE activities, I didn’t know much about my own teams’.

Most striking was Maxx’s journal, because it reads like a piece of literature. His sentence structures are varied, his vocabulary exquisite, and his metaphors unintelligible (not really that last part, I just think it’s a funny joke). I can’t help but imagine he puts a lot more thought into his entries than I do. That shows, too, because his journal is consistently interesting to read, most likely because there’s always something going on. It’s a well known fact that word minimums will make for the occasional dry entry, but Maxx gives us readers the opportunity to focus on something else if the underlying subject matter seems mundane. Such distractions include his constant and creative metaphors, and a few interspersed pictures (a characteristic that I could, and eventually will, emulate in my journal).

Looking back at my own journal, I also received some feedback from my peers (copied below).

I like how you explain this part in detail so we understand what kinds of things you have to learn. -Izzy

I recieved a few comments about the details of my descriptions, the above is in response to my first entry, where I describe the function of each of Carlos’s seven sewing machines.

From both WISE teachers I got the same message: you’re doing well, but stop turning in these journals so late. (Mr. Poling throws in tailoring puns whenever he can too….)

Your writing here is fluent and almost error-free. It is a joy to read. But you really need to keep up with your work.- Ms. Aracic

I concur. Your writing is engaging and your blend of narrative and reflection is rather seamless– see what I did there ;) -Mr. Poling

I’m proud to say that I’m back to journaling mostly on time, so I’ve been trying to take this feedback into account.

In terms of our logged experiences, each member of our team has a completely different story. Sophie often works with large crowds of children, while I’m usually alone with Carlos. Tai, though, is working in an office, which puts him somewhere in between in terms of how populated his third space is. Izzy and I are doing primarily physical activities, yoga and tailoring, while Maxx and Tai are more focused on office-type work.

Having different experiences is part of what makes the WISE program so strong, though. So far, we’re all happy in our third spaces, and each getting something unique out of it.

Unfortunately, none of our journals really do an adequate job mentioning our research, most likely because it’s hard to weave those references in organically. Expect to read about my reading in my next few entries, though.

Journaling in general

Overall, I’m finding that I kind of enjoy writing these journals. Mostly because I don’t usually write much in the first person, and also because it’s good practice in storytelling. Each journal also helps distill a week into a clear set of skills or concepts I learned.

My only gripe is that we aren’t allowed to make our journals as blogs this year, at least as of yet. Google Docs has never been my favorite way to do anything, but sometimes that’s just how it works out. Hopefully, I can transition this journal over to a blog form by the time I’m finished with my WISE project.