STEP Reflection – Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee

Creative Arts Endeavor

  1. My Step Project was to create and write pieces of music so that I could get in touch with the artistic and musical side of myself. It was designed for me to re-examine my priorities since I neglected music in favor of my college studies.
  2. Before taking the composing class, I was excited about learning and creating. This was the first time I was actively recording the music I was making and it made me excited thinking I finally had the equipment to record it since in the past, I would have had to write out manually the entire sheet music. Before I started the class, I started playing around potentially with what kind of songs I’d want to compose, what keys, and what feelings I wanted behind it.

    When I first started the classes, I was excited by the challenges, but it became soon overwhelming. There was a lot of concepts and they expected us to apply creativity to those concepts. There was a lot of technical jargon that went over my head, and I actually became very frustrated trying to compose. BUT when I would just forget the task and just play music, that’s when some of the most beautiful music was recorded. So every time I sat down for the purpose of composing, it felt like a job and sometimes I would get angry that I couldn’t come up with anything.

    I started changing the methodology about 2/3 of the way through my project, and instead of starting with a plan of what I wanted to creatively trying to mold it, I just played as long as I could and recorded it. Then I went back to edit those songs, and composed around the base melody that I came up with. It was a lot less stressful, and looking at the final product, I feel really empowered.

  3. What I realized was the most key aspect to this experience is that  I had always assumed music was easy, and it was a subconscious assumption. Having to actually create the music from start to finish gave me new found appreciation for musicians. I had always prided myself in my music ability, so to find myself failing in an aspect of my identity that had been pretty stable, was uncomfortable.
    Talking with my community adviser really helped me during the summer. As my orchestra teacher in high school, she knew that I was talented musically and had the technical ability to succeed, but her wisdom about creating something was really what reassured me. Composing and creating music needs more than skill, it requires tapping in emotionally and translating that into music. It requires combining technical knowledge, skill and story telling all into one.

    The last aspect of this project is reflection which didn’t happen during the project, but rather after I was done. I think a lot of my desire to compose is the perception of student musicians who make music and being able to have proof of my talent. So, I think I entered this project intending to make myself feel better by building and increasing my confidence in myself as a musician. What I ended up forgetting though, is honestly it’s ok if my music sucks, or if I’m the only one who likes it, because my music is for myself. I don’t write for others, or at least it wasn’t my intention. So to see my final work, it made me proud inside to see the final product as a representation of who I was / am / was trying to portray.

  4. This experience has been pretty important to me because it reminded me that honestly I need to do things for myself. If I do it for any other reason, it becomes a chore and I’ll lose interest in it. It also reminded me to re-evaluate and re-prioritize what I’m doing and what is important to me. I think it’s easy to forget in the light of fame, or public approval.

    Now I’ve been asking myself why I’m choosing to spend time, and if I’m starting to find something I used to love a chore, why I feel this way. It’s really made me re-evaluate whether or not I enjoy engineering or not. I realized that I was  unhappy, but not I wonder if I am unhappy because my classes are hard. I probably won’t find the right answer any time soon, but this experience is a reminder to remember to do things for myself and not for external factors.

Unfortunately I can’t upload the video, but if you want to see the progression, check it out HERE (buckeybox link)

Step Reflection – Scott Masteller

1) This summer, I learned the details about how computers worked, researched specifications and compared components before constructing my own personal computer.

2) After completing my STEP signature project, I feel a lot more confident in my own abilities. Having to teach myself all about computers from scratch and do my own research before assembling extremely expensive components gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to “learn on the job, “ so to speak.

3) The day that I finished my build and had a working computer, the other members of my family were very impressed with my finished project. I thought that was kind of weird at first, because what I had done wasn’t very hard if you knew what you were doing. But then I realized that before the project, I would have been just as impressed. I had learned a lot while building my computer.
A week or so after I finished with my project, my sister asked me to help her pick out a computer to take to college for her freshman year. I said I would tag along, but that I didn’t really know anything about computers and wouldn’t be much help. However, once we got to the store, I found that I knew a lot more than I gave myself credit for. I helped her to decipher the meaning of the schematics on the computer and compare computers so that she could make an educated purchase and get the most bang for her buck. Most of what I had learned was a direct result of the research I conducted before constructing my PC.
I know it sounds kind of silly, but helping her with her computer really helped me to feel like I was doing my part to make her freshman year go as smoothly as possible. It was her first major purchase as an adult, and I got to be a part of it.

4) When interviewing for a new job, one of the qualities that interviewers are looking for is the ability and desire to learn quickly. In the past, I was never quite sure that I had this desire or ability because whenever I had to learn something, I would always study it for weeks beforehand and make sure that I understood everything about it. However, due to the nature of my STEP project, I had to do a lot of figuring it out as I went and applying additional information immediately. Now I can be confident in my abilities to learn on the job and apply new skills and techniques right away.