The Amazing Group Magazine Project!

Click here to see the project!

I chose gender inequality as my topic this semester because, as a woman, this is an issue that directly affects my life.  The inequality that I have experienced is trivial compared to many of the topics that I’ve researched, but I feel that I will face much more of it as I pursue a career as an astronomer, a male-dominated field.  

My perspective on this issue has always been that inequality is wrong, but focusing solely on this topic has allowed me to support my opinion with facts.  I have discovered the many forms that gender inequality takes, as well as its true extent. 

I believe that despite the form it presents itself in, all inequality must be eliminated.  This idea can be expressed in a number of ways.  One example is adapting certain works into different mediums.  I chose to adapt my fieldwork interviewing a Japanese friend, as well as my flash memoir (you can see the original flash memoir here) because both of these are personal experiences.  They are more powerful to my audience when brought to life through comics because it makes it personal for them as well.

Through the process of adapting these projects, I learned that while gender inequality is ultimately a complex issue, it can be broken down into simpler terms.  Because of my tendency to include every detail, especially the unnecessary ones, creating a comic strip forced me to include only what was absolutely necessary.  Having done this, I know more about what I need to do in future revisions, whether they are comic strips or essays.

The adaptations were a small part of the overall magazine project.  My biggest focus over the course of creating it was always revision.  I learned the value in revision early on in my education, but never explored it as much as I did during this project.  I found myself picking apart sentences and constantly trying to figure out a way to simplify them. Through doing this, I also learned the extent of my wordiness, which has allowed me to address this problem.

Furthermore, working in a group atmosphere and relying on peers for criticism was a positive experience.  Before this, I had never been a part of a peer review, but they proved to be incredibly useful.  I found that my peers often caught the errors that I missed revision after revision, in addition to offering a different perspective.  I learned the value in having several people read a draft to find out what parts of it may be wordy, unclear, biased, or unsupported.  Through this experience, multiple revisions have become a necessity for any paper that I write or will write throughout my remaining college career.

One of my biggest surprises from this project was that I actually enjoyed working in a group!  This was the first positive experience working on a group project.  I think that each of us knowing the individual roles we had to fulfill helped keep us organized and on track.  We knew our individual responsibilities and that the others relied on our own contribution to succeed.  As the visual editor, I had to design the website, which was the platform for presenting our project.  Since it was representing others beside myself, I took careful consideration when creating it.  

When it comes down to it though, I think that our group just got along really well.  We were willing to help out where needed.  While designing the website, I asked everybody to give me a list of organizations they had come across in their research to include on our Get Involved page, and before long, I had 15 of them listed on the site.  Conversely, we decided each of us would write a personal biography for the project, and again, everybody complied in a timely manner.  

We also valued each other’s criticism and could be honest with each other without fear of hurting anybody’s feelings.   All of us were willing to go above and beyond by revising each other’s works multiple times before posting them on the site.

Knowing what I know now, I would do a few things differently.  For those about to take on a magazine project, make sure you have an efficient method of communication, as this is the key to a successful group project!  Everybody must be willing to take time out of their day to get in touch with each other and hold up their end of the deal.

I would also suggest planning ahead.  Revision takes a long time and your peers put a lot of effort into the criticism they offer.  Waiting too long to revise will inhibit your paper’s potential, as well as having wasted the time your peers spent revising it.  Be respectful of this and don’t procrastinate!

Finally, I would advise you to have fun!  While there is a lot of required work, due dates to meet, and a lot of planning, there is a lot of room for creativity with this project.  Expressing your opinions on social justice issues are much more effective if you employ your imagination to do so!

This project proved to be a fantastic learning experience.  I honestly did have fun creating this magazine and I hope that my group’s collaboration will reach people outside of Salt Lake Community College.  There is no doubt that what I have learned through this experience will help me in my future endeavors as a student! 

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