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Abbys End of the Year Reflection, 2017

The spring semester of 2017 was definitely harder than my first semester this past fall. It

has been an extremely long ride and it is because my IIH lab with Dr. Crittenden and Dr.

Policastro finished up the honors orientation project. However, even though it was rough, we

managed to pull it off and create something that I truly believe the honors college will be able to

use over and over again. I also worked on and proposed my Senior Thesis this semester in

addition to the orientation project. The hardest part about both of these projects was that they had

major steps and due dates that came at the same time. Both projects, though, have become my

pride and joy of this semester. Success has been due to my team mates and thesis director,

because they have all kept me on track and encouraged me all throughout the semester.

Everything that I have done has been accomplished with them, and I am extremely grateful for

them all. The most difficult part of the semester was the challenges, pit falls, and new thinking

that I was required to press on through.

As soon as the semester took off, challenges began to meet me before I walked through

the classroom door. This is very well expected for any class that I will take, and I always prepare

for them. However, half way through the semester I found that there were a lot more challenges

than I had expected. My IIH lab had to completely change our research project that we had

worked so hard on during the fall semester of 2016. My group had been trying to create an

educational video that would target a Male audience concerning title IX issues. After meeting

with our community partners, the group soon realized that the university did not need another

education video. The university actually needed a curriculum to help reinforce the message of

those videos. So, building on the research we already found, we looked at what could be done

and how we fit into this new project. Our group found that we would still look at rape and how
hypermasculinity and hyperfemininity affected it, but we also wanted to see how a healthy

balance of both could help prevent it. While the challenge of finding new resources for the IIH

lab called, the challenge to figure out what I wanted the topic of my senior thesis to be also

called. I had an idea of what I wanted to write about, but both of my directors told me that the

works I wanted to compare would not mesh well together in my paper. They both then

challenged me to look at the works again, and see if I could find a different argument. This really

frustrated me because I had never been challenged to look deeper into the works than I already

had. I did find another work that meshed well with my first author, and I was all set to begin my

proposal. The end of the semester was fast approaching, however, and so was the pitfall I


The hardest part about the semester was the pitfall I experienced when my first thesis

proposal was rejected for more revisions. This made me even more frustrated. Not only had I

changed my argument but also the second work that I was looking at, and was still told that

revisions were required. I was about three-fourths of the way through the semester at the time,

and I had already found all ten sources that were required for the paper. This rejection caused me

to not even want to work on anything involving my thesis or other classes. Everything that I

submitted was on time, and never early like I like to do. It affected every one of my other classes,

and I let it drag me down until I sat down with my thesis director to discuss the issues. We

decided that it was best that I just forget the second work, and focus mainly on my favorite one

until I could read a third work and consider it. This being said I had to eliminate half of my

citations and decided that I would look for more resources during the summer. Pushing through,

we made the corrections that were needed and submitted it to the board. Thank God that it was

accepted! Finally able to put that behind me, I was able to focus on helping create a poster of our
IIH research to present at the UTC research dialogue. Our group had some scheduling issues that

created even more stress, but we were each able to present our project for a selected time period.

After the pitfall of rejection and scheduling issues were over, a way of new thinking had to come

into play.

Our group was able to present our project at the research dialogue, but our work was not

finished yet. We realized that our section of the orientation would be a little too long if we

focused on hypermasculinity and hyperfemininity for too long. Realizing that it was a major part

of our program section we had been assigned, we talked it over with the entire class about what

we needed to rethink. We realized that if we did not go into so much detail about the side effects

of Hypermasculinity and hyperfemininity, and just defined them and their key elements, our

section would be perfect. As a group we polished our program, but further realized our new

thinking had made it too short and it seemed underqualified for the job. Meeting with our

professors for further advice, they suggested that we give some statistics related to our topic. In

doing this, and rethinking our program yet again, we were able to give an extremely professional

presentation. Our section eases students into the details about IX and how to avoid violating its

statutes, thus making our work worth all of the effort we put into it. I learned that new thinking

does not stop after you redesign something; it keeps going!

As mentioned before, this semester was extremely challenging and there were many

bumps along the way. This semester has also been my most productive since I began my college

journey. I have learned about how much I can handle as a student, professional writer, and

person. Everything I completed showed me that I can do anything that I set my mind to if I truly

do my best. It has shown me the importance of being prepared for more than I can handle, and

also made me want to get my poems and short stories finished so I can have them published.
That is my goal for the next year and a half in school: I want to participate in the English

departments internships, and I want to publish my works throughout my senior year.