There’s nothing like a little guilt to set you on a new path. My adventures with writing these blog posts actually started because I felt guilty that some members of the Free Choice Learning Lab were doing a lot more to contribute to the group than I tend to do. Part of that is because I have historically been a bit of an interloper in the lab group anyway. Even though it is called the Free Choice Lab group, it has predominantly been comprised of the grad students working with Shawn Rowe, mostly out at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and the few of us who work with other FCL faculty and projects have always been welcome to attend any of the group’s events (and I have felt welcome!), but we were outsiders. While this is currently changing and the other FCL groups are being more actively included in the webpage and such, this is how it has been for most of my time at Oregon State. This is compounded by the fact that I am a commuter student, driving up from Eugene, and I usually only attend meetings if I am on campus, of if the technology is not being totally frustrating for me to call or internet in, in some fashion. Needless to say, I let those who were regular members of the group shoulder most of the responsibilities for organizing meetings and retreats and writing for the blog and other such tasks.
However, this is a lovely group of people, and many of my favorite people that I have met in grad school, are part of this group, and I do care about them. So, when three active members, Laura Good, Katie Stofer, and Harrison Baker all graduated in the spring of 2013 and went on to jobs elsewhere, I could tell that if some other people didn’t step in and take on some of the work, my dear friends would be doing even more than their share! So, I tentatively agreed to write for the blog. At first, I was non-committal- “sure, I can be a guest blogger on occasion”, but as the topic kept coming up in meetings, I decided that once a month really was not that much to ask, so agreed to take on a regular stint.
And, to my surprise, this has been fun! This type of writing comes much more naturally to me than the academic style that is usually asked of me (sorry to anyone who helps edit my “real” papers!) and I even like thinking about what I will write my next post about, as I go about my month. I think I am funny, in a witty sort of way, and I appreciate the soap box from which to ponder and rant.
And, the best part is, that the universe is once again reminding me that when you do the “right thing” (i.e. helping out my friends) good things happen! Because of this blogging gig, I have been able to talk myself in to being a guest blogger for a pretty big technology in education conference later this month (ISTE), and a blog they asked me to write about Make as a lead up to the conference was posted through another on-line education website! On top of that, the fun FCL performance group Eepy Bird, posted a link to my post on their Facebook page. And, it keeps coming- this weekend I got an email from a couple of guys who are creating a more affordable CNC machine ( a Maker tool…) and someone sent them my piece and they want to talk too… who knows where it will all end!
So, moral of the story- do the right/nice thing when you can. Try something new. Keep trying- when I recently reread my earlier posts, I was not impressed, but I feel that with time and practice, I am finding my voice. Here’s to finding yours!