Linda

Final Reflection:

One of the aspects that I found challenging in my project was my initial mindset. I anticipated receiving some varied responses; I did not anticipate getting a different perspective for as many people as I interviewed. I was looking for someone to help me understand why I am passionate about service; I was not expecting my mindset to be challenged. While my initial “why” question was certainly a good starting place, I recognize the futility and ineffectiveness of this quest. My “why” questions have been changed into “how” questions: instead of asking why I am passionate about hypothetical project X, I see the power of asking how I can make a difference, the greatest difference, through my passion. Understanding the source of energy is certainly valid, and can be helpful in the appropriate channeling of this energy. Through my many conversations, however, I realized that I cannot point to one specific reason why I am passionate about service. I could relate to all of the reasons people gave for their motivation to volunteer. I felt them all deeply…I can see the need deeply, I feel a deep obligation, I desperately want to see a cultural revolution, and on and on. As I am not willing to think that this ability points to my personal greatness, I have drawn the conclusion that I am not motivated onward by one single factor, but by a multitude of factors that work in conjunction and motivate the other factors forward. Continually asking “why” was proving to be quite unfruitful, and that simply is not the point of service. Asking “how” questions is much more at the heart of a servant, in my humble opinion.

Flexibility is crucial within the hacker ethic. I was really tempted to scrap my project when I realized that my initial goal of figuring out why I am passionate about service was un-obtainable. Though I did not feel like a failure, per say, I was unsure of how to move forward. Content-wise, my newsletter did not turn out like I had imagined that it would. I saw my project as having a concise, clear-cut question that would yield a clear-cut answer. At the beginning, I liked my project because it had a definitive starting and ending point. It was clean. It was manageable. It would yield a good, useful, effective return. When one poses a question with no obtainable answer, the typical response is to give up, but I did not see giving up as a good use of the material that I had already gathered, to be frank. Future students, I encourage you to be stubborn and flexbile. You will need stubbornness to push through initial barriers, whether they be within your self or within the situation you are looking into. You will need flexibility when your prject takes you places you were not expecting. One of the unique phenomenon of the hacker ethic is that the project itslef can be the driver, instead of you. While this may seem initially scary, it is also remarkably freeing and allows the project to progress much more naturally than when something or someone other than the project is forcing the project in the direction they/he/she see fit. It can be scary to give up this control; we as students are taught to embrace control. To understand that a far superior product can result from such a mentality and such a hands-off approach is fairly novel to our 21st Century America.

I also encourage the wise use of time. Though I aforementioned the project driving itself, I imply directional driving. Continual forward motion is crucial, and should not be expected to completely happen in the eleventh hour. Can working under such constraints yield fine results? I’m sure it can, but it is not necessarily always what is best. Be willing to deeply engage the subject matter and ask the hard questions. You will need the freedom of time and place to do this. Though multitsking be the current mode of operation in America, and though it is strongly attributed as a great characteristinc of us, the “rising generation”, radically embracing a passion, and the hacker ethic in general, is not something that can be engaged in along with seventeen other such “passions” in a sustainable fasion. Deep commitment can yield radical results if you are willing to step out in faith.

I also enncourage, if appropriate, the engagement of people who are close to you, while pursuing the hacker ethic. If someone is genuinely close to you, it is likely that either they share your passion or that they can provide a new perspective on your passion, since they see it within you from a thrid party perspective. This extra perspective can be so revelaing.  Here again, you cannot really look to anyone to do your thinking for you, but reaching out for encouragement and fresh ideas is very “hackery” and can be quite useful.

Also, if you are naturally an individual who prescribes to the protestant ethic, please do not beat yourself up too much in the beginning stages of trying on the hacker ethic. Switching ethics is like stepping off the diving board for the first time. Scary? Yes. Do potential consequences exist? Yes. Is the risk worth it? Definitely.

At first I remember being very excited about being able to pursue my passion, but I was not excited about putting my findings into a share-able form. I did not see this as the point or goal of my time and my work. I saw it as a necessary requirement to get a gade, but not as an integral part of the project. I also remember the Management 101 textbook saying that storytelling is how we make sense of what has happened to us and around us. I know I thought that idea was crazy when I was enrolled in Mangement 101. I am immensely glad we were encouraged to create something share-able from our project, though. In writing my newsletter, all of the pieces came together in my mind, as to what happened in my interviews, and what they meant, and how they fit together into a cohesive picture. Sharing a passion should be a joy and not a burden. If the sharing looks like a burden, I encourage you to re-evaluate your perspective on what you will be sharing and how you are sharing it. In the sharing, the nature of the substance will be revealed.

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Update:

Thanks for all the resource suggestions and encouragement J

As of today (April 15th) I have completed 3 interviews, and am waiting for responses back from two other individuals. The responses have been really fascinating, and have helped to guide my thoughts as the articles and magazine as a whole starts to take shape. By April 20th, I would like to have a rough draft of my magazine completed. By April 30th, I plan to have the project completed, including revisions, and product(s) ready for presentation. By May 9th I will post my final reflection on the blog spot.

I’m also thinking of ways to make my presentation as palatable as possible for a showcase-like arrangement (maybe creating posters with relevant pictures and quotes from the magazine, etc.)

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I am passionate about service work and volunteering (truth be told, I enjoy few things more), I also enjoy getting to know people, and I appreciate the writing style of a good magazine. With this said, Through various interviews, I hope to understand what motivates people to give of their time, talent, and treasure. I want to see how technology has influenced efforts and perceived efforts in the midst of catastrophe (such as the earthquake in Haiti) and daily perils (such as hunger in Lewisburg). Through my work and time with others, I hope to gain a better understanding of why I am so passionate about service. I will compile my work into a magazine entitled, “Volunteering Today” using the Pages software. Through my finished product, I hope to educate people about how to motivate others to contribute.

Though the focus of my project has changed slightly, the practical information for the structure of the project (time line, etc.) will remain the same.

I feel engagement of subject matter, organization, and creativity of thought process my be relevant criteria for evaluation of my project.

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Responses

  1. Great progress.

    Will you use photos or other visual elements in your magazine?

    I think you can just blow up images form your magazine for the showcase. There are large format printers at Bucknell you can print them on, even in color. If you get them to me with 48 hours notice, i can get them printed for you.


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