Project Runaway (Personal Project grade 9-10).

As a teenager, I have always found it very hard to use words and make sense of them when it came to my feelings. Whenever, I was sad or dissatisfied I had always found it rather easy to cover up my emotions than to talk to about them or share them with anyone. I have always wondered if it was just me who did that, but as I  grew up, that simple conceptual question just kept getting bigger. Whenever I opened up to different people I met, for instance, people in school, my friends, my relatives or any acquaintances, I finally realized that it is not just me who has placed barrier in between my emotions and myself – my social life, physical health, and mental health. Just when I was starting to get used to that fact and I begun to understand that the emotions that I have buried inside me put a lot of weight on my chest and that burden is very hard to carry by myself alone.

So, when we were told to select our topics for our personal projects my very first idea was to do my project on emotions and feelings of teenagers and young adults. The goal of my project  is to write about common struggles of  young adults in a short story to make people more aware of their feelings. My project focuses on identities and relationships because in my project I have decided to uncover some of the things that plenty of  teenagers and young adults go through but they never catch a chance to talk about them, probably because they they do not feel comfortable talking about them or perhaps they are also pressurized to keep their agony to themselves.

To achieve the goal of my project I  decided that I will write a few poems and short stories. I choose to write poems for this project because I have always loved poetry. I have always been fascinated by how much of story just a few lines can tell. Another amazing thing about poems is that different people can have completely different point of views on the same poems. So its meaning mostly depends on how you perceive it. That is why I choose to write poems because I want people to read my poems and think about them differently. One more advantage for poems will be is that poems are easier to remember so my goal to raise awareness will be fulfilled easily. The end product will be a website where I will publish all of my work. I decided to do this because these everyone uses internet, so it will much simpler to share my work with greater number of people.

Though, throughout the way I was confronted with some confusing problems for which I had to take action and change a few things in my project. At the beginning of the project my goal was to write about different feelings and emotions in a short story. I wanted to write using effective and correct writing styles. Halfway through the project I thought about how can make my project have a bigger impact on the society? That is why, I decided to change my  goal to write about common struggles of  young adults in a short story to make people more aware of their feelings. One more thing, I decided to change about my product was that I switched from presenting my final writing in a booklet to electronic a website version. I concluded that this will be better if I wanted to raise extra awareness because it is easier to share things on the internet.

During the whole process of investigation of the goal of my personal project I came  across many different sources that were very helpful and provided me with a decent amount of the information I was looking for. However, the main focus of this process was to expand my research skills further that is why the selection of sources that I used  during the creation of my product were different varieties of sources that I had choosen based on the legitimacy and the reliability of the source. Hence, the first source that I collected was a primary source where I had an interview with my english teacher Ms. Barbour. In the interview I asked Ms. Barbour the basic questions about writing and some tips for a head start for my project. She told me that writing is interesting if there is an argument made in it and that I should alway proofread and edit my writing. I choose to follow this source for the do’s and don’ts in my writing process, since, it was coming from a professional english teacher it seemed highly reliable.

After that I turned to my classmates for interviews. These interviews were also my primary resources but this time the focus was on a different question so I can collect a bit different opinions. I only interviewed two people and I asked both of them the same question which was “What problems do you face as a teenager? Related to your mental health”. This was a very helpful source for me considering that I was not really looking for a wide range of perspectives in the interviews because if did I would not have been able to fit it all in my short stories and poems. Luckily, the answers that I received from them were completely different from each other, so that  gave me two different ideas.. This information was highly reliable as well. This did not only help me conduct my research but it also ended up in my final product in the “purpose” section in my website .

Rest of my research was mostly secondary sources. The most reliable secondary sources that I used were books that I read during summer that were somewhat related to the global context of my project. Other sources were obtained from internet websites. The research on the internet was very tricky as not everything on there is trustworthy. So, during that process it helped me to  develop fine research skills because I had to check the background of each source and analyze it to see if it is authentic and original. If any of the information, for instance, the author or the date of when it was published were missing from a certain website I did not use it.

Before we individually started working on our projects, our supervisors had already told us to make an action plan that we could  use to guide us  throughout the whole process (see appendix E). We were also told to make a success criteria for the product that we had to follow in our process.

The action plan I made for  myself was pretty detailed and stated exactly what I needed to do  which made it easier to follow (see appendix E). Though I did not realize that the research part would take me that long, so, it somewhat changed the whole action plan a bit by extending the due dates further. I had decided to do everything step by step as I thought it would be easier and much simpler to follow and also it will not cause any confusion. I started with my research, then I collected some sources, then step-by-step I started coming up with several different ideas about what I could write in my stories or poems.

In my success criteria, I decided that my product will be a website, because it could be a book as it makes more sense because of the whole writing part, but I choose to not do it and instead went with the website option because the goal of my project was to raise awareness and the best way to achieve this was an internet website. Other parts that I had selected to include in my TSC were  user/audience, function, and size and content. The user and and audience were definitely the for teenagers and adults  who are going through the same problems. and the people who want to know more about the struggles of young adults, so, they can help them .The function of my product was to raise awareness about mental health among people who are not aware of the issue. The size and content limit for my product was 1500 words because I wanted to keep my writings short and direct.

The planning process helped me to improve quite a lot  in the ATL management skills. When I started my project my self-management skills were pretty inadequate because of the lack of information in them. As they were not thorough, I was usually confused my deadlines and sometimes forgot to finish the work right on the deadlines. But, the planning  was going to be the base of the whole project. Therefore, I decided to put hard effort into it by making an action plan. Most of the time, I managed myself by dividing my task in much simpler versions. For example, I made a  to-do list just like my action plan. In there I set simple tasks like coming up with the characters and settings and setting a suitable time period to complete the task. I thought this worked very well throughout the project and really helped to simplify the task.

Other times, I had to come up with strategies to stick to the task. For that, I put reminders for the task that I was supposed to do to make sure that I did them on time. I had set tiny breaks in the middle of my work period, so I do not get tired collectively and give up on the task. If the work got too stressful I tried breathing exercises to calm down and then go back to it and tried to figure out whatever I could not before.

After I had completed my research and finished the planning, it was time to start making the actual product. The purpose of my personal project was to mainly to raise awareness about common struggles of teenagers and young adults. However, my personal focus was to enhance my thinking skills, writing skills, and communication skills. The end product of my personal project was website where I put all of my written work. My global context was relationships and identities; it was a pretty vast topic about human relationships, including families,  friends, mental and social health. Therefore, my product can be divided into a subcategory of that global context  which is the mental health. In my research I had investigated plenty of struggles of young adults that I can write about, but I wanted my audience to have an experience of something they had not dealt with up until now. Hence, I choose to shine light on the problems that a great deal of teenagers or young adults are faced with frequently. I did not choose to write about the topics that were now  casual and could be easily ignored by people. I wanted my personal project to make a change in the way we empathize with others. For this reason, I selected issues such as low- self esteem, abusive relationships, eating disorders, imposter syndrome and wrote poems and short-short stories about some of those things. In this whole process I was able to transfer one skill to another, it especially helped me develop my thinking skill, communication and social skills.

To gather my primary resources, I had to interview a few people. This was very well for enhancing my communication and social skills because to interview people, at first, i had to reach out to them by e-mail and ask them that if I could interview them for my personal project which was helpful for improving my communication skills. Then on the the day of interview I asked them questions that I wanted the answers for which was useful too, since it helped me improve my social skills as well.

Before the project, I was able to transfer one to skill to another efficiently but those skills were relatively moderate. Through this project I was able to extend those skills further. During the creation of the product, I did eventually face a few problems. I solved them using thinking skills such as fixing the problem by putting two ideas together. Approximately halfway through the process I decided to change one of the element that was supposed to be the part of my final product. At first, I was supposed to write a short story for the final product but I realized that if I write a short-short story I will be able to deliver the message of the story much faster and it would be easier for the audience to comprehend and then at same time they will be able to think of the other problems as well. I have already published everything that I wrote on my website and I shared it with my friends, my classmates and some people I know. Since, it was public website I believe I have had some people I do not know  visit my website as well. The website has been a great payoff for my personal project and I still keep receiving frequent visitors now and then.

After months of hard work, I am pleased to say that I am quite proud of how the whole process of my personal project turned out to be even though there is always a room for improvement.

In my criteria, I decided that my final product should be a blog since my goal was to raise awareness about the emotions that young adults and teenagers feel and the struggles they go through in their daily lives. In my final blog I have written 4 poems and two short-short stories. I decided to change my short story into a flash fiction because it’s easy to understand and if you read it you will be able to comprehend the message of the story quickly.

 

Your Goal: My goal is to write about common struggles of young adults to make people more aware of their feelings (raise awareness).
Your Global Context: Identities and relationships

 

Aesthetics

Appearance, style, colour, shape, pattern, form, texture, finish, layout

User/Audience

Who is it for? Consider age, gender, socioeconomic background

Function

What is its purpose? What will it do? How easily can it be used/maintained?

Size/Content

Are there any specific sizes that need to be considered? Is there a particular amount of content required?

1-2

Limited

Incomplete loose pages of short story The product is made for everyone. It helps raise a little awareness about some of the feelings of young adults. No particular size.
3-4

Adequate

Writes one short story and a poem The product is appropriately made for teenagers. It helps raise awareness about some of the feelings of young adults. Short story and the poems are written in less than 500 words.
5-6

Substantial

Writes one short story and at least 2 poems. The product is made for teenagers and up. It helps raise awareness about the complicated feelings and struggles of young adults which somewhat relates to the things they do in their daily life. Short story and the poems are between 500 and 1000 words.
7-8

Rigorous

Writes one short story and more than 2 poems. Presents the written work on a blog.   This product is suitable and helpful  for teenagers and adults  who are struggling with their own feelings. People who want to know more about the struggles of young adults. It helps raise awareness about the complicated feelings and struggles of young adults addressed directly through what they do in their daily lives. The world count for the short story and the poems is 1500 and up.

My self-made criteria for my product.

I thought that if I wanted people to read my story and not get bored by it, it would be better to convey its message as directly as possible.

For my second category which was user/audience, In my success criteria I determined that the product will be  suitable and helpful  for teenagers and adults  who are struggling with their own feelings too and the people who want to know more about the struggles of young adults and want to help them in some way. In my final product I believe that  I did mention some of the significant problems that most of us teenagers face on daily basis and do not really think about it. For example, I wrote a poem called “Beautiful”.  It was a short and direct poem in which the message was that beauty is something that exists within the hearts of people. I feel that is something a lot of us can relate to as we do not seem to appreciate so much around us when all we really need is to take a moment to take in all the tiny beautiful things around us to be happy and this will also be the impact I want my stories or poems to have on the readers. For my last category which was the size and content I choose that the world count for the short story and the poems will be around 1500 words and up. However, it ended up around almost 1000 words .

Overall, I believe that my product was successfully able to achieve its purpose but due to some of the changes in plan I could not stick with the actual TSC and so it lead to some differences just as I mentioned before, such as, the word count and I wrote a short-short story instead of a short story

I have learned a lot of things during the whole process of making of my product. Since, my product was not something that I had never done before. I cannot say that I during this process I had to learn how to do my project, but I can say that I have improved on so many skills and developed several new skills as well. Moreover, I increased my knowledge about the topic of my project during the research stage of my project and I was able to understand its meaning more thoroughly when I actually started my creation procedure. Before this project my knowledge about mental health was limited but now I have learned that it is an important issue in our society that a lot of people are diagnosed with and it is something we should acknowledge and take action for. For example, we can raise awareness for the mentally ill people to get them help or we can help them ourselves.

Apart from the huge success of my project and how well it turned out to be there is always some things that can be improved. My project did have some major components such as the content my writings were based on was strong and facts supported information and I was also able to gather some information through primary research. There are some things that I could improve if I were to do this project again. For instance, next time I would like to interview people with mental health problems to get their perspective or thought on how they think people should be helping them or how they feel about their mental problem generally.

In the end this project, I have not only learned the main problems in lives of young adults or the statistics of suicide rate, but as learner, I learned very much about myself such as my writing style. It also enhanced my ATL skills, for example the research skills. Due to that, I believe I have developed more thinking skills and it has also boosted my communication skills. Along with all these things, I have learned to believe and to not give up on myself. Since, it was a huge project and it is always very easy to lose inspiration.

This project’s goal was to raise awareness about the feelings of teenagers and some problems that they encounter in their daily lives. So that the people around those gloomy people can have can idea of what the other person is going through. At the exhibition of the personal project most of the people I talked with were taken aback  when they learned  the statistics of the consequential deaths and suicides  of these problems that they casually choose to ignore. I believe that was enough for them to stop and realize and think about what they can do to prevent such tragedies from happening? This can also change people’s point of view on, for instance, depressed people because they would realize that not everyone is doing those things for attention.

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