Full Disclosure: this post was originally on the D-Center site. But, I left a few bits out since that wasn’t exactly the platform for my mushy stupid emotions.
So, It’s 2am, and I have to wake up at 8am, and I cannot sleep. You might laugh, but it is because I’m thinking about the D-Center. In case you didn’t know, I have been working at the Center for Visual and Digital Literacy going on a full 12 months. My title is ‘tutor’ but I do a lot more creating then you would think. Things involving website building with WordPress, accessibility technologies, and Digital/Visual literacy are my day-to-day. And it is true, the CDVL thinks about all of this 24/7. Prime example: right now. But I’m not just thinking about WordPress, I’m thinking about my summer and how lucky I have been to work with the people I’m working with because, genuinely, I love my job. The hours are great, the pay is great, I have no real bills to worry about, I have a casual dress code, the coffee is good, and best of all, I work with creators. I’m really in a sweet spot of my life.
Now, you may be asking ‘What does this have to do with this weird title?’. Well let me introduce Naomi Smith (’18). Naomi and I met to talk about setting up their domain naomismith.agnesscott.org and building a website, and what came out of it was great.
You see, Naomi and I didn’t just have a ‘I teach you everything there is to know about building your website’ type of session. We had a conversation about digital literacy. It started off with me asking if they knew a lot about WordPress. When Naomi said no, we then went to ‘Well, what do you want your site to look like?’ and instead of some version of a shrug or 20 minutes of us staring at one another, we talked. We made a plan and I curated the meeting’s outline to what the end goal was. Naomi was very engaged to what I was saying and same vice versa. We ended the meeting, emailed each other a couple of links to great resources, and Naomi now has a really dope website. I really can only take credit for helping build 0.5% of it.
I write all this because that meeting and what came out of it is a prime example of great collaboration. There is a paradigm shift from high school to college about how humans interact and our social responsibility. In high school, everything is very structured. Assignments are given out with a clear rubric and guidelines. The social structure is also very set and after-school-special-ey. Where the students are not friends with teachers, and tutor meetings work as a bulleted list. The word peer means the same as taxes. It exists as a concept but in reality no one really gets it. So collaborative work is doomed and/or dreaded. But now, in the ever-changing land of College, the system of power is changing from ‘power-over’ to ‘power-among’ and ‘peer’ is something we can grasp and mold. “Which is pow-wer-ful.”(Nell Ruby).
When we get here, there are conversations like the one between Naomi and I, where collaboration is not shied from. Where no one really cares about looking dumb or maintaining a level of authority. Because each person involved gets out more than what they put in. Learning from one another is powerful.
And these are the kind of defining thoughts I’ve come to recently. I blame the job. I blame the people at the job. I blame the confidence I’ve gotten from the people at the job. Not only do I feel more stable in my digital literacy but I know how to build a friggin website. I know what a domain is and what that means. Hell, I know what Visual Literacy means! A year ago, I would have been happy to let someone I considered more qualified to take over my digital presence completely. Mainly because I didn’t know how to communicate what I wanted without inconveniencing them. Theres this change in my self confidence, my intelligence, and how big of an oyster this world is. My friends at work are older/more experienced at everything than me, have actual lives with things like bills they lead, and have created art and content that is mind-blowing. To be surrounded by such open and creative brains and, on top of that, have them respect my opinions, is crazy! I write articles for the center’s website! I’m going to the gym! 3 times a week!!! My calves look amazing!!!! Who am I, youknowwhatImean?
Point is, everything is changing, and its great and I really love life right now.
So I strongly advise taking a look at WordPress, and thinking about what you don’t know. Take advantage of resources, especially us at the D-Center. You don’t have to have a plan, you just have to have a drive to get something done. Even if you hate everything technological, don’t know what ‘Digital Literacy’ is, or believe everything I’m saying is stupid. Ask questions, listen to each other, and learn something you didn’t know before. Because if you are confident in your brain, even in what it doesn’t know, everything comes together, and people respect your thoughts. Make connections!
P.S. Did I mention go check out Naomi’s Site? I mean honestly, it’s great.