May 3, 2010
To conclude this year’s study, I’ve completed and given multiple presentations of my research, begun planning next year’s experimental design, and passively fulfilling leadership duties. I finished a 25minute PowerPoint detailing all of my findings and gave formally twice: at Glenelg’s Enrichment fair and then at the Student Learning Conference at APL. Both presentations went fairly well, though not perfectly. I clarified several aspects of my presentation as a result of the first practice at the enrichment fair, which was the point of course. I was reminded of science fair quite a bit, especially at APL. I miss giving those presentations. It’s strange, because now it seems that presenting has actually become my favorite part of the whole process! I’m still practicing, because I’m not naturally fluid, but I like practicing. I wish I had gotten a chance to present more. I loved this thesis more than last year’s by far. In fact, I think this could be one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done. My freshman year project rivaled this, but that didn’t receive as much recognition either. I’m still slightly confused as to why last year’s experiment got more attention than the one before. I focused on presentation perhaps and that was why. Still, ninth grade had much more solid hypotheses and (if I do say so myself) a brilliantly simple solution to a difficult problem. Those things were incorporated in my 10th grade project, but the new research itself was quite weak.
This year’s work is also weak. It is not nearly as thorough as I plan to make it. I want to expand everything to include multiple diagnostic tests. I have established the sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and therefore credibility of The Story Template, and will now compare its scores against its competitors. I will increase the sample size to include at least 20 subjects, but hopefully more. I’m still not sure what other tests I will compare, but Hero’s Journey must be among them I believe. I will limit my test groups to systems that function under the assumption that all stories have common components and that that system describes those similarities.
At APL I received a few questions, mostly from one girl. I don’t remember everything she asked, but her final question was whether or not I was there stating that the Story Template was indeed the only story construct possible. I had indicated Lord of the Rings to be a classic, but drastically disproportioned in favor of Freytag’s model over any other. She pointed out that stories can exist as classics while not following the Template. I answered that this observation was correct as it was. The Story Template does not determine classics, but is only used to predict. That was the entire point of the research. The Story Template is not the only model or even a complete model, but it is sensitive, specific, and accurate in most cases.
I do miss presenting. It’s so much fun! I was mildly accused of yelling a bit though afterward. (Not really, but I rarely raise my voice otherwise, so I guess it seemed different? I always present that way though. Maybe I was yelling. I don't remember). It was actually sort of funny. I was trying to answer questions, but I do tend to get a little loud when I do sometimes. Regardless, I was only explaining fact. I filled up my entire time slot and was still answering questions as people left. I had one or two people stay after to ask me additional questions which was nice. One of my slides had mysteriously slipped out of order, but it was alright.
In general, the rest of the presentations were all excellent. The 10minute board presentations were lacking in comparison to the longer length presentations, but they still had interesting topics. My major critique if I were to give one is the fact that few projects articulated a solid thesis to which all research was supposed to be grounded.
I've decided that I write a lot. I'm not sure if it's too much, but I've always been one to write and write about nothing at all. I'm not sure if I'm wasting time in these journal entries, but at the same time, I like looking back. Do I write too much? I can't exactly help it though. I love rereading my freewriting. I just glanced over my summer journals, and though they're horribly confused, I liked remembering what I was thinking. I never remember anything unless I write it down it seems. I lost my computer! Two of them actually this year. Anyway, I've lost so many old files, I don't even realize how much is gone yet. I don't know where all my freewriting from APL is, but I suspect it might be on one of my thumbdrives. I lost all my sketches though. I had folders and folders of illustrations I'd done, and now they're all gone! I have some hardcopy, but most were digital only. I lost stories. I lost essays. I lost my list of quotes. I lost everything, but I haven't seen most of it in so long, I can't even miss it, which is even worse. I lost some pieces of my algorithm from last year, though I think I have an old version on a different computer. I won't need it again of course, but still I like having everything available somewhere. I like plagerizing myself if it's good, but usually I just end up rewriting everything anyway. In any case, I do often use my old writing as a starting place for new ideas.
I want to go back to writing my story. I wrote out a shortened version of the hidden need triplet for the Huck Finn creative essay in English this year. It was horrible. It was complicated and I spent nearly half the time just trying to summarize the beginning and backstory so things would make sense. I do have so much symbolism in everything it's rather ridiculous. No body cares honestly. I need to stay away from the Tolkien approach!! I love Lord of the Rings, but no one can do it well, and frankly it's too complicated and confusing for the average audience. I need to stick to simple stuff until I know what I'm doing.
I started writing a summary of my story outline so far in this box, but it got too long, so I will/have added a tab on the left under "Fourth Quarter Journals" for that exclusively. Again, I haven't even looked let alone worked on my ideas since APL last summer (except for that short essay in English this last winter). They need to be refined a lot. Still this is what I have so far anyway.