Zenith was a project assigned to seniors at the end of their senior year to give them a chance to demonstrate the skills they have acquired from Freestyle.
My Zenith Project is going to be a magazine centered on the TimesUp Movement. I’ll split it up into three or more sections so far including the tech industry, college students, and the entertainment industry. I want to model it after Ms. Magazine or National Geographic which focuses more on content and doesn’t have ad space. This project is definitely centered around my passions, mainly advocacy for women’s rights. In addition, I plan to make a website that includes links to groups that do advocacy group and will have pictures and/or links to buy shirts, posters, and buttons which I will design. This Zenith project is a new challenge for me firstly because it will be a lot of work in InDesign. Another will be in my writing because I need to make sure the content is more engaging than research-based work often is. I’m also planning on reaching out to several people to conduct interviews which will make me practice time management and social skills. I think the hardest part will be designing merch though, as it is a new skill for me.
My Final Products
(for an audio version of my reflection, click here)
Knowing that Zenith was an opportunity to design a project of my own, I wanted to make sure it was going to be something that captivated me wholeheartedly. Since I am a big advocate for women’s rights, I wanted my project to be a method of informing others of the injustices I feel many are not aware of.
Originally, I was going to make a magazine that covered different inequalities that women face in the workforce. I needed a larger design aspect that would make the project more challenging and relate more directly to my media class though, so I added a merchandise component.
While I did make the magazine and the merchandise, it wasn’t the amount that I had originally intended on. I wanted my work to cover more industries than I ultimately did, and I had planned on making keychains, shirts, and stickers. I finished Zenith with nine sections in my magazine and only shirts.
I do not think with the time allotted for the project I could have accomplished everything I had set out to do. I had to do about half the project outside of school hours in order to complete everything I did. I wish I had done more research before the project started because looking back, doing the outline for my written work was difficult. I wasn’t sure which industries to look into besides the obvious ones like entertainment. I don’t know if it would have been worth creating a more detailed outline since as time went on I had to keep taking things out. I should have just had a more complete list of jobs I was going to look into.
Writing research was also ridiculously hard. I’d find piles of articles and have to sift through them to figure out which were relevant, which might be relevant later, and which actually connected with what I was writing. Just because an article mentioned inequality women faced in a certain field didn’t mean it would make a direct connection with what was already written in my work. It was also hard to let go of articles that I found that had important information because I simply didn’t have enough time to find a spot for it in my magazine.
The biggest challenge I faced was letting go of the “perfect” standard I had set for myself. I wanted this project to encompass all the research I had ever done about gender inequalities. I wanted it to be a battle cry and feminist textbook. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do that, but this was just a small chunk of what I’ll accomplish in the future. I had so much anxiety about presenting something that didn’t live up to my original idea and own impossible standard. My peers, teachers, and family helped me let go of that impractical vision. I do not think it’s possible to achieve something so large without backup from the people you trust.
Ultimately, this project could not have been accomplished without the support of my loved ones and advice from those around me whom I most respect. My writing would not have been half as strong if I wasn’t able to get two peer readers checking over my various drafts, and I wouldn’t have found as many small mistakes without having a friend let me read every one of the twenty-eight pages aloud to her.
Despite how happy I am with the final outcome, I’m also aware that it isn’t perfect. I wish I had more time to change some of the design elements in the magazine. I wish I had added more commentary throughout the writing to make it more engaging. I think it might have been interesting to add some specific stories every so often so that there would be a break in the very numbers-based reporting. I’m also not particularly confident in my public speaking abilities. I realized that after I had presented my project to my fellow Freestylers, I sat back in my seat and had zero recollection of what I had just said. Maybe I should have rehearsed it a few more times or practiced in front of some teddy bears.
Ultimately, I hope that this is just the beginning of my work that advocates for equality between the sexes. I’ve thought about starting a blog about these issues, or maybe even continuing my magazine as a club on my college campus next year. This project has definitely expanded my confidence in pursuing these ideas. I’m excited to talk with people about my work and hear what others have to say and add.
Of all my works at Freestyle, this is the one I am most proud of. It is a project that I will always look back at fondly, despite all the stress that came along with it. I hope that when people look at it and read it through they take away the importance of being educated on the matter. I hope that when they look at the mass of research they realize that inequality is not a rare occurrence, and I hope that they take that knowledge with them and apply it to their lives. I hope that my work will help make the world a more equitable place.