Each term, one participant from each HECUA program takes on the role of student blogger, sending regular dispatches from the field. Carter Starkey (he/him/his) is HECUA’s student blogger for Making Media, Making Change Spring 2021. He is student at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, majoring in communications. Read on for his first post!
I’ve been staring through frozen windows for weeks now. It’s like getting a skewed view of the world, seeing the images of trains pass by my apartment in blurs of snow and iron. As a life-long Minnesotan, I’ve known long winters before. What I haven’t known is isolation quite like this. The world is constantly changing and it feels hard to catch up.
When I watch the news, or media of any sort, I feel the same way. The messages pass by, but my views are obscured. The isolation hits hard there, too. It takes away the beauty of conversation, interaction, and the necessity of discussion. We’re all facing a challenge, and I’ve been searching for the tools I need to meet that challenge.
In my experience so far, Making Media, Making Change has been exactly what I need. Now I have a place to practice using the tools of media literacy, and even better, I have a place where I can connect with others doing the same thing… even if it is over Zoom. Seeing smiling faces and having meaningful discussion is the only remedy I’ve found to the dull drone of a pandemic hanging over a harsh winter.
On February 18th, I had the rare opportunity to leave the confines of my room and make the journey over to the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) to check out the facilities for the first time. As snow fell gently outside, I toured around the building and got an up close and personal look at all of the wonderful things that come along with a program partner like SPNN.
Walking through the studios, the editing suites, and the common spaces with large tables begging for the use they once knew, I found myself wishing that was our reality. Classmates around a table, cold commutes with familiar friends, being able to look each other in the eyes during class:all things I once took for granted. Now I take solace in the thought of a spring inbound. Hopefully it is full of more opportunities like this.
The next day, I was shooting for our very first major class assignment, the “Story of Self,” a look inside our identities through a short video, all written, filmed, and edited by students. For my story of self, I chose to revisit the place where I spent countless summer days through my childhood and especially high school: Lebanon Hills Regional Park, south of the cities in Eagan, Minnesota. The idea is that I may relive some of the memories I’ve made there, and hopefully hold on to those memories for dear life as I age. The only thing left is the daunting process of sequencing and editing the film. If you’re reading this, wish me luck.