“At a Blink of an Eye, the Semester Came To A Close” -McQueen

That’s me!

Wow, what an amazing journey this semester was.

Words cannot describe how excited I am to be writing this final reflection post. I am so amazed at the progress I made this semester. I started out knowing absolutely nothing about using a camera. The stress, sleepless nights and numerous questions, I really enjoyed doing all of my assignments this semester. This class made me a better personal mentally and it taught me never to give up when things get tough.

Know Your Camera

The quad on a cold January afternoon

This was our very first assignment and I was nothing but nervous for this. We were just learning how to use our camera and be comfortable. I felt completely clueless with this assignment and that maybe my shots were not good enough. This assignment was called “Getting to know your camera” and after I published my shots on YouTube, I felt proud that I finished my first camera assignment.

The shots I took were all on the quad. I took some wide, medium, and tight shots of things on the quad that I felt was cool or even caught my eye. The day was so gloomy that it was hard for me to catch anything that was colorful. It was still the middle of winter.

Photo Essay 

Sophomore Ray Doromal poses at his fraternity house Alpha Kappa Lambda

Shooting assignment two was so much fun for me. I decided to shoot all of my friends who inspire me everyday to work hard in everything I do from school, to my health, etc. I would not be where I am today without the wonderful people I have met after transferring to U of I. I learned to love U of I more and more once I found a comfort zone and true friends that consistently have my back.

Junior Lena Centomani smiles at the camera in her apartment while she does homework

With this assignment I stressed out completely because I didn’t have the slightest clue how to approach it. I could not figure out how I would be able to catch all four emotions of: fearful, excitement, hopeful and afraid. To me, fearful and afraid sounded the exact same so I thought to myself “how am I going to capture both while making them different?” After days of thinking, many text messages sent to a friend in the class, I figured something out that I knew could work.

Video Essay

I definitely have to say this was an assignment where as a class, we all struggled and felt so stressed. For me, I felt like the world was ending because everything just went wrong with this assignment for me. My shooting was not solid, the audio was not loud enough, I had a few shaky shots. I remember walking out of class and my stress level shoot to the roof.

The men of Alpha Kappa Lambda 

After hearing my friends in Alpha Kappa Lambda talk about how much they enjoy living in their house, I realized I wanted to capture why they love it so much and it made me realize that it was their “Home Away from Home.”   I had my two friends Sebastian and Kevin give me a tour of their house. I had them show me where they study, the kitchen, a bedroom and the main part of the house where they hang out. Overall, they have a beautiful home that was renovated in 2010. What is really cool about this video is that they use it as their rush video. After reshooting everything, getting it all edited and published, I felt proud that I never gave up even when things hit the fan. Always keep grinding, even when things get hard. It is so easy to just give up.

Audio Package

Poster for #BlackTransMagick hanging up in the Illini Union

I really enjoyed dong the audio story. It really was not something that was overly challenging for me because I was familiar with it. While taking multimedia, I was also taking audio journalism.

For this assignment, I decided I wanted to do something that related to Black History Month because it was February. After looking on the university events calendar, this poetry performance by this duo called #BlackTransMagick really caught my eye. #BlackTransMagick is a poetry duo by the name of J Mase III and Vita E who are both African American and transgender. Both express things they experience on a daily basis, but they express it through poetry.  I had never been to a poetry slam before and this was a great first impression. What I enjoyed most about the performance was the fact that I could relate to some things that were said. After the show I got the chance to talk to J Mase III and Vita E and really felt they had some amazing things to say and really enjoy what they do which is poetry.

Video Package

Joe’s Brewery sign

Next, the video package! This was definitely one of my challenging assignments. I literally spit out a topic right at the start of class, but before that I had no idea what I wanted to do. I decided to choose the 19 bar entry age here at U of I because I had never heard of such a thing. Before I turned 21, I was caught with a drink in my hand. That was an automatic $360 down the drain, plus an essay that I had to turn in to the university. I did not understand the purpose of having a 19 bar entry age. U of I is the only university that allows 19 year olds to enter the bars, however, during the weekend of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, the bar entry age is strictly 21. Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day is an event at U of I that has occurred the last 21 years.

St. Patrick’s Day artwork on the windows of Legends bar on Green St.

I had a great time talking to Joe’s manager Mike Snooks and also talking to Sgt. Joe Ketchem is the head of  the Special-Events Alcohol Enforcement. Sgt. Ketchem told me some interesting facts about bar checks, ID confiscation and how they work on Unofficial. Stay safe Champaign-Urbana!



How To

I definitely had fun with the “how to” video! I would say this assigment was one of my stronger ones. I came up with the idea of contouring because I do it when I do my make up for night time and my roommates get so interested by it. They would ask me to teach them and I figured why

All different brushes you need to have a successful contour

not do that for my “How to”. The music I chose was fun and upbeat because that is the type of music I listen to while I get ready.

Final Group Project

And now for the icing on the cake for this semester, the final project! This assignment required us to throw in everything we have learned throughout the semester plus our very own website. As a group, we decided we wanted to to highlight accessibility at the University of Illinois and stress why it is one of the best universities in the country for accessibility. Before we chose this topic, I knew absolute nothing about accessibility and I’m so glad after this project that I am fully educated.

Photo taken by Maggie Sullivan

My favorite part of this project was actually interacting with someone. I had the amazing opportunity to meet and talk to a U of I student, Amelia. Amelia is a student that comes to school here all the way from Alabama and she loves it here. One important take on my time with Amelia is that she is just like us. She loves coffee, she loves to travel and loves the laugh. Maggie and I got the chance to talk with her and see her morning routine and got the chance to meet her personal assistant Nay.

Final Thoughts

I have come such a long way in this class. I remember when Professor Collins showed up the syllabus and thought to myself, “Ok this isn’t going to be so bad, how hard can using a camera be?” and boy was a wrong. I enjoyed this class because I really challenged myself and Professor Collins challenged all of us. She is by far the best professor I have had in college. No professor has believed in me half as much as she does. I love how passionate she is about teaching us to be better people and of course better journalists. I am walking away from this class learning so many new things that I will not only take with me into next semester, but after I graduate.

I remember telling Professor Collins in my bio about how shy I was and how my self confidence was low, but what I loved about this semester is that she made sure to bring out the best in me and helped me shine. I really enjoyed how supportive she was with all of my work, and that made me feel good about myself with each assignment. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

-Sammy McQueen

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