My name is Kathy Mai and I am currently a freshman at Clemson University! As my topic of social stigma on poverty growth in America is grounded in personal impact and experiences, my research was driven by passion and a yearning for the truth. The thorough research I have conducted is diverse and developed, incorporating peer-reviewed articles, newspapers, photographs, and blogs that cover my stance as well as the opposing viewpoints. My video essay is an integration of my background knowledge and credible research and illuminates a hidden story of my family. Although video essays have played a major role in my education and curiosity, the production process was quite foreign to me. However, gleaning stylistic elements from my favorite video essayists, I was able to experiment freely as a producer and create a product that conveyed my ideas with clarity and artistry.
As each project in this course built off each other, creating a strong foundation, my video essay topic came easily by the end of the semester. In Project 1, I elaborated on the identities and hardships of poverty my parents endured under my family discourse, depicting their lives as a legacy of perseverance. Expanding on the common theme of growth in the face of adversity, I magnified the issue of poverty growth in Project 2, mind mapping the social environment, economic barriers, and a sense of community of the poor through three distinct perspectives and analyzing my artifacts informatively. In Project 3, I gathered and evaluated additional credible sources that I wanted to implement into my video essay in the form of an annotated bibliography, providing structure for my final product. Following these stepping stones, I formulated an argumentative thesis and topic outline that I previewed in the video essay proposal and broadened in my video essay, pinpointing social stigma as the prominent, negative factor of poverty that contributes to mental illness, discrimination in the workplace, and prejudice. Overall, poverty has always been an issue that resonated in my heart, and delving into the research and stories of the lives affected have enlightened my outlooks and brought me closer to my family.
As college students, we are often surrounded by the luxuries of education, housing, and freedom, especially within the Clemson University community. While we may be mindlessly paying $5 for a drink at Starbucks, the poor that live on the brink of our confined campus struggle to spare the same amount of money for survival essentials. Society has conditioned our minds to associate our lives with normalcy while reinforcing negative stereotypes for the poor—the outsiders. Social stigma has embodied this “single story” of poverty that many of us share or confide in and can only be broken if we break down the barriers and seek the truth. It is easy to be caught up in our own lives and dismiss the hardships of others, but it is important for us to open our eyes to this continually growing issue that remains prevalent in our nation and to hinder its persistence. Although it may seem minimal, our perceptions and actions towards the poor can be moving or distressing, and it starts with self-awareness and knowledge.
Just like a majority of my experiences with technology, the video essay production process was frustrating, experimental, and detail-oriented. Learning a completely different software from scratch was very difficult at the start, but as soon as I got accustomed to the features of Premiere Rush, editing felt more natural and I became appreciative of the endless creative opportunities that were available to me. Regarding the media assets, I genuinely enjoyed selecting photographs, videos, and background audio that enhanced my message through the given free media websites. The footage I gathered was generally high in quality and complementary to my narration, embellishing the visual and auditory appeals immensely. In particular, I encountered abundant options for my B-roll shots, making transitions smoother and more effective. One challenge I faced was reversing a clip on Premiere Rush since the platform lacked that preference, but I was able to adapt and utilize iMovie to achieve this effect. Other than the occasional lagging of the video playback or insertion of text, the production process was doable and rewarding in the end.
Created with images by Ev - "FUCK OFF UNSPLASH" • Gor Davtyan - "untitled image" • Andreea Popa - "Home is Where the Fun Is. The Irony" • Brandi Ibrao - "untitled image" • Hannah Coleman - "Meadow of Orange"