The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

It is my senior year at Loyola University Chicago. Typing the sentence itself for my last first post as an undergraduate student is still surreal.

This year I am looking forward to begin the steps needed to embark on the next chapter in my life. I will be enrolled in graduate school, hopefully in the fall of 2o14.

With the help of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, facilitated through the Graduate School, I have begun the process to prepare for my post-graduate education as well as gain research experience.

Conducting this research this past summer has been similar to peeling off the layers of an onion. Every macro idea thus far reveals many micros that cannot be explored in nine weeks.

Why spend time behind the computer exploring the “virtual world” that is New African Social Media? The advent of African youth having the space to show creativity and to share it through virtual communities hits home. Producers are able to communicate and share what they believe Africa was like in the past, what Africa is like in the present, and what Africa will be in the future. New African Social Media is an example of how new forms of media impact culture. Those within this “virtual world” are able to re-appropriate content and attach new meaning to the content they create or share.

With this, it is interesting to unpack how this content differs from Africa-content material in mainstream media. New African Social Media allows producers and consumers to shed a different light on what Africa means and is to them: diverse, progressive, and positive. People are given the freedom to be bold to create, report, and share what they do not see in mainstream media; as well as to give a more balanced view of what occurs on and off the continent.

So far in my research, I have found that people most popularly share visually contextual content that depicts people, daily life, and women. The peeling of this onion continues as I unpack the why, how, where, and when of these findings.

Luckily, with the help of my faculty mentor, I am currently continuing what I started this summer through an independent study. I look forward to interviewing participants to learn their perspective on this topic.

With my research aside, my class schedule is light compared to semesters past. I have a little more free time to study for the GRE, as well as catch up with friends; especially those who studied abroad last semester.

I know that this is the beginning of the end of my undergraduate career at Loyola. My senior year will flash right before my eyes, but I will savor every moment of it.

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