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Oooooh La La, Working In OHLA: Alyssa Navarrette ’19 at Oral History in the Liberal Arts

I seem to be writing quite a bit of blog posts recently, especially thank to my first co op opportunity. Ive been working as a Digital Archives Coordinator for OHLA (Oral History in the Liberal Arts) an interdisciplinary collaboration project that currently represents seven GLCA-affiliated schools. The project focuses on the wonderful pedagogical perks of digital storytelling and oral histories, as well as the pedagogy of reaching out into the community. All this is meant to help build, engage, and explore in your community as a practice of experiential learning. My role as the digital archives coordinator is to provide digital support to the faculty and staff on the OHLA steering committee, which includes: transcribing, indexing, and help navigating different tools to better solidify the presentation of a project. Coming into this role I had very little experience in digital arching, but given the opportunity I have learned to use many useful tools such as Popup Archive for transcriptions, and Podigee for podcasting. After exploring various tools, such as the two mentioned above, I write about my experience navigating them as well as the work flows that I adopt while utilizing them. Which not only helps me detangle various elements of these tools, but can be used as tutorials and tips for others venturing off into the oral histories, and digital storytelling world. This has also proved to make my co op experience with Brooke Bryan my supervisor very meaningful for me in terms of not only having a chance to have an impact on this project but for me to have educational aspects to my everyday work experience. It also doesn’t hurt to have a supervisor who is so passionate about her work, it makes every little task not matter how tedious exciting because you are reaffirmed constantly that your work, and struggles behind the scenes are well worth it and your contributions are meaningful no matter how small they may seem.

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As a student at Antioch College not only am I immersed in superb rigorous work, but I am also thrown out of the coop and into the co-op world where I am expected to make my own temporary coop then return to the coop I was kicked out of to apply my experience to my education to foster tools for my future permanent coop. As of today, I am working two jobs for the first time which has proved to somehow be more tiring than working the same amount of hours at one job. This experience however, humbles me as well as tests my leadership abilities in the workplace. In regards to my first two weeks of co op I feel reminded of how testing capabilities is necessary for growth in many cases as well as a positive attitude. Progress is relative, and having a flexible agenda allows you to restructure your time in ways that leads to better work, and more enthusiastic productivity. And as I test my leadership skills in the workplace it is evident that giving myself this same flexibility to work on myself is strategic since I can allow myself more time to really focus on one part of me that needs more love than other parts of me that may not be ready for that kind of over whelming experience. While all of my skills in both of my workplaces are really mediocre I feel like these revelations of time and energy are both key elements in making my work move from mediocre to great. As well as the enthusiasm of my employers, and their willingness to not only answer my questions but teach me the ways of their profession.

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