Signs of a Senior: Super Relieved

It’s finally done! No, not school. Not yet.

I’m referring to my project. Remember the prize I won to do research during the summer?

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 8.11.09 PM


Then I did research and bought equipment for an audio documentary.

(A M Montgomery 2015)

(A M Montgomery 2015)

For the past nine months or so, I used that equipment to start the interview process of my audio documentary with my own radio show.

(AM Montgomery 2015)

(AM Montgomery 2015)

Just a few weeks ago, I presented an excerpt of said documentary–combining my research, superhero sound bites, and interviews–my college’s annual showcase, Amherst Explorations.

(Rachael Hanley, Social and New Media Manager at Amherst College)

(Rachael Hanley, Social and New Media Manager at Amherst College)

It was covered by my college and it got tons of buzz.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 4.08.42 PM

Then I broadcast the entire audio documentary on my radio show (it’s an hour, split up into three parts, with commercial breaks) and now it’s on my SoundCloud

(Hadley Dorn 2016)

(Hadley Dorn 2016)


And now…I’m done. It’s odd being done with something that pretty much consumed much of my life for the last year and a half. It’s also odd having those fifteen minutes of fame (I’ve never had that before).

On the one hand, I’m actually sad to see my project go (there’s always things I would’ve changed, but like a child a parent raises, you have to accept that you did the best you could under the circumstances).

On the other hand, I’m relieved. My audio documentary was an independent project, not a thesis. At my school, an audio documentary is almost unheard of, so it was difficult finding an adviser to advise me. I was pretty much on my own, and a lot of times, I was afraid that I wouldn’t complete my mission. Because my project’s not a thesis, it’s not considered important or time-consuming or rigorous. It doesn’t count for honors at graduation; it doesn’t count as a course in my full-time load; there are no additional resources like the “Thesis Writers’ Retreat” or “Thesis Writers’ Support Group.” It was just me…

But just because my audio documentary doesn’t “count,” it still matters. Working on an independent project meant I was solely responsible for fact-checking and edit-checking and gathering all of my information on a weekly basis, on top of a full-course load, extracurriculars and part-time jobs. I had to work just as hard (sometimes, twice as hard) as others for none of the credit…which is fine, because I knew, the moment I began my final paper for “Rhetorics of New Media,” this audio documentary was something I needed to do, regardless of approval as a thesis, special topics, or funding. I knew I needed to find a way to get it done, no matter what, because I’d never felt so strongly about any medium or topic or challenge before.

It wasn’t a choice for me. It was what I needed to do. And I did.

(I still can’t believe I did it!)

You can listen to the audio documentary here, find out more about the radio show here (the last broadcast is May 7th) and read about the project progression here. It’s been a long time coming but I’m super relieved.


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