Writing this capstone allowed me to practice the skills that I have developed over the last three years. I had already best implemented these skills in my previous thesis work, so if anything the process this semester (due to the ENVS schedule), forced me to learn how to complete a work of this magnitude in a short amount of time. Frankly, I have never really leaned into the hourglass structure. I do see how it may benefit many people, but it always felt like I was pursuing a topic that I wanted to pursue, through someone else’s forced lens. The hourglass concept may feel more natural to others, and by all means, power to them. But accomplishing a full capstone in the few weeks I was able to truly dedicate time (and have access to resources) to work on it, while modeling it after an organizational style that seems a bit oversimplified, challenged me. But I suppose that this too was a lesson, in committing to unnecessary steps and jumping through arbitrary hoops due to someone else’s expectations. And in my experience thus far, that’s employment.
That’s not to say that my ENVS capstone won’t factor into my future in one way or another. If I am (financially) able to pursue the environmental law education that I’d like, maybe I’ll find myself in the tiny field of environmental protestor’s rights. In times like these, it’s hard to forget the words of the 5+ environmental lawyers who I’ve spoken to about this path, who all have a similar sentiment to:
Only go to law school in the place you want to live. If you want to be as far away from your undergraduate experience as possible, move. Law school is a bit unnecessary, it’s mostly about making connections with people you will probably dislike. Environmental law is not a way to make a lot of money, unless you want to work for oil companies. Godspeed.
I will spend this summer polishing my Fulbright application, which one of my favorite SOAN mentors nominated me for. Doing well on this application, by jumping through someone else’s preset arbitrary hoops, will force me to revisit a lot of the skills I polished during this capstone process. Receiving a Fulbright at the end of this summer is a long shot, but one I must pursue in order to meet the expectation put forward by everyone I know who continued their education after finishing undergrad….
Don’t keep going to school unless someone else is paying for it.