Senior year was not what I expected it to be. I expected to do better in some courses and do worse in others, explore the Pacific Northwest and go skiing most weekends, and work hard but coast through my capstone. However, senior year (more so the fall semester than the spring semester) has been the year I have been the most dedicated to my academics, spending countless hours in Watzek with peers working on data crunching for Liz’s Hydrology class, GEOL 280 (still worth taking, in my opinion), problem sets for ECON 260, woking hard on my capstone (ENVS 499 and 400), and elective courses. I spent some time exploring the PNW, and I managed to ski Mt. Hood Meadows quite a few times this spring semester, however not to the magnitude I thought I would.
This capstone process, which began last fall, has been a difficult one. Due to its importance, it has been a consistently overwhelming process. However, I have made strong development since its initial creation in ENVS 220, at the time titled “Technology and Planning: Instruments for Managing Water Resources“. Senior year in particular, particularly the fall semester, was the most beneficial to my capstone due to the content in the courses I took that related to my current focus question: How can populations deal with freshwater scarcity? As mentioned above, these courses include GEOL 280, ECON 260, and ENVS 499, but also include EINV 260: Sustainability & Entrepreneurship.
I have been back and forth regarding the design of my capstone, and whether to produce a standard thesis or an alternative outcome (with a mini-thesis). Since the inception of my capstone back in ENVS 220, I always felt I would pursue the thesis outcome. This mindset remained the same until a few weeks into this semester, right before I met Jim in office hours for some feedback on my capstone. I was compiling sources to use for my capstone when I came across a Story Map produced by NOAA regarding the 2011-2017 California drought. This was the first time I felt I could produce an alternative outcome connecting to my topic, and from then on I have been working on a mini-thesis and a Story Map.
Although senior year was not what I expected it to be, this year as a whole, including my capstone process, has provided me with more insight on working on future important projects. In the past, I have typically seen writing a thesis/alternative outcome as a work that is mostly appreciated in the scholarly realm, and could aid with pursuing graduate/law school. If graduate school was pursued, writing an undergraduate thesis/alternative outcome would be great experience before writing a graduate thesis. However, as a result of my capstone, I have learned that my work can be appreciated by potential employers to show off my skill set (particularly via my Story Map). I have also learned that I be satisfied with my own work too, and be appreciative of the entire process.