As I mentioned in my course summary, working on a scholarly project so elaborate, over such a long period of time, was something that I had never done before. This was a very unique opportunity for me to develop my research and project management skills that would have not been possible without this process of finalizing one’s capstone in ENVS 400. Overall, I had a lot of fun during this––admittedly very challenging––semester in which we did a lot of in-person work together and also spent a lot of time in virtual class as well!
On a more personal note, I have always had trouble with time management and it has been very difficult for me, previously, to allow a sufficient amount of time for me to actually complete large projects in a way that I am happy with. That being said, the Environmental Studies Program did a fantastic job of easing us into each step of the capstone process since ENVS 220. I don’t intend to say that they exactly held our hands, by any means, but the act of breaking the capstone ordeal into so many little pieces, with intermittent deadlines, really helped me surmount some of my issues with time management. Breaking up each section of writing with wordcounts and topics proved to be not only motivating, but also incredibly helpful in planning and creating a flow within my argument.
My takeaways from this class are nearly infinite but I would say that I really gained the most from the process itself (i.e. formulating, planning, and then actually writing a Thesis). This being the case, my ‘Best Lesson’ from our capstone work is being confident in the fact that I can start a scholarly undertaking, no matter how daunting, break it up, and actually be capable of completing it in a manner that I am proud of. I really gained a lot of independence in writing and research during this time and that has been incredibly important for me to realize. This also has implications for my graduate career, such as my desire to get a Ph.D. (which will obviously require lots of time management skills!) but, as I mentioned in my first capstone post, I don’t really know what I want to do after Lewis & Clark. I have not made any firm decisions regarding exactly where I will be taking my career in the future but, regardless, these takeaways will be invaluable, no matter what I decide to do.