I learned so much while completing my capstone project this year, from how to research critically to my process completing a large writing project. Most poignant, was what I learned going through the process of sticking with my research topic and developing it based on the research I was continuously doing. I decided to change my research topic part way through the first semester which taught me a lot about how to think through an idea and allow it to change and fluctuate. The extra work I ended up doing was gratifying because I followed my research to a topic that truly interested me. Learning to be ok with that evolution gave me confidence in my ability to write and research as well as perspective on the value of putting work into something even if you don’t end up using the product of it.
Towards the end of this process I came up against my own perfectionism and felt a bit disappointed with how my draft was looking a few weeks before the due date. I felt I had put a lot fo work in and what came out of that wasn’t nearly as polished and developed as I had hoped it would be. Time and urgency forced me to keep working and trust the final piece would come together well at the end. Allowing myself to sit with the feeling of not being able to complete enough while also pushing through to make sure I ended up with a polished finished product increased my trust in myself.
I realized that I have also started referencing my capstone in job interviews and connecting it more to my future goals. I went through a period where I thought there was little space for practical application of my capstone, which is a discussion of spaces for art in the Anthropocene and how artworks can become catalysts or prototypes for different kinds of social change. However I realize there is value in having extensive knowledge of a subject that interacts with a variety of different forces in the world. As I apply to internships related to land management and stewardship, I can connect this work with many of the historical importance of demonstrating different types land management in an art space that I discussed in my capstone. For example, Mel Chin‘s Revival Field, 1991 set a precident for the use of phytoremediation techniques my conducting a study under the guise of an artwork.
Ultimately, completing my capstone has taught me patience, resourcefulness, and trust int he process. I am looking foreward to being able to apply these skills in a professional setting in the future.