During a Zoom meeting for the International Students Senior Reception Brian White, aka BDW aka the Dean of ISS told us that if we take anything from college he hopes that we have learned to love learning. And as I reflect back on my entire college experience I realise that although I may not have known it then,I love to learn. At the end of it all I was taught to love learning. How is this relevant to what I’ve learned from my capstone this year? My capstone was one of the only things throughout my college career where I could choose what skills, tools and theories I would like to apply to a final endeavour. In a way I would say it was a letter to other students. A way to show them that you can and will be done if you keep trudging through the trenches.
I wouldn’t describe my college experience as a war zone. But I will say that it is a long and arduous process where one needs to stay aware of their surroundings and what moves they will make next, on their own and with the help of other people. The whole undergraduate journey and my capstone have both taught me a multitude of invaluable lessons, some of which I will list below:
#1 Treat every journey like a marathon and not a sprint.
The capstone process is what it is, a process. There are many moving parts and it’s important to identify each of them and their needs before you begin creating anything. Before creating there is development. In my capstone outcome I chose to pursue an honours thesis. In order to do this I knew that: 1) I was going to be on a fast track and 2) I was going to need to write a longer paper and 3) I would have to follow the hourglass approach. I picked all the components apart, ensuring I followed the guidelines and I began to create the final product. This isn’t something I could complete overnight. I needed to know this was going to take me the whole year. And in the years leading up to this I knew everything that I would do would count toward this. Don’t burn out too quickly.
#2 Keep track of time.
Every journey needs to be planned out and will take time. I learned that knowing that this journey was going to take the whole year and had many moving parts meant that I would need to invest a lot of time in my thesis. I allocated times to complete sections, readings, communicating with my advisors and brainstorming. Having a deadline motivated me to allocate time to get things done to keep me accountable.
#3 Stay curious and ask questions.
If anything, the libearal arts has taught me to be a critical thinker. In conducting my research I tried to remain skeptical and constantly questioned my work and progressed to gauge how I could improve it. Curiosity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Stay woke.
The capstone process has taught me a range of lessons which I couldn’t even put into words at this moment. Though I will say the 3 above are some of the most important ones that come to my mind.