College has felt far from a simple process, and I definitely feel like I’ve been struggling through. I cannot wait to graduate, even though this year it means no ceremony. However, it has definitely introduced me to a new type of critical thinking that I am so grateful for. The time management skills I’ve gained alone was worth it. As looking forward I am to a break from academics, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. I have piles of research to organize into my final thesis before I can submit it.
One of the greater things I’ve learned during my capstone was what it was like to truly deepen understanding around a topic. From a vague concept one year ago to a concrete thesis, I have developed many skills around bibliographic research and understanding the Environmental Studies’ hourglass strategy. I organized my elective classes this semester around furthering my capstone topic, and it certainly paid off. The integration of multiple disciplines made me extremely glad that I finally decided on the Environmental Studies program, and I could not recommend it enough. The individual research projects that we have completed throughout our years in this department have given me many specific skills that have helped in each class — let alone when I apply it to individual topics I am passionate about outside of school. Zotero?! Fantastic program, and I feel like I’ve used it every day since downloading it in Jim’s 200 level Environmental Studies course.
Critical research skills feels like by far the most significant thing I’ve learned. Being able to pick apart peer-reviewed scholarly sources to ultimately inform my own opinion has served me not only in school, but even my media consumption. I feel like it has given me a new language to move from, and the major itself gave me a new viewpoint to understand the climate crisis in a way I had a minimum understanding around beforehand. I honestly surprise myself when I am able to comprehend environmental reports and translate it to concepts that my friends and family can wrap their heads around when it feels so exclusive and apocalyptic in popular media. The sociology, writing, and philosophy classes I’ve been able to incorporate into the Environmental Studies program have contributed massively to my world-view, which develops by the day. I’ve been exposed to so many authors and can talk about Rachel Carson’s impact on the modern day environmental justice movement in my sleep at this point. It has made me more community-minded and critical of the United States mainstream system with the lens of productive institutional change. I didn’t even get in to the particular knowledge from my thesis, but felt that I became more reflective of my years at Lewis & Clark more than I thought I would responding to this prompt!