How to Love Your SCE Process Rather Than Dread It

By Stephaney Wilson
Elm Staff Writer

One of the biggest things that all Washington College students dread is the looming Senior Capstone Experience. What kind of capstone experience is it? Should we really be afraid of this so-called capstone experience? What does it mean? These were the many questions I had in my mind about this SCE, but one of the major questions that I had in my mind was, “Is this capstone project really worth it?” Given all the time and energy spent completing this project, what will be the benefits, and the limitations?

The very first time I came across the idea of the project was during pre-orientation. My peer mentor mentioned the SCE as being this mammoth of writing, research, stress and time. I also remembered her describing it as your baby.

You nurture it, give it your all: passion, love, and time.  When I heard all this I went back to the experience I had in my last year of high school. It was absolutely terrible. All of the time spent just writing in general would make my head ache and lead me down a road of procrastination. But it was worth it, right? You become better versed at the topic at hand, a better researcher and you become more knowledgeable. That, to me, sounds like a win-win situation.

You gain these skills during your SCE to make you better prepared to engage in your field of choice in a much broader understanding and the outside world. It also allows you to give yourself a pat on the back as you walk across the stage at graduation, knowing that you deserve your degree.  Now you can tell everyone all about your topic of choice.

One of things that I am looking forward to is the ability to show my stuff. I am a double major in biology and theatre, which means I would need to produce either two theses or one combined with both majors. I like the challenge of that, but what I really like is being able to create a question. The SCE allows me to be creative with creating my own question that relates to both subject areas, despite all the work it requires.

More praise for the SCE comes from Dr. Jennifer Benson, chair of the philosophy department. “I did a senior thesis as an undergraduate. It was highly stressful. It was a good exercise.”

So, how about the limitations?

Dr. James Lipchock, assistant professor of chemistry, said, “That’s the major limitation, is time and how most things fail. We have decent resources here. But don’t have great resource facilities for certain things.”

Then is the SCE truly worth all the big noise we hear about despite its limitations? Yes, it is. So with that being said, if you are currently a student in the last remaining months of your project, or a student who does not have the idea in your head yet, enjoy the experiences you are gaining from your major while it lasts, and think about how you can get the most out of your specific SCE.

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