SCE Boot Camp whips seniors into shape

By Erica Quinones
Elm Staff Writer

As the spring semester began, the Writing Center provided seniors with a space to start or continue working on their Senior Capstone Experiences (SCE).
On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Writing Center hosted their SCE Bootcamp in Goldstein Hall. The bootcamp lasted from 5 – 9 p.m. and provided students with food, supplies, and a work area.
“It’s mainly a time that they can come work on it, where they know others are doing the same thing,” said Academic Resources Coordinator Elizabeth Shirk.
Like the fall bootcamp, the program was staffed by Shirk and some of the Writing Center tutors. The tutors were on hand to help with every stage of the SCE progress; from brainstorming, to editing to setting deadlines.
No matter their current status, Director of the Writing Center John Boyd said, “We’re trying to meet students where they are and provide some support where they need it.”
“It’s a larger project than most students have ever worked on before,” Boyd said. “It’s more extensive and independent.”
The extensive nature of the SCE is visible both in the types of projects and their content. Boyd said that the vast array of possibilities tended to “paralyze” students, leaving them unsure of how to start.
Writing Center tutor Saoirse, a junior, has worked with students equally as varied as their projects.
“Largely, I’ve worked with a junior who is just starting to think about his senior thesis,” Saoirse said. “I’ve also worked with a senior who already had her drafts.”
The consensus amongst staff was that, at this period in the semester, progress on senior theses varied widely. Some were just beginning, others were editing, and still more were drafting.
Despite the different levels of progress, there was unanimous agreement on what the hardest part was of the SCE. Seniors Jasmine Wolliston, Sara Slimani, Yousra Slimani, and Sawyer Chilton all agreed that the hardest part was getting started.
“With all our other classes and homework and exams, it’s so hard to find the time to work on your thesis,” Sara Slimani said.
According to Boyd, this general angst was part of the original motivation for developing the SCE Bootcamp.
The original bootcamp consisted of mini-workshops with yoga breaks and other activities, but evolved after its designers found “that students want to come sit down and work,” Boyd said.
With a time and place set, the seniors began work on their projects.
Wolliston, a psychology and computer science major, discussed how her thesis about immersion in virtual reality versus computer games combined her interests with her double major in Computer Science and Psychology.
“I’m a big gamer,” Wolliston said. “So, I want to be able to tie that into my experiment, because your thesis advisor always tells you to do something you’re passionate about, so that it’s reflected in your work.”
Likewise, the other seniors present merged their interests and theses. Sara and Yousra Slimani mixed in their future graduate school goals, Chilton her familial experience, and others like senior Joe Hood tied in his creative writing.
The Writing Center will be hosting two more Bootcamps this semester on Feb. 16 and Mar. 27.

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