By Emma Russell
Student Life Editor
The 2020-2021 school year comes to an end in three weeks, and after a stressful virtual year, many seniors can finally relax before graduating from Washington College.
Senior Natasha Slaby recently turned in their English Senior Capstone Eexperince which is “about escape and return to abusive space in ‘Jane Eyre,’ specifically looking at how emotional and physical freedom are related to each other.”
Slaby said that they chose the topic because of their interest in psychology and because “[they] noticed that there was this large blind spot in psychoanalysis and trauma writing in regards to how space is utilized in stories that showcase trauma and domestic abuse, such as ‘Jane Eyre.’”
“’Jane Eyre’ is really personal to me — it was the first classic novel I ever read, and it was what got me interested in reading as a kid,” Slaby said.
Not only did Slaby’s SCE mean a lot to them, they said they had a bit of trouble finally letting it go.
“I don’t miss writing and editing it – or the stress of having to put so much time into it – but I do feel like there is so much more to be said about and around my topic. I like to joke that if I go to get my master’s, or Ph.D. I’ll just expand upon what I’ve already written. Or that I’ll write a whole book about my SCE, with expansions of course, because there is just so much to talk about in it that I really couldn’t include because it was too off-topic,” Slaby said.
Senior Patrick Salerno turned in a philosophy SCE titled “Are Androids Free: Sci-Fi, A.I., and the Free Will Debate,” and is finishing up a theatre SCE which includes a production management project and research paper.
“I have always had an interest in the concepts of freedom and morality, specifically the intersection of the two. As a life-long nerd, I loved the way the stories I read and watched would impart lessons and teach philosophical concepts, often without people noticing. I saw a natural connection and the topic grew from there,” Salerno said about his philosophy SCE.
As for his theatre SCE, Salerno said “the project went through multiple revisions due to COVID-19. We decided on the current topic of production management, specifically looking at the concepts of policy and equity, as I have the interest to pursue this as a potential career option.”
“Though I feel like I could have given the philosophy paper another five drafts, I still felt accomplished when I hit that final submit button. I had spent almost the whole week working on final edits and trying to correct every mistake, so it was a weight off my shoulders to have it done,” he said. “It is nice to spend time concentrating on one project and to really sit with an idea. Washington College is so fast-paced that we don’t really have time to do that much at all.”
Senior Summer Black completed a joint biology and chemistry SCE about UV rays’ side effects in the DNA of skin cells, and how to repair and prevent damage.
“I’m interested in dermatology and I plan to go to PA school and specialize in dermatology. I love Dr. Pimple Popper videos and thought it’d be really cool and interesting to be a part of that in the future. Also being pale I know sunburn is a real issue and wasn’t really sure about why it was important to protect our skin from the sun. This topic provided more clarity into that topic,” Black said.
“I wrote something I’m really proud of with a lot of important information about sunscreen and sun damage. I find myself telling everyone I know now to wear sunscreen and what types are the best,” she said.
Now that she’s turned in her SCE Black said she’s looking forward to enjoying the rest of her senior year.
“I live with my five best friends and most of all of our time has been thesis focus, but now that we are nearing the end, there’s more free time to enjoy sitting in the sun and talking and enjoying the last moments being with my friends,” she said.
Senior Berkleigh Fadden recently completed her music SCE, which took the form of a recital and is working on the final edits of her psychology SCE which is about how music affects people’s verbal memory.
“There’s quite a bit of research that says that musicians have higher verbal memory skills than non-musicians. What I was interested in was, well what if we just take whether you’re a musician out of the equation? What if I just did a correlation between how musical someone is, regardless of experience, and this cognitive function,” Fadden said about her psychology SCE.
With her music SCE completed, Fadden said she feels relieved and proud of the performance she put on at her recital, which was streamed on YouTube. Fadden was also lucky enough to have a small live audience that consisted of close family and friends.
“By the time I was performing and doing my first few songs, this wave of calmness just washed over me, and it helped me perform better. Nerves are good, it means that you care, and you get this adrenaline rush to perform and that can be great, you know positive stress. But what really helps me in a performance is letting that happen, then eventually coming to terms with ‘oh I’m performing now, I have to focus, and I have to relax,’” Fadden said. “All of the mistakes I was making just fixed themselves, while I was performing.”
“I didn’t really put two and two together and realize what all my songs had in common until I had written my program…but as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, I put that the theme of my recital is love, which means a number of things,” Fadden said.
In her program Fadden said, “While a lot of these songs have to do with romantic love, what’s more important to me is the love for my craft and the love from the people who have supported me along the way.”
Seniors can now collectively take a sigh of relief, knowing all the hard work they’ve put in their SCE’s is finished and out of their hands. Now it’s time to relax and decide what comes next.