On Friday, we had our English Capstone Symposium to fulfill our English major requirements. The symposium consisted of panels of 3 to 4 students (15 panels total), each presenting for 10 minutes on a project they've been working on, a paper they've written for their seminar, an independent project, excerpts from their thesis. This was the first opportunity for me to show what I'd been working on to a larger audience who didn't have prior knowledge or privy to my process. The response was gratefully positive and it was such a touching and motivational moment for me. One of my professors came over at the end and expressed how important she believed this project was, adding diversity and voice. Maybe because she teaches, researches, writes on Native American literature, maybe because she also has a daughter who deserves to read diverse stories, this resonated with her. I appreciated her earnestness so much.
Over the last few weeks, along with this capstone, I've had the chance to see other students' theses/projects from multiple departments and I've been left so completely blown away. Amidst so much daily struggle, I often forget the incredible level of talent and dedication my peers possess. Whether it has been hearing a fully composed score to the classic film Joan of Arc or listening to readings of beautiful, vulnerable creative writing or seeing snippets of a film coming together... I think I may just repeat myself over and over on this post, but it was amazing to witness and I'm so glad for it. The thesis process is often quite an isolating time. I think it is hard to keep sight of the bigger picture and many times it may feel like you're toiling away alone. But these last few weeks have been a great reminder that I am not alone on this path; I am working alongside an incredibly bright group of minds and we are all reaching to make meaning for ourselves by creating something great. I truly wish the best for everyone still working on their theses and I want them to know their work is valuable and worth struggling for! I am already so proud of my classmates.
And what's shifted for me this semester in this project is that I'm proud of myself too. I was driven by the ~idea~ and didn't really have much to back me up but now I have something concrete pushing me forward and I have the encouragement of so many people around me. Maybe this is the sentimental senior about to graduate speaking, but as I reflect, I am so grateful I am in this community and have had the opportunity to create this project.