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Friday, October 19, 2012

Senior Year means Senior Project

I came into Prescott College as a Transfer Student. I was immediately assigned an Advisor (Grace Burford…the most awesome and patient advisor EVER!) and had to quickly draw up my Degree Plan.

In our Degree Plans, we are required to come up with a brief narrative description about your (tentative) Senior Project. I think I revised mine about four times before really committing to it. Actually, I still am changing it.

 I cannot even begin to tell you what my original idea for a Senior Project looked like. I know that the one that is currently described in my Degree Plan outlines the idea of creating a new Orientation option for incoming PC student, one that focuses more on Cultural and Regional Studies and Education.

 Now, through a blessing in disguise from the Universe, I was able to create an IS (Independent Study) that focuses on Place- and Community-Based Education. With this IS, I have been conducting several observations both on and off campus.  In both settings, I have noticed HUGE gaps in cultural understanding. I have also observed that the ways in which the gaps are approached (by either community) is not helping to bridge the gaps, but widens them!

 So, for my Senior Project, I have a plan.

 But, first, let me guide you through the steps of a Senior Project. Though, it is important to note that the Senior Project process differs a little bit for each competence area. I will tell you about the steps EVERY student at PC needs to follow, and then I will include what my competence area specifically requires for a Senior Project.

 All students at PC must:
          -Come up with a tentative idea for a Senior Project. This can be: an extensive essay or research paper, an independent research project intended to address a particular issue or question, a play…really, the ideas are almost limitless. To be sure, talk with your advisor!

            -Write three narratives (expectations are in the Student Handbook online):

                        1) Competence Description Narrative

                        2) Senior Project Description

                        3) Liberal Arts Statement

            -Carry Out a Senior Project (This is where it gets different for each student. Your competence area may have an advising plan, which can be tinkered with or must be followed exactly. Again, talk with your advisor. My competence in Social Justice Education requires me to include a substantial 6-10 week teaching component).

            -Finally, after all is done, you submit it all to your IGC (Individual Graduation Committee…you get to choose them). If there are any revisions to be made on your Degree Plan (because you swapped out a class or rearranged things), this would be the time to do it.

*Just a little bit of advice:

            1) PAY ATTENTION TO DEADLINES!! These can and will sneak up on you, so check the calendar frequently.

            2) TALK with your advisor. Meet with them often, whether it is to discuss something academic or simply to talk about life. This keeps you (and them) on your toes. And, you will love your advisor (if you do not, you can switch), well, at least I do, anyway.

            3) Multiple drafts are gold. Do not wait until the last minute to write something. You really want to have the time to edit and redesign a piece of written work, ESPECIALLY if it is for your Degree Plan or Senior Project.

            4) Sometimes, all of this (in addition to classes, jobs and homework) can lead to STRESS. So, take time to relax. Go out with friends. Go climb. Do yoga. Spend the day with loved ones (pets or people). Watch a movie. Cook a good meal. Whatever you do, just make time for YOU!

 As for my Senior Project, well, it is kind of a secret (shhhh).

 However, it does involve trying to bridge said gaps in the community through fun and holistic approaches. For this project that means: various art/cultural installments, events (dances, discussions, etc.), written work, etc. Since I am approaching my Senior Project with the belief that learning from a community strengthens community bonds and helps to create cross-cultural unity and understanding. I plan to organize this all through a group I will design, called “ComeUnite” (just say it like the word “community”, it makes sense).

 I am very excited about this project (and my IS)! I am also very sad about it too, because it is my final stamp on PC before I graduate. I love this school. Some days, I never want to leave it and wish I could stay here, studying, forever.  But, I do not have the time or the money (especially the money), and I want to move forward with my life and into a career that I am both passionate about and rewarded in!!

 I will keep you updated as my Senior Project progresses.

Angelica R. Brady

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