04 April 2015

Thinking Ahead

I'm interrupting my usual stream of "thoughts while abroad" to bring you an update on my life at Lewis & Clark:

This past week, I got two emails (within a day of each other) that served as a big reminder that my time at Lewis & Clark is coming to a close. The first, sent from the registrar's office, looked like this:

It took me reading it twice to realize that I actually needed to pay attention to it. Because I came in with a bunch of AP credits, I've technically been "within reach" of graduation for a few semesters. However, because I've been planning on graduating in May of 2016 all along, I've been ignoring the emails telling me about it. I can't do that with this one, because it's actually applicable to me. Which is kind of scary, kind of exciting, and definitely evoking a sense of "well, now I need to prepare myself."

The email went on to explain what I need to do (make sure I'll have all the specific credits for my majors fulfilled by the time I graduate, double check that I've fulfilled all of my general education requirements, talk with my advisors, etc). I'm a big planner and love to have everything planned out long in advance, so that's all set for me. It feels reassuring to know that I've done everything that I need to do at this point, and that, from the registrar's end, it looks like everything will work out.

I still have a few more classes I need to take for my majors: for environmental studies, I need to take global environmental history and thesis prep in the fall, and senior seminar and environmental/natural resource economics in the spring. For Hispanic studies, I still need to take a senior topics class, that I'm planning on taking in the spring, and potentially do an honor's thesis.

The second email, received not a full day later, was from my environmental studies advisor:

This is another email I'd been anticipating, but hadn't really thought about much. All environmental studies majors are required to do a thesis or a capstone project their senior year. The program is set up to have you gradually narrow in on it throughout all your classes, so it really isn't a huge shock- it's something I've been working towards for three years. The first year ENVS class is like an intro to the department and environmental theory, and from there you typically create a concentration your sophomore year, before refining your concentration your junior year to be ready to create a thesis or capstone that fits within your concentration as a senior. Because I'm a double major, my thesis has to relate to my second major (Hispanic studies), instead of my concentration specifically.

Depending on the type of thesis I end up doing, I potentially will have to start researching my topic this summer (which is really soon). I've come up with a long list of topics, but I'm not sure I like any of them enough yet. I'm also still deciding whether I'll write a Hispanic studies thesis (I need to get more info on what is involved and if it's really a good idea to be writing two theses). Unlike environmental studies, the Hispanic studies department only does honor's theses, so not everyone ends up writing one. Comparatively, everyone in environmental studies does a thesis or capstone, and you can make your thesis an honor's thesis by following specific timing guidelines and by defending it in front of environmental studies faculty. Both require specific GPAs among other things in order to be eligible to do them.

So there you have it: all that's between me and graduating on May 7, 2016 is 1-2 theses, about five or six classes, and one year, one month, and three days. I'm still unsure what I want to do after graduation, but Lewis & Clark graduates have a good record of getting jobs, internships, and into grad school after graduation, so I feel like I'm in good hands. I'm thinking of trying to work with state or city park services and potentially work towards teaching as a career, but we shall see!

I'll leave you with a picture from my new student trip right before my first year of college. How far I've come!

As a side note, I highly recommend doing a new student trip to any incoming first year student- they're a great way to get to know some friends as well as the Pacific Northwest before starting classes!
If you have any questions about the environmental studies or Hispanic studies programs, new student trips, Chile (I'm still here!), or anything else, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu!