I took Neurochemistry this semester in order to fulfill my capstone course requirement for my major. What it means to take a capstone course at Concordia is that we take a special class which is suppose to examine an important subject in the world using the skills which we have acquired over our years at Concordia and to find out whether the qualities that Concordia’s mission statement espouses have been instilled within us. These qualities are a love of learning; foundational skills and transferable intellectual capacities; an understanding of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and intercultural perspectives and their connections; an examined cultural, ethical, physical, and spiritual self-understanding; and responsible participation in the world. Thinking back on my experience in this class it I can say that I was able to use these qualities within myself for this class.
During the first quarter of this school year we learned about basic neurotransmitters and receptors, which laid the groundwork for our understanding of the articles that were to follow in the second quarter. In each article we read we were asked to identify subjects that we didn’t understand and present to the class on what we discovered in our research of each of the topics. We then had a discussion on the last day of each week, led by a pair of students, where we discussed the implications of the research and what it meant for society. This time was also a time to share personal knowledge of the issues that were being brought up. Testimonials about friends and family who suffer from the disorders being discussed in the paper. We also talked about what we were taught in our other classes about the disorder.
Looking back I think that as a class we had absorbed the true lessons that we had been taught over our time at Concordia. We had been taught more about how to approach a problem rather than what the answer to these problems were, which I think is a wise choice. The issues that we discussed in class were problems that would require more than a few bills passed in Congress, or a few new prescription medications on the market to solve. The problems that we discussed more often than not ended up being chalked up as a problem that was too difficult to solve in the hour and ten minutes that we had for discussion and we learned from our time in this class that this was okay as a lot of the papers that we read said that a lot more research would be needed to understand the numerous issues the problem that the authors were focusing on. I think that one thing for sure we could say as a class is that our time in Neurochemistry taught us that one scientific article isn’t going to put all of our questions to rest. Rather the search for answers is a long and exhausting, but at the same time exhilarating process. I think that if more people took a course like ours they would stop being so argumentative and really start discussing the issues that we face because the way forward is hard enough without us pulling each other into a fight over trifling details.