My Capstone Experience

This semester I took my capstone course in chemistry – neurochemistry. This course was unlike any other chemistry course I have enrolled in. It was not the normal class where you sit, take notes, listen to a lecture and then have an exam covering the material. Instead, this course required much more individual involvement and research. Each week a topic was covered and current research was read on the subject. Most of the time, these articles were very overwhelming to read and our understanding after reading the article was very limited for the first day of class each week. The next day in class, each person had a topic that they covered individually and they told the class what they found out about the topic through their individual research. The third day of class each week we had a discussion day, and discussed what we still did not understand about the topic covered or what we thought was particularly interesting. These discussion days were my favorite days – we simply talked about what we had learned in the last week of classes and connected it to other knowledge we already knew. Having very little neurochemistry background when I enrolled in the course, I can say that I have learned a lot about neurotransmitter signaling and how this signaling can relate to diseases. The amount of knowledge I have gained within the last couple of months has far surpassed my expectations. I have learned so much about various diseases and how they can relate to so many different things in the body. I do believe that my speaking skills have greatly improved this semester also. Every week we had to present to the class a topic that we researched on our own. At the beginning of the semester, these were the days that I dreaded. I used to dread the days when I had to stand in front of my peers and speak. I would get so nervous and shaky, I would rush through my presentation and forget to say half of the things I had learned about my topic. By the end of the semester, I was much more comfortable standing up in front of others and sharing what knowledge I had acquired through my individual research. Overall, this capstone experience has been a great one. I have enjoyed this class very much and have improved my speaking skills, my ability to research, and my ability to summarize things and make them easy to understand for others.