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For my last blog of the semester I am supposed to look back on my capstone experience. In some ways it seems wrong that the “cap” to my college career comes in my first semester but maybe that is for the better. This way my inevitable “senior slump” won’t ruin this experience. Overall I think this class was unique from my time here, and definitely for the better. I have taken discussion based English or History classes, but never a science class. I think this really helped make the class better. The class was entirely seniors, so all of us had a large base of knowledge to us. This meant we had a lot of differing viewpoints, opinions, and interpretations all coming together to help us understand the articles we were reading. I have never had the experience to really dissect an academic article in a group so this was new to me. In the past I would read an article, take my understanding of it and basically run with it. But with these group discussions, I would hear how other people interpreted the article, which often added to or altered my original view of it. I think this really helped me to understand the articles better and made learning about these topics more enjoyable.
I also really liked how this class was based of real academic articles and fairly recent research. We weren’t just learning about concepts like we have been our whole academic careers; we were learning about real research that was coming out about diseases that affect the world. Almost everything was directly relatable for me in some way. I have known someone who had ALS and learning about what is actually going wrong in it was extremely interesting. Also I have seen teammates and athletes get concussions and now that I know what is actually happening in the brain, I am far more concerned about them. Also this is one of the first times I have been able to apply my chemistry knowledge. I have spent three years learning biochemistry and organic chemistry and I would like to be able to actually use it. By looking through these articles and discussing them I had to use the knowledge I have built up to really understand them. While I believe chemistry is very important in the world, I don’t get to bring it up in everyday conversation, especially to the degree that I have learned it. So this class really let me get to apply what I know in as real of a setting as I could.
On a less academic note, I really have to give credit to Dr. Mach on the teaching of this class. I always enjoy classes that are relaxed. She really allowed us to be open with discussions and real about what we think. There aren’t a lot of classes where you can openly joke with the professor one minute, and seriously discuss a disease the next and I really enjoyed that. She also really allowed the class to be flexible. When we didn’t like something she changed it and when she didn’t think we were putting in enough effort and really getting the full experience, she told us. I think it takes a lot to be willing to be open with a class, accept that you don’t know everything and ask real questions to students and that all just added to the class experience. All in all, I think this class perfectly exemplifies what a “cap” to my liberal arts education should be. I got to actively apply my knowledge from a lot of disciplines, work directly and openly with others, and truly enjoy myself doing it.

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