Timeless Thoughts: Culminating Capstone

Timeless Thoughts

It’s time for another round of Timeless Thoughts, a monthly blog link-up hosted by Georgie and me. This month is being hosted by Georgie, so head over to her blog and join up by submitting your post to the widget at the end of Georgie’s entry! This link-up is opened for two weeks, and your entry can be about anything you find unforgettable from your past or present! It can be an object, an event, a person — anything goes — and you can have more than one thing you miss. For this month, here’s what I’ve been missing lately!

Talking about my education experience on Aigoo Askathon brought back some memories. Three years ago was when I was just about finishing up my postgraduate programme. Instead of a thesis, I did a capstone (aka “crapstone”) project on a topic near and dear to my heart. One of my longtime hobbies became the focal point of my project. The idea came to me in an earlier class. I researched and figured out how to apply the topic to my field, and I put together a massive slide show and recorded an oral presentation for my defence.

The hobby that I focused on was fandom and fanworks, how the two can be used to promote positive youth development. For those who do not know, fanworks are works (stories, art, video, music, et cetera) created by fans based on an existing medium, and these fans are part of the fandom. For an example, in the Harry Potter fandoms, many fans create fanworks using the existing characters, and a good majority of the fans ships the characters into pairings. I first joined the Slayers and Gundam Wing fandom when I was fourteen or fifteen. At sixteen, I joined the Harry Potter fandom. All throughout my teen years, I was consuming and creating my own fanworks, and those had a major impact on me as a young adult and throughout my 20s.

6 Cs of Fanworks

My last semester was from mid-January 2014 to the beginning of May, but I had to do my defence by the end of March. By January, I knew exactly what I’d wanted my capstone to be about. I began to fine-tune my idea and eventually proposed the 6 Cs of fanworks, inspired by the 6 Cs of positive youth development. Unfortunately, February was when I did my annual photography contest at my workplace. That took up most of my time and energy, so my capstone took a major backseat for that month.

Lucky for me, though, I had super supportive managers, and they’d allowed me to take leave for a week or so for me to focus on my project. That turned out to be a good thing because I had some last minute changes I had to make! My managers granted me a few extra of days of leave when it was time for me to do my defence, too. I was super grateful to them for the extra time — the days off really saved me! Along with my managers, I had many friends who helped me online. I brainstormed with them, they gave me quotes, and I sent them my slide show for them to proof for coherency and errors. My parents, too, gave me support with their love and their understanding that I needed space and time to do this huge project.

Though the days off and all the support had saved me, the actual project turned out to be super stressful. I spent days compiling my research materials into the slide show, ensuring all my sources were correct, learning a new software to record myself with the slide show — it was a lot of work. Admittedly, I do not miss the actual work, but what I do miss is that sense of accomplishment towards the end when I found out I had passed. This was one of my biggest and hardest project I had ever worked on, and even I surprised myself by what I was capable of. Not only did I succeed, but I had done it with so many people’s support. I may have hated my capstone project several times, but in the end, I am proud of my achievements.

What huge projects have you done? Who gave you support? Share with me in the comments!

Comments

  1. This makes me think of my undergraduate and how “unfulfilling” I left it, and how I skittered by fairly okay because it wasn’t challenging me or I just ignored it entirely. I got good grades, but I never got any sort of revelation from it. Except for my senior class, which by then I was feeling senioritis. I somewhat regret that, but if I were to go for a master’s degree some day I want to do it with a passion like yours.

  2. I think you probably remember but I did a couple of theses in my Bachelors degree. I don’t think we had the option of doing a capstone but one of my friends studying engineering had to do one. I’m not actually sure of the difference. 😅

    You shared your presentation with me and some of our other friends and I actually found it super interesting that you could focus on fandom/fanworks. I only had a chance to watch the first five or so minutes but I think it was a really interesting topic. Especially, you know, usually people expect these kinds of projects to be pretty dull. It makes it all the more better that you could write about something you were really interested in.

  3. Haha, I love that you called it “crap-stone”. Your capstone reminds me of when I did my dissertation in my final year of uni where I wrote about television and teenagers, something I could write for hours about and was close to my heart.

    That’s good to hear that you had really supportive managers! I’m the same in that I don’t like doing the work, but love the feeling at the end.

    I’d have to say my biggest project was a my dissertation, which involved creating focus groups, doing a fuck ton of background reseach, making sure my sources were correct and no-one accused me of plagiarism XD Super stressful because it made up part of my final grade and if I didn’t do well then my overall grade would have been rubbish T_T

  4. I’ve never heard of a capstone before! It’s cool that you could choose between that and a thesis, I’m not sure if we have the option here in the UK or in postgraduate courses but that’s interesting. Learn something new every day ;)

    It sounds like an awesome project, especially since it’s something you’re very passionate about and are interested in. 😁 I don’t think I could ever work on a project for such a long time if I didn’t like the topic at all. I’ve had several large projects to do at work right now and they all interest me a lot! One of my favourite projects right now is this VR project where we get to use a HTC Vive WOO!

    It’s great to hear you had supportive managers! I think these managers are the best – understanding and supportive of your life priorities. I’ve had managers in the past who wouldn’t let me have a day off (working from 7am – 5pm) in retail when I had an exam at 9am the next day. Ugh!

  5. I love the topic you chose for your capstone project, and it’s great that it’s something you’ve been personally experienced and passionate about. Having a support group when working on such a big project is crucial, so that’s awesome that everyone was so supportive! I can’t remember the last time I had a huge project (it’s been a while since I’ve been in school ^^; ), but my family + husband have always been supportive of whatever I decided to do!

  6. That’s cool that you got to pick your capstone project, and something you deeply enjoy too. And for having such understanding managers too!

    For engineering, it is a graduation requirement to complete a capstone project. For my major, we had a list of project proposals that members of the community or research labs were willing to fund. My team and I got a project to build device to help Hawaiian monk seals in rehabilitation learn how to forage for fish. (Basically make them work and search for their food rather than be tossed a bucket of fish.) Looking back in hindsight, the final product was a bit of an amateur mess with questionable design and material choices. But the experience gained (as well as the chance to test it out and see real life Hawaiian monk seals in SF) of having to go through the entire engineering design process with a client is highly valuable.

  7. I can’t believe it has been that long since you finished your capstone! It always felt like you were working on it *just last year* XD. It’s great that you were able to base your project out of one of your hobbies :). I do think that fandom and fanworks can promote positive youth development- given that it’s based out of something positive, to begin with. I’ve seen ads where creatives use characters to promote a positive living (drugs are bad).

    It’s great that you had managers who were understanding and gave you the time you needed to finish the project. Even more, you had people around you who supported you throughout the term! My boyfriend and friends give me positive support for anything I take on :’).

  8. I had a capstone project for my bachelor degree and it was absolutely awful. It was basically an in-depth analysis of a company where we audited their financials and analyzed their strategy, etc. We didn’t get to pick the company, and to make it worse we had to work in groups. It was the worst presentation I’ve ever given, which is a bit ironic since it was supposed to be at the culmination of my undergraduate career. *eyeroll*

    BUT ANYWAYS. ;) I think that it’s awesome that you got to pick a topic that was so close to your heart! Being interested in the topic makes research easier, and that enthusiasm is easily conveyed to everyone else, so it makes it more interesting for them, too. It’s so rewarding at the end too to be able to look back and be proud of all of your hard work!

  9. I’ve never heard of a capstone before but it does sound really interesting, and I love your topic! It’s also good that you got to work on a topic you’re interested in, it makes everything a lot easier <3

    Hooray for such a great support group! Projects like these take up a lot of time to complete so it's great that they were very understanding! :)

    Huge projects, hmm… If I had been asked this question a few months ago, I would definitely say my undergraduate thesis, but now I feel like it was amateurish. Haha! I'd say that I'm most proud of an academic article I wrote for one of my PhD classes last semester. The topic was really difficult (inter-Korean relations) and I devoted a lot of time just to finish it. I'm not very confident about my writing skills (it's definitely not PhD level yet, lol!) but I loved working on that article and I learned a lot in the process.

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