Graduation on my mind…

As a current senior at Iowa State, the time is quickly approaching for me to graduate and move on to new things.  However, as a member of the University Honors Program, the last major hurdle standing between me and my diploma is my final Honors Program requirement: the Honors Capstone Project.  I’m currently in the final stages of finalizing my project entitled “Establishing a Local Iowa Vineyard” and as I have gone along the journey of completing it, I would say it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. After all of the energy I have devoted to this process, I still cannot believe it’s almost time to present everything I have been working on for almost two years!

For many of you who are reading this as perspective Iowa State students or underclass Honors Program members this project might not seem relevant to you at all.  Whether it be applying and being accepted into the Freshman Honors Program or applying to be a Freshman Honors Program co-leader or Honors Ambassador, your minds are probably focused much more on current opportunities, not about requirements of your senior year.  It feels strange to say this now, but I remember exactly how you feel!  Even at the start of my junior year when I was starting to think seriously about project topics and possible project advisors/mentors, it still seemed like one of those things that wouldn’t ever quite be my real responsibility.

That perception stayed with me even as I got into the process of meeting with my mentor every week, doing research, and thinking about my presentation methods.  Nonetheless, as I got more involved in it and as it began to actually develop an understandable structure, I found it easier and easier to motivate myself.  This was especially true after I chose my topic and actually felt inspired by doing something I found interesting and worthwhile.  So far, I think that feeling has been the best part of the project and it all came from having complete discretion over choosing my topic and shaping it around a process I find relevant.

While the Capstone Project is not associated with any given class, I feel like I have learned more from this experience about business plans and the background analysis behind them (which is the basis of my project) than anything I would have ever learned in a classroom.  A big part of this was the opportunity to get to know my project advisor, Rick, better, and learn about practical, strategic approaches to businesses that only such a hands-on experience as this could provide.

In my opinion this is what makes the project one of the most worthwhile parts of the ISU Honors experience.  Everything I just said about the opportunity to gain a deeper insight and knowledge base of something I care about is exactly the point of the Capstone Project, and, to a larger extent, that is also what the Honors Program at Iowa State is all about.  So make sure you embrace the possibilities, even if right now they aren’t on your horizon!

The four years I have spent at Iowa State are full of experiences I will never forget and as I look toward graduation (as scary as it is to do right now!!), I know my time here wouldn’t have been the same without all the opportunities that the Honors Program provided me.  It has truly has been awesome!  Happy (late) VEISHEA and, as always, GO STATE!

Here’s a link to more information about the Capstone Project: http://www.honors.iastate.edu/uhp/capstoneProject.php

– Posted by Kirsten

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