Challenge Journal #4:

One of the constants that I’ve brought up in previous journals is my worry that my Capstone will be boring. The topic can feel very niche – I’m not convinced that a broad amount of people purposefully seek out stakeholder perspectives on the I-375 Freeway improvement project. And when I think other people will be bored, I get bored of my own topic. That’s an experience that I’ve been having for the past couple weeks but I think I’ve finally broken out of the feeling that my capstone is just something I have to do to graduate with both my major and my minor, and that it’s returned to being something that addresses the fundamental questions about policy and society that interest me.

Another assignment that could have been boring but actually ended up interesting (to me) was a policy memo I wrote about infrastructure and President Trump’s potential infrastructure plan. I think the piece became a lot more engaging because I was able to make recommendations and include my own opinion. Here are some examples from when I moved on from facts and analysis to opinion:

“Federal private financing would be a disaster, so I suggest shifting from federal advocacy to local and regional initiatives”

“A public advertising campaign to address the previous failures of PPPs in providing infrastructure investments and profits for Wall Street instead of the government and the public will help to sway public opinion against public financing, while acknowledging infrastructure as a vital concern. “

Even though those ideas are similar to what I wrote in my last journal, this assignment helped me to think about ideas that I thought were important and then turn those opinions into something succinct and readable. Hopefully, my capstone does the same as I address larger issues of representation, “stakeholder” involvement, and impacts of past and present planning. My capstone process has helped me mold my thinking about my issue in the same way my memo did, but has also given me the flexibility to be more prose-based and evocative in my writing unlike a basic policy assignment.

3 thoughts to “Challenge Journal #4:”

  1. Areeba,

    While you may think this topic is boring, I actually am really excited to read your capstone project. Topics like yours may seem niche because of the context, but they are widely applicable to similar scenarios. I think a lot of other students are nervous that their capstone project might seem too boring. But, I think that has a lot to do with the fact that some of the authors of projects are getting bored with the topic. We have been working on this for months, and I think you might just be burning the candle at both ends with your topic. Have faith in your idea because your topic seems really interesting and relevant to today’s political climate. Also, if you’re feeling as if your words seem boring, include a little self reflection to add another dimension (just a suggestion). Good luck with your project though– excited to read!

    Jenn

  2. Hi Areeba,

    I think this is a very common thing when it comes to writing about something that pertains to your own field of study. Thinking that either no one outside of your field will care or that anyone who would read it already has an opinion on the topic. This is definitely not the case, but I understand where you would start to feel like that as I have some of the same feelings in my own work. As an international studies major writing about an international conflict I often ask myself…who would even care about this? But the thing is, a lot of people will care and find it interesting. Even more so because it doesn’t pertain to what we might be studying. I think that by making sure you explain any technical terms and make it easy to read through your tone you will actually broaden your audience to people who might be interested but don’t know where to find the information.

    Best,
    Maddy

  3. Hi Areeba,
    I think it’s funny that you describe your issue as when you think other people will be bored with your writing, you get bored with your writing, because I think that if you’re writing about something that you find fascinating, your enthusiasm is usually pretty contagious. When you write about something you care about, people listen because it’s so clear that you care and that you think they should care too.
    I think that your final project was extremely interesting to read and learn about– I would never think to myself “today I’m going to look up everything on the I-375 freeway improvement project, but I loved reading your piece because it was so obvious that it was a subject you had taken the time to care about.
    Congrats! Larkin

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