In one of my courses this semester—my degree capstone (perhaps something like a thesis project for a graduate degree?)—I am expected to compile a portfolio, otherwise known as a degree learning outcome, that demonstrates a mastery of learning in several core areas.  In reviewing the sample portfolios available to us, it didn’t take long to figure out that this project encompasses my entire academic career at ASU.  This includes over two dozen classes from The Living World (biology) to Critical Reading and Writing about Literature, to Studies in International Film. 

I started to panic almost immediately after reading the project description, because after each semester, I’ve systematically rifled through my paperwork for each class, tossing out hard copies, marked up drafts, worksheets, etc.  I’ve also sold many of my textbooks back to the college.  Thankfully, all my rough drafts used for peer review, online discussion board posts, and final drafts are saved on my computer (and regularly backed up). 

In hindsight, I wish I had known it would be important to hang onto any and all materials from my academic career—that it would only help me in the long run.  But then again, maybe I should have instinctively known.  Or maybe that is something Freshmen are told in one of the first courses they are required to enroll in.  Either way, it is definitely going to make the compilation process more challenging.  But for the last two years I’ve risen to the challenge—of juggling a family, a part-time job, and more than a full-time course load—and I don’t plan to stop now.  So next time I have the urge to toss out a critical essay on writing the supernatural, or give away a technical editing textbook, I’ll ask myself if I may need it in the future—for a pursuit at a graduate degree, or maybe in a potential role as editor. ~ cs