Capstone Journal

Lynsey Ficker
12 min readMay 14, 2021

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Week 1: 5/14/21

I’ve been super excited to get started on this capstone journey. For my entire career at DAAP, capstone has seemed like a daunting and overwhelming monster, but I seriously cannot wait to get started on research and creating a project that has meaning.

This first week has led to me thinking more about myself, what I enjoy, and what I believe in. It’s been a meditative process of understanding myself and my values just a little bit better, which has been a nice way to ease into capstone and get my brain working.

Some things I have re-realized in myself this week: I really love helping people, researching and synthesizing data are fun hobbies for me–I love better understanding things so that I can then explain them to others, I like to challenge the status quo, and I really enjoy topics of wellness, self care, and holistic healthcare outside of big pharma.

Over the previous Spring semester, I worked on an EEP research project that sparked an idea in me for capstone, and the project itself sort of turned into a mini-capstone. I spent my semester researching cannabis and cannabis wellness, as it’s something I’d recently found myself super captivated by. My final deliverable ended up becoming an educational booklet on cannabis and cannabis wellness, for newbies and longtime users alike. The booklet also included a use tracking journal, so users could track their cannabis use, set goals, rate pain levels, and reflect on their experiences. The idea was to enhance the experience of cannabis wellness.

Part of my EEP deliverable! yay cannabis wellness!

This mini-capstone soon exploded into a bunch of different ideas all surrounding cannabis wellness and its impact on users quality of life and health. I’ve always been someone who is driven to understand, to teach, and to help others, and this topic seems to fulfill all of those things in myself. Cannabis is still widely considered a taboo topic in the United States due to its mixed legal status, and this makes me want to pursue something cannabis related even moreso, to challenge the status quo.

I’m still not sure where I want to go under this broad topic yet–if I want to dive into advocating for cannabis legalization and research, mental health and cannabis, cannabis wellness branding/brands, etc. Over the past five months I’ve already taken a huge deep dive into trendy cannabis and CBD wellness brands, magazines, and lifestyle brands. . . everything just makes me excited and I can’t wait to hone in on a topic as the semester progresses.

Week 2: 5/21/21

It’s been another whirlwind of a week spent thinking about all things capstone related. Last week, I discussed how I’d like to focus on the topic of cannabis wellness, but I still found myself feeling a little bit stuck on other possible ideas.

We started this week by doing an exercise that questioned constraints and possible outcomes. At first, I found this a little challenging, but then it became easier and I started to think about a lot of different projects and possible deliverables. Our next task was to work on a Pecha Kucha presentation in which we talked about 20 separate ideas through imagery. I found this really fun and I started coming up with some really awesome ideas that I had not yet considered.

I ended this week on a calmer and better note than I started it on with capstone, and I’m so excited to present my capstone ideas in our next class period. Here are a few slides!

just a few ideas!

Week 3: 5/28/21

A day late, but I’m still here! This week, I presented my Pecha Kucha to my classmates and was able to get some good feedback on my ideas as a whole overall which was really helpful for me to see what ideas people were gravitating toward. Overall, a lot of people really loved the idea of focusing on cannabis as a broad topic because any project I do will help destigmatize the plant and its use.

After the presentation, I chose my four “favorite” ideas to go forward with for a rough draft (favorite in quotes because I was really vibing with A LOT of my ideas–it was difficult to narrow down!). I shared these four ideas with a small group of my classmates, and they gave me some awesome feedback on my ideas as well. Overall, they said that my direction/project statements were defined and clear which made me feel better.

The four ideas I ended up furthering for the rough draft were: A guide for parents of chronically ill children who use cannabis, a cannabis creativity zine, interviews with medical cannabis patients, and a cannabis ritual journal. One of my groupmates, Laura, said that she saw some overlap in the ideas and thought they could all complement each other in one possible project. I’m still considering combining a couple of the projects, but I’m not quite sure yet–still brainstorming in that department.

Despite a truly overwhelming week outside of school, I still feel like I’m on the right path and I’m making way more progress early on than I expected to which feels awesome. Next up: Faculty Reviews!

Week 4: 6/4/21

It’s week 4 and the semester is already starting to fly by. I started the week off by doing a reflective activity in which I wrote about my 4 rough draft ideas in hopes to understand where my passion lies. After writing about them, it was clear to me that I had a clear favorite concept–one I was waaaaaaay more interested in and feel a deep sense of connection to–Cannabis and Ritual.

This topic just *feels* correct to me, but I was afraid to choose it since it’s one of my less “impactful” topics and lends itself to be more fun. But, I went with my gut on this one, it just felt right to me, and when I did my reflective writing on it, I wrote nearly two times as much as the other topics.

Ever since I was young, I’ve been a huge fan of routines. I loved my bedtime routine of brushing my teeth and listening to the radio as I fell asleep when I was 7. I loved my after school routine of going to drama rehearsal with friends in high school. And now, I love my self care routines and rituals–skincare, meditation, tarot, stretches, etc. Routines and ritual are a huge part of how I find myself existing in harmony. My topic feels like an extension of myself, it just feels correct.

Even though I knew it may seem like a less impactful project, I still went through with it for my faculty review presentation that was submitted on Wednesday of this week. I’m looking forward to feedback, and have already started gathering secondary research materials in a Google bookmarks tab. I am so excited to get started on research!

Week 5: 6/11/21

It’s a little unbelievable that we’re already in week 5 of class! Truly, it’s been a whirlwind of projects and lots and lots of work.

This week started off with some input from faculty on my presentation from the past week. Overall, the feedback was super helpful. All reviewers mentioned that my topic space is still very broad, and that I need to really hone in on some constraints so I can clearly define my design problem and solution. I completely agree with this feedback, though I will admit, honing in my topic right now feels difficult. I think it feels difficult for me because my mind likes to sit with ideas and let them sort of evolve over time. I very much dislike the feeling of being rushed into something so quickly, and that’s definitely where I’m finding myself now: overwhelmed.

Nonetheless, I know that with time, I’ll be able to craft a more narrowed design problem statement and am excited to see where I go within the broad topic of cannabis as ritual.

Next steps for me: hone in on constraints and topic space, begin preparing to do interviews for primary research, catalog links for secondary research.

Week 6: 6/18/21

Another week in the books! Things have started to slow down a bit in regards to capstone, though they’re still moving along. This week we dove into understanding surveys and interviews, and started discussing which directions we wanted to go in in regards to doing our own interviews and surveys. I hadn’t yet considered doing a survey for this project, but started to think it may be really vital to understanding my user group in a wider sense.

In regards to interviews, I narrowed down to four people that I am interested in talking to. I’m drafting an e-mail now to send to these four experts in cannabis and CBD. Whilst I was researching who I wanted to interview, I quickly realized that all the people I was looking to interview were women, which gave me the idea to narrow my audience down to women ages 21+. I feel that a narrower audience will be helpful in further understanding how I want to go about doing my capstone research. I am excited to conduct interviews, because I feel it will give me a more well-rounded view of my topic space and existing resources within it.

In regards to secondary research, I just began finding some PDFs of books online that I’m interested in reading. I did just start reading The Rebel’s Apothecary, a book about the healing benefits of plant medicine and how they can impact our lives. Other than that, I am still building out my bookmark tab of other resources to use and explore.

Week 7: 6/26/21

One day late, oops! Life’s been a little crazy this week with the co-op search kick-off taking place on Monday/scheduling interviews! It was a whirlwind of a week filled with finishing phases of projects in a couple other classes as well as ramping up research and writing my revised brief for the capstone course.

I was super thankful that we were able to have some time to ourselves on Wednesday to continue looking at secondary research sources, and I was able to read through a few really interesting blog posts about cannabis and intentional use of cannabis. I began to categorize this research in google sheets and google docs, though I heard from another classmate that Notion might be a better option, so I’ll be checking that out ASAP.

Through looking at some more secondary research, especially the blogs I’ve found, I’ve read some really interesting things. Most notably, this quote from an article published by the Texas Cannabis Collective got me thinking that maybe I should narrow down my focus even more to be on just recreational use of cannabis and intention. Here is the quote I pulled from an article by Trey Tjernia:

“You might be thinking, “If I am physically sick or in pain, is my cannabis use not intentional”? This is a valid question. The answer is, absolutely, your cannabis use is intentional, but for the sake of this article, I am speaking to the individuals that use cannabis as a mechanism to achieve other states of being that don’t consist of healing physical symptoms. I’m talking about people using cannabis to let more ideas flow out, get more creative in a project, the moms that find more patience and the dads that connect more with their kids. I am talking about using cannabis for things that have to do with a mind, body, soul connection.”

I found this interesting, and it’s leading me to want to just focus on recreational users. Medical users are obviously (usually) already using cannabis with the intention to ease pain or help them cope with chronic conditions. I think a focus on recreational use and intention would be the best fit.

Other than that, I just got a new book in the mail: “Wellness: How Cannabis, CBD, and Other Plant Allies Can Change Your Everyday Life”. This book talks a lot about cannabis’ friend CBD–and ultimately their connection to each other, and how this plant can help improve someone’s day to day life. I’m a chapter in, and so far am finding it really interesting. . .I’m excited to read more and take notes in the book to see if I have any leads on anything interesting.

new book alert!!!!! 🚨

I’m still chugging along, and feeling a little bit better as we slowly (but also quickly!) work through the beginning parts of capstone.

Weeks 8 & 9: 7/9/21

I missed week 8’s journal entry, sorry about that! The time is zooming by.

Week 8 was a great week for me in terms of making progress. After turning in my rough draft of my brief, I got some good feedback from Susan, my professor on how to continue moving forward in my topic space. The next steps were:

  • define “intentions”
  • collect survey results
  • conduct interviews

The first thing I did was pull out my notebook and define intentionality to myself. I first created a sort of mind map where I was writing words that reminded me of being intentional. I then defined “intentionality” and “setting intentions” for myself. I was surprised with how easy it felt to define these terms.

I also had been working on collecting data from a survey I sent out to people. I ended up posting my survey in a couple of reddit communities and received a lot of really interesting answers. I was happily surprised to see that of the 20 people I surveyed, 80% said that they would be interested in learning how to use cannabis intentionally.

I ended week 8 with an e-mail from one of my experts saying she would love to talk with me! I was so elated to get a response from someone that I knew would be a great source of primary research for this topic space.

Week 9 started off slow, since we had monday off. I started by preparing a list of questions for Victoria Ashley, foundress of Laundry Day, a chic smokeware company based in BC.

Victoria Ashley!

We ended up chatting with each other Monday evening, and our talk was so awesome and refreshing. Victoria is very open about her story and relationship with cannabis, having used it for years to help with sleep and relaxation. It was great to get more insight on the connection between being intentional and cannabis. Victoria and I talked a lot about Laundry Day’s overall brand and feeling, and to me, they are one of the more intentional and purposeful smokeware brands that exist in the market today.

Laundry Day Pipes!

In class on Wednesday, we had round robin review’s with another class section. It was refreshing to see new projects and also to talk about my own work with fellow students. Overall, I felt the round robin review was successful, and I’m excited to see where we go next in the upcoming weeks.

FINAL WEEK(S)!

Soooo…. totally forgot about these entries over the last three weeks! It’s been quite a semester to say the least.

Over the past few weeks, I have evolved my project to be more focused on cannabis and self care, rather than cannabis and intention. I made the switch because I feel like self care is a more well defined term, and it can also encompass more things, in my opinion. I’m glad I made the switch, and am excited to start ideating for the concept.

Over the past couple of weeks, I also created a gantt chart to help guide me through the process of capstone. I’m glad I have something set up to help me stay on track for the next couple of semesters as I refine my concept and deliverable(s).

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