Chill out bro, and feel free to skip to the last paragraph

A post from student blogger Josh

My favorite aspect of MSPL is the Capstone project. I’m aware that this may not be a popular opinion, but actually getting a chance to prepare a full patent application in a low-stress, academic environment is a unique opportunity. Despite how enamored I am with the idea of the project itself, there are certain pitfalls. For instance, one can interview inventors and conduct searches, only to eventually find that the project itself may not work out. Unfortunately, this does not mean that you get an “A for effort” and the accompanying plastic trophy, but rather that you have to go back to the drawing board (literally) and start over. After all, you can’t actually get a M.S. without writing a thesis, even if the reason for scrapping said thesis is out of your control.

It’s Oct. 28, which means I’m more than a quarter of the way through the M.S. in Patent Law program. This is about the time when I should be seriously hitting the throttle on my Capstone project. After months of searching, interviewing, and just generally learning, I should be ready to put some serious pen to paper, draft claims, and protect some intellectual property. But alas, poor Yorick, that’s just not happening. Instead, I’m staring down the barrel of soon receiving a new disclosure, and beginning the entire process again.

So guess what I’m not doing? Stressing. This program has so many helpful mentors who want to see its members succeed, and I’m not the first person to run into a serious snag on his Capstone. This means it’s time for me to sit in a hammock, take some chill pills, read a leather bound book, and do what I do best: nothing. I can’t start anew on my thesis until I have a subject, which will not be for another few days. I’m still going to graduate, nobody is going to let me fail (unless I help them), and I get to treat the whole thing as a learning experience. Plus, as a professional I won’t get the luxury of filing one patent application every 9 months, so I may as well learn to write them more quickly now.

To those of you who are having troublesome Capstones: every year, someone runs into an issue with the Capstone project. Patent applications and the ideas behind them are complex. It would be insane to expect the process of writing your first one to be seamless. At least one of the people who reads this will run into a snag of some sort. When you do hit said snag, just keep in contact with your mentors and relax. If you’re here, you’re in good hands. Your stress won’t solve any problems, so just do what you can and let the rest go. You’re here to learn, not to be perfect (and even if you were supposed to be perfect, all you can do is your best, and freaking out won’t help that either). So give it your all. If that doesn’t work out, talk to Karen, have a drink on me, watch some Amy Schumer standup, and try again tomorrow (preferably in that order).

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