Blog post for ACE!
College seemed like a surreal life when I was in high school. I couldnʼt imagine living at school, going from class to class at odd times of the day, and staying up late with meetings and homework. But sooner or later, most people will experience this lifestyle. So here is a snapshot of some of my classes and extracurriculars in one day as a scholar and environmentalist at Harvard.
10-11: My ﬁrst class of the day begins. This course focuses on the nexus of science and environmental issues. We go in depth into foundational chemistry while connecting what we learn to the real world: solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, wind energy, climate change, glacial melting, and more. Our professor wants us to understand how these seemingly minute details are the foundation for modern science.
12-1: My second class, which surveys philosophers from Abelard to Spinoza, begins. I believe in history and philosophy as a necessary foundation for any personʼs education, and Iʼve taken a philosophy course both semesters of my ﬁrst year. As environmentalists, itʼs important to understand human behavior and the origin of our thinking and societal structures.
Quick break! Run around doing various bits of homework, meeting friends, and meeting Professors. Maybe a chance to eat!
2:30-4: I am taking a course on environmental policy, and we learn about different case studies by focusing on water. My professor is one of the leading water experts in the world. We look at different water systems and understand how to balance ecological, social, economic, and energy needs. My fellow classmates are also very interested in environmental issues, so there is always lively discussion and debate.
5-6: I have section for my philosophy class. We discuss the weekʼs reading and understand themes better. Itʼs also a chance to ask questions and delve deeper into a theory or idea.
8-10: Back-to-back meetings with two environmental groups on campus. We talk about upcoming actions, outreach events, next steps, and progress. This is by far one of the best parts of the day! You hang out with people who have similar interests to you, and you leave inspired by the motivation and inspiration of the community around you.
Then comes homework! Never a dull moment.
I pick classes based on their relevance to my life and passions. Each one of my courses is related to my environmental efforts in some way. I feel like I am constantly inspired and motivated because I know that what I am learning is truly meaningful. Our cause requires knowledge about many ﬁelds. Itʼs not just about chemistry and biology. We also need to understand philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. So when youʼre getting ready for college, make sure you choose courses that are intrinsically motivating for you. This is an important step that will make your life and experience much more fulﬁlling.