What I learned in Grad School, Fall 2014 edition

The term ended last week, and my brain is starting to process everything, and goodness, was there a lot to process.

I met forty-odd new people with whom I will be spending the next two school years (about another year and a half).

I learned that while economics is important, it’s not something I actually care to spend that much time studying.

I discovered that no matter how much I joke about being president someday, I don’t actually like policy. I like making a difference and raising my voice against wrong-doing and for positive actions. I don’t like debates, political manipulations, or forced interaction. I’m not good at keeping a poker face, and my sense of right and wrong is too strong for me to do something I don’t believe in just because it is an astute political move. For the record, I’m not good at chess, either.

I experienced the joy of learning something new and interesting. I fell in love with science all over again. I gained a deeper understanding of our biosphere.

I found myself rethinking my entire motivation to go to grad school. I realized that I wanted to understand policy, not so I could participate in it, but so I could use it.

I discovered that my learning disorders make it more difficult for me to write about familiar topics than new ones, because I have so much more information to filter through. I struggled with verbal expression. I found myself baffled and feeling left out because I missed jokes or misread body language. I left the term feeling less equipped than ever to handle the adult world.

I realized that I get much greater joy from teaching than from collaborating. I decided that I want to teach high school freshmen someday.

I chose to slow down a bit. I’ve been living my life on fast-forward. There is no rush. Opportunities won’t disappear if I postpone them. I don’t have to do everything right now, this second, what am I waiting for. It’s okay if I’m not the first and best at everything all the time. Sometimes it’s better to see other people succeed.

I learned a lot in grad school this term. A lot of it was academic. I learned about Linnaeus’s view of ecosystems, and the influence of the atomic age on the formation of the field of ecology, and the different parts of streams and lakes, and nutrient cycling in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the history of the environmental justice movement, and the intersection of politics and ecology called political ecology. Most of it, though, was personal. I discovered a lot of things about myself this term, including some very uncomfortable things. I still do not know what my true name would be in the ancient language of Alagaesia, but perhaps I am one step closer.

Now it is winter break, and I am going to relax and sleep as much as humanly possible. More importantly, I need to catch up on cat snuggles. It has been a crazy ten weeks and Arya misses me.


About ecosciencegirl

Professionally, I am a graduate student at The Evergreen State College in their Master's of Environmental Studies program, with a Bachelor's of Science from Southern Oregon University in Environmental Studies and Biology. I am a science instructor for GHF Online (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum) and I volunteer at the WET Center, a science museum in Olympia, WA. Personally, I am a young adult who is fascinated with the environment, loves to read and write, and adores all animals (especially cats). In general, I do a lot of climate change activism, and I'm passionate about social and environmental justice. Someday I would like to be a teacher, field researcher, and/or policy maker. If possible, I would also like to save the world from humanity.
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