In addition to my Environmental Science and Policy major, I have two minors: Earth and Ocean Sciences (also through the Nicholas School) and Education. I never really planned to do either of them when I started Duke, until I took their introductory classes. Neither of the intro classes are your typical “weed-out” ones and they both happened to persuade me to continue pursuing the fields, but in different ways.
I decided to register for EOS 101, “Dynamic Earth,” on a whim. I’d studied the material at length before coming to Duke, but I thought I would leave that behind. I heard EOS 101 wouldn’t be too intense and it would help me ease into getting used to college classes. I also heard excellent things about the professor, Emily Klein, so I thought it would be a great experience. I wound up absolutely loving it, I learned new information as well as applications of knowledge I’d already known, and I did my very first FLunch with Dr. Klein (a FLunch is lunch with a faculty member on Duke’s dime).
From there, I continued to learn about the department, with the incredible faculty and opportunities (including classes with travel components) and I was sold. Since then, I have completed a handful of courses and am taking another one now. Of all my courses at Duke, my EOS classes (many of which are cross-listed with environment) feel the most applicable to real life, teaching me important skills like GIS or how best to discuss climate change. I am even looking to see if, in my two full semesters left, I can turn the minor into a major! If I can’t, I still very much look forward to taking as many EOS courses as possible.
Similarly, I wound up declaring an education minor after starting education 101, instead of having the minor in mind before starting the courses for it. With full candidness, I did not actually enjoy the class all that much for a couple reasons. Getting a glimpse into the complexities of education systems and the opportunity to tutor through the service-learning class compelled me to continue learning about education.
I haven’t made too much progress on my education minor, but I can’t wait to dive into it during my senior year. I have heard that many of the higher level education classes are so engaging, something I look for in classes, especially for my last two semesters. I’m so happy that the environment major allows me room to explore other passions! It doesn’t hurt that education matters so much in environmental issues, with education and awareness-building being necessary components of behavior change.
I recommend taking that one, seemingly unrelated or unimportant class or saying yes to a new experience; you never know what path it may lead you down.