December 13, 2008 12:05 PM

Hit the ground running

This entire semester I've been worried about being able to figure out what's going to happen after I graduate in 2 years. And in the rush of madness between keeping up with classwork, papers, and exams, I've been searching for ways to get my feet wet in my areas of interest. Luckily, I can say I've succeeded in finding such opportunities. Remembering that my interests are environmental education, restoration work, and native plants, I've got an internship at the Richmond Field Station which encompasses the latter two, I will be volunteering at the Jepson Herbarium to learn more about native plants, and I will be working with a local non-profit on educating high school students about restoration and then actually taking them out into the field to apply what we taught them in the classroom. Check on all three!

So that's a bit of weight off my shoulders but then I also wanted to get started on research, particularly for my senior thesis. Check on that too! I've been working this entire semester on just what my senior thesis would be and I can actually get started on it next semester as ESPM 199 Independent Research. I'm very interested in behavior change and the very general question I am trying to answer is "what does it take for someone to change the way they live?" Very broad and there are so many factors involved that I had to narrow it down significantly. What's more is that I need to have a concrete manifestation of that change. So on a smaller scale I will be monitoring changes in recycling levels at a LEED Platinum Certified community college campus over the course of a semester and I will use 4 semesters (Spring 2009-Spring 2010) as repeated testing. I've also got to get information on the people doing, or not doing, the recycling such as demographics, why they do or don't recycle, etc. I will do this mainly through surveys. I am considering using a particular class as a case study but the kinks are still being worked out on that as well. Moreover, I can use the college's parent campus as a control for the experiment because it is not nearly as ecologically focused, much like many other community colleges unfortunately.

Another huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I'm quite excited to get started on it all.

Essentially it's been this feeling of 2 years not being enough time to do all the things I want that pushed me to dive into things as quickly as possible...hit the ground running as they say. And for my first semester to already be over only shows how quickly time does and will go by with or without me.


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