Happy New Year, and if you are in college, Spring Semester! These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy. Between spending break watching Black Mirror with my (amazing) brother, rushing sororities at Cornell, and going to my first set of classes, I have found myself in a whirlwind of deep thinking, new friends, and excitement for the future.
Here in Ithaca, the weather is tough. I recently purchased a very long L.L. Bean coat that resembles a sleeping bag. It can be easy to let the cold temperatures and random blizzards get the best of us, however there are certain aspects about being a second semester freshman that I absolutely cannot wait for!
This semester, I am taking many credits to fulfill both my environmental science major and english minor requirements (oh yeah, I am minoring in english now!!). My classes range from environmental physics (my professor is literally Karl Fredricksen) to the environmental imagination of American literature (a class that I absolutely cannot wait for). I am also taking chemistry, biology (focusing on ecology), natural resources and society (another extremely exciting class), and perspectives on climate change.
I think that I am really excited to delve into how people communicate with nature. This blog is centered around being in nature and thinking about global issues that involve the preservation or creation of natural systems. So many times we take for granted that previous, very interesting people set the stage for how we currently perceive environmentalism as both a social movement and scientific discipline.
My english class epitomizes the intersection of people and nature. The syllabus is chalk full of quintessential American literary and artistic works, such as Walden by Thoreau and paintings by the Hudson School. In my past studies, sustainability has been presented in a very tight lens, where it is applied to a specific type of people or to a specific modern environmental controversy. However, analyzing American literature in its relation to nature allows for us, as both students and human beings, to understand how historical movements like Manifest Destiny and racial tensions were either helped or hindered by man’s perception of the outdoors.
The class I am taking on natural resources and society also looks into environmental fields that need more attention. My first reading of the class discusses the disrespect between hard and soft sciences- a topic I was extremely passionate about and gave speeches on in high school. All of the assignments are written and involve the analysis of both technology and people using technology in regards to previous and current environmental controversies.
Generally, I could not be more excited about second semester. My classes are amazing, I am pledging a sorority, and campus has a sense of security. I think that first semester of freshman year is so full of mistakes and hiccups, and coming back from a fun vacation to a wintery Ithaca means that second semester can still be full of mistakes, but the mistakes can be more targeted towards a brighter future.
In these next months, I hope to use the blog as a way to become a better writer and environmental thinker. I expect that many of my musings will be motivated by the two classes I described, and that there will be generally more vibes of environmental perspectives and thought than just personal experience.
I wish you all fantastic semesters, and hope that what we focus on will instill passion and drive for a better world. Lord knows 2018 will need it.