First off, I guess I should say that I’ve been at SPEA now for about two and a half months. I’m majoring in MSES with a concentration in energy. The classes so far are fine. I feel like I’m learning skills that will let me make a difference in the world. But learning requires me to do a lot of homework and take midterms. Wow, that is not fun. My midterm schedule spanned for about two weeks and I was exhausted by the end of it. Regardless, I survived and I am actually retaining all of the information. Therefore, I feel like SPEA is definitely an institute where you get your money’s worth.
With midterms aside, my classes are predominately focusing on projects which help reinforce the material. So you first learn the theory and then you are given the chance to apply what you’ve learned in the real world. It is rewarding to know that you can do this new kind of analysis because of your classes.
On a less academic note, I did end up playing intramural volleyball on a SPEA team. Let me tell you this right off, SPEA students are one competitive bunch. I mean that not necessarily in a skill sense, but certainly in a mental sense. At first I thought we were going to just have some fun and play some volleyball. Well we definitely have fun, but every practice people just kept getting better and better. Everyone had this drive in them to be better than they already were, so we voted to do drills and talked about formations. It got really intense.
So yesterday I played volleyball for 3 hours straight and people were diving, yelling, and getting excited. By the way, they were yelling in a good way – like exclaiming when they got the point after a long play. Of course there was smack talk, but we all know it was just for fun.
Anyway, the biggest point that I’m trying to make is that SPEA is full of driven people. They want to make themselves and those around them better at whatever it is. So if you want to be surrounded in that sort of environment, I suggest coming here.
I guess it would be worth emphasizing that I do not mean to say that it is like a cutthroat engineering school. I had my undergraduate degree in engineering and was told from a variety of people to expect people to tear pages from your textbooks, not to help you out with homework, or even tell you wrong answers just so the other people could make you do poorly and they would be higher up on the bell curve. Luckily, my undergraduate experience was not like that and neither is my master’s experience thus far. Everyone is helping everyone else, and it makes SPEA a wonderful place. People are passionate about other people – whether those people are on your volleyball team or in the classroom.