What are you studying again?

While catching up with family and friends during winter break, I was asked innumerable times how school is going, and, oh yeah, “what are you studying again?” I enjoyed being able to honestly answer that things are going wonderfully as I study water resources and public affairs.

While applying to grad schools from abroad last year, I had no idea that I’d end up in Bloomington. As I sorted through my options in spring, it became clearer that SPEA was just the place for me. Here, I’ve been given the opportunity to supplement my international interest and experience (my B.A. was in International Studies) with the scientific foundation to support responsible, successful, clean, drinking water projects and policies. My courses at SPEA are giving me a concrete understanding of water science that I don’t think I would have gotten elsewhere. Sometimes I feel like I have to work harder because I don’t have as strong of a background in chemistry or biology as some of my classmates, but I’m actually finding that I enjoy it. The challenge has been extremely rewarding, and I’m even excited about taking aquatic chemistry this spring.

Recently an undergraduate environmental science student asked me if, now that I’d completed a semester of graduate classes, I would make the same decision to come to SPEA. I not only answered yes, but also realized while talking to him that I would feel even MORE confident about that choice now. It’s always hard to know at the time of a decision if you’re making the right one. But now, looking back at the decision I made eight months ago, I am even surer that choosing SPEA was right for me. This was definitely the best place for me to learn the science I lacked, while keeping it in the context of the public and international issues that have always held my attention.

You know that infamous question – “What do you want to do with your life?” Well I’ve had my answer for a couple years now… I’m going to improve access to clean drinking water in developing communities. And after being here for a semester, I can confidently say that my MPA and MSES degrees from SPEA will help me do exactly that.

-Shannon

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