Academic Lessons from the '23 Winter Term
This final blog post of 23W marks the end of my fifth term in residence at Dartmouth and my sixth term as a college student. The past two months have flown by, and this term was once again full of self-growth, maturity, and solidifying my academic passions. I've tried to transition from the mindset of solely performing well in all my classes in terms of grades to a perspective of truly learning the material. The three classes I've taken this term have each taught me something valuable in my academic journey. On top of my three classes, I've found myself researching and self-learning material in the field that I absolutely love – meteorology. In my spare time, I've found myself reading meteorology books in the Baker-Berry Library even when I have assignments due for my other classes! Let me give you some insight into my academic journey this term through my courses:
Public policy is a field that I believe I should learn more about for my future career in meteorology. Advancing the science as we know is one task, but our science is only as good as our ability to communicate it to decision-makers and authorities in government. From climate resiliency to issues like poverty alleviation and Medicare, this class has given me a broad understanding of how public policy is made in the U.S. I've also learned a lot about the bureaucracy and the politics game behind public policy making, and that was the less-attractive side of this class for me. This class helped me realize I want a career that truly impacts people, not just a career behind the scenes. I want my work to matter.
Although this class has nothing to do with my future career in meteorology or my major, it's probably my favorite class of the term! I learned about the sociology of childhood and how kids form their own unique and complex worlds distinct from adult culture. I enrolled in the class initially because I wanted to understand how events in a child's life could affect their transition into adulthood – much like my not-so-ideal upbringing and family dynamic. I left this class with a broad and detailed understanding of how children socialize and form their own peer cultures. That's the recurring theme at Dartmouth; you will most enjoy the classes that you would least expect… so try things out!
After completing the calculus sequence at Dartmouth (Math 3, 8 and 13), I was excited to dive into the more complex and exciting math. Specifically, differential equations are the mathematical foundation of meteorology and atmospheric science; they are the language of the weather forecasting models we use to predict the weather! So, it has been very enlightening to get a foundation in this kind of math. The more I learned in this class, the more I was able to understand the equations I stumbled across in the more advanced meteorology textbooks. It's so exciting to actually apply the math I learn in class to a field that I'm so passionate about.
Outside of class, I've been researching study abroad opportunities, looking at potential meteorology internships and research positions, applying to numerous scholarships and fellowships, and reading a LOT of meteorology literature and books. That's what I do in my free time… how much of a nerd am I?!? I suppose the takeaway from this term is being true to myself and focusing on what truly excites me academically. For me, that's been taking time to read up on all things meteorology even if I'm not formally learning the material in a classroom. It's what I love, and I hope you can find what excites you as well! Farewell for now, but I will be back before you know it!