The Interdisciplinary Experience

When entering college, it is easy to feel like you have absolutely no idea what you want to do with your life. For me, I went to Purdue knowing I wanted to do something to help the environment but that was the extent of what I knew. There are so many majors even under the environmental umbrella that I felt overwhelmed at the different career paths available to me. Luckily, I picked a major that allowed me the flexibility to discover an exciting path all on my own.
I started out as a wildlife/zoology major, but quickly realized that I wasn’t interested in the careers that degree would prepare me for. So I switched into NRES, with a concentration in environmental policy and analysis. I figured that it would be a little more unique, and I roughly understood that I wanted to work with policymakers to protect habitat for the animals that I entered college committed to protecting. I did not realize that I would rapidly develop a passion for policymaking and politics, and over the course of my undergraduate degree I have finely narrowed my focus to one subset of that discipline: environmental economics. I now plan to go to graduate school to further nurture my interest in economics, which isn’t something I would have expected when entering Purdue as a freshman.
NRES allowed me to take courses in a number of fields that helped me realize what I wanted to do. As part of my concentration, there are required ethics and political science classes, as well as a number of related courses I got to choose myself. The interdisciplinary nature of this program let me try all those fields out, and once I took an environmental economics course, I was hooked. NRES is such a broad program that there is really something for anybody who is interested in a career protecting the environment. While my career plans will likely keep me in an office in Washington, DC (where I spent the last summer), many of my peers have found great opportunities working all across the country. Don’t let the breadth of career options be too overwhelming, because going through a program like NRES will help you realize what your true passions are.
-Austin Sheetz

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