There was never a moment I doubted my choice to pursue an NRES major. However, that does not mean there were not moments I struggled in this discipline. Learning about the environment can be beautiful, but it can also feel discouraging. I have learned about the most exotic marine creatures, identified soil textures using the palm of my hand, became inspired by influential figures that have paved the way in environmental justice, the list goes on… I have also learned about the dangers of the looming climate crisis, the vulnerable populations that are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, the growing garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, and the beginning of a mass extinction. It can feel heavy to carry all of this knowledge.
I struggle when I learn about all these disasters and realize how unaffected my life is by them, but how impacted others lives are. I entered college as an NRES student with a passion for the beauty of the natural world, but I am going to graduate with an ambition to create a better world. Oftentimes I think if everyone had the opportunity to be an NRES student, the world wouldn’t even have any environmental issues, just a bunch of friendly tree huggers milling about.
NRES students graduate and become lawyers, professors, scientists, lobbyists, researchers, and so much more. I have been lucky enough during my time as a student to build my own research project, travel to Australia and New Zealand, work for the state government, and make everlasting friendships with some of the most selfless and driven people I have ever met. All of my experiences have built me into a stronger environmentalist and a better person.
The students that are in this major mean business. NRES students are truly pursuing what they care about – and what they care about is protecting our planet. They want to use their voices to speak for those who are not heard, they want to make sure our country has potable water, they want to build renewable energy solutions, they want to rehabilitate endangered species, they want to teach others the importance of doing all of these things – and more. NRES students are learning about how they can make the world a better place, not for themselves, but for everyone. The world needs more NRES students.