Not gonna lie, I was a little anxious about returning to Imperial after the Christmas break. UK Masters programs are only one year long, which is great in many ways (including for my bank account) but time passes incredibly quickly as a result. The arrival of the spring term meant that the pace and level of learning were sure to be kicking up into high gear. Two weeks in however, I‘ve found a lot to love about this second term.
Environmental Technology starts with a core course in the fall, which gets every student on the same page in terms of thinking about the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problem-solving. Our classes included topics that ranged from sustainable diets to environmental law to population modelling. Now the cohort has split into smaller Options, each with a specific focus. Mine, Global Environmental Change & Policy, is naturally focused on environmental policy and international environmental law. I like to think of it as “Ways to get people and governments to listen to you.” GECP is a great Option because it is inherently about action, which feels refreshingly empowering.
I also appreciate that the work this term is moving away from essays and towards projects with more real-world potential. Two of our assignments this term are a policy framework for a major international environmental issue and a negotiation exercise. I can clearly picture how these projects can help me improve the skills necessary to successfully become involved in enacting legislation on climate change, which is one of my ultimate goals.
The best part of this term has been the other students in my Option. The course as a whole is about 150 students, too large to really know everybody, but GECP is a far more manageable 19. We were able to break the ice before class started by going on a retreat to Great Windsor Park for a few days of making art, walking in nature, and getting outrageously competitive in a pub quiz. As a result, we get along well as a group and are able to have collaborative and interesting discussions while also indulging our collective desire to consume a frankly outrageous amount of biscuits.
It still is quite early on in the term and I’m sure that the upcoming weeks will come with their share of stress, especially once talk of thesis projects begin in earnest. So far, however, I have been enjoying the learning atmosphere of the option term; I’m excited to see where it leads!