Hi! Welcome to another page:)
As of 2021, I have begun my post-secondary education at St. Thomas University. I’m planning on graduating with a double major in English Language and Literature and Environment & Society with a double minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Psychology in 2025 if all goes accordingly. I kind of also want to do a minor in History and Sociology, or even do honours in order to get into grad school, but in order to do honours I’d have to give up one of my majors or my minors and I love them all so much! I wish I could take everything (except Great Books, I’m sorry I’m just not built that way). But I only have four years and a limited amount of funding for my education so I will have to make do with what I have.
I digress – but with my degree I have the option to get certificates. They are voluntary and don’t cost extra, which is nice for students on a budget. I never thought of doing the Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement until this February – almost half way through my degree. It was through my Environmental Praxis 1 class that I was first introduced to this opportunity. I figured it would allow me to step out of my bubble and do something new (which I quite often do not) so it would be a good idea. In order to obtain the certificate with my degree, I need to take three courses that qualify for the certificate (youpi for me, I already had all nine credits before even thinking of doing the certificate) and 30 hours of volunteering with three to five written reflections. According to the ever-so-helpful STU website, this certificate:
- Provides tangible evidence of the hands-on learning and community service completed during your studies
- Can be used to demonstrate community involvement to potential employers or for graduate school applications
- Will support students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems, helping bring theory to life.
- Provides you with a foundation of analytical, reflective, interpersonal, and leadership skills through coursework and community experience.
Part 1: Course Based Experiential Learning
I need 9 credit hours (3 classes) in order to complete this section. Here are the classes I chose and what I took away from them:
ENVS 1013 C Environment & Society I: Understanding Environmental Problems
This was a class I took first semester in first year and totally changed the path of my degree. For the first time in my life, I felt like what I was learning actually meant something. At the end of the day, we are nothing without our environment. I was invested in the zero-waste and sustainable movement in high school but never thought I would go much further than that. Albeit, this course opened my eyes to the realities of our supply chain, the dire environmental consequences of our actions, and how our society is built off the idea that the planet is meant to be infinitely exploited even though it possesses finite resources. This class put a whole new lens on life.
ENVS 2113 A Ecological Literacy
My favourite class at STU so far. The Professor was amazing, the experiences were mesmerizing, I loved every second. I think this is the way all classes should be taught. The instructor pushes you to pursue what you find interesting and to share your opinion and perspective. This class was three hours once a week (I was scared I was going to fall asleep, but I ended up being more awake in this class than in any other). Each week we would have a guest lecturer or a field trip. We went to plenty of places, the Mactaquac Dam, Coburns Farm, the Barker’s Street Wastewater Treatment Facility, the water treatment plant, the Mactaquac Provincial Park, etc. The assignments were a blast, I particularly enjoyed learning how to do nature writing and I guess I was really good at it! I will definitely have to make a post just on this class because it has quite literally changed my life.
ENVS 1023 A Environmental Praxis I
This is a class I took for my major in Environment & Society. To be honest, I was not particularly interested in taking it, but I quickly changed my mind! The prof. (like almost all profs at STU) was amazing. Il learned so much about activism and praxis and a lot of the information I gathered in this class was also relevant in my criminology class, Social Protest in Canada, that I was taking at the same time as this course. This course in particular was significant because it is quite literally the first case in my life where I have had a positive experience working on group assignments. These were the bane of my existence in high school (I typically attempted to do everything myself). But alas, for the two group assignments in this class I was granted amazing, dedicated, and studious teammates. I was also nervous for the assignments themselves, a podcast and a presentation, since I’m usually rocking and rolling with essays and essays only. Essays that I write, alone. But this was an amazing opportunity, I am so glad I stuck with it even though I was not motivated in the beginning because I learned how to work in a group, I stepped out of my bubble – by doing so also making me more willing to participate in the praxis we were discussing, and I also got a class that counts for this certificate!
Part 2: Community Engaged Service Learning
I have yet to complete this section of the certificate! I will add updates on my volunteering experiences and share my reflection logs as they come!