Last Thursday, I signed up for my first ever elective in my grad school life. I chose the class “Environment, Culture and Society” by Sociology and Anthropology teacher Liza L. Lim for how the class seems to combine and interrelate my three interests.
About a week before enrollment day, I googled Lim to find out more about her. It turns out that she has studied abroad (Hawaii, babyyy!!!) and has researched about her field extensively. She is involved in religious and socially-oriented activities at the Loyola School of Theology and at the Institute of Social Order.
I also got her email address to ask what the class is all about. I asked her if I need to be an Environmental Science or Socio-Anthro major to be able to catch up with classmates who are most probably professional environmentalists and sociologists.
“The course is more about the social dimension of environmental concerns so, it is not very technical,” she said in her email. She also promised to email me the class syllabus the next week.
So the next few days were spent debating with myself whether I should enroll in that class or some other equally relevant one–a Public Policy class by Ann Candelaria. I also emailed her and got encouraging feedback. But I kept on thinking, a class discussing environment, culture and society rarely comes by, right? So I must, therefore, grab the opportunity. Correct?
So I signed up for the class, telling myself I’ll take Public Policy next.
When I got back to my office after enrollment, I found an email from Lim, with the class syllabus attached. Opening the attachment and seeing the big blocks of paragraphs made my head spin and I thought to myself: Oh. My. Gawd. What did I just do? I just signed up for a class requiring 4 reflection papers, 2 individual research papers, one major group project (with field work) and tons of readings! Yikes! Whatever happened to the two-classes-for-quality-control vow I took this semester? After taking 3 classes last sem, this sem seems like I still have a handful. Could I survive this sem like I did the past one? Could I still miraculously collect A’s and make my transcript of records look crazy impressive?
I checked the syllabus again. “The main goal of the course is to enable students to gain better understanding of human and environmental relationship from a holistic point of view, but with emphasis on how people, their cultures and social institutions, shape and are shaped by their environment,” it said.
For the promise of wisdom and understanding in environmental, cultural and social issues, this Organic Geek should really quit whining.
And off I go…