A Day in the Life of Holly Engel ’12

Hi!  I’m a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Social Science, with a professional concentration in Environmental Engineering, and this semester, Tuesdays and Thursday’s seem to be custom made just to test my ability to stick to a morning routine.

Today, Thursday, I’m doing pretty well with the concept.  I stumble out of bed just after seven, get dressed, convince my hair to cooperate for a little while, fix myself a hobo egg for breakfast to eat while I check my e-mail account.  It’s overflowing with new messages but the only one I take the time to respond to before my 8:00a class is a long one from my best friend who’s studying abroad in Italy.  Lots of talk about DC comics and some old stories we wrote together; it’s an upbeat way to start my day!  After shooting off a response to her, I fill my thermos up with two  generous cups of coffee and toss an orange in my bag as I head out the door.

My first class is the Honors Senior Seminar.  This year’s topic is “ways of knowing”, so it essentially is giving us a hands on look at epistemology.  The morning section only has seven students in it, so, reminiscent of elementary school, we all put our desks together in a circle and have a really chill time discussing readings and our group projects.  The professor is Dr. Buckle and she always has some interesting side stories to toss into the mix.

The next class on my line-up is Energy Policy, taught by Dr. Bird.  The science center classroom is absolutely packed by the time we start at 9:30a.  Dr. Bird is an intense lecturer; he’s very, very passionate about his field and it shows during class.  During his lectures I always find myself exceedingly grateful that I know short-hand; I don’t know how I would get all the notes down if I didn’t!

Energy Policy gets out a few minutes late, and I trudge back to my apartment afterwards to finish readings and assorted homework for my afternoon classes.  There’s so much to do before 2:30p that lunch gets replaced with a snack.  Before heading out for my 2:30p class I empty the dregs of coffee from the thermos and replace them with some freshly brewed tea.

2:30p: Humanities Senior Seminar.  The more higher level courses you take, it seems the less classmates you have.  HSS has only six students in it; it’s very cozy.  The only assignment in the class is to finish a thesis paper on a humanities topic.  Mine is on the history of gender within the environmental justice movement.  During class-time we discuss articles that we’ve read since our last meeting, and the setting is laid-back enough that Dr. Melville doesn’t mind if I multitask a little and knit while we talk.  She lets us out about 45 minutes early, and I rush to the library to print some material for my next class.

My final class for the day is at SUNY Potsdam.  I’ve cross-registered for a course titled Globilization and the Environment with Prof. Vanhoorweghe.  This is the second course I’ve taken with her, and she’s probably one of my favorite teachers because she emphasizes class discussion instead of lecturing.  I leave Clarkson’s campus at a little before 3:30p in order to walk there in time for the 4:00p class.  The primary reading we talk about today is a piece on international whaling regulations.  The usual issues are raised: How can international policy be effective without enforcement?  How do we enforce international policy?  Should we value ecosystem integrity over economic development?  There are no clear-cut answers to these questions.

Class is out at 5:15p and I call my sister on the walk home.  She just got a puppy named George over the Christmas holiday, and she’s going to send me new pictures tonight!  Back at my apartment, I fix myself dinner and head over to hang out with some friends’ and work on several knitting commissions.  Tomorrow I don’t have classes, so my Thursday nights usually end up being a night off to catch up on non-academic work.  When I get back to my apartment around 11:00p, I write up my to-do list for tomorrow, watch the Daily Show, and read in bed until I doze off.

George the black lab puppy! 🙂


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