Amanda Lane, a Graduate Assistant in the Environmental Studies Program, sent us a wonderful blog post about her first year experience as an M.E.S. Candidate who’s adjusting to life on her own in Grad School:
School has been back in session for almost a month now; my, how time flies! My name is Amanda Lane and I am a graduate assistant for the Masters of Environmental Studies office. This blog will be designed to help students learn more about what graduate school is like, what graduate school specifically at the College of Charleston is like, and what it is like to live in Charleston.
By this time last year (2009), I was relieved to have all my graduate school applications turned in and the GREs completed. But the anxiety didn’t end there; it brought on a whole new wave of nerves. Would I be accepted into a program? Would I get the money I needed to be able to attend the program if I did get in? My fears were finally quelled when I received an e-mail of congratulations for getting into the Masters of Environmental Studies (MES) Program at the College of Charleston. Following that letter was a whirlwind of good luck; I received an assistantship through the program that would pay almost all of my tuition; I found an affordable house in downtown Charleston to rent; I successfully moved into that house; and I got a part time job within my first week of living here.
It has been almost six months since I moved to Charleston from Hershey, Pennsylvania. I absolutely love it here! The weather is so much nicer than in Pennsylvania and living close to the beach is awesome, too! Charleston provides a lot of interesting things to do; from shopping to dining, and clubbing to symphonies.
Taking classes at the College of Charleston and being a part of the Program has, so far, been a rewarding experience. The orientations provided at the start of your first semester allow you to meet other students and fellow classmates. The MES student association (MESSA) is a form of student government for the program and allows students to get involved. Meetings are held regularly and they organize some great mixers. Classes are offered in a wide variety of subjects including public policy, global climate change, and environmental statistics. They allow you to experience all aspects of environmental studies; from the policy side to the scientific.
This semester I am taking 10 credits; public policy, environmental statistics, coastal issues and processes, and the graduate core seminar. The graduate core seminar is very helpful as we will be learning how to select an advisor, how to prepare a thesis/internship proposal, and how to select a thesis committee. Public policy teaches how policy can effect the environment and what we can do to effect policy. Environmental statistics shows students how to use statistical analysis to support their thesis and then how to explain and defend their statistical findings in a thesis defense. Coastal issues and processes explores the South Carolina coast; how it was formed, what features it is comprised of, and how to use that knowledge to conserve the coast while protecting peoples’ private property rights. So far, classes have been running smoothly; lots of reading but not much other work. I enjoy being able to go to Starbucks between classes to get some reading done and enjoy a refreshing drink.
Outside of classes, I am also involved in the College of Charleston Belly Dance Club. They meet twice a week to teach students the art of belly dancing. The club has a performing group that gets invited to dance for different functions. Over all it’s a great workout and a lot of fun!
I also have a job working at two stores in the Charleston Market. The job helps me pay for rent, utilities and groceries. Living completely on my own is a new experience for me, but a necessary one. I enjoy being able to rely on myself for things and to be able to start separating from my parents. Over all my experience with moving to Charleston and starting graduate school at the College of Charleston has been a good one. I enjoy the responsibility I have learned and the friends I have made. Stay tuned for more about my experience as a graduate student here in Charleston!