It happens to everyone. You take a risk and sign up for a class and you have literally have no idea what to expect. What even is The Reel World?
That first day of walking into the unknown is full of anxiety, maybe even a small ball of dread right in the pit of your stomach. Should you drop the class now and save yourself the stress? Oh man, what if the teacher hands you a 10-page paper due that same day. Or even worse, speaks in a monotone voice (collective internal groan).
Like I said friends, we’ve all been there before.
In order to alleviate this pesky dread ball, I’m providing you with a brief cheat guide to the classes here at OBXFS. Spoiler Alert: they’re actually really good classes.
First up to bat: economics. For me, this meant a huge yuck when I heard I had to take an econ class. But, it’s taught by Andy Keeler, who is probably one of the most interesting individuals I’ve met thus far. The man worked for the president when the whole climate change fiasco hit the country, and he has some pretty funny/insane stories to tell. He’s also in a band that you should definitely make a point to hear while you’re at the field site. They can do a mean cover of Budapest! Back to the class. Honestly, the workload is totally manageable and huge perk, he does activities with candy rewards. Man oh man, I’ve never focused so hard for class in my life. This one time we went fishing with paperclips… Well, I’ll let that one be a surprise. More incentives to come to the OBXFS! There’s a ton of reading, par to pretty much any UNC class, but the textbook is interesting and doesn’t make you want to burn it (insert applause). I’ve also personally learned a lot from the class, which is saying something because me an economics have never been too friendly. More like arch nemeses actually… But learning about economics in relation to the environment is pretty neat.
Next up is law and policy. Let me just tell you, Lee Leidy is one of the most sweetest, good-hearted people. She frequently comes to class laden with muffins, donuts, and apples just for the heck of it. Awesome right?! She works for a law firm in Elizabeth City so it’s kind of hard to picture her standing up in court tearing up the competition. But the woman knows her stuff and she absolutely loves what she does. I’ve learned a lot just from the simple fact that she’s passionate and really knows how to get the information across. She does however grade you on participation so if you’re not used to talking in class, it can be a bit of a struggle at first. Pro tip, if you read the assignments beforehand, it’s pretty easy to participate in the case discussions. Plus, she really cares about what you have to say. The subject matter covers an array of coastal issues and why you can go sit out on your beach chair and sunbathe in NC. Neat, huh?
The last class is coastal ecology, which is my favorite because I’m a total science geek. Lindsay Dubbs teaches the course and covers a pretty big range of information about coastal environments. Plus, Fridays are lab days, which consist of exploring different coastal environments to go along with what we’ve been learning about in class. Hands-on learning is the best learning. Hands down… See what I did there? Anyways, it’s difficult to understand how dynamic and intricate the coast is until you’re immersed in learning about it, which is exactly what this class does. It’s fairly reading intensive and you’ll have a few quizzes and presentations, but overall not too bad. Lindsay geeks out about nature as much as I do, so I really appreciate how much she loves this stuff. She’s involved in like a million research projects so she’s pretty much superwoman and knows everything… And if she doesn’t know, she will find out. Hence, super great education!
While the capstone is technically research and not a class, I consider it a course just because of how much I’ve learned in the process. Lindsay and Linda D’Anna both lead the project and have taught us a crash course in natural and social science research. I’m not going to sugar coat it; doing collaborative research is hard work. It’s not just learning everything you can about what you’re studying through literature review, it’s also learning to work with a group of people to move forward with the project. And let me tell you, being Chapel Hill students, saying we’re a bit driven is an understatement. So it can turn into rough waters at times. But, seeing your hard work progress to actual data and results is so incredibly rewarding. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Yes it will make you want to gouge your eyeballs out sometimes, but just stay strong and keep the finish line in mind. A huge shoutout to Linda and Lindsay for putting up with our overachieving streak, our 5-hour discussions, and our exasperation. Seriously, they were the only things keeping us from derailing and exploding into a fiery wreck sometimes.
So, those are the courses you’ll be taking here at the OBXFS. Now there should be no first day sweats or surprises. You’ll learn a ton, see even more, and be up to your eyeballs in everything coastal.
Seriously though, I’ve learned more here than I probably have in an entire year at UNC. It’s awesome being taught by such passionate people. You’re also in a super small classroom so they know who you are, they’re there whenever you need them, and they actually care if you understand what they’re teaching. But if you oversleep, they will call your butt to get you to class. Just a friendly forewarning.
Oh, and I almost forgot the best part. You can study on the beach. Need I say more?
XOXO An OBXFS Student Keeping Away that Pesky Anxiety