Some of our 2012 graduates reflect on their experience as a Geography major.
My experience with geography at Bucknell was amazing. A majority of my favorite classes here were my geography classes. I like that geographers look at the world from a different perspective than most other people. I also like that you are expected to not just memorize facts and concepts, but develop your own analyses based on them. I found that studying geography helped me to excel in all of my other classes because it taught me to develop, present, and defend my own thought process. Most importantly, I found the geography faculty to be extremely helpful and welcoming.
As a Geography, Political Science, and Classics triple major I was exposed to a very wide breadth of classes while at Bucknell. Each allowed me to read, write, and explore the world in ways that I had never thought of before. The overlap between the three was surprising at first but greatly helped me understand and build upon subject matter from other classes. Geographers are endlessly curious, they find themselves asking questions about everything around them and with every answer comes a new question; geographers are lifelong learners who see the world as a classroom.
While at Bucknell, geography has given me a new lens through which to see and to think about the world. Going on the Bucknell Brigade to Nicaragua sparked my interest in geography, as it helped me to begin to work through the huge disparities that exist in the world. I have always been interested in psychology and understanding people, and geography has complimented this interest, allowing me to explore how people both create and are impacted by their environments.
In a nutshell, the study of geography provides a lens through which we can analyze all aspects of our human existence. Humans are intimately connected to the spaces they occupy and the places they reside, and influenced by an immense array of external and internal factors that have shaped, usually unconsciously, our contemporary society. This is truly humbling. I thought I had everything figured out, but ask a geographer, and you'll find you know much less than you think.
At the beginning of my sophomore year I took Geographies of Health, a 300-level geography course, and my eyes were opened to a field I hadn't previously considered. I discovered that space, place, culture, and geographical settings all affect health and health policy. Not just the physical environment, but also access to care, cultural attitudes toward doctors and treatment, diet, crime rates and other factors can influence the way in which disease affects populations. Geography quickly became a passion of mine and the perfect preparation for a career in medicine. In my future, I hope to apply what I've learned in geography to understand my patients, make them more comfortable, and to improve the overall health of communities.
I basically stumbled on geography, on a whim, but once I began to understand it I fell in love with the field and am proud to consider myself a geographer. I have had so many amazing, even life-changing experiences and opportunities, like the Bucknell on the Susquehanna (BotS) program that inspired me to pursue a career in environmental restoration. I didn't come to Bucknell to memorize facts - I came to learn how to think and see the world, and geography has certainly done this, preparing me for the future.
The Geography Department at Bucknell is like a family to me. Not only are its faculty members the only faculty that I address on a first name basis, but the issues we grapple with are synonymous with my own personal values and their need to be addressed worldwide. One thing I have always been taught to value is the importance of perspective, and geographers pride themselves on their breadth of study. For those students wishing to engage their knowledge of themselves in a world of diversity, I encourage you to enroll in Geography classes and share your perspectives.
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