This quarter I took Honors 222: Marine Oil Spills. I registered for this class because it filled a requirement, sounded interesting and sure, I'm a fan of promoting a healthy planet! What I didn't realize was that this class would be responsible for launching me into a passion for understanding how people react to their world. We spent the quarter learning about oil spills-why they happen, what they affect and how to clean them up. It was a fun and engaging class, my favorite assignment was inventing a spill scenario and drafting a Response Plan to mitigate the spill's effects (see below!)
At the end of the quarter we were assigned a final paper. The prompt was: Write about oil spills...that was it! We were given the fantastic challenge of writing about any topic related to oil spills that interested us. I think that this assignment truly exemplifies the interdisciplinary nature of the Honors Program, as well as the diversity and passion that lies within the student body. The kids who were interested in International Studies wrote about international policy surrounding oil spills, the chemistry majors wrote about some cool molecule that researchers have designed to eat up all of the spilled oil and I (having just finished a quarter of Psychology 101) decided to explore the psychological impacts that oils spills have on the towns they affect. This paper was my first experience with psychology journal databases and man, was there a lot of stuff to sort through! I was fascinated by the seemingly endless amount of psychology studies and spent hours reading studies about the influence of war, environmental and technological disasters on mental health. I finally settled on a study and wrote one of the first essays I actually enjoyed working on-and that in itself was incredibly significant to me. This paper prompted an interest and curiosity about the different ways that life challenges can affect people. My interest was peaked, and I promised myself that I would take another psychology course next quarter!