Name: Morgan Durbin
Major: Environmental Studies
Why did you choose to major in Environmental Studies?
While I find the natural sciences incredibly intriguing and important, they are not the subjects that I naturally excel in. I am much more inclined to understand the world around me in terms of how I interact with it. Environmental Studies gave me the opportunity to explore the complexities of man's relationship with the environment. I got to tailor my academic experience to incorporate humanities courses as well as those in the natural sciences. In short, I got to explore and excel in the subjects that I was most passionate about while simultaneously being challenged to learn outside of my comfort zone and become a more well-rounded and informed lifelong student.
What activities, courses, and groups that you were involved in at CSB/SJU did you find most valuable when applying for jobs/school after graduating? Why?
There was no singular activity that I found to be the most valuable, either to my individual growth or post-graduate "success". Rather, it was a culmination of the many (sometimes too many) opportunities I took advantage of over the course of my four years at CSB/SJU. I sought out any opportunity to travel and/or meet people that challenged my own experiences and beliefs. More than anything else, that attitude, and the places and people I experienced as a result of it, made me the applicant and the person I am now.
What was your internship experience while at CSB/SJU? What skills did you have from courses and the department that qualified you for the position, and what skills did you learn?
I interned at the Steger Wilderness Center during the summer after my sophomore year of college. By that time, I had only begun to understand the history and complexities of my relationship with the world around me, let alone that of my peers and the people who have come before me. That being said, I had been taught and encouraged to be passionate and curious. Throughout that summer, I learned a variety of trade skills like stone masonry, woodworking, and gardening. I was further challenged to learn from and teach individuals with jarringly different life experiences and assumptions about the world around them. I left the Steger Wilderness Center with a more structured idea of what I wanted from a future career as well as a renewed patience and understanding of how my studies applied to life outside a classroom.
What did you do after graduation?
Immediately after graduation, I moved to New York State to work as a trip leader, and now an environmental education program instructor, for Frost Valley YMCA. I gained experience working with children from a variety of backgrounds instilling curiosity and excitement for the natural world. I learned powerful lessons about myself in the process. In just more than a month, however, I will be moving to the tea plantations of Sri Lanka through the Fulbright organization to teach English in a community with little accessibility to traditional education. Stay tuned! I can only imagine the challenges and lessons I will encounter there.
What advice, if any, do you have for current students on being successful on campus and in life after college?
Be curious!! Learn from a variety of people and be patient with yourself (and others). Take the time to listen and ask thoughtful questions. Say three words: "Tell me more." Seek out opportunities and experiences that will challenge you. I can't prescribe a tried or true method of graduating college or finding a job because I hardly know how I did that myself, but those are skills that seem to have helped. They are also skills that I firmly believe have made me an overall happier person.