One reason I love school is because to me, learning is one of the top three most exciting things in life. I know this sounds nerdy, and I’m completely fine with that. Learning is the key to understanding more about life and how it functions. The more you understand about how life functions, the more awestruck you become. This theory especially comes to fruition in engineering, where the point is to learn how things work and use that knowledge to facilitate a solution to a problem. For instance, my courses this semester are Microbial Ecology, Hazardous Waste Management, Hydrogeology, and Environmental Justice & the Law. In my microbial ecology class, we just learned about how redox reactions are the mechanism of microbial respiration. On the same day, in my hazardous waste management class, we learned about how bacteria harness the potential for these redox reactions to respire organic contaminants, like TCE, meaning that the bacteria essentially eat away the pollutants. Where would this TCE be? It would probably be leaching somewhere into the groundwater and flowing down gradient–in my hydrogeology lab, we learned how to map groundwater contour lines via well data. So, after my courses this week I not only 1. know the specific mechanism and reasoning behind bacterial respiration (microbial ecology class), 2. know how to apply bacterial respiration to cleaning up contaminated ground water (haz waste mgmt. class), and 3. know how to determine where that ground water will flow (hydrogeology lab), I also know from my environmental justice class that this scenario could have different implications on a low-income, minority population due to their lack of resources to address the contamination issue as effectively.
So, the things you learn at Lehigh can all connect. When you make these connections it motivates you to keep learning and propagating yourself academically.