Farah Samuel writes:
It was just six months ago when I arrived in the UK, for the first time ever. I found myself fortunate to have landed in Durham, a small, cosy yet a lively town. The first week of the lectures was not only exciting but also thrilling for I could see the challenges I had set myself up for. However, the good news was that I was where I wanted to be and deep inside I knew that. Ever since I had studied environmental sciences back home, I had developed a passion to work in the domain of environment and energy conservation. After working as a professional for six years, I found my niche, I knew what I wanted and so I chose MSc. Energy & Society–a course I found not only unique but also it made a lot more sense of one of the most crucial elements of development – People. Understanding energy is one part of it but linking it with people, their behaviour, their understanding of energy and the challenges they face is altogether another story. At the beginning of the course, I had not realised that there is so much more to energy science than what I had previously known and so initially everything seemed daunting. One of the reasons I struggled initially was the absolute contrast education system in the UK and back home. The fact that our lectures are student-based seminars, made me realise later that it helped me develop my own understanding of energy and the issues around it, which at first seemed quite intimidating. I was immensely nervous at my first presentation before my tutor and peers, however, it gave me confidence so much so that I volunteered to do the second one as well. Time passed by and I realised that we are already in the middle of our first intensive teaching week. As the name suggests, it is an intense one week of teaching with consecutive seminars from 9-5, however, the relief was that I didn’t have to prepare the seminar, but the lectures were delivered by industry experts with an extensive and diverse experience in renewable energy and interdisciplinary knowledge.
Then came the most challenging, excruciating and mammoth like task of the module – essay writing. I found myself in deep waters. For some odd reason, I was absolutely frightened, nervous and felt defeated even before having started it. Mid way through the assignment, I realised what the purpose of such assessment was. It was not to intimidate me but was an efficient mechanism for learning, understanding and reproducing knowledge so to enhance my knowledge of the field.
In summary, I fared well so far. I have learnt more than what I had ever known and what I ever expected. I am in a small town which is so royal not only due to its historic, holy and brutal past but also for its mesmerising beauty. And I have been set on a journey of being the agent of change in this carbon intensive world. I couldn’t have chosen anything better than studying Energy & Society, in pursuit of becoming an Anthropologist.
Farah N. Samuel