How I approached the first-year GSD course in accordance with my interests!
In my last post (called ‘What it’s like to study GSD as a course that doesn’t have all the answers!’ if you’re interested in reading it) I briefly talked about being able to approach the course from lots of different perspectives, and the flexible module choices I could make. This led me to consider in more detail just how many of the decisions I have made so far in first-year GSD have been connected to my own areas of interest.
As it turns out, the answer is that a lot of the choices I have made have been fuelled by the things I care about! To sum up my experiences so far, here is a list of the main ways I have approached the GSD course in accordance with my interests:
- Starting with an obvious one, my primary focus when choosing my optional modules was to focus on what interests me the most – because realistically, if you want a career based on the things you’re passionate about, I would recommend choosing the modules that you think will serve you best. There’s often a balance to be found between selecting modules because you’re interested in the subject, looking at the styles of assessments you would prefer to do, and thinking about which modules would set you up best in terms of career prospects.
- For core modules I have also found a lot of opportunity to hone in on the topics that I wanted to focus on, particularly when exploring case studies and examples to use in essays. The modules themselves are varied enough that there should be something to interest you, regardless of your preferences within GSD – and I have also enjoyed being able to choose my essay questions and assignment topics in certain modules.
- Of course, within GSD there are some topics and concepts that everyone learns about, which might sound like there isn’t much choice there. However, even when looking at the same ideas as everyone else, you can explore key issues from your own perspective. In this sense, you can use your own knowledge and experiences, often coming to different conclusions or identifying different points of importance within the same content. I have found that this is usually the case with the preparatory readings for seminars, which is one of many reasons why seminars themselves are so engaging to take part in.
- Finally, another way in which I could tailor my studies to suit my interests was through the selection of wider readings I chose to explore from the recommended lists. It’s a little unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to read in detail all of the papers that are included in the further reading lists for each module, but I’ve gotten into the habit of skimming through them to find those which interest me the most, and then reading those in more depth. This has proven helpful for assignments, but is also more generally a great way to build your knowledge on the subject areas which engaged you the most in lectures and seminars.
Overall, even as a first-year student I have found that GSD often involves applying your own knowledge and interests to a range of case studies and key concepts within sustainability. This is something that I really enjoy about the course as one of the main ways in which it differs from A-levels and GCSEs. Therefore, if you are someone who is passionate about exploring what you find important and discovering new areas to study, I would definitely recommend considering GSD as your degree course. And of course, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!