J Dare_Nov12 02_

My name is Jen and I am a graduate student in the Master of Arts Environmental Policy (MAEP) program at Grenfell campus; I am also a wife and a mother. My husband and I moved to Corner Brook with our three daughters in the spring of 2014. We came from Southern Ontario, in order to pursue my education. We have spent two summers and a winter in Western Newfoundland now and are looking forward to the snow returning.

The MAEP is offered at Memorial’s Grenfell Campus, which is located on the West Coast of Newfoundland. I decided to pursue this degree because I am very interested in integrating my social science, economic and policy background to encourage effective solutions for environmental concerns. This is a unique interdisciplinary program designed to fill the gap in environmental policy expertise by developing student research and professional skills. There are currently two Masters programs offered at the Grenfell Campus location, the MAEP and the Master of Science in Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences.

I have spent quite a bit of time exploring Western Newfoundland. There is a ton to explore near Corner Brook if you are the adventurous type. Hiking, climbing, caving, camping, snowshoeing, and skiing. The walking trails in Corner Brook are great and they can take you all around town in an almost hidden abyss of nature.

My experience of the MAEP program so far has been overwhelmingly positive. The staff and faculty are friendly and supportive. This years’ cohort has come from all over; a healthy mix of Canadian and international students. We form quite an eclectic group of interesting people with varying views, opinions and experiences. The diversity of the group adds depth to our discussions and it is interesting to learn from each other’s perspectives.

As positive as my experiences have been, I should also add that it is a lot of work. On that note I will share what I have learned so far.

  • Get to know your supervisor, they are on your side, they want to see you succeed and they are an invaluable resource. Do not forget this; criticisms can be hard and challenging for anyone, so take the time to build rapport with your supervisor before all of that. You will be grateful when it is all over.
  • Speak from your heart and stay true to who you are. Graduate school is a safe and constructive environment to explore new ideas, be challenged and develop. Share your vision and trust your supervisor and committee to help you shape your research.
  • It’s hard to improve on yourself if you never open up. There is still a lot to be learned, so don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet. Join discussions, ask questions. It’s okay to be wrong (besides it’s really hard to be right all of the time).

Maybe the biggest lesson for me has been: Stay positive and plan your time!

I don’t know what to expect for the remainder of the year, but I’ll be sure to keep you informed. With that I will wrap this up for now. Until next time!