I completed my BA Honours degree at Carleton in 2012. With a major in environmental studies, and double minors in geography and geomatics, I can state with a fair amount of authority that the department offers an excellent opportunity for learning more about the nature of our world, and our physical and social place within it. During my time at Carleton, I was involved with our undergraduate student society, whose motto was “Without geography, you are nowhere”. This quote succinctly encapsulates the benefits of studying geography, as it allows one to think more critically about their space within, and relationship with, their environment.
Currently, I am studying at the University of Toronto, towards the completion of a MSc degree in Urban Planning and I’m working as an Urban Planner at Fregonese Associates. Within my undergraduate cohort, people received different takeaways from their studies. While my initial interests were related to broad environmental issues at a national and global scale, I came to refine them to examine how we interact with our environment within an urban context. Over my four years, I was able to tailor my degree to this emergent interest. My environmental studies courses allowed me to make the theoretical connections between society, and the physical environment, while my geomatics courses gave me tools to more quantitatively examine such relationships. Taken together, the different aspects of my studies gave me a holistic approach to my education.
To any students thinking about enrolling within the department, I would highly recommend that you do so. Being able to know more about your world is essential to the goal of higher learning, and critical thought. And even for students in other departments, geography courses make great electives, as they are excellent at providing complementary knowledge for a wide range of other subjects. To students in the department close to graduation, my advice would be to think about what connections you have made between geography, and other interests. ‘Geographer’ is a nebulous job description, so try and make a connection between geographic thought and something that you would like to do.