A Day in the Life of an Industrial Ecology Student

​Are you curious about what a day in my programme looks like? 
Each day in industrial ecology​ is different, with new interesting topics, activities, and discussions. My day is filled with not only learning things I am enthusiastic about but also spending time with friends! Let me take you on a journey through my day! 

I get up the third or fourth time after I’ve hit the snooze button. Whenever my friends talk about how early they have to get up to take the tram to school, I remember how lucky I am to live close to Chalmers. I get ready and make tea, probably lemon or blackcurrant.

I walk over to class, and I check TimeEdit – an app that shows my schedule and class location – I wouldn’t want to walk to the wrong building or show up late!

This semester, my morning class is Environmental Risk Assessment. We are currently learning about risk assessment of chemicals, identifying hazards, assessing the level of risk. There are often short exercises throughout the class, and today we work with our classmates to determine whether different situations can be classified as risky.
It was very surprising to realize in the first week of my programme, that every class takes a break every 45 minutes. Having had multiple hours long courses in the past, it is nice when you hit the 45-minute mark and get to take a short break to talk to classmates or get a coffee. 

It is my second Environmental Risk Assessment lecture of the day, starting with a new professor. This class is taught by three teachers, which has been common in some of my classes so far. Each teacher tends to lead the lectures which correspond to their own research, which is great because they tend to be excited to teach and can answer in-depth questions on the topic. The new lecture dives deeper into the Effect Assessment from the earlier presentation.  

 It’s time for lunch! There are no classes and everyone on campus finds a place to eat around campus. I often try to pack my lunch, but today myself and some friends decide to go over to the student union to eat in the Kårrestaurang. I try the vegan option, which today is a vegan burger with potatoes and salsa. It was a good choice, I would try again! In industrial ecology, we have learned about the processes involved in growing the food we eat, including crops and animals for meat. Learning about this, and the fact that there are so many meat-free options at Chalmers and grocery stores has inspired me to eat almost exclusively vegetarian. Speaking of which, our previous ambassador Spencer wrote a blog about how Chalmers cafeteria helps students make better environmental choices: https://www.chalmers.se/en/education/student-life/stuamb/Pages/Eating-with-your-foot-in-your-mouth.aspx
Often during lunch and breaks, my friends and I talk about the topics from recent lectures. I think it’s a testament to the level of interest and enthusiasm we have for our programme and what we are learning.

After lunch, I walk to my next class, Environmental Management. It has been about environmental practices implemented by businesses and learning to analyze their strategies and systems. Today, class starts with a peer review session on reports we have written on previously assigned businesses. We switch reports with another student, asking questions about their findings, and determining ways to improve our own work.
When I have questions for my teacher, I call her over by using her first name. Coming from the US, where we address professors as Dr. Insert Name Here, this was a bit strange a first. The system in Sweden has a much more horizontal structure than the United States. Compared to what I have experienced before, I feel that this system treats students more as equals. I have always felt respect from my teachers, and our courses have encouraged discussion and questioning of ideas in order to ensure understanding.

For the second lecture of Environmental Management, a guest speaker, Victoria Lund Mattsson, comes to talk to us about her experience as a Business Development Engineer at Emerson in Sweden, and how sustainability plays a part in her job. She is actually a graduate of the industrial ecology programme, so I’m really interested in her perspective since graduating. Her presentation is really refreshing, speaking about both the environmental successes and areas in need of progress at her company. 
In Environmental Management, and many other courses, guest lecturers who have researched relevant topics or work in environmental roles in the industry have come in to speak with us. This is always interesting, as we can learn the practical applications and ask in-depth questions.  

After class, I take the tram to my Swedish for Immigrants course. It is run through the city of Gothenburg for free for people like me, who want to learn Swedish. I have been in the class for a couple months now, and I can tell that my skills have improved. I make a note to ask classmates about good TV shows in Swedish to watch to improve my hearing comprehension. We get a new packet with vocabulary on traveling, and practice reading with the people sitting next to us. 

As I head home, I make a note of the things on my to-do list, as I try to stay organised by writing things down in my planner. I check that my many alarms are set for the morning and get ready for the next day.

This was a typical day in my programme industrial ecology! Every day brings new interesting challenges and experiences, I hope you enjoyed the journey! 

Author: Amanda

Page manager Published: Mon 04 May 2020.