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Monique Comeau talks about first year

A day in the life

Monique Comeau talks about first year

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Group work is absolutely useful. No one can solve a problem alone—you have to work with others.

Creative and collaborative

In fall 2010, Monique Comeau arrived in Halifax “sight-unseen” from her home on Salt Spring Island, BC. “I just wanted to go out east to do something completely different. I’d never been farther east than Alberta.”

Browsing the list of classes offered at Dal, the Environment, Sustainability, and Society (ESS) program jumped out at her. “It looked like it offered a new approach to learning. And now, I’m really glad I’m taking it!”

Monique was a little surprised when she first saw the Dal campus. “I thought it would be bigger! Sure, you can make yourself feel anonymous if you want to, but it’s also really easy to feel connected. You can just go up and talk to your profs—they’re really here to help you."

She’s also found it easy to make friends, in the ESS program and in the 90-student residence where she lives.

Monique is already thinking of doing a double major in ESS and International Development Studies (IDS). She has plenty of reasons for continuing in ESS: “It’s creative, innovative, and collaborative. And it also demands creative thinking—which is good, because it makes me want to work harder.”

“Plus,” she says, “the professors are passionate, which also makes me want to put more effort into what I’m doing. And the guest lecturers are inspiring, too—it’s great to have so many people sharing their perspectives. It really embodies what the program is about.”

Collaboration doesn’t come just from the innovative team-teaching approach. The students also work in groups to complete certain projects.

Even on vacation, Monique can’t leave behind the issues that surface in her SUST classes. “For spring break, I visited my boyfriend in Korea,” she says. “We went to a fish market, which had every sort of sea creature you can imagine, including shark. It reminded me of a documentary I’d seen in class about the shark-fin industry. So I wondered, were all these animals caught sustainably? What kind of policies are in place in Korea?”

And thoughts like those are affecting her choices: “I did have fish for lunch that day—but it wasn’t tuna or shark!”