The problems that economists consider are often social issues that are fundamentally rooted in human behaviour, and economists approach these problems in a technical and scientifically rigorous way.
When I first came to Dalhousie, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I enjoyed many of the subjects I took in high school, but nothing had stood out to me as being “the one”. I decided that it would be a good idea to take a variety of courses in my first year, with one of my first-semester courses being an economics course. The one thing I thought I was certain about was that I wanted to avoid math as much as possible. Ironically, by eventually deciding to pursue a degree in economics, I don’t think that ended up being the case.
What appealed to me about economics was that it combined qualitative and quantitative thinking in a way that I hadn’t realized was possible. The problems that economists consider are often social issues that are fundamentally rooted in human behaviour, and economists approach these problems in a technical and scientifically rigorous way. I found it fascinating that choices, ranging from seemingly trivial personal consumption decisions to decisions of national importance could be modelled mathematically and visualized using graphs. But what I really enjoyed about my time in the economics department was how supportive its people were. The honours program, being relatively small, was incredibly collegial. Classmates were always willing to help with a problem set, and the professors were always willing to go out of their way to make sure we understood a difficult concept.
Like many students nearing the end of their degree, I struggled to figure out what I would do next. I was fortunate to have professors who provided invaluable advice regarding the wealth of options, whether traditional or not, that are open to economics graduates. I am currently a student at Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law, where I recently completed my first year. Although the subject matter might not be directly applicable, I think that studying economics prepares you well for law school because it helps to develop necessary skills like analytical thinking and logical reasoning. I also think it’s a testament to both the versatility of studying economics and the strength of the program’s alumni network that the professors have no trouble connecting students with graduates who have done so many interesting things with their careers. It’s truly a program that wants to see its students succeed, and the faculty members are always willing to do what they can to make that happen.