glacier_national_parkWritten by: Gregory Gauthier, TCU Climate Change VISTA Volunteer

Education is the foundation that is embedded throughout our lives and embracing it leads to unknown possibilities. This is a very important concept and we often forget that we are learning continuously each day, by educating ourselves and others, allowing us to grow as human beings and to show compassion to the people around us. My awareness of what education had in store for me was slightly complicated. I had an idea of where I wanted to be, but no idea of what I wanted to be. The rhetorical statement may sound a little redundant but the statement holds true to me and possibly for many others.

One question I was asked all through the course of my educational journey: what do you want to do with your life? I despised this question that ultimately forced me to plan out my future. I am a realist. I could not come up with a single answer of what I wanted to do with my life. The question was left unanswered with a simple, not sure. But in the back of my mind, I wanted to do a whole lot; the question was, when I will do it?

My struggle during higher education was choosing what I wanted to pursue as a degree. I switched from Computer Science to Philosophy and finally to Environmental Science. The reason behind this revelation was an internship with the College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute. The experience abetted my discovery of the love I have for environmental science. I was much happier, traveling to the places I would only dream of, meeting new people who I now call lifelong friends, and exploring numerous career paths that are connected to my love for the outdoors. Where I want to work and what career path I want to pursue is still unknown, but I have taken steps that will lead me down the trail that is right for me. The next step is to pursue a Master’s Degree in Geography.

This takes me to where I am at today; graduated with B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Ecology and working (volunteering) at the College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute as the TCU AmeriCorps Climate Change Vista. I applied to this job on a whim because of my uncertainty regarding what I wanted to do after graduation. What I have found during the past month is that climate change is something I am passionate about. Climate change is an important discussion that we should all have as a community. It impacts all facets of life, whether it be economic, environmental, social, but more importantly it impacts our traditions and culture as Menominee people. Giving back to the community that impacted my growth as the person I am now is the reason I am doing this. The education and outreach on climate change creates opportunities for all of us to protect our children’s children and ensure the survival of seven generations teachings. Knowledge is power but with power comes great responsibility.

For me, living in the moment and exploring opportunities that were often presented during my educational journey created unimaginable possibilities. So do not be afraid to take that first step and to learn as much as you can. Your education generates opportunities to pass on knowledge and to help others as they might have helped you. These never-ending possibilities are created by us. With that, LIFE Magazine has a quote that has inspired me to inspire others: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life”.