A part of my identity that I’ve always felt throughout my time at U of M is my income level. Belonging to a single-parent working class home and coming from a small farming town school system made my beginning move to U of M hard. I’ve always worked around 30 hours a week throughout my undergrad and still have struggled to have the same experiences and opportunities that many of my peers do from U of M. More so, walking in my freshman year without knowing it was even possible to get college credit in high school made it apparent to me how much I’d struggle in my math and science classes. However, I’ve still appreciated and enjoyed how those challenges have shaped my career path and drive during my undergrad experience.
However, I did not expect my campers would be more advanced than I was in environmental issues and science before coming to U of M. Before beginning my undergrad I’d never even heard the worlds climate change or sustainability, my local garbage company didn’t even offer an option for recycling. My campers, even at 8,9, and forward can easily explain climate change, invasive species, agriculture systems, the troubles with exotic pet trade, etc. Things that I was JUST learning about my freshman year. Thinking about the high income of Ann Arbor families, the great school system, and the more progressive area, it makes sense, but I was still very shocked. It definitely shows also why the need for environmental education more in low-income areas is so vital and why teaching in a disadvantaged community is still somethings I feel more strongly toward, since it aligns more with my identity.