Fall 2020 classes are about to start, and undergrad students Sarah Frost, Jefferson Daubitz and Kyle Bals are ready! Here’s their answers to the department’s questions on why they chose geography, what they’ve learned, future goals, and much more.
Geography: Why did you choose to take geography classes and/or major in geography?
Frost: The first geography class I took was Environmental Geography with Joseph Hobbs — the first semester of my sophomore year. It was more something I stumbled into than a planned part of my schedule, but by the time Hobbs finished summarizing the types of research he'd conducted over the years, I was sold. I wasn't sure about career opportunities, though, and didn't formally switch into the major until the summer before my junior year. Wish I'd declared geography sooner! I chose this as a career path because it's the only field I've found that doesn't ask me to narrow my interests, to choose one at the expense of another. I enjoy studying topics across the board, from humanities and environmental health to mathematics and engineering. With geography, I can investigate any curiosity and tag-team with just about any other field in an engaging and meaningful way.
Daubitz: I actually took my first geography class when I was a freshman just trying to fill a gen ed requirement (shout out to Doug Hurt and Regions and Nations). I wouldn't take another one until second semester of sophomore year while I was looking for a minor to add to my political science major. Taking those classes, I realized how much I loved the subject matter and the department here at Mizzou and I completely switched to do the major. My mom actually pointed out to me, after I told my parents I switched majors, that I had been drawing maps and pointing out weird geography facts since I was little and that choosing geography as my major “took me long enough.”
Bals: I chose to major in geography because I have always had a love for maps, landscapes, and countries. Since I was very young I have enjoyed drawing maps.
Geography: What do you enjoy most about geography?
Frost: Opportunity! Applicability! You'll not only learn new information but new ways of processing information and of processing the world around you. For me, the biggest draw of geography is that it synthesizes the specific and the broad, the in-depth and the general, in a way that keeps me curious and continually introduces me to new ideas.
Daubitz: The most enjoyable thing about geography is just how fascinating it is. I understand that sounds very vague so allow me to try to explain. There is so much depth in the field and always more to be discovered. There is always something to find, whether it be a new pattern in the natural world or evolving patterns in how humans develop and change the world around us. It allows humans to better understand an ever-changing world and I love that.
Bals: I enjoy making and interpreting maps whether it is for fun or for coursework.