For my September and October blocks I was only on campus for approximately 3 out of the 8 weeks, not because I wasn’t taking classes but because I was adventuring all over the western United States through two of Quest’s field courses. Field courses at Quest are probably the most underrated classes here, but they are by far some of the coolest that we offer. Because of the block system we are able to do field trips like no other university, except maybe Colorado College (CC).
In my first class, Research in Earth and Environmental Science, we finished the block by heading to Denver, CO for the Geological Society of America (GSA) annual conference. My whole class stayed in an awesome hostel together, and each had our own schedule for talks that we went to for the final 4 days of class.
After we were done with the conference, we had 4 more days in Denver to hang out over block break before heading down to Colorado Springs to start our next course, Tectonics of Western North America. We spent 1 week at CC mapping and getting familiar with sedimentary rocks,
We worked on everything from our mineral identification, to large scale tectonic processes. Steve Quane, our tutor, has done three different variations of this course at Quest, and he is a firm believer that you never learn better than when you are standing right in front of the thing you are learning about. Instead of reading about how slot canyons are formed, we went to them and had students give presentations on research they had done on them while still at CC. And instead of writing papers everyday, we had fireside chats about what we had learned in the field. We had class for 2 weeks straight, and I don’t think a single person in the class cared, not only because we were learning really cool stuff but because we were on an adventure that few other people get to do in their lifetimeHow many other classes do you think get to wake up and see a sun rise that looks like this? Not many I would imagine!
And the best part about these courses? The extra course fees for both only came to $250! For a whole month! Granted we had to pay for our own food, but with a Costco membership and a semi-stressful shopping experience, we still made it out with fairly low food costs.
I try to take advantage of all the field course I can during my time at Quest. I am even going to Athens for Classics in the Aegean–a culture/philosophy/adventure/literature course–in May
I’m not really sure how to wrap this post up, because I could go on forever, so I will just add a bunch of photos, since apparently they are worth a thousand words. I’ll also add a piece of advice; if you are ever even slightly inclined to take a field course, just do it! You will make so many friends and memories, and you will learn more than you thought possible.