As a recent graduate from Rutgers University, I spent years in the classroom preparing for a career in the environmental field. Now, I have a job that provides me with the opportunity to apply academic principles to the real world, helping businesses and the people they serve.
I learned a great deal in the classroom, but I’ve gained so much more through hands-on experience. In my current position, I have worked on many childcare center projects, helping our clients achieve compliance with state regulations when siting the facility. Each project starts with fully understanding customer needs and then developing a scope of work and cost estimate to achieve those needs.
Once a project is underway, ensuring adherence to regulations and diligently researching guidance documents as well as the site history has been a new experience for me. It requires research into documentation sources, which can be long and voluminous.
I’ve learned the importance of identifying areas of concern, such as chemical storage or electrical transformers, both in the field and through researching historic documents like Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and historic reports.
Working on projects and learning detailed standard procedures has allowed me to do my job efficiently. It gives me great satisfaction to complete Preliminary Assessment and Site Investigation reports that the LSRP is able to easily review and finalize. The sense of accomplishment I feel after completing the careful and diligent work that goes into a project is closely matched by seeing a client open a new childcare center.
Customer service and the necessity of good communication from the outset of each project is something they don’t necessarily teach in the classroom. The importance of customer service has even prompted me to create a Customer Survey Form to gauge and track client satisfaction, forming the basis of a business relationship for future work.
I learned a lot in school. But my field experience has allowed me to grow not only professionally, but personally as well. Transitioning from the classroom to the field lets me apply what I’ve learned in school to real-world problems and learn a whole lot more through firsthand experience.
And now as I seek my Master’s Degree, I can merge classroom knowledge with firsthand knowledge for the benefit of clients and the environment.
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