Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dear Older Self

Dear Older Self,

What's the future like? Did I make the right choices about the future? So how 'bout that grad school thing, huh? What about the non-school stuff? What about spending senior year well? How did that go? What should I do better? What should I do?

Did I make the bright-eyed freshman proud?

So many questions...sorry.

Best regards,

Your senior self

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Four of Four

I look up from my phone. There’s a British man scribbling in chalk at the bottom of the  auditorium, pushing Fourier transforms into our reluctant brains, which are mushy from waking up a mere  ten minutes beforehand. I am utterly bored, for I already have learned to make functions as a product of sines and cosines the year before. My brain turns off. I try to turn it back on. It turns off again. I turn it on. It wanders…

I can’t do this.

The southwest stairwell of the Green Center fills with the echoes of my sandals climbing the ugly stairs. So many times I have climbed those same stairs up. Year One, for freshman Calculus. Year Two, for field theory. Year Three, for everything geophysically imaginable. And now, Year Four. For the end.

The days and nights spent in the Green Center blend together now. So many times I have climbed not knowing when I’d see the light of day again. So many descents after those long hours, with my brain relieved, tired, or both, my eyes tired from squinting at my code, laughing, or both.

These years have been piecewise continuous. Each has its own flavor. The setting is mostly the same, the cast of characters slightly adjusting with time, but the story has only one more chapter left to be written.

Chapter Four of four.

The room on the northwest corner and second floor of the Green Center is frigid.  The geophysics seniors have gathered there for guidance on the capstone of our undergraduate career: senior design. “This course is filled with pitfalls,” our professor and department head begins.

I can’t do this.

But after we walk out of the frigid room, maybe we feel slightly more prepared for the future. Or at least senior design.

Still, the future seems like a cold and scary place, and sometimes I’d much rather stay in my bed than travel towards it. But then the future nudges me, “Hey, it’s time to wake up and get dressed. You should probably read those scientific papers for senior design. And put together a spreadsheet of potential grad school advisors.”

I can’t be a senior. I still sleep in a bunk bed. And to think next year I’ll be a grad student?

My eyes are still blurry as I stare at errors in my code at the Linux Lab. Indices are funny things, my coffee-deprived brain remembers.

Chapter 0 of N. Where N is the number of years I am in grad school and is equal to about five or six. Or possibly more. I don’t know the setting or the cast of characters. But Chapter 0—the searching and application process—has me excited.

Chapter Four of four.

They overlap. One story wraps up, another waits to begin, despite my simultaneous resentment and welcoming of it all. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Pre-Senior Year Paradox

I want to graduate. Right now.

I miss people.
I miss Golden.
I want senior year to start.
I miss my favorite restaurants.
I don't want the summer to end.
I'm excited to think about grad school.
I'm not excited to write grad school apps.
I don't want to think about doing homework.
I can't wait to have more adventures.
I think the future is overwhelming.
I don't want things to change.
I don't want to leave.
I'll miss Golden.
I'll miss people.

I don't want to graduate. Ever.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Find a Grad School #1: Where I DON'T want to go

There are many different factors that one must consider when searching for graduate school to apply to, but when it comes down to it, there are many good schools all across the globe. How to narrow it down? Start crossing entire regions off the list.

I've lived in Colorado my whole life. Colorado is probably the best place in the world, let's just face it. The climate is nearly perfect, although its bipolarness, no tripolarness is annoying. Spoiled in this lovely region, there are some places I cannot bear to live in for two to six years (depending on if I stay for my PhD). Thus began my search.

I hate humidity. And heat. And extreme cold. I don't really want to leave the continent. That left nowhere. But I narrowed it down to this:



So I'm getting somewhere. (Just kidding: I have a list, don't worry, and will probably have a spreadsheet soon). But none of these places are perfect, of course: my short stint in the Northeast thus far is showing me how humid is too humid, and how my hair might be unhappy there. Winters there also suck more than Colorado winters. So my red region might even be shrinking more. But everything is a compromise, right?

Next in How to Find a Grad School, I'll look at schools based on the number of windows in their earth science buildings. You know, the important stuff. 

Note: The posts in this series contain an undisclosed percentage of sarcasm. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stuff Mines People Say, v3.1: Now with even more Geophysics flavor!

Catastrophic loss of credit!! Donuts. Tests that took up two classes. Skipping Structural to go to Chick-fil-a. Writing "I'm sorry :(" on the front of a test. You know, normal things in the GP lyfe (geophysics life, for those who don't understand) and Mines life.

In the craziness of rushing from the end of the semester, to field camp, then straight to internships, I almost overlooked at how great of a year Junior Year was. I never want to do it again, and thankfully I don't have to, but there were some crazy, dorky, difficult, fun, and all-around good times spent with both new and old friends.

So without further rambling on the nerdiness and hilarity of Mines kids (and professors), here are Junior Year's quotes. These also include some from Field Camp. There aren't many from second semester...I think I was having too much fun, or got Junioritis or something, so I'm sure I missed some gems that I didn't save. (Sophomore and Freshman Year's are linked for nostalgia's sake.)

***

"I hate boys. I hate Dynamic Fields." ~ Rosie

"I want to get a telescope lens and take pictures of people who are at the top and then run up and meet them with prints." ~ Jayden, on hikers on South Table

"Sometimes I think life would be easier as a MechE." ~ Rima


"Storm's taking a procrastishower real quick." ~ Shane

Cashier at Snarf's: "Do you have your CSM student ID?"
Me: "Not on me, but I do have the emotional scars."

"I call him the gravity whisperer....[whispers] because he talks like this..." ~ Shane, on Rich, our gravity prof.

"If I would've taken this class in 4th grade I would've gotten an A in this class." ~ Shane

Me: "Why are you ramped up?"
Shane: "Because of Field Methods...that class sucks."
Me: "But it's not even Thursday yet..."
Shane: "But it will be...eventually."

"There are two kinds of fedora: real fedora and CompSci fedora." ~ Laine

Rosie: "I bet if you polled the school, the majority of them would say they like hockey."
Shane: "I bet if you polled the school, the majority of them would say they like baseball."
Brandon: "If you polled the school, they would say they watch Pokemon."

"Without me, we wouldn't have made it this far in college. Well, I wouldn't have made it this far without me. True story." ~ Shane

"Anna was almost our 29th electrode." ~ Joey, after Anna almost touched an electrode during a DC survey in GPGN303

"If I got a B in AEM, I would punch myself in the face." ~ Shane

"What happens in the Linux Lab stays in the Linux Lab." ~ Stephen and Colton

"And that is why we are esteemed geophysicists. We are not limited by that thing known as reality." ~ Stephen, on geology

"The great thing about Structural is that it's worth just as much credit hours as Continuum." ~ Bradley, because Structural Geology was easy and Continuum was NOT

"I was actually really productive today. Probably because all my homework was due." ~ Emily

Nik, on the Continuum Mechanics final: "There was a little k, and kappa, and a big K. You can't have three k's in a problem!!"
Jennifer: "Yeah, that's just racist!" 

"What's a Green's Function?" ~ All of us Juniors, all the time

Professor quotes:
"You guys have seen this notation before...probably." ~ Jeff

"Do you know what a SWAG is?" ~ Terry

"That is one crunchy potato chip...You could just let it soak in your mouth a while." ~ Switzer, to a kid eating chips in ProbStats

Student: "On the test, are there points for a picture?" 
Switzer: "No. A picture should be reward in itself."

"Oil is a metamorphic rock derived from the primary rock, dinosaurs." ~ Jeff

"This is basically Maxwell's 5th equation. Don't quote me on that...actually, no one would ever, ever say that." ~ Andrei

"Can anyone tell me what isopach means? Iso...pach..Iso...Iso...Iso...pach...pach [waving hands] Pach... Pachy...Pachyderm.. Iso…pach ...?" ~ Dr. Bob

Random quotes from field camp:
"In the beginning, God created the Laramide orogeny."

"That DC inversion was beautiful."

"And it's not even smoothed yet, just raw beauty." 
"No makeup and still a ten."

"Last one in the vans is a geologist!"

"There are more buttons in this truck than the MT equipment!" ~ Andrei

"Do these trucks automatically downshift? Because mine just did." ~ Andrei, not too long after the buttons quote

"Look! Geology IS useful!" ~ Batz, after propping a door open with a rock


"So where is this water coming from?"

P.S. Yep, I miss you guys.