Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pressure Gradients and Uncertainty

Lately, I've been losing sleep. Part of it is Nyquil withdrawal. I was sick for two weeks straight (since Thanksgiving week), so I was on Nyquil cough syrup for those same two weeks so the cough attacks would have a less chance of shaking me from my sleep. Unfortunately for my sleep schedule, the end of the semester also coincides with me pumping caffeine into my blood system.

The other part of it are the things that take up my thoughts. Thoughts of mostly uncertainty in data analysis and uncertainty in life. At least the semester is almost over.

Oh. The semester is almost over.

The M on Mount Zion in Golden has a countdown each semester to the number of days until graduation for the last nine days. We've now seen it seven times.

"Look at the M. Next time it will be for us."

A rallying cry for the Geophysics Junior's hardest class that we Seniors stumbled into

It is during the last ten minutes of a last final of the week that one probably is the most unmotivated. I was particularly unmotivated during this semester's last one, for it was an open computer final and had concepts that contradicted fundamentals from the final I just took an hour earlier.

Plus my hand hurt from writing so much. Even though I stayed up until 2AM studying on accident, I wasn't stressed out about finals. I have done it so many times by now. I was more stressed out about getting my talk finished and everything else. After Tuesday...I would be relaxed.


The semester is now over, and the tail end of the year quickly following after it. My sources of December stress are resolved, but uncertainty carries into 2015.

The year I graduate college. The year I start grad school...somewhere.

I was able to reset my sleeping schedule at the AGU Fall Meeting, ironically. Usually people don't get much sleep at giant earth science conferences, but the first two days had me waking up at 6:30AM to prepare for my talk, which was on Tuesday afternoon.

This AGU Fall Meeting was my second, but already was very different from my first, when I was overwhelmed by the bigness of geoscience and taking in the amazing facets of our field of study. This year, my Fall Meeting was defined by prep for my talk and networking. And sushi. I ate sushi twice. (Can I just say how much I love that NSF supports my caffeine and food habit?)

Networking is actually cool because these are my kind of nerds: from people who sing and write poems about geoscience to people who I might be working with in the future. My week was also busy catching up with multiple circles of friends that converged at AGU: Mines Geophysics peeps, 2014 REU friends, and 2013 REU friends. 

My talk went well, and though it was a lot of pressure, it was a huge honor and actually a lot of fun to give. I ended up being up a lot less nervous than I expected it being my first AGU talk. Probably because I was singing in my head the entire talk before mine.

"Ain't no mountain high enough..."


It's my last trip of the year. From my first trip of driving through the Arizona desert during Spring Break and receiving the email that I was accepted to the Haystack REU, to the drive to Field Camp, DEN to BOS, BOS to SEA, SEA to BOS, BOS to YYC, driving back from Calgary, DEN to SFO, SFO to DEN.

What's next?

I can't begin to think about going back to school right now and starting my final semester at Mines and all the uncertainty beyond that. I just want to stare at geology from thirty thousand miles above the ground.

The Sierra Nevadas