Tag Archives: college

An Unexpected Turn, and the Frustration with Contacting Professors

Well, the job is going swellily. We get quite a bit time off inbetween jobs, and I’m just ending my second week off. I’m finding it kinda hard to stay entertained, and yet keeping an eye out for a source of income that would help me stay home more often than not. Mostly just something I could do in-between jobs. I still keep hoping I can make a small living off of video games, but try as I might, that remains to be seen.

Anywho, the ol’ boyfriend up and decided that he wants to get out of the military and go to the University of Wyoming. Which is FANTASIC news, in a way. I’m a bit tired of being told where to go – it gets exhausting pretending to like an area that isn’t up your alley.

If we follow through with this, I will be over the moon. UWyo is my top choice for grad school. I love Wyoming, they have a fantastic geophysics department, and one of the professors research is exactly what I’m interested in. The problem is, I can’t get him to respond to my emails. I’ve only sent 3, and they’ve been spaced out enough to not feel like they were bombarding him, but just friendly reminders like “Hey! I know you’re busy, but just in case you meant to get back to me and forgot, I’m still here!” (Not in those exact words, but that’s what I was aiming for.)  We are planning a trip to the University next month, and it’s driving me up the wall that the professor hasn’t gotten back to me. I want to know if he’ll be available any time in June, because I will make sure I’m there the same time he is so he can at least see my face and possibility remember me.

Then there’s the possibility that we move there, and I don’t get into the grad program. Then what? I don’t know if I should talk to other professors in different areas of study and hope I find one that sticks just to attend the university, but I feel like that’s what’s going to happen if I don’t get ahold of the guy I’d rather work with.

The last email I sent was two weeks ago now, explaining that I will be at the University in June, driving all the way from Michigan just to see the department, and I would like to know if he’s going to be around. I also said this is the last email I’m sending before I attempt to call your office. I have no idea if this is the acceptable thing to do or not. I don’t know if I should call the department office first and get the skinny. Maybe the guy is in the hospital? But I feel I could have found that information somewhere on the internet. Trust me, I google-fu’d the hell out of this guy.

I figure I would wait a week or two after graduation so that he can get the break I no doubt he needs, and possibly be more receptive to talking. I’m probably stressing out too much about this, because grad school wouldn’t even happen until Fall 2017. I also have no idea how far ahead I should be trying schmoozle. I do know that I’ll be actually studying for the GRE this time.

Well….thanks for reading, guys. I know I don’t update that often, but thanks for sticking with me. Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Cheers!

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Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job

Okay, I know I promised somewhere that this would be a “life after college” blog. Here’s my first real chapter in “life after college”. It’s been a while since my last post because shit basically hit the fan. I sacrificed my B.S. degree to take a paid internship, and now have a B.A. in Geology. I moved from California to Michigan. I am now living in a state that I’ve never been to, let alone the time zone. I have no friends here. I have no connections. No networking opportunities. I have since had a BBQ blow up in my face, got rid of half of my belongings, and I am currently a part-time cashier at a grocery store.I am so desperate for friends, I made a missed connection post on Craigslist with a person who I asked where they got their shirt. No reply yet. sad face

So. I have complied a list of steps of what I have done, and what I expect to do, with some major venting in between. I hope that it works out in my favor, because that means it may help out someone else in the same position. Maybe they can learn from my mistakes. This is what I hope for. Ready for Step 1?

Step 1: Accept that the university you attended isn’t getting you in the place you wanted to be.

Yeah yeah, I know it totally sounds like I’m trying to place blame on anything but myself, but I’m really just looking at the facts here. The university I attended was very heavy on the “Just look for our alumni! They are all across America, you won’t have a problem!” Well, here I am. All the way across America, about 9 states away. Guess what? Nobody has ever heard of my university, and nor do they care about that university because guess what again? Nobody cares unless you have oil related classes, and mine didn’t have a single one. In fact, the university wanted us to sign something saying we would never involve ourselves in environment-destroying jobs.

Really though, you actually want me to hold off on paying for $50,000 worth of debt because it makes you look more environmentally friendly than other universities? Fuck off.

Also, I’m realizing that the department is more set up for pushing out “basic” geologists and funneling them into grad schools so that those schools can deal with giving us the experience we need to move up in the world. The professors, I eventually noticed, only went out of their way for students who also wanted to go into academia. Forget the ones who actually want to work after school. So at this point, I am going to be forced to go to grad school. Not that I have anything against grad school mind you, this is just what’s going to happen instead of finding even a mildly related job in my field. Unless I volunteer. Which brings me to Step 3.

But first…

Step 2: Take any god damned job you can get your hands on. Even if they are just place holders until you get that career you’re hoping for.

This is the place I’m at now. Say hello to your newest (and cutest!?) part-time cashier at your local grocery store. AWESOME use of my degree, right?

This is my life right now. Part-time cashiering at a very expensive, but large and REALLY SLOW, grocery store. Grasping at any opportunity to do anything productive. Anything but stand there. Anything but play with a rubber band for an hour, waiting for the next customer. Can I at least straighten the candy? Come on, let me leave my post!

Okay I’ll stop whining…here’s my point: This step sucks. This is the arguably the worst step. This part is so un-fulfilling and depressing. The part where everyone around you seems to be doing exactly what they went to school for. Universally…this part really sucks. This is the step that starts to make you feel worthless, your degree worthless, your rock collection doesn’t mean anything to you anymore…it’s gets sad. You get sad. But you just have to remember, don’t stop applying. Don’t be afraid to take a part time job or three just to get by. Don’t be afraid to drop those part time job like flies if anything better pops up (but don’t let them catch on to that…).

I’m going to side step real quickly and elaborate something about step 2.


Step 2 is dangerous. Step 2 is what scares me the most, because I am currently stuck on step 2. I really think Step 2 is where you can really get stuck in an endless cycle of shitty retail jobs for the rest of your life. This honestly applies to anyone, not just geology people of course. I am a good cashier, okay? I’ve done almost nothing but cashier jobs since I was 15. I worked through high school, and I worked after high school, and I worked through community college clear up until I went to university. I have almost 12 years of retail under my belt. Do you know what that gets me? Endless retail jobs. Not geology jobs.

I honestly thought that having any work experience would really help with finding geo work, because I know that there are fresh students with absolutely no work experience under their belt. I thought for sure that would be my leg-up. I thought for sure that showing I was able to work 3 different jobs with no days off for 4 months straight showed that I had drive, and was willing to do just about anything to hold a job….but it’s not enough. Thanks to the gas price crash, geologists with years of geology experience under their belts are taking any job they can get, thus leaving people like me competing with people like them.

I know that what I have now is not enough, and I am no longer competitive.I have come to terms that I have to take a different approach to this.

Cue Step 3


Step 3: Volunteer

Here is the next step I’m taking to try to be competitive. I’m hoping that ANY work experience and good references in the geo job sector will get my a leg up, and help me find that career I’m looking for.

After talking to a few geologists in my new town, it sounds like I’m not even going to land a volunteer gig. My landlord’s oldest son is a geologist, and I finally got to speak to him last week. I told him many of my colleague’s were finding junior geologist jobs with consulting just months after graduation. These people were my good friends, and I know that they didn’t just use connections to find their positions. One hadn’t even graduated yet, and wasn’t the best student in the department, and landing a very awesome gig in the bay area. She said she just watched interview help videos on youtube and nailed the interview. Yeah but…how did you even get an interview? What the fuck am I doing wrong? Anyways…He didn’t believe me. He actually didn’t believe that my colleagues were finding jobs so fast. He thought that I was just saying that to make myself look better….which I don’t know how that works. Running into him is going to be awkward at the least. “Oh yeah, remember me? The desperate lying recent graduate who will say anything to get a job.” Uuuggghhh.

BUT!

I did not let him get me down. I got dressed up today. I dressed up my resume. I did some major google-fu and found a couple of geology companies. I walked into the one that was my first choice and tried to talk to the geologist there about volunteering and just tagging along. I only talked to the receptionist, and she went up to the geologist’s office and was there for some time. She comes down and says he was about to leave for the day, but here is his card. Email him. He is great at responding quickly. Cool. Now I have his name. Commence Facebook search.

Step 3.1: Networking…kinda.

This is like a subsection of Step 3….because this is experimental on my part. Here’s how this is going to go in my head. I checked his facebook to make sure he drinks. Of course he drinks. He’s a geologist. But I’m in the Midwest and needed to double check and make sure he wasn’t one of the religious fanatics around here. USE FACEBOOK TO YOUR ADVANTAGE PEOPLE! Anyways, I shoot him an email. I tell him I don’t know how to say I want to volunteer without making it sound like I am desperate. I really just want to tag a long and see what kind of work  this sector entails, as it is really different from the area that I am coming from.

After shooting off professional yada’yada’yada, I leave another paragraph: “On a less professional note, I am very new to the area and have no friends or colleagues. It would be really nice if we could get together over a beer and talk geology, if nothing else.”  I bet he sees right through that bullshit. I don’t want it to be bullshit, though. I REALLY DO want to have a beer with him if nothing else.

Honestly, I”m not at my “desperate for a job” point yet. I am, however “desperate for friends” point. I would be just as ecstatic over making a new geology friend over a geology job. Kinda.

Okay. I will leave it at this, because this is as far as I’ve gotten. No reply from geo guy. No landed geo interviews. No new geo connections.

Stay lovely, my WordPress strangers. Cheers.

Always Be Professional!

Today I learned the importance of writing properly constructed emails. Not because of an email I sent, but of one I received. I’ve always been super professional when I send important emails, and I am so glad for that, because now I know what it’s like to receive a bad impression.

A few days ago, one of the new students in the department approached me looking to help with my thesis for his Sed project. I gave a brief explanation of what was going on, told him a few of the problems I was having, and that I had a poster of my SEM project hanging up in the department, and that he should read that first, and then email me if he was still interested. You know, normal, “are you a go-getter?” things. He got back to me, yay!

…and then I learned what it’s like being on the receiving end of a shitty email. This is what it said:  “Hey we talked the other day about helping you out with your resaerch I’d love to be a part so please let me know ”

Oh. Okay. Well…Thank goodness he told his name at the club meeting, otherwise I would have been really confused. There’s only 3 other people I’ve never met with the same name I talked to that night…about the same thing. OH right, I think it was this kid..Well, I’ll tell him my plan of attack for the weekend and see if he wants to meet up. You free? His response: “I can do Sunday no problem, I can also do Saturday neither presents any schduleing problem for me I’m free all weekend expect Friday night”

Oh. My. God. Remember when I said my thesis adviser is a double PhD in Paleontology and English? He’s going to tear this poor kid apart. I am genuinely worried for this kid if this is the kind of emails he sends to the professor.

So…Moral of the story. ALWAYS be professional when you are sending an email to someone you don’t know, or just met. Actually, no. Just be professional the whole time. Spell check does everything for you already. Don’t be lazy. I didn’t realize you could make SUCH an impression with an email.

Here’s how my impression went: I started to wonder if he actually read my poster. Did he just look at the pictures or did he read about them? Did he only find it to get my email?  Will he remember what we talked about? Is he going to be able to handle a project I give him? How much trust can I put in this kid for my project? Will I even be able to use his findings?

I’ll be having a chat with this kid when he meets up with me. I’m not really sure how to talk to him about without sounding like an uppety bitch, but I’ll be doing him a favor either way.

Help.

Cheers

I hate well-rounded education.

Did I ever tell you how much I hate “well-rounded education”? Whoever decided I should be forced to learn about things I don’t care about was probably kidnapped by the Illuminati, tied to a chair and had their eyes taped open and forced to watch things that had no relevancy to their lives at all and then LIKED IT. I use this analogy because that’s how I feel when I attend a gen-ed class. Every general ed class, even upper division, is just bullshitting your way through it.  Granted it’s only been a week in my Anthropology of Religion and my Changing Family (sociology) classes. But I can tell you it’s exactly how I imaged it would go. (I was wrong about my Soc professor though. She’s way cooler than she let on the first day of class. )

For my 300 level Anthro of Religions class, it’s exactly  the same as my 100 level religions class I took in Community College, only now I get to use bigger words and bash Christianity in a community-like forum. I have a plan already just based on what questions she’s asked us to respond to. One of them was “Discuss the relationship between religion and culture among the Hopi and contrast this with your own cultural experience.” I’ll let you on a little secret – I love American Indian culture. I love their religion and specifically the Hopi. I so wish I had grown up in an environment (as far as beliefs and how hard working they are) that was even remotely similar to theirs. Other than an interest, I have zero relations with their culture or religion. But I can’t actually say that, because that’s not what the professor is looking for. I get “points” for making up some bullshit story about how I TOTALLY relate to these people in some round-about way. If I were Hopi I would probably be  offended at what some of the people have said so far. We were told to watch one video and you can tell nobody watched more ( based their answers ) than the first 10 minutes. OH yeah..back to the plan. So here’s how I’m going to do it. I’m  gong to keep bullshitting my way through the class (like I always have in classes like these) and by the time finals roll around I’m going to talk about how my view has completely changed and how I was honestly thinking how much I was going to dislike learning about this subject or was thinking about dropping the class because it was just “too much”(I’ll think of something better than that) but I stuck it through and I’m really glad I did because now I can go out into the world with a much more open mind! And it’s going to be the same story in my Sociology Class.

The only things I’ve never bullshitted my way through are the science classes. That’s why I like them. I can’t bullshit math. I can’t bullshit chemistry.  You can KINDA bullshit geology, but you better have good evidence or your theory. They force you to think and exercise your brain,  and not your bullshit. Thank you for that, science!

So what the fuck am I supposed to take out from these other classes? I have not become any more or less culturally sensitive, I don’t remember fuckshit from any of these classes EVER, and don’t tell me it’s so I can be exposed to something I may not have ever taken. Because that’s why I’m upset in the first place. I don’t WANT to take these classes. The fact that I HAVE TO makes me hate them more. What I am learning in 5 months I could have googled and thought  about while I was showering and come back with the same level of interest/education/change of opinion. What I did take away, though? A couple thousand dollars more in debt, and then lost a few years of working and being a contributing person to society.

 

Okay, I have procrastinated enough. I’m going to go read about Chem for FUN and read ahead for my Calc II class because I suck at math, but at least I have to pay attention or take it three more times. Ugh..

 

Cheers

The Geology Trap

Anybody who’s anybody has read the Uncyclopedia about Geologists. It’s hilarious, it’s relentlessly quoted among my peers, and above all – it’s got some unreal truth to it. For me, it’s this particular quote from Odd Geological Formations: Recruiting a Geologist or the Geology Trap

“It starts with an introduction to rocks by some other lost soul.”

Inspired by stumbling upon the SPECTACULAR photos by Sarah and her trip to Lassen Part III, and III, I started to reminisce about my first ever overnight field geology trip. I started to think about how important it was, and how it could possibly be the make-or-break point for any aspiring geologist. Though somehow I think if one were interested in being a geologist in the first place, the field trip wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Though I knew I wanted to be a geologist long before I graduated high school, that first trip was the most important. It was my Geology Trap.

It wasn’t my first geology class, and of course I had been introduced to rocks before, but this was my first geology class with a real, field-loving geologist. He loved field trips. He loved teaching. He would do anything it took to get us out in the field. I learned how dedicated he was from taking at least 4 different classes with this guy. I was hooked after my first two-night weekend away at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

It’s been approximately 7 years since I took this class (Yeah…been going to school for at least 8 now and I haven’t even gotten my Bachelors…I like learning, okay?!) so most of what’s left from that weekend are more feelings and snapshots rather than running memory.

The number one thing I took is that geologists aren’t afraid to break the rules. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that in we are so not conventional. I think it was the first time I had been treated like an actual adult. It was okay to do my own thing and investigate nearby areas that I found more interesting than what he was specifically lecturing about. In fact, he encouraged us to look around and think about what we saw. He would get so excited when someone noticed something interesting. Looking back, I’m pretty sure his favorite thing in the world was someone handing him a rock and asking about it. Which brings me to the geologist pose.

Have you seen the geologist pose? I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement. Or habit. Or instinct. Yeah! We’ll go with instinct.

How to do the geology pose:

Required Material

  • A rock
  • A handlens

OR

  • a pencil
  • a field notebook

Hold a rock or pencil with one hand, squint through a handlens or hold the notebook with your other hand. Put all your weight on one of your feet and casually bend and relax your knee and the other foot. Like so:

geopose2

You will see this all the time. Actually, I’m pretty sure this is your run-of-the-mill stance for any human being, the difference being what you’re holding. I digress.

The number one thing that had me 100% sure I wanted to be a geologist – we went to check out the Subway Caves in near-by Hat Creek. We were camped at the campground right next to it. We went at night, and took our headlamps (This is also where I learned the importance of lumins in a headlamp, because mine sucked). I really wish I had pictures from that night, but I wasn’t so much into the memory keeping as I am now.

We left the campsite in a group. I was a little nervous because I had a tiny bit of claustrophobia, but overall I was okay. I’d been in the caves before, just never at night. It’s really quick, not that far, and not really that creepy. There is a longer part to the cave, but they had it blocked off due to whatever reason. 6 foot chain-link fence complete with Keep Out Under the Penalty of the Law sign. So I wasn’t worried about going in there.

Well….Guess what we did? Yep. We threw our backpacks over the fence, hopped over, and went on our merry little illegally spelunking way. I was freaking out on the inside, but I was not about to ruin it for everyone else.

It. Was. Awesome.

I still have pieces of tiny stalactites that I popped off the top of the cave, which happened to be next to my face because it got a little narrow at the end. I was so exhausted by the end of the next night when he went again that I could not possibly stay up long enough to go. I’ve since learned that you always go on the excursions with the professors because you will seriously miss out. And from the sounds of it, I did miss out on that second cave trip. They didn’t get back until 2 in the morning.

All in all, I took a lot away from that trip. Things I didn’t even realize I took away until writing this blog. There were so many things I could have expected from that one little trip – the places I would get to see, the things I would get to do, the people I would get to meet, the confidence I would get to build, and the geology I would get to learn.

I am so grateful for that first real field trip. If not for that kind of  experience, I might have just changed my career path.

 

Thank goodness I fell into the geology trap.

 

Cheers