I need to dispel a notion that I am desperate…
Occasionally I get asked by well meaning people what I want to do and it is a difficult question to answer. I want to be a shameless opportunist. I want to put out fires. I want prepare for success but plan for failure. When someone finds themselves inthis situation, I want to be this guy. This is never the answer the person asking me is looking for so let me elaborate.
This week is devoted to preparation for the expo. Booked passage and lodging on Monday, borrowed a carry-on from a friend, got another friend to design a logo for a business card. I told him I wanted a snow leopard in a fedora, and he preformed admirably. In compensation he requested two video game boss kills, which was a most equitable trade. I think I am going to provide a recap of the trip here on the forum. Judging from the responses I got from my first post, it appears that some of you would find it amusing.
Modelling aquifers in Kansas or California is the same to me as looking at remediation in the Pacific Northwest is similar to teaching English in Japan is not too different from working on Geothermal projects in who knows where. I am a liberal artist and an explorer and I don’t need a goddamn piece of paper from a college to tell me that, but I have spent the past year shrewdly attending an institution to acquire a skill that I can ply in the marketplace, and that is learning how water flows. I’ve modeled monsoons, I’ve looked at how water makes stream channels, and I’ve learned some basics about groundwater flows, all while getting an underlying mathematical basis for it all. My degree is going to read BS, not BA. I have done well at the stage of life I am at, and that is because I have set myself up for success at planned for failure. I’ve done it with, and because of, preparation and integrity, and I have done my damnedest to make use of the plethora of University resources students have at their disposal.
As far as it goes, college has been really nice. There is state of the art equipment to use. You want to know about something? There is probably someone nearby who is incredibly knowledgeable about the subject. When I went back to college, the first thing I did was go to the doctor; I was used to poor person health insurance where health care was a fifth or two of whiskey and a second hand bottle of Vicodin. At college, the women are often attractive and occasionally flirty and booze flows like water at the local pub. But its time to graduate, that part of my life is coming to a close, and apparently, unlike a couple of months ago, I now have skills that are marketable to potential employers.
I want to go to grad school. I want to go to grad school and be Teachers Assistant, but I don’t want to go to grad school as a Teachers Assistant, but rather as a Research Assistant and angle myself into a TA gig. I want to be a TA because I like the sound of my own voice and I will be happy leading a discussion section. I also want to be a TA because I value brevity and clarity in writing, and I don’t see that being valued my instructors and instilled in my colleagues. That is the state of education at big public U as big public U is losing more and more funding from a state in a huge budget deficit. However I want to go in as an Research Assistant because giving that much heart as a TA to grading student’s work is not something I see myself being able to do for more than a semester or two at a time. I think I would burn out, and the pay is not good enough. Research is a more peaceful and I can put my head down and do quality work, which is also very rewarding, just in a different capacity. All in all, with respect to Graduate School, I want to do well at the stage of life I am at, I want to set myself up for success, and plan for failure.
What do I want to do? I want to keep doing what I am doing. That has nothing to do with being at college or having a specific job title and everything to do with making shrewd decisions with preparation and forethought. That has everything to do with seeking council from my elders and those with experiences I don’t have. That has everything to do with staying curious; the New York Times and a local paper will still find their way into my home no matter where I am. That has everything to do with setting up contingency plans and blast doors so that when the excrement hits the fan, I’m still here and I’m still standing.
I want to thank everyone for their advice and support. I’ll be attending the NGWA expo this year, and I am excited.
And I say I value brevity… Pah!