What I have been doing in College

Mostly, I’m doing schoolwork and some research work. I went back to school starting in January of this year, so I got started mid-term.

Spring Semester 2012
I want to ‘get involved’ in student groups so I signed up for GIS club. I attend some sessions; things are disorganized and do not progress very quickly. Nothing much comes of this endeavor. Get involved? Failure.

The memorable class of the semester was an upper level seminar class that involved writing a schooly blog. I found my writer’s voice in this class. The blog not polished. I also had an amusing Biogeography class where we read and did reports on various scientific journal articles in the field. I hope to be able to do something similar to an NGWA article at some point in time, just because the forum is a pretty sleepy place, but that is a pretty tertiary goal.

I bug my advisor for research opportunity. Nothing comes up.

After a successful 2 year living arrangement with a friend, his girlfriend moves in. They have been dating for over a year and he loves her. This does terrible things to the living arrangement and our friendship. I will accept a decent part of the responsibility, but not all of it.

I sign up to mentor an exchange student. Qi is a Chinese business masters student. She accuses me of being an artist. It is a mutually beneficial relationship.

I take advantage of the fitness resources the university has. I finish the semester in the best shape of my life.

Grandmother (flashback)
My grandmother, the family matriarch, is a helluva woman. In 2011 she turned 90 and we had a big family reunion. A few days before Thanksgiving that year, she is in a horrible car accident. She is in the passenger seat and the driver falls asleep at the wheel. The car drifts over into the left lane, into the ditch, hits the embankment, and flips a bunch of times. Its the pushing-up-daisies variety of car accident; I’ve been to that funeral. But not my grandmother’s. She spends the next month in a hospital. She gets out a couple days before Christmas. When I go home for the holidays she is practicing turning over playing cards so she can go the bridge club, if not next week, the week after.

Summer Semester 2012
I return from my cousin’s graduation party to find my landlord of seven years crying on my couch with all my roommates gathered around. I lived with her and her husband for four years. I’ve watched her son be born and grow. There is a pall over the room. She intends to move. Immediately. She asks us to find emergency summer housing asap so she can move in. I find a place with a friend above a bar downtown.

I get depressed for a period of time. I didn’t deserve to get thrown out of my house. But hell, I don’t have a young child and a marriage that is falling apart, so I can’t complain too much. Now, living downtown above a bar while being depressed is not a good recipe for keeping money in my bank account. I look up the bridge club here in town, and learn to play bridge. It is fun, I’m fairly competent, and I get to watch old people bicker. It’s four dollars for three and a half hours of keeping myself out of trouble, so it is a good investment.

The notable class I take during the summer semester is Intro to GIS. If I hadn’t figured it out from GIS club, the class cements in my mind that, while I am somewhat proficient at using GIS software, I really don’t enjoy it. If I am lucky, if I find myself needing to do such a task, I’ll also be in a position to snooker someone else into doing it for me.

I have lunch with my advisor before the semester starts, just to be nosy about what is going on in the department, and to see if there are any research opportunities. When I show up, she introduces me to her husband and tells me ‘this is an interview.’ Adrenaline floods my system. I don’t stop talking for the next 40 minutes. I have no idea what I said. I get the job, modelling monsoons. He had been to India taking data recently, and he needed to process some of the data. It’s a paying gig, and after being depressed and unemployed most of the summer, it is a godsend. I don’t know if I’ll be able to graduate with distinction, but this is a step in that direction.

I find fall housing. It is a place that has its problems, mostly alcohol and neglect related, but nothing I can’t handle. I can let my cats out, and compared to what I had to deal with crazy girlfriend, is remarkably peaceful. The day I settle on a place to stay, many of the stresses caused by being thrown out of my house for no fault of my own are put behind me.

I go to the pool a couple of times, but I do not display the gung-ho moxie that I did spring semester with regards to fitness.

Fall Semester 2012
Fall semester has been peaceful. My earliest class is at the crack of noon twice a week. It took a moment to adjust to working in an office. Then I realized I had an office on campus where I get to make my own hours, and that is great.

I sign up for some field trips to get out of town and, well, to take advantage of the fun things that the university offers.

The notable class has been Hydrogeology, where I got hooked up with an NGWA membership. Largely, my time has been devoted to research and schoolwork.

When I sign up for classes for Spring, I realize that I can graduate a semester earlier than anticipated, this upcoming spring. I start preparing for Summer 2013. I consider, among other things, delaying graduation till fall, signing up for a study abroad program and scholarships, acquiring children’s English materials, and buying a one way ticket to study abroad and see if I can’t break even teaching English overseas until grad school comes my way. Those kinds of deadlines are all around ~January 15th.

When I go back to the farm for Thanksgiving I take my Grandmother to her bridge club and play. We had a good time.

I roll around the idea for starting a new blog. I think keeping it somewhat fresh will be a fun project for next semester. I really do enjoy writing.

I have not worked out the entire semester of an incredibly taxing have-to-be-somewhere-by-noon schedule. I am ashamed.

p.s. I really need to stop telling people I value brevity…

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