Thursday, November 8, 2007

What just happened?

Wow. wow. wow. I look at the calendar and all I can think is "What just happened?" It seems like it wasn't so long ago that we were hunkered down seeking shelter from the sweltering dog daze of summer. Tonight we get frost. Obviously a lot of time had passed since I last blogged - I mean there does seem to be something to be said for more variability in climate as we go full throttle into an anthropogenically enhanced interglacial period so weather alone could be misleading, but I know a lot of time has passed because our football schedule is almost over. And I have only one more exam to give to my intro class before the final (hallelujah!). And my 1 year anniversary of post-PhD-dom is almost here- yikes!

One of the stranger things I've gotten to experience lately is "courting" potential graduate students. I hope to get some good students to apply to the program and with any luck they will actually come to my department and work with me. But the whole process is a sort of sordid version of junior high school role reversals- you know, trying to seem as cool as you possibly can and even flaunting all the geeky lab-bling at your disposal. At least I haven't had to slow dance to INXS "Never Tear Us Apart"- yet - but prospects are good to have some good people working on projects with me- eager, excited, and full of geo-love.

I have to say that talking with these young'uns is hilarious- its like looking in a time-warped mirror of what I was back in my geology puppy-love days. I literally had more than one student say to me "I'm not exactly sure what I want to focus on- I just like it all so much!" Soooo cute! And I admit, put an outcrop in front of me and I pretty much start slobbering like a Labrador, and I even get the Pavlovian response to plotting new data or tweeking a figure to perfection, but all that does get a bit clouded by the publish-or-perish (or fund-thy-research-or-perish as may be more of the case) rat race that is academia. Of course, when it comes down to it, that excitement about rocks is always there, waiting underneath the to-do list of tedium necessary to keep institutions of higher learning operating. And in the end it makes this a pretty cool way to make a living!

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