I just advised my first undergrad geo major who had only recently declared as GEO... he wants to "go into ether petroleum or minerals" and I didn't get the sense his motive was altruistic. The geoblogosphere is abuzz with the high demand for geo grads and it seems even in Dixie there's some people who are noticing the opportunities in earth science right now. I will sheepishly admit it is strange to watch a 22 year-old go out and make more $ than I've ever made in a job, despite my oodles of years of training. I honestly wouldn't trade places, but from my perspective it does seem like a weird phenomenon of the current job market. I still feel like I have so much to learn about the earth, but learning takes time and time is money and apparently there's no time like the present to be a geo major!
When this new geo major went on to say "Oh, petrology... I should take that class if I'm interested in petroleum, right?" I will again sheepishly admit I felt a bit better about my oodles of training. Guess if I don't have the big paycheck I at least have my work (that I like) cut out for me! As the housing market shows again, all booms will bust, but I plan on enjoying this part of the ride for sure!