School started today. This makes year number 20 for me. Sigh, only about four more to go.
Oh, by the way, I ROCKED the Dynamics final..or at least I think I did. I messed up a few things, but I think it's entirely possible to get >90%. I learned that stinky pigs generate baroclinic vorticity. At least my professor has a sense of humor I guess.
Also: My Dad hasn't had electricity since 10pm Monday night. The ice storm knocked out power to a lot of places, but my unfortunate family lives in a town of about 15 people on roads that aren't treated for ice. They may not get power back for up to a week, and there's a snow storm on the way for this weekend. Good news: they have a generator. Bad news: the nearest gas station is 15 miles away, and the generator occasionally stops working. My Dad had to come all the way home from work (he commutes almost an hour each way in good weather) to get it running again yesterday. I don't know if he went back, but that still royally sucks. I hope they get power back soon.
My mom mailed both my sister and I jars of homemade pickles and relish. If you don't think that's weird, I should remind you that my sister is currently in JAPAN. Mom seriously just paid $50 to mail pickles to Japan.
Go to Career Matchmaker
1. Model Maker
2. Air Traffic Controller
3. GIS Specialist
7. Survey Tech
9. Computer Support Person
10. Technical Writer
11. Industrial Machinery Mechanic
13. Industrial Designer
14. Interior Designer
16. Office Machine Repairer
17. ESL Teacher
19. Website Designer
20. Film Processor
Notice that meteorologist/hydrologist/etc. is NOT on that list. That is because in my time as a student I have become very sick of deriving equations and thinking with the physics side of my brain. I have never had a natural talent for either, and while I performed decently in classes I struggled with working through the mathy side of meteorology. I can explain processes in words easily, but that doesn't get you credit on exams. So...when the questions came up about working with physics and using mathematics to solve problems, I rated them relatively low because I don't think they would be aspects of my perfect career. Why force yourself to be in a career that doesn't highlight your strengths? Thus I come to the point where I have to think about my future as a meteorologist.
I still love working with maps and computers, so I'm not surprised at all that "GIS Specialist" was ranked high. In fact, I feel like that is the direction my career is headed. I had a short discussion with my co-advisor about what I should do after my masters. To put it bluntly, I do not need a PhD in meteorology, nor do I want one. My interests have been interdisciplinary for some time now, and having three degrees in one field will not benefit me at all.
There is an idea floating around the School of Meteorology to create a PhD in interdisciplinary studies here at OU. I need to look into my options more, but I think either that or possibly even Geography would be good PhD fits for me if I want to focus more on GIS applications. I would MUCH rather take advanced courses in GIS and computer science than the Meteorology courses left over that I haven't taken already (crap like Boundary Layer Met., Turbulence, and Computational Fluid Dynamics...yuck). The Interdisciplinary thing would be especially cool because I could branch out even more and take courses in things like statistics, environmental science, and maybe graphic design or something.
Here's the deal: I could totally see myself as a professor or researcher if I love the subject enough. I enjoy teaching at the college level, and I've been told several times that I have a definite talent for explaining new concepts in a way that is easy to understand. I'm a communicator, not a physicist. Plus, GIS applies to EVERY field, likely in many ways that haven't even been considered yet. Imagine the career opportunities.
You're the Massachusetts Institute of Technology!
People have often said about you that the odds are good, but
the goods are odd. You're definitely good at knowing what the odds are in
any situation, even if you might have trouble expressing what they are to
a crowd of people. You see the whole world in numbers and have even argued
that it might be beneficial to replace peoples' names with numbers in all
situations. It would seem that you are odd after all. But brilliant. You
make a serious effort to never go outside.
Take the University Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I only get a week off before I start the 3-credit GIS course that I'm taking over the May intersession. I guess now that I'm out of undergrad I don't get summer vacations anymore. But hey, I'll enjoy what I'm doing in the meantime.
Anyway, Elise and company got here pretty late, so we didn't talk much until Saturday morning. After looking at the severe weather setup, they decided to come back to my house that evening to stay another night, so I sort of invited myself along on their storm chase. Unfortunately for us Saturday was an awful day to go chasing despite how many tornadoes actually occurred.
( We had three main problems that day: )
So we went home without seeing any tornadoes, but I wouldn't call the day a total waste. I got to see my Dad and hug him and talk to him about what was going on in Greensburg, and seeing the rural tornado damage was a surreal experience. It was also surreal driving around so close to Greensburg. Helicopters were flying all over the place even while there were storms going on, and just knowing that the devastated town was just a few miles away was sobering. Less than 24 hours earlier a beast rolled through that area and left its mark all over the landscape. I wish I had taken more pictures, but it seemed that we were always in a hurry to catch up to storms. I tried to take some pictures from the car, but they're blurry as hell.
Moving on to Sunday, I spent the majority of the day studying for my Radiation final. Elise and company went chasing out in western Oklahoma and Jeremy was working midnight shifts, so I had a fair amount of time to myself during the day to study. The final was at 8am the next morning, and I felt as if I did rather well considering how distracted I was by everything.
And now, I have a reason to be elated. I got the final grades back from Radiation, and I got an A!!! I needed that on so many levels. Today I finished my IT Skills semester project, so I only have one more project to complete to bring an end to my first year as a graduate student! I'm so ready for a break, even if it's going to be a short one.
It boggles my mind that there are only three weeks left of this semester. At the same time, though, I am extremely ready for it to be over because of my Radiation class. Two homework assignments a week really blows, and that's even a reduction in the work load! Back at the start of this semester we had three a week.
The Radiation midterm was alright I guess. I only did one small thing blatantly wrong that I'm sure of, and the rest of the points I'll miss will be because I had to rush through the exam. Dr. Fiedler writes tests that are much more involved than the 50 minute class period has time for, so I was in such a hurry to finish that I didn't notice that a few of the questions were asking for additional things, like "Explain how this relates to Figure 3" and "Define all the symbols used." Blech, I'm expecting (read: hoping for) a score in the mid 70s, but since the rest of the class was still working when the 50 minutes were up I have to hope that others did the same things I did. College grades are all about how you do relative to everyone else, regardless of how little you actually get right, and being around the average in grad school is fine with me. I have smart classmates, so I'd be in good company.
Tomorrow I'm making the 9+ hour drive to Ames. Thankfully I finally have a car with working cruise control. It's never good when your gas pedal leg starts randomly cramping up while you're driving down the road, believe me. I have a lot planned for next week between hanging with Mom (she's taking time off to spend time with me), hanging with the ISU meteorology contingent, celebrating my birthday on Wednesday (Hickory Park!!!), and then attending the Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference in Des Moines later in the week. It's sounding like I won't get to relax quite as much as I'd like to, but at least whatever I do will be a hell of a lot more fun than studying for midterms!
Oh, and it seems that there might be severe weather in Oklahoma while I'm gone. That figures.
1. You can't cheat in her class because no one knows the answers.
2. His class was like milk, it was good for 2 weeks.
3. Houston, we have a problem. Space cadet of a teacher, isn't quite attached to earth.
4. I would have been better off using the tuition money to heat my apartment last winter.
5. Three of my friends got A's in his class and my friends are dumb.
6. Emotional scarring may fade away, but that big fat F on your transcript won't.
7. Evil computer science teaching robot who crushes humans for pleasure.
8. Miserable professor - I wish I could sum him up without foul language.
9. Instant amnesia walking into this class. I swear he breathes sleeping gas.
10. BORING! But I learned there are 137 tiles on the ceiling.
11. Not only is the book a better teacher, it also has a better personality.
12. Teaches well, invites questions and then insults you for 20 minutes.
13. This teacher was a firecracker in a pond of slithery tadpoles.
14. I learned how to hate a language I already know.
15. Very good course, because I only went to one class.
16. He will destroy you like an academic ninja.
17. Bring a pillow.
18. Your pillow will need a pillow.
19. If I was tested on her family, I would have gotten an A.
20. She hates you already.
I've experienced most of these, but especially 7, 10, 12, and 20. Too funny.
I already have one of the textbooks from my undergraduate classes which I didn't even pay for because it belongs to Jeremy, so my textbook expenses for this upcoming semester will amount to ONE paperback book for $22 (including tax). How the hell did I do that?
I should make more entries public. I don't know what I'm trying to hide anymore.
PS...They don't use Holton's book for Dynamics here. I'm not sure whether to grumble at buying more books or cheer at never having to use it again.
I'm working on this homework set from hell for 518X, and it asks me to calculate the cross product of two three-dimensional vectors. That is just one of those things from Calculus that I voluntarily forgot upon finishing the course, so I had to go back to my Calc textbook to remember how to do it.
I look it up under the table of contents to find:
"The Cross Product.......pg. 666"
Suddenly it all makes sense. If there's a hell, vector calculus was spawned from it.
|This Is My Life, Rated|
|Take the Rate My Life Quiz|
Hmm...I didn't expect it to be that high. They apparently don't figure stress into it enough, because I can guarantee that my life does not feel that rosey at the moment. That midterm drained the life out of me today. Three-hour exams SUCK. Even the final exams are shorter than that! Who in their right mind can coherently think physics for that long?
PS: Am I a nerd if I see that meme and think of it as the Sims meter of my own life? You have to admit that it's similar.
It is a 20-minute walk from my new apartment to Agronomy Hall (where I spend most of my time between meteorology classes and work). My old place was 15 minutes away, and it was a 4-minute walk from my dorm room. I must have some kind of extraordinary wisdom to be consistently choosing places to live that are farther and farther away from where I need to be. You can bet I'll be the lazy ass taking the bus to class when it's -10 degrees outside come January. Actually, I'm somewhat of a cold weather person, so I'd probably prefer to walk in that than in the miserable heat and sweaty humidity that's out there now.
"Grades. Most students admitted into our graduate program have GPA's of 3.5 or higher. Particularly good grades in the sciences are desirable."
Let's examine my own situation for a moment. I'm currently entering my last year of undergraduate study with a cumulative GPA of 3.24. The main reason it is so low is because I got Cs in both of my Physics courses and General Chemistry II...and hello, those are the sciences that they desire high grades in. I do believe that all my meteorology courses count as science courses, though, and I've received fairly high grades in them. I should also mention that I've done the math on my GPA, and even if I get an A in EVERY SINGLE CLASS for the next two semesters, I will still only end up with a 3.46. SO FUCKING CLOSE. The website also states this, though:
"For admission to graduate study in meteorology, the departmental admission committee considers courses taken, grade point average, supporting letters, Graduate Record Exam (GRE), professional experience, and English proficiency. Rather than setting rigid standards in each category, the committee examines the overall record as a whole."
So I'm not totally screwed. I think my record will be very strong in those other areas (even though I haven't even taken the GRE yet, the practice tests and whatnot look even easier than the ACT).
Here's my issue with the University of Maryland's meteorology program:
"The minimum undergraduate background includes 3 semesters of calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, 3 semesters of calculus-based physics, 2 semesters of chemistry, one semester of a scientific computer language (e.g., Fortran, C, Pascal or Basic 1 semester of static is recommended)."
-3 semesters of calculus: I did that.
-Differential Equations: I did ordinary diff eq, but they told me during my visit that they'd like to see credit in partial differential equations, too. That would require me to take another 4-credit course, which is impossible at this point.
-Linear Algebra: It wasn't required for my degree program, so I didn't take it. No one ever told me that it would even be helpful, and I was not about to tack on a math minor on top of my geology minor and still get done in four years. No fucking way.
-3 semesters of calc-based physics: Um, I had two, but I'm really assuming that my meteorology courses will more than make up for the third semester.
-2 semesters of chemistry: Yup, done.
-1 semester of programming: Yup, did that too, and I also learned a little Fortran on the side. I have no idea what "static" is.
So...they strongly encouraged me to take two more math courses before graduating, but that's impossible for me if I want to graduate in Spring 2006. Looking back, I suppose I could have fit them in at some point if I were fucking psychic and knew exactly where I was going for graduate school by my sophomore year. But no, things don't work out that way. I opted to minor in something that was INTERESTING TO ME instead of something that would make me look good on paper, and my choices have already opened a lot of doors for me.
Iowa State admission should be a slam dunk, and the other ones that I looked at seemed to be pretty lax barring the possibility that all the top notch students of the country want to go where I go.
a) Does it have a meteorology/atmospheric sciences program that lists hydrology or hydrometeorology as one of its research interests?
b) Is it a school I've heard of within the realm of meteorology and/or the research community?
c) Is it close to a National Weather Service field office? (this has rammifications as far as whether Jeremy and I will have a chance in hell at living together in the next three years...not to mention the remote possibility that I could work there while going to school)
d) Is it somewhere that I would consider a nice region to live in, and would the cost of living be affordable? (the central part of the country is obviously the best choice since all of our family is here and it's relatively cheap living. I suppose second choice would be somewhere in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic region.)
So I went to gradschools.com and perused its list to see which ones I found to be most attractive, and then I did a google map distance between the schools and their respective NWS offices. Here's what I have so far (in no particular order):
( School information )
Now that I've narrowed it down to good schools that I would be comfortable attending, a lot is now riding on where Jeremy's career takes him. If he wants us to live together soon, he'll have to consider this stuff when applying for jobs, and I think that it is something that he definitely is considering. We've talked about it often.
I know this was extensively lengthy, but I was wondering if any of you had any insight that would be helpful. Your opinions mean a lot to me.