These past two months were a whirl wind like any other month at college.. but from Thanksgiving break to Winter, there was only a two week gap then finals! Honestly, it feels like November and December were mushed together into one long exhausting sprint. This is the time where everyone is cancelling shifts at work, skipping classes to work on larger projects for other classes, sleeping in the library, and the air in all classes in slightly caffeinated. Students who were on the ball earlier in the semester are stressed 10x more even through there in a greater place than 90% of others haha. Even professors feel the weight of stress and tension from their students that they’ll offer pity extensions. Finals period is always a stressful time, but during senior year, it’s almost like life and death.
With this year being my senior year, thesis work took over even after all my research this summer. Working with the environmental scanning electron microscope to analyze microminerals takes a solid day out of the week–my thesis is dealing with lava comparison and artifact mineral sourcing for an ancient tribe of the Aleutian volcanic arc. My research advisor is a saint, she’s been helpful in getting me connected with her colleagues and takes the opportunity thats open to me very seriously. She used some of her grant funds to send us both to visit Unalaska, AK to do more in depth research with the Museum of the Aleutians. My thesis is coming along, the first 10 pages are prepared–but what made things tight was data collection and processing. I got some good figures and my introduction, background, and methods in a final draft mode.
But the thesis became my main focus. I had to conquer one of the toughest classes for my geology major: Structural Geology. It’s a ton of rheology and also all geology subjects mashed in. It’s really the epitome of geology, imo. Being stretched in two different, very difficult directions I began to be spread too thin come finals. My GIS course fell into great tandem with my thesis because I was able to create figures and maps of my study areas. I enjoyed the class fully. Labs were very useful and the ability of know a bit about GIS prior to entering the workforce is a crazy big plus. I took it because I want to apply to land departments of organizations that require GIS technicians after graduation.
Finals week I attended the American Geophysical Union centennial in Washington DC to present the bigger research that I was adding on to. It was a great experience. Connections were instant; I was able to connect with other native scientists and learn from them what I couldn’t being the only native american in many cases. I met more alumni that my research professor also mentored and they’re doing great. But I still had work on the backburner that I needed to turn in before finals. My mind was reeling and had been since the end of Thanksgiving break. That is when times get tough.