Graduate school

Saturday, 2005-11-19; 01:58:00

Ahhh, graduate school. I've been a graduate student for about two months up to this point. How do I like it?

It's different than being an undergraduate student, but not too different. For one thing, I'm only taking two classes instead of five or six that I took when I was an undergrad. I also have two classes that are "seminars", classes for only one unit. However, at the same time, I'm a T.A. for GES 1, the introductory class for geology. I have to teach a bit -- I have my own "section" with five or six students, and I help them when they have questions about the material or about the class in general. It's funny to be on the other side, seeing as I had (and I have) T.A.s for other classes, and now I'm a T.A. However, I really like teaching. Teaching science to other students is very satisfying. The other thing that I do, apart from classes and the T.A. work, is research. I'm still doing a few things at Mono Lake -- in fact, I was at Mono Lake this past weekend, and I'm going near Mono Lake (Owens Valley) starting tomorrow until Wednesday.

The other thing that's different is that I don't have to pay to go to Stanford -- instead, the university pays me. :) It's not exactly like this, because it's better to find grants that will pay for my education, and then the geology department will have more money to do other things. I don't make much from the university, but it's enough to live, especially here at home in Mountain View.

Finally, I have an office (a cubicle), on the third floor of building 320, which I share with another volcanology student. I have my old iMac in my office, and I also leave my geology books, class notes, and other stuff there that I don't want to take home. (I try to keep my life at home and my life at the office separate, but I'm not succeeding, unfortunately.)

I did realize, though, that there are too many political things in the department, and in the academic atmosphere in general. For example, when you talk with another university about your research, you always have to make sure that the professors with whom you're talking and working have a good relationship with the professors at the other university. Sometimes the relationship isn't that friendly, and just a name can make the difference in your relationship with that other university. There's also things inside the department here at Stanford, and you always have to think before you speak.

This notwithstanding, I really like being in graduate school, to have the time to learn more about geology and volcanology. I'll be a student for, at least, another four or five years. :)

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