I have a ridiculous amount of work, but instead I am watching Warehouse 13 and writing here. :P Mostly, I am attempting to procrastinate; but since I discovered the Chrome extension that lets me block websites, Dominion is currently off-limits until 9pm tonight ... sadly, I haven't yet figured out how to make it block Netflix, which is why I am still watching Warehouse 13. Nonetheless, I have been getting some done.

I have a take-home midterm due tomorrow at midnight, which is great because I have an essay due tomorrow that I haven't started. Yeah ... I was totally supposed to read this book for my anthro class, but I haven't, which is pretty much the definition of being behind. I haven't exactly done any of the reading for this class, so it's pretty amazing that I am passing it—but alas. I should really go work on that instead of watching Warehouse 13 ...
It is practically a miracle. I had to finish my paper on the Santalales for my plant evolution class, and just barely got it done. The actual paper is definitely not my best; I should have done more background research on other groups, rather than limiting it to the Santalales. Hopefully it is coherent, though. At the very least, I got to learn how to use LaTeX, which I have been wanting to do for a while! It is really easy, actually, once you get the hang of it. And it's a lot easier to not get bugs, so that's good.

Otherwise ... I am so far behind on NaNo, but I am close enough that I can practically taste victory!!! I got my NaNo poster today, and am now vaguely inspired to go off and write my remaining 9,000 words.

I really should clean up my room, though. It looks like a hurricane swept through it, and I don't really have anywhere to walk.
For my evolutionary bio sections, I've been a little disappointed at how little people talk—I try to ask what I think is an interesting question, but then no one responds; or if they do, they think there is a right answer and that they'll get the question "wrong". Most of the time, I just want them to think through the question with evolutionary logic.

So today, I decided that it was stupid to ask questions that everyone was too intimidated to answer, so we broke up in to groups and had people talk individually. It wasn't exactly brilliant, in the sense that if I'd been a little more on top of things I would have tried this earlier; but, it worked so much better. The same people talked who always talked, but there were a couple of people new people, too. We didn't exactly stay on target the whole time, but that's okay—and everyone was actually talking and thinking about evolution. So yay!!!! We're definitely going to this next week, too.

In other news, I am proceeding along with my pollen. Given how often we get set back, I think I might not actually finish before Thanksgiving is over; but I'm still going to try. This weekend is going to be hellish because I want to finish making my character matrix for my plants project on the Santalales, I need to study for my plants midterm coming up next Tuesday, I need to catch up on my NaNo (25,000 by the end of the weekend, I think ...), I need to plan my class with the Roommate for Splash next weekend, I need to read an entire book for anthro because I have a paper to write for it that's due shortly after Splash ... is that it? It's also our model UN conference this weekend, which means that a whole bunch of New Hampshirites that I know will be coming in to town, and on top of having games night with the gang tomorrow and movie night on Saturday, I am going to try to get lunch or dinner with my old social studies teacher.

Goodness. I'm getting tired just thinking about it. I need to stop playing Dominion and read about Santalales.
This week was absurdly long. I spent a lot of time in the lab learning more pollen processing, and got to look at sediment cores (!) on Wednesday. Wednesday night was the second Evolutionary Bio exam, so I spent a lot of time on Tuesday and Wednesday tutoring/TAing (or whatever it should be called). I spent at least three hours on Thursday evening working with one student who completely bombed the first exam, so hopefully she did better on the second one. She got to take it late because, on top of doing horribly the first time, she also had pneumonia for the past two weeks. Talk about a tough time!

On Thursday during Human Evolution section, we got to look at bones. BONES!!!!!!!! Okay, bones are really really cool. It's amazing how it's possible to look at a bone and figure things out about its history—not just in the evolutionary sense (is it a tetrapod? a synapsid?), but also in the forensic anthropology and taphonomic sense. I LOVE BONES. I tried to go to my professor's office hours on Thursday to ask about bones we didn't talk about in class, but he wasn't there; so, I'm going to go back on Monday.

I confess that my enthusiasm for bones makes me think that vertebrate paleontology might actually be something I'd want to study—after all, you pretty much get to spend a lot of time looking at bones. Unfortunately, you might have to spend a lot of time dissecting things too, which is not exactly something I want in my future. Alternatively, human evolution would be cool, but I do NOT want to go to grad school in an anthropology department, so I think human evolution is off the table. Finally, forensic anthropology would be SO COOL, but unfortunately I would have to 1) go to grad school in an anthropology department, and 2) probably have to dissect humans, which is even worse than other things.

Yesterday (Friday) I graded exams in the morning, then went for a meeting with Dimetrodon which she couldn't make because she was stuck in traffic, then went back to grade some more exams, then went to a TA meeting for Evolutionary Bio (whose exams I was grading), then went to class where we started to learn officially how to use Praat (which I already know how to use), then went to a meeting with someone who had worked at the Smithsonian as an intern five summers ago, then met with Dimetrodon about my thesis, then lost my keys and went traipsing around campus to find them before realizing I'd just left them in the lab, then saw a hawk outside of House and spent fifteen minutes staring at it, then went to dinner where I consumed copious amounts of ice cream, then went to the Juggler's a capella concert (she joined Disney a capella), then talked to the Tower for a little while about Merlin, then went to the Roommate's a capella concert, then went to bed.

It was a long day, as that extremely long run-on sentence demonstrates.

Anyway ... I finally this morning sent off an email to someone at the Smithsonian, so hopefully he will get back to me and I will have a job for next year! Of course, hopefully he will actually be able to pay me, but. The Roommate is going to talk to someone one Tuesday about what she would do at the Smithsonian. Hopefully everything will work out, and I will actually be able to call her my roommate without sort of kind of maybe lying.

And now, as a reward for finally finishing that email, I am going to work on my NaNo outline. I should do something important, but alas, I am not going to.
Unfortunately, pretty much what I got from talking to Dimetrodon this morning is that 1) a foreign masters wouldn't really help me much beyond getting me research experience (i.e., it would help me get into a PhD program in the US, but wouldn't advance me much in terms of my education), and 2) pretty much the only way to do paleontology is to either start a PhD program, work as a lab tech, or sort of work in a museum.

All of this leads me to conclude: the best path for me is probably not to do a foreign masters. In an ideal world, the best path sounds like:
  1. Volunteer at the Smithsonian, probably in the ETE program, but maybe with someone else doing paleontology.
  2. Work on the side to make enough to survive, possibly with AmeriCorps tutoring in Washington.
  3. Apply for (and get, duh) a Fulbright to go to Australia or New Zealand for the following year.
  4. Start a PhD program.
  5. Live happily ever after.
If only it were that easy. :P

This was possibly the weirdest episode of Doctor Who I've ever seen.  Spoilers, of course. )

I'm glad that we have Doctor Who Sunday this afternoon, so that I can watch it again and hopefully get a better handle on what happened. There was so much switching back and forth in time that it was very confusing.

In other news, last night (yes, SATURDAY NIGHT!) I think I started to partially repair my relationship with one of my geo professors. We had a bit of a difficult time when I was in her class, because I like to ask questions and she thought my questions were stupid; whether they were or not I have no idea. But anyway, she came into the undergrad geo room to get ice cream, and I was there reading for Human Evolution, and we started talking. I explained about how I had started working on my thesis 1.0, and how I'd learned a lot about what kind of lab work I definitely don't want to do, but how I'd also figured out about how much I like doing research. It's all about the most tedious part of the job—if I can handle the most tedious part, it'll be fine. Anyway, it was good to know that not everyone in every department hates me. (Yes, I know, "hate" is a bit of a strong term; more, like they think I'm too much trouble. Which I probably am, but that's okay.)

Well, at least I know of a few professors who like me, and are willing to write me good recommendations. At a certain point, with all the switching around through departments that I've done, that's the most important thing.
I have been wanting to be a TA for several semesters now, and have been a little bummed that I thought I wasn't going to get to before I graduate. And, I confess, I was a little jealous when my brother got to TA a class after his third semester in college, and one of my friends is now TAing her third different class (Intro astronomy, vertebrate embryology, and now genetics). And I haven't gotten to TA anything? :'( But, I told myself, 1) I was asked to TA evolutionary bio last fall but couldn't because I was studying away at SES, and 2) I have switched majors so many times that no one in their right mind would actually want me as a TA, despite the fact that I think I'd make a good TA.

But now I get to TA evolutionary bio! Which is triply good, of course, because I will get a new perspective on evolutionary bio from the regular professor; I will get practice teaching (or at least explaining evolutionary concepts); and it will hopefully help me decide if I actually do want to go to grad school to study evolution and/or the fossil record.

So basically, YAY!!!!!!!
After some back and forth on my classes, I've finally settled down to my thesis, phonetics, plant evolution, and human evolution.  Japanese has, sadly, been left behind.  After not doing any Japanese last weekend, and then panicking because I was supposed to write an essay for Tuesday that I didn't do, and after not turning in the homework on Monday, and after missing class two days in a row to go to the dentist ... it just didn't seem worth it.  If Japanese is going to be that big of a headache all term, it's not worth it.  I don't want to spend that much time learning to write anyway, and it meets every single day.

So basically, sad but pretty much inevitable.

On the other hand, that means that means that I am currently only taking three classes, because my thesis hasn't started yet; and one of those classes is Human Evolution.  The class must be filled with freshmen, because the professor thinks we're all idiots.  I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing; it is definitely too low level for me.  Hopefully it will just be this beginning section, where we cover basic evolution and genetics.

Anyway, this basically means that all my classes so far are easy, and I am actually ahead on the reading.  This is actually encouraging, because it means not only will I (theoretically, anyway) have more time to work on my thesis when my advisor gets back, but I also might not actually be totally crazy when I think that I might want to study evolution in grad school.  It depends a lot on how my thesis goes, and how the Year of Staring at Fossils goes (hopefully it will happen!), but I am encouraged by this admittedly short test period for me, studying evolution.

In actual news, I went to a talk yesterday by the authors of Stealing Rembrandts, and, in typical me fashion, asked a lot of questions, so one of the authors decided to give me a free copy of the book.  Yay!  It'll be like reading about White Collar, just ... real, and probably not so high-tech!


Sep. 9th, 2011 07:42 pm
I basically decided that 1) my favorite science is evolution, 2) I should take classes that are fun, and 3) there are classes on evolution this term.  Hence, I am going to take two classes that are evolutionary in nature—Human Evolution (in anthropology) and Evolution of Plant Diversity (in biology).  Since I am literally the last person on the waitlist for the GIS class, there's basically no way I am going to get in.  I will probably keep shopping it, because it will be more useful in actually getting me a job at some point in my life, but at least the other two look fun.  So that means I am taking my thesis, Human Evolution, Plant Evolution, Japanese, and Sounds of the World's Languages.  Human Evolution might end up being an audit class, but otherwise I'm really excited about all of them.  For once in my life, I have actually picked my classes before the end of shopping period!!!

Unfortunately, that means I can't study underwater archaeology.  Very, very, very sad face.  But the professor achieved a degree of repetitiveness that I have never before experienced in class, so although I would probably learn something, it wouldn't be anywhere close to what I could be learning.  It just doesn't seem worth the time, sadly; it has so much potential that is going unfulfilled!

And I went to Juggling Club this afternoon, which was fun, though I didn't get to stay very long.  I am determined to learn how to juggle before I graduate college!



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