So July’s Accretionary Wedge is about how you came to be a geologist…
It’s funny, I took earth science in 8th grade and it didn’t exactly light a spark. I remember saying, “well, that was interesting, but it’s certainly nothing that I’d want to do for a career.”
In high school, I decided that what I really wanted to do was to be an archaeologist. I didn’t care about finding super-cool artifacts, but I wanted to be the person down in the trenches, peeling away layers, excavating shards of whatever and putting things back together.
I was always involved in some fundraiser or another, so my parents ended up getting a lot of magazine subscriptions. One of those was to Archaeology, but oddly enough, I usually didn’t read much of each issue, even though I was generally a voracious reader.
So, archaeology it was. When applying to college, I used “must have an archaeology department” and “small liberal arts school” as my two main criteria. That cut the number of potential schools way down.
By the time I actually entered college, I’d realized that archaeology isn’t exactly awash with jobs and I didn’t think I was good enough to compete in a tough job market. So I turned my attention to geology. I took a terrific intro to geology course that was designed essentially to suck in people who hadn’t considered geology as a major. And I was hooked.
I never did take a pure archaeology course…but I never would have guessed in high school that much of my work would be so similar to traditional archaeology.