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Author Topic: Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?  (Read 15080 times)

Offline vane505

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I'm going to the university this fall, and I'm having a hard time deciding if Geology is the right path. Right now I'm on the first of five years towards becoming a computer engineer, but I really don't like office-environments and working in front of computer-screens can be quite energy-draining (although I really like to work with computers).

To be honest, I've never had a great interest in rocks (well I find most things related to natural science to be interesting, but for me there are more interesting fields like for example Biology. I also know there is a lot more to Geology). But then, the job-description sounds amazing.

Why I'm considering Geology:
* I love to be outdoors.
* I love problem-solving.
* I've always found subjects touching natural science to be interesting.
* I LOVE To travel.
* I really don't enjoy office-environments.
* Photography is something I really enjoy, and I'm thinking it's possible to combine this hobby with my work when traveling.

I'm thinking about prospecting/mineralogy. As I understand it, you get to travel a lot, work outside in the field, it's somewhat well paid and it offers both problem-solving and great variation.

Does this sound about right? Is this a realistic view of what it's like to work with prospecting? Could this career fit me even if I'm not in love with rocks?

Appreciate help!


 

Offline Bass

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2011 01:37:09 »
vane505- welcome to the forum!

I've always believed you have to love what you do.  If you're not in love with rocks, geologic processes and earth dynamics, I wouldn't waste my time going through a geology degree.  There is quite a bit of hard study and memorization in a geologic course of study.  You especially need to love rocks and minerals if you want to get into the prospecting/mining field.  And you have to love being sent to god-forsaken places (bugs, snakes, heat, cold, no amenities like phones, beds, showers, toilets, etc.)  What do you do in these places- you look at and collect rocks!

If you really love biology, why not pursue that field.  Combine that with your photography and you could probably come up with a spectacular career.

If you really want to find out about geology, sign on as field assistant for an exploration/geophysics company for a summer.  That way you won't waste years if you decide it's not to your liking.  And if you decide to pursue geology after working for a summer, you'll have a leg up on your fellow students.With recent metal and oil prices, these companies are begging for people willing to work in the field.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 01:40:24 by Bass »
 

Offline JimBob

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #2 on: 04/03/2011 01:04:55 »
I agree with Bass. You must love what you do. To me, as a professional geologist, the challenge of solving a puzzle using data gathered in the field as well a remote sensing data, is a challenge. In my opinion, it take an artist to pull all of the data together. As I also have a dual degree in zoology (I never use it) I can say that there is a similar puzzle solving challenge in field biology.

I work in the oil industry and with age have done less and less field work. But there is still a thrill of a challenge when I sit at my desk to work. THAT is the reason to be absolutly certain you love what you do.

If you are serious about geology, there may be opportunities I can suggest for this summer. I will need to check them out first, however.

 

Offline frethack

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #3 on: 05/03/2011 18:13:03 »
There are other sub-disciplines within geology that dont really deal with rocks that much, but you are going to spend at least your first 3yrs getting to know rocks and minerals in microscopic detail.  A love for rocks, field work, and beer REALLY helps.  After you finish your lower division and a few upper division classes, you can branch out into atmospheric sciences, geophysics, paleontology, etc (I guess technically paleontology deals with rocks, but it has a biological component as well).  There is also no other discipline, that I know of, that requires a strong background in chemistry, physics, and biology.

In addition to the field work, there is quite a bit of computer work as well.  When JimBob and Bass were trained as geologists, they did their calculations with rocks and sticks, but knowing a little programming is essential to the discipline now.

I would suggest that you take an intro geology class and see how you like it.  It will give you an overview of what is to come.
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #4 on: 05/03/2011 18:46:10 »

When JimBob and Bass were trained as geologists, they did their calculations with rocks and sticks, but knowing a little programming is essential to the discipline now.


Hang on there - we had slide rules and abacus's's's's

 

Offline Geezer

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #5 on: 05/03/2011 18:54:05 »
You may have to explain to Frethack what a slide rule is.
 

Offline frethack

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #6 on: 05/03/2011 20:02:16 »
You may have to explain to Frethack what a slide rule is.

Nah...Ive seen a slide rule before...the college has a pretty good collection of archaic tools behind a glass case on the 4th floor.  ;D
 

Offline Geezer

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #7 on: 05/03/2011 21:46:15 »
Now look here laddie, I don't think it's appropriate to refer to JimBob as "an archaic tool"!
 

Offline Bass

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #8 on: 06/03/2011 05:30:39 »
Now look here laddie, I don't think it's appropriate to refer to JimBob as "an archaic tool"!

"An Archean tool"?
Well, if the shoe fits.....
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #9 on: 08/03/2011 00:04:54 »
Now look here laddie, I don't think it's appropriate to refer to JimBob as "an archaic tool"!

"An Archean tool"?
Well, if the shoe fits.....

... Bass will put it on.
 

Offline jdowney

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #10 on: 28/03/2011 22:46:34 »
On the face of it, no, it's probably not going to be for you.  Field work can be very demanding, and if you have little interest in solving the puzzle and finding the ore, it's going to be difficult to work long days, in extremes of heat or cold, in the rain, etc...

On the other hand, how do you really know that you're not interested in rocks?  I wasn't at 18 either, geology was just something my dad did.  But I got really interested after taking a few courses, it was one of the few subjects that really made sense to me.

The biggest down side to mineral exploration is probably the sporadic nature of the employment.  I graduated when there was lots of work and pay was good.  Five years later there was nothing.  For every 1 company staff geologist I knew, there were at least 4 who worked as temps or consultants.  When metals prices drop, exploration offices close, projects get mothballed, temps get laid off, and even staff people tend to get cut.

If you can stick it out a few years, the industry always comes back, but in the mean time you still have to eat.
 

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Time to choose university. Is Geology right for me?
« Reply #10 on: 28/03/2011 22:46:34 »

 

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