February 25, 2009

It's Application Time

Even though I don't have to attend any lectures or other university stuff these days, I'm still stressed out. I've been enjoying nearly two weeks of recreation now but at the same time I'm busy with writing applications for my upcoming internship in summer. Having taken stock in hydrocarbon exploration for some months now, I want to apply to several multinational oil companies. This might be not the easiest way but it's the way of my choice. I just want to see whether hydrocarbon exploration is like I imagine it to be and I think that an internship is quite a good way to find out.

To be honest, writing applications, i.e. cover letters and resumes/CVs, in German and especially in English is something new for me. Of course, I also had to write an application to the GFZ in Potsdam for my job as a student assistent but this was rather easy (still not informal) and way faster than this time. The general problem about all this application stuff is not that you have to be the best applicant but that you have to know all the (country-specific) dos and don'ts. There are thousands of so-called application experts on the German-speaking Internet and each of them advises different things to do or rather not to do. It's really hard to pick out the information I consider to be useful but in the end I've found one web site with really good advises. You just need to multiply this by ten (hundred, thousand?) for international/English-speaking applications and you gonna find out why I'm stressed out. Anyway, I don't want to blame anyone for my misery because every applicant needs to go through all this but nevertheless it sucks.

My personal problem right now is that most of my fellow students are not as interested in doing an internship as I am. Moreover, most of our academics are out on field trips which means they can't help me either. So, I have to do most of it on my own. This makes me feel like a small light in the big darkness finding my way. At moments like these, I really ask myself whether I'm too much into this or if the others live too much for the moment. However, I don't mind what others do. It's my way to becoming a geophysicist!

February 14, 2009

Review: Third Semester Finished

I had some really busy weeks but I wrote my last two exams yesterday and now I have finished my third semester. Having passed half the way to my bachelor degree, it's time to keep myself busy with writing applications for my upcoming internship in summer. However, I also gonna have a lot of free time during the next four weeks and I really need some moments of recreation because my own battery has become quite empty.

Today, I want to look back on what I have learned this semester and what courses I consider to be interesting or rather not.

The most interesting but also the most time-consuming course was sedimentology because I spent most of my time on preparing and finishing weekly homework for this course which included drawing maps, describing and naming rocks and sedimentary structures, evaluating experiments and calculating. All in all, sedimentology was a challenging course but I have learned a lot about mass movements, depositional systems and sedimentary structures that I will definitely need many many times.

At the beginning, I didn't like stratigraphy at all because I lacked an understanding of its importance for all geological sciences. At the end of the semester, it became one of my favourite courses. I just needed the impression of how several disciplines of stratigraphy like magnetostratigraphy, event stratigraphy and biostratigraphy correspond with each other so that you get the information you want. Especially graphic correlation and sequence stratigraphy became two of my favourites.

Hydrogeology is something you should have heard of but nothing more (unless you want to become a hydrogeologist). Although I have learned quite a lot about groundwater movement, aquifers and water wells, I don't consider this knowledge to be of any (greater) importance later on. The sad thing is that there will be a second hydrogeology course next semester and this one will be about geochemistry which leads me to the next course.

Before the beginning of the semester, I was a bit in fear of geochemistry because I hadn't had any chemistry lesson since grade eleven. Fortunately, the first two parts of this course were really interesting and way better than I had expected them to be. They dealed with the origin of the universe, our solar systems and our planet as well as with Earth's chemical composition und internal structure. However, the third part was as horrible as I remember chemistry from school. It was about chemical alteration, chemical equilibria and reaction equations. This is definitely not my cup of tea!

Petrology & Microscopy of Magmatites:
This course was split into a lecture about petrology of magmatites in the first half of the semester and a tutorial on microscopy of magmatites in the second half.
The petrology part was not that interesting because we mainly dealed with ternary phase diagrams and melts in general. This stuff is just too theoretical to be interesting.
The microscope part was much more interesting because I was able to deepen the knowledge I had gained during the second semester petrographic microscopy course. My favourite moment was when we looked for small zircon crystals in biotite. They look like these (not by me):

Geological Mapping & Geological Profiles:
I don't have much to say about this course. We did quite a lot about the construction of geological profiles from geological maps and it was fun (in my eyes only) but our tutor told us that all this stuff was so theoretical and simplified that we wouldn't need it anymore. Reality is much more difficult and then we must not use most of the rather easy techniques we have learned. In four weeks from now, I will see how much this course really helps in real life on my first mapping field trip.

February 05, 2009

German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)

I´m really sorry that it has been so quiet here for the last two weeks but I´m totally stressed out by my exams these days. I´ve already written two exams this week and there are another five (!) to come next week.

However, I´ve got something very interesting for my German-speaking followers. In December 2008, I authored a blog entry on my work at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam near Berlin - read my old blog entry (in German). Some days ago, I published a longer version of my report on http://www.geonetzwerk.org. The "Netzwerk f├╝r geowissenschaftliche ├ľffentlichkeitsarbeit" (Network for Geoscientific Public Relations) tries to improve the communication between geoscientists working in the sector of public relations and wants to inform the population on the importance of geosciences:

read my article (in German)