October 22, 2012

More Than a Game

In two weeks from now, the 2012 SEG Challenge Bowl Finals will feature the possibly best list of competitors in the seven-year history of the event. Colorado School of Mines, University of Oklahoma, University of Calgary, Imperial College ... just to name some of them ... and then there is Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin. The pure fact that we will be among these prestigious universities and compete against them makes me get goosebumps every single time I think of it.

For me, these finals are more than a game for some personal award, but a golden opportunity to represent my community. I have worked for that moment every single day in the last years. I clearly remember my international beginnings at the 80th SEG Annual Meeting in Denver and how people looked puzzled when I told them that I was studying geological sciences in Berlin. Having to explain that we actually have quite good geoscience programs and excellent graduates here in the German capital city is not the best way to gain confidence as an undergraduate student. However, I rose above. Since these days, a lot has changed about how the international geoscience community sees Berlin and what we do here. And I take pride that I could substantially contribute to this development because, despite all criticism, it makes me know that I've chosen the right path.

It's an overwhelming feeling to know that this long path will have its grand finale and happy ending next April here in Berlin, but having the last but one highlight at the SEG Annual Meeting in Las Vegas is pretty awesome, too. Is there any better place in the world to philosophize about the odds than Las Vegas? Probably not, but frankly speaking, I don't care whether it's 1:9, 1:11, 1:100 or whatsoever. Just like the header says, never let yourself be second best. That is not just a catchy line, but really means a lot to me. People have told me that we should simply enjoy the finals without any specific expectations. They might think that way because nobody likes to underachieve high expectations. However, I will never share that way of thinking. Nobody remembers second places. Against all odds, we're certainly not going to go to Las Vegas to just be background actors with an excellent view from the stage ... come hell or high water.

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