The proverbial weight of the whole college experience and what I was aiming to do with my life hadn’t fully hit me… at least it hadn’t until Friday, September 16th at around 4 P.M in the evening while I sat near the back of room 108 in the geology building. As I sat in there listening to the presentations with a smile on my face I couldn’t help but think of all the great works my peers were doing and that slowly made my smile dissipate. I thought of the papers they were writing, the research they had done and the people they have met and are currently working with. They made it sound so vast, amazing, and incredibly easy.
Then I turned my mind to the future, mine in particular. After the seniors this year graduate there are only a handful of us paleo geeks left, and only a small fraction of them will be seniors next year. The rest will be a lot of the upcoming juniors (such as myself in the 2012-13 year.) Then my senior year the mantle of awesome student paleontologists will be passed down to us, and between this year’s seniors and juniors in the geology department… it’s a pretty big shoes to fill. So much work on not only Cryolophosaurus but other important paleontological discoveries is being performed by these upper classmen and a few already have papers out before they’ve even graduated! It seems like a big deal to a sophomore who’s struggling to keep his head above water on week five of the school year with 121 chem (a must for all geology majors, along with 122.) And then you think about all the other major requirements there are.
For the first time since coming to Augustana last year I’m afraid of failure and I’m not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing. It’s kind of been nagging at me for the past couple of days and the worry isn’t going away. I’m not so much worried about “filling the shoes of my predecessors” because that, to me, is actually the exciting part of this fear hitting me. Wondering if you could expand research being done, or do something different and never done before is a thrill! But wondering if you’ll be good enough to get that far, or deal with the things that comes before is the discouraging stuff. It is a rough road ahead for many students, dare I say it is even for myself. I’m just now taking strat, chem 121, and haven’t even started on calc, physics, or any of the other umpteen (okay, maybe not that many) other geo courses I have to take and it has me afraid for the first time, questioning if I’m going to even make it to become a paleontologist. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was two and a half years old, but nobody ever told me that all this other stuff was tied on to it as well.
For some who struggle with this same thing, I highly recommend just checking out other things you are interested in; other possible majors. It sounds bad, but even I have thought about dropping my geo major to a minor (don’t tell Dr. Wolf!) in search of another major. Some people may feel like that’s quitting, and I disagree. I think it’s smart to have a backup plan for everything in life. It’s all important to take your time at college, especially at Augie, and just run with it. There are so many different things offered here, it’s crazy. Even though I love theatre, I never thought I’d go and minor in it. My girlfriend NEVER thought of becoming a psych major before this year.
At the moment I fully intent on sticking with it, even if I have to grit my teeth. I may hate a few of my classes, but I don’t hate my teachers. The teachers will help you out if you need help, which is awesome. They’ll give you good advice ranging from study tips, note taking skills, to other possible alternatives if you’re not doing so hot in the class.
I’m not fully sure my intention for writing this other than to get my erratic venting thoughts out on paper. If you are reading this and are feeling the exact same way about your future (bemused, scared, unsure, etc.) don’t fret because now you know you’re not alone. And if you read this and weren’t scared before and now you are, I’m sorry! That definitely wasn’t my intention. I’m struggling and I’d imagine other out there are as well. I think there is always hope at Augustana in many ways, shapes, and forms. Keep your head up, like I’m trying to do. If you have problems go to your advisor, teachers, or your friends even. Get any and all help that you can, and once again- don’t be afraid to try new things, or even completely random things! Because those always make for the best life choices… … heh.
Posted on September 19th, 2011 by joshuamalone10
Filed under: Josh Malone