Thursday, May 15, 2014

Where is the End?

Today at 12:30 PM I attended my last Final of the Spring 2014 semester. On my walk towards Fransen Hall, I walked down the tree-lined path next to the Quad. The Quad at UNR is the place where graduation for the College of Science - Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering happens. The site of the white plastic chairs all in  rows lined perfectly, with care reminded me why I was there. Why I sold my house in Modesto. Why I left my Mom and Dad, sister, brother, kids, and grandchildren behind to move to another state. It reminded me of all the hours spent  leaning over textbooks, reading chapter after unforgiving chapter. Why I came to a university where I knew no one.

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I lingered during my walk to Fransen Hall, reflecting on the long path I have been walking. Wondering what it was going to feel like to walk up and receive my B.S. in Geology. What lies afterwards for me. Teaching? Working at a mine? Whatever door opens for me, I will walk through it proudly, knowing that I worked and sacrificed for something that is so important to me. Something no one can ever take away from me. Knowing that my Mom and Dad, now in their eighties will be proud of their daughter, who at the ripe old age of 54 earned her B.S. First in my family to go to college. Daughter of a man with a tenth grade education.

This semester has one filled with hard-earned success. I had to take English 102 Composition as one of the core classes needed, since Nevada does not accept California's community colleges courses that are equivalent. Do not know why, just is. I absolutely hated English in high school. I really did not care for my English teachers, they seemed boring and stuffy. I was, however, amazed on how much I enjoyed English 102 with Professor Frank Merksamer. He is a quiet spoken, caring man who taught me "the conversation." Burkean Parlor style. I enjoyed all the homework he gave, writing reflections of the stories we read. I learned to consider a compassionate viewpoint towards animals. I learned what speciesism, biopolitics, and consumerism. I learned more than I thought I ever would in this class. I appreciate Professor Merksamer because he gave me an appreciation for English. His class was one of my favorites.

I also completed GEOL 260 Intro to Field Mapping. This class was very different than Frank's. Our instructor became ill during the semester, and the class was a little rocky (no pun intended). I had to purchase about $100 of books to understand the class. I felt that most of the class was self-learned, and not that this is bad, but wished a little more from it then what I received. I did receive an A, however I worked very hard for it. It did not come easy because the class was not a lecturing class whatsoever. GEOL 212 - Earth Materials and Geochemistry II was my favorite though. I loved learning about the geochemistry of igneous (new rocks made from magma), sedimentary rocks (cool stuff you see on Colorado Plateau), and metamorphic rocks. Up until this class, metamorphic rocks were probably my second favorite type of rock, first being igneous rocks. Dr. Stacia Gordon teamed up with Dr. John McCormack to deliver a wonderful (but not easy) semester.

I have the next FOUR days off. Meaning I have nothing on my plate but my personal life. I am going to California to attend my dear friends' annual wine party, see my Dad (still recouping from pneumonia), and of course my best girls....Mom, daughter-Megan, grandaughters-Eowyn and Lucy. Because Mother's Day was the weekend BEFORE Finals, I had to stay in NV so we will be celebrating Mother's Day this weekend.

On Monday the 19th I start my Summer Sessions. I am tackling Calculus 182, Chemistry 122 and Ancient/Medieval Cultures. I feel that there is no end to school and wonder if my classmates feel the same way. Last week, several of the Geology majors met at Mike and Scott's house for a barbecue for "Dead Day". UNR has what is called  "Dead Day" which is no classes, and basically you just don't do any thing related to school...and I didn't. I enjoyed the camaraderie with my classmates, relaxing, laughing and eating. I think we ALL needed that day more than ever. I am grateful that this semester, we all got closer as majors, and lean on each other when it gets a little rough.

I know the end is somewhere even if I cannot see it now. Seeing all those white lawn chairs gave me hope. And I know that soon, my family and friends will be sitting in those white chairs when I get my degree. I cannot wait.


  1. Oh, that ancient/medieval cultures class sounds like a delightful counterpoint to the math and chemistry, it sounds like an overall fun semester. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Congratulations on what you have accomplished so far. Once it is over, you'll probably look back at the time in college as one of the best in your life!