Monday, November 18, 2013

The Good, the (not so) Bad, and the Money

Lets begin this blog by saying what a failure this blog has already been. I'm not a fan of typing and i don't have a sharp silver tongue that sweeps all the ladies off their feet and gets me everything I want. I'm not a lyricist that's good with words at all, so i figured i would try to make and post a video blog. A video blog would show my true emotions and feelings about our trip to GSA and help me keep my thoughts more organized and less chaotic. The issue with the video blog idea is that despite numerous attempts at uploading my video blogs, they continuously failed to load and could not be opened or viewed. So here I am once again, forced to attempt to portray my feelings and emotions with black and white ink behind the keys of my dusty keyboard. None the less, i shall prevail and talk about my wonderful experiences at the Geological Society of America. I loved this conference for 3 major reasons and had only one dislike. So lets dive into it elementary school style with a simple 1, 2, 3 list. 

1) The opportunities to learn at GSA were massive and i seized many of these opportunities. the first session of the conference i learned about how other students learn. There are a number of colleges around the nation that teach all of their classes on a block schedule and it seems like an awesome way to learn. (This feels so bland, i put so much emotion into the video describing this that if the director of the notebook saw my video blog he would cry) I spent about an hour after the day ended talking to the lecturer  Dr. Robert C. Thomas, a Professor of Geology at the University of Montana Western about the block program and its pro's and con's. I also spent the day learning about the history of the Rocky Mountains  water in space, and metal alloys. All of the previous mentioned topics i had never learned anything about, so my mind is now greatly expanded. GSA gave me a chance to learn on my own as well. A lot of the sessions i attended i knew little to no background knowledge of the topic at hand. Instead of sitting like a bump on a log, i decided i would take key words they used, like alloy or volatile and do research of my own to find out what they were and how they are used. By doing this (with the help of my smartphone) I was able to learn about science stuff that a lot of people probably never will learn in their lives. I was able to do a lot of this self learning when we attended the Denver Museum of Nature and Science,  a museum i had visited 3 or 4 times before (since i hail from Colorado Springs) but had never really learned anything from. GSA inspired a thirst for knowledge in me that i took to the museum and tried to absorb as much knowledge as i could while there. Not to mention, i consistently ran into a class from my high school that was there as well so i got to see a lot of old friends and teachers that i had not seen in a while. One of those friends is my sister, who i had no idea was at the museum that day until i ran into her. The learning environment at GSA was incredible. 

2) GSA gave me a sense of hope, confidence, and direction. Going into the conference i had no idea what i wanted to do with a Geo-science degree. Thanks to one session on petroleum and natural gas i believe i now want to work toward going into the Fracking business. America is built on oil, America is addicted to oil, and with that being said I want to be part of a group that either helps america economically by finding more efficient  safe ways to get the oil we need, or be part of a group that helps us get off our addiction by finding alternative energy methods. The session on Fracking was the best session of the conference by far. I took over 6 full pages of notes during the lectures. The Fracking session really sparked my interest, an interest i would not have unless i had attended GSA. 

3) The social benefits of attending GSA were outstanding. I got to meet people from all over the United States and from all over the world for that matter. I also got to experience the city life of Denver. Even though i grew up just an hour south of Denver my whole life, i had never really spent much time in the big city. It was awesome to get to experience the culture and liveliness of the big city, something that us country folk here at Chadron don't get to see every day. The homeless people we interacted with every time we walked somewhere were also awesome to talk to. A lot of them are in dark places and just liked to have someone to talk to. I was scary at first, talking to a man who wears raggity cloths and is drunk at 3 in the afternoon but my fear faded fast and soon i enjoyed their company and stories. The friends i made at GSA are awesome too. The group i traveled to Denver with, i had hardly ever spoken to any of them in my life. By the end of the conference, i felt like i had made a solid group of friends who i now have great memories with and can talk nerdy talk with. It was an awesome experience!

Life also has its negativity, so here are the negatives from GSA

1) I spent to much money on food

GSA was an awesome, inspiring time. I hope i can raise the funds to attend GSA in Vancouver next year, because if that conference is half as good as this one, i'm in for a great treat.

-Nathan Lee Still

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