In less than two weeks I will be moving across the United States to begin work on my PhD at Oregon State University. I have the great opportunity to work under Dr. Peter Clark studying the glacial geology of Ireland. While I have had the chance to travel to numerous localities within the United States and beyond its borders, this will be the first time I have lived anywhere but Virginia. The whole idea has a mix of emotions running through me. I am overly excited to the point of anxious about beginning my graduate career and working on research. Conducting research in geology has been my end goal since I first gained interest in the subject, and I still cannot imagine a more stimulating and exciting career to pursue. Yet, a certain amount of apprehension and nerves exist as well. Corvallis is as foreign to me as any of the other cities I have spent merely a few days in. I have lived all but one of my years in the D.C. area, and even though many of my friends have moved away, many remain. My family is here, or within a short drive, and I will miss all of it. More strangely, or at least relevant to this blog, my life as a geologist has been here. My geologic family is here, from mentors to partners and friends. We are all at a point where we are beginning the next phase in our development and either moving away from each other or exploring other aspects of life; all in very positive ways. I am very excited for and proud of each person I have been lucky enough to associate myself with at George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College, and the USGS.
Without getting too sentimental which I have been known to do, and may be too late on stopping anyways, there is one other aspect of leaving that will be hard to swallow. With the help of Alan Pitts I have made it my goal to know the geology of my home state of Virginia very well. One of my first projects as an undergrad was to discuss the Appalachian Orogenies. We cut our teeth as geologists on the rocks of the Commonwealth. My father, a native of West Virginia, has always talked about holding the hills and mountains of Appalachia near and dear, and I know the same will be true for me. I still get defensive whenever somebody tries to tell me the geology of Virginia is boring, and I hope to not lose that when I move out west. Just about every aspect of geology is well represented here, and the story goes back beyond a billion years. Maybe one of the reasons I have been drawn to glacial geology is that it is one aspect of geology that is not well represented here (apologies to the Snowball Earth people). I will always compare newer areas to what I saw in Virginia, and leaving is going to be hard, but the unknown is too exciting, and the adventure is too enticing.
I have looked at this blog as a way for me to explore multiple aspects of geology that were interesting to me, and is a good indicator of where I was as an undergraduate. Since I will be moving onto a more focused approach to geology I suppose the blog topics will follow that focus along with me.
Thank you to everyone that read this blog, and hopefully you will continue to read in the future.