Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reading and Writing

So I have noticed that there is a major difference between graduate studies and undergraduate studies, at least in the geosciences. Undergrad work tends to be homework, math, labs, and small projects. Mostly busy work and text books. Since starting at UVic in September I have read! I am a big reader anyways, and 200 pages a week is not uncommon. Of which about 40% is pleasure like novels or scientific, 40% is purely technical for my own research, and 20% is spiritual, self help, excercise and health related. The last few months I have been reading about 500-1000 pages a week. The percentages and categories are quite different as well.

The main point is that graduate studies are loaded with readings in your field area, writing in your subject of interest, with many 5-25 page papers on different challenging subjects, and lastly lots of presentations on difficult subject matter. It is quite different, and is completly opposite from my undergraduate experience. I really like this aspect of my Graduate studies. I love being in a quiet corridor of a crowded library with a stack of dusty books at my feet, or up in the 4th floor petrology lab overlooking the fall colors, finding resources for my many projects. The funny thing is that when I am burned out of reading stuff on subducting slabs and Arc Magmas, and copper partitioning coefficients in amphibols etc, I relax by reading. I read mainly novels though, and have recently read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown last weekend (I had been meaning to get around to it for several years now). When I am burned out of looking at figures, data, and doing various projects and presentations, I relax by doing my own research on my own research areas (ore deposits and mineral exploration). So really when I am not reading or studying, I relax by reading or studying something else. Pretty nerdy. I do look forward to next semester when I really get to start doing some serious experimental petrology. I am anxious to start the hands on portion of my research, and then I get to play with the resulting data.


Jenni & James said...

It's no secret to most of people who know me, that I get scared VERY easily! Angels and Demons was one of the scariest things I have ever read. What did you think? It's been about 4 years but I am telling you, I swear I felt like I shouldn't have been reading that book....I am sure it is just me but I am curious to see what you think. I agree with you 100% though. I love reading! I always have and always will. Right now, I am reading about the Revoluntionary War. It was so primitive and awful back then to be at war. NASTY! We ran into Darby last night and he said to say Hi to everyone.

Tim said...

So you and I are total opposites in this subject. While I like to read, it doesn't generally involve books. I know I am a slacker, but I just don't fit it into my schedule. More power to ya though for reading, I should do more of it.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Jenny, Angels and Demons is a scary book. Differing from the Da Vinci Code, the scale of the evil in this book is crazy big. The hassassin is such a creepy character and all too real. Overall I thought it was a great book, I loved the interplay between religion and science and loved the conflict. I liked it better than Da Vinci just because of the scale of the treachory, the tragedy and lastly the twist.

Have you read the Historian yet? I think it is another scary historical fiction. It is a vampire book but also a well written travel guide of eastern europe and interesting facts about Vlad and vampire lore in general.

I love the history of wars and particularly the small stories within the overall big story of war. You are definately right though the primitive weapons of those early wars made it so brutal. I have had a deep interest in the Civil War since I was a kid and watched Ken Burns Civil War series on PBS. The series put faces to the facts and personalized the history to a point that I have quite an attachment to the stories. There is a great book on the maps of the civil war which I think is so sweet. I love talking books and could probably devote a whole blog to it. I appreciate your input on what you have read and are reading, afterall it is word of mouth that aids in finding most of my new books.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I spelt your name wrong, how embarassing, I meant Jenni.