Monday, March 08, 2010

The next stage

In my experiences, life choices are sometimes very stressful endeavors. We search for certainty and determinism in the future, while we occasionally hope the decisions will be made for us. We often search out stability, when instability has provided us the greatest opportunities of our lives. In hindsight on my life, nearly every life decisions has worked out well. Here's to hoping the track record continues.
I had stressed over my departure from Hewlett-Packard for more than a year before making the final decision to leave. As I have said before, it was an excellent decision. I have completed one of the best years of my life. Coming up in May, I will graduate from Boise State University with a second Bachelors degree, this one in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology. I have been on the Dean List with Highest Honors for each semester here. I have made some great friends and have thrived in the academic community.
What does an upcoming graduate do when they love academics and research and are facing a dismal job market? Apply to go to graduate school! This also helps avoid actually having a job! My last November and December were partially consumed by this process.
This week I received notice of my acceptance into Boise State's Master's Program in Raptor Biology. Along with the acceptance came an offer of a teaching assistantship! There are a few conditions on the offer. Most notably, I have to actually graduate in May and the University budget has not yet been finalized. I am reasonably confident in my ability to accomplish the former, but the later concerns me greatly as the legislature just delivered a 7.5% decrease in funds for public schools. I probably won't know for sure until late April. Anyway, I have accepted their conditional offer.
Summer: Before jumping into graduate school I will spend the early part of the summer surveying for Flammulated Owls across Southern Idaho. This will be a challenge as I have always been a morning person! Anyway, I am tremendously excited about this job. Hiking through the wilderness at night is something I have always enjoyed, but never done enough of. My teammate for owls will be Jack, a guy I worked with at the Idaho Bird Observatory last summer. It should be a great 8 weeks. Mid-July I will return to the Idaho Bird Observatory for songbird banding. I will have to switch from the night shift back to the morning shift as we band songbird for the first 5 hours after sunrise. Mid-August I report to school a week early to begin lab assignments and training for my teaching assistantship (hopefully). Then I have new research to perform.
We are currently discussing three possible thesis projects for my master program. They each involve predator prey relationships. I hope over the next 2 months to filter this down to a primary focus area. To do that I must perform some literature searches to determine which of these areas has been studied in the past.
The journey continues. People always ask me what I will do when I am finished. I actually don't know. This is more of a journey than a destination. At this time I hope to continue performing research to help the conservation of wildlife and wild places. We will see where the journey takes me.

3 comments:

Colleen said...

I can't believe you are graduating already. Well done you!

April said...

Congrats!! That must be so exciting. If the posts you put up here are even a slight indication of your passion, you will make a great teaching assistant!

outwalkingthedog said...

How exciting to be following a path you love. Your prospects for upcoming research and study sound very fascinating.