Monthly Archives: February 2012

Going back to school. Mostly.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been on a “break” from the serious business of getting lost in the woods and torn apart by mosquitoes. In this specific case a “break”¬†means that I’ve gone back to school — because that’s basically the same thing, right?

You see, I got all the way through college, and then a few years more, without really learning the nuts and bolts of how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) works. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can plot a point on a map as well as the next field tech, and I can follow a transect that’s been laid out beforehand, but beyond that I was (and still sort of am) clueless. And in a field where the lion’s share of job opening include: Should have¬†GIS Knowledge in the “Preferred Qualifications” section that wasn’t acceptable for me.

At any rate, after putting off going back to school to fix this problem for awhile, I finally caved this January. I’m now enrolled in Penn State’s Post-Baccalaureate GIS Certification program. So far I’m enjoying being back in something like a learning environment. The pace of the course is fairly sedate and the actual learning is fun. True, I’d forgotten what it was like to have homework, but it isn’t as bad as my memory made it out to be. Best of all, the entire program is online, which means I’ll be able to continue studying as long as I can find an internet connection once or twice a week. It will take a year to earn the certificate, but I’m convinced that the experience is worth it.

I swear my next update will have pictures.

Hibernation: Not just for bears.

To be completely candid, Winter is not my favorite season. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow and the holiday season, but I don’t like freezing whenever I go outside, and my wintertime employment is far less exciting than what I’m capable of finding during the warm months. Driving back across the country, from warm and sunny California to (unseasonably) warm and sunny Pennsylvania, was (again) an almost religious experience. Four days of solid driving, only taking the breaks that biology insisted upon, left my head light and my ears ringing.

I’ll be in Philadelphia, where I’ve taken two part time jobs, until late-May, at which point I’ll head to Connecticut for an internship with the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge. That, at least, should be amazing.

Until then my days are mostly to be devoted to staying warm, staying busy, and recounting the last of my stories from years past. Bear with me.

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