And All That Math

The first and second weeks of class have come and gone. My adviser and professor for a course titled Natural Resource Economics is a man by the name of Dr. Coal. Dr. Coal loves coal and tends to talk down about other minerals why he lectures. He’s a quirky man who skips from side to side while discussing the course materials. I don’t take notes, but rather write down funny things he says.

“If you’re interested in a subject, the worst thing you can do is go buy a textbook……boring as sshhiiiit.”

“Hit ’em over the head three times and things just stick.” -On how to write an effective essay.

“Screw Canada!”

“I think in stories, not math.”

“Let’s imagine you fell asleep and it’s 2 years later.” -On when to harvest your forest and invest the money.

“When I was younger and a little bit hipper, we used to go to this club in Seattle. They had two rooms: 80’s music and 70’s music. It’d be like, which room should we go to? Let’s go to the 80’s room and dance! So we go to the 80’s room. Then its like, well we can’t dance in here because it’s so crowded! Let’s go to the 70’s room. Then we’re like, oh its not so crowded in here but this music sucks. Eventually it gets to a point where they equally suck or they’re equally cool. And that’s just like economics.”

“I will look the other way and pretend you’re not doing something illegal.”

“So, if you like forests, you should be wasting paper….. That thing on emails, ‘Please consider the environment before printing’…. Yeah, those people are idiots. It’s like No, I’m  printing every freaking page. Because then people need timber, and they plant forests.”

As you can tell, I’m learning a lot in my economics program! Seriously though, I have to review and take actual notes after class.

Book Four

I’m ready to make this public knowledge.

I’m going back to school!

2015-07-28 19.12.28

The process of deciding to look and eventually applying to this program dates back farther than most realize. Since you all are probably uninterested in reading my amazing admissions essay (you’re missing out), I will disclose lesser known and more personal details here.

Before going to Arizona State, I researched many other colleges and universities. I applied to several smaller schools, one of which was the Colorado School of Mines, a little but well respected engineering school. This was sort of a fantasy exercise, as I knew deep down the whole time I would attend ASU because I’d received a scholarship. Sometimes, its just nice to pretend to weigh your options anyway.

While studying at ASU, I really felt like I should go to graduate school. It’s just the next thing you do, right?  However, once I learned that employment is also a respectable option, I eagerly pursued that. A Master’s degree sounded nice, but realistically, I had stopped going to classes years ago and was ready to move on from student life.

You’re all well acquainted, or should be, with my life as a working woman. What you may not know is that I was constantly saying goodbye to friends who chose to leave the company, were transferred or let go. One particular friend left the company to go back to University of Cape Town for a Master’s in robotics. Do you remember that time I went on vacation to South Africa about a year and a half ago? The trip was life changing in many ways-  I met and interacted with amazing, diverse and intelligent people, took my first PADI course which turned me on to a new travelling hobby, soaked in so much culture and knowledge…. but the most instrumental thing was being inspired by my friend doing a Master’s there. I wanted to get to where he was- thoughtfully working towards something more and trying to change his sphere of opportunity. I left South Africa feeling motivated to make changes. I believe this is also what turned on my compulsion and at times obsession with traveling. When you travel, you see and experience things which trigger you to make decisions. 

This inspired me to research graduate programs and job boards. I looked at South Africa, United Kingdom, Norway, and other random places people suggested. I wanted to go back to the US; I wanted to keep living abroad. I just wanted to be anywhere but Qatar. I’m sure my family remember these times as I would call home, miserable and deliberating what to do with myself. Through this mental exercise, I discovered I don’t want to be an engineer in the conventional sense. I do want to stay in the energy sector. I searched universities in the USA. I stumbled upon a program at Colorado School of Mines which seemed interesting. The program involves studying 8 months in Colorado and 8 months at the French Institute of Petroleum outside of Paris. The degrees offered are “Petroleum Economics and Management” and “Mineral and Energy Economics”.  So- petroleum and energy related, but not engineering necessarily. I began working on my application and essay several months before the application even opened. In December 2014, I had submitted my application for Fall 2015. I put it out of my mind and went back to work.

In February 2015, I was laid off. In March 2015, I was accepted for the dual degree program. My parents and I deliberated the cost benefit of going to school or just moving to Houston and finding another job. This was again, a fantasy exercise, as I knew deep down the whole time I would go back for a Master’s degree. Sometimes, its just nice to pretend to weigh your options anyway.

And so, I move on to yet another phase of adulthood. I’m packing up my room again, this familiar task which seems to characterize the journey through my 20’s. I hope you all like cold weather.

Perhaps this is also the time to mention I will be transporting my belongings in a little U-Haul trailer hitched to my vehicle. I recruited/tricked a friend into making the drive with me and helping me get settled in Denver. I had a dream last night that I crashed the trailer because I was driving on the sidewalk because I was too scared to drive in the street.