In the Land Before Time

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first-ever blog. I have started this project as I work through the last month or two of my undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; a feat that will have taken 8 years to complete…(that will be a topic for a later post). But for now, I wanted to let you all in on my soon-to-be post-university, geological  adventures in an attempt to share with you just how fascinating this earth is. I also wanted to give a quick shout out to my sister. She came up with the title for this blog page “Full of Schist”…I know, I was also impressed. Thanks Britt!

My hope for the blog is that it ignites a passion for learning in you like it did in me, and gives you something worthwhile to come back to read about. My blogs will be approximately a 50/50 split to include my adventures as a young geologist, and educational pieces to spread some knowledge (and to hopefully keep you from becoming too bored of my personal journey). It may occasionally include what ever else may be rattling around in my noggin at the time. I would like it to be interactive, so feel free to send me any ideas you would like to see me write about. I will try to keep all content comprehendible for the average layman, but I want you to learn new concepts and vocabulary, too. For future reference, I will use ‘geology’ and ‘earth science’ interchangeably. As for today, I will tell you how my geological journey began.

In grade 10, as a freshmen in high school, my friends (not that I had many), kept insisting that I needed to take the oceanography course, Oceans 11. The teacher for that class was called Mr. Burke, and he was known as one of the most beloved teachers in the school. I was also informed that it was a class where the material was not difficult to understand. Needless to say, I enrolled in Oceans 11 for the following semester.

From the first day, I knew immediately that I was going to enjoy this class. Mr. Burke was quite the character and had a wicked sense of humor which I appreciated very much. He was easily the funniest and kindest teacher I had thus far. He would remain the best teacher I have ever had. Sometimes at lunch, my friend Jason, Mr. Burke and myself would bring our guitars to school and have a little jam session in his classroom. We would rock out to songs by The Beatles, The Eagles, or anything else that was created long before Jason or I were born.

As the term went on, I became overly interested in the course material. There were topics which overlapped into geology, like plate tectonics. I remember wanting to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. I didn’t mind studying for tests and exams, or completing homework assignments for the class. I feel lucky to have had this experience as it really was the beginning for me.

I was told by other students that if I liked oceanography, that I would most likely enjoy Mr. Connors (unofficially titled) “Rocks for Jocks” class. It was a grade 12 geology course. So the following year, my cousin, Michelle and I both decided to take it together. She was in grade 12 and I was in grade 11 at this point. Michelle and I never heard the end of the Mad Hatter jokes (however we both obtained the highest marks in the class – around 95-96%). Mr. Connors was just as passionate about rocks as Mr. Burke was about the ocean, and he became one of my favorite teachers as well. These two men helped me to realize my passion and the type of career I wanted to have. I will be forever grateful for that.

Before my time in high school, I was like the average person who though that a rock was just a boring, hard, gray object found on the ground. I thought that certain minerals and fossils were cool but that was about the extent of it. What I learned from Oceans 11 and Geology 12 was that geology is more than a boring gray hard thing on the ground. Each rock represents a unique story, and the stories they tell are something that I couldn’t have dreamed of at the time. In addition, geology isn’t just about rocks! It includes earth processes, and the study of deep time.

Geology tends to be labeled as the “easy” branch of science. What most people do not realize is that the field of geology is a melting pot where almost every other branch of science is included. For example, we use:

  • chemistry
  • physics
  • biology
  • mathematics
  • engineering
  • statistics
  • geography
  • economics
  • environmental science
  • microscopy
  • computer science/programming

There are also other skills that may be useful as a geologist, such as art or sketching, photography, and any labs skills. Albeit, most of us specialize at some point in our career where all of the above may not be used or needed. However, if you want to become professionally certified as a geologist, you need to have taken courses in the majority of the sciences listed above.

In conclusion, during my last year in high school, I was accepted to Dalhousie University for the following school year to study science. I was also accepted into Saint Marys University in Halifax for the arts program, but as you can most likely infer, I chose to study science and major in earth sciences at Dal. The rest is history, but the future awaits…and I can’t wait to see where in the world it will take me.






One thought on “In the Land Before Time

  1. Mel, Thats a fantastic start to what i know will be a great blog. Its wonderful to see you continue your journey into the world of geology. Very proud Dad:)


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