Thursday, June 27, 2019

When opportunity knocks, I answer!

Just one week after walking across the graduation stage, I found myself on a plane to Southern California with a group of 10 students and three professors from the Environmental, Geographical and Geological Sciences (EGGS) department.

My task was to follow them as a photographer and journalist for their 13-day field study through the coast, mountains and deserts of California. It turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Every college student seems to have this notion of wanting to travel the world — either to study abroad, for their career, or enjoyment after they retire. I believe it's become a part of our "fear of missing out." However, my career path of journalism has allowed me to truly be able to travel anywhere for my job and when opportunity knocks, I answer!

I learned quite a bit about geology while on the EGGS 330 trip, however I didn’t exactly have the background knowledge to put it into words until I spent some time with the professors and students. There were plenty of analogies made that had nothing to do with geology in order for me to understand the topics, but after a few days I started to pick up the geology jargon.
Other than the geology class part of the trip, camping was our largest challenge in EGGS 330. We stayed in a variety of campgrounds, and the weather was not exactly characteristic of Southern California. It rained the first five nights straight and it was cooler than usual, which turned out to be a challenge for all of us. After all, we packed for the desert.

Some people on the trip had never camped before, and most of us had never camped for more than a long weekend. Setting up tents and sleeping in sleeping bags with the bathrooms and showers more than a football field away at some campgrounds was very foreign to us. The amount of adaptation we had to undergo as a group was incredible.

We began on the coast at San Mateo campground, then made our way into the mountains at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park where we were supposed to stay for two nights. Then the storm hit. We only stayed for one night because of the plunging temperatures and horizontal rain (not kidding) and made our way into the Anza-Borrego desert, where it also rained.

However, most everyone on the trip can agree that Anza-Borrego was our favorite campground, and where we all got the best sleep. We also saw a rainbow in the desert, which isn’t something you see every day!

Joshua Tree National Park was next. With no cell reception or electricity, it made for great conversation and a beautiful view of the stars.

However, there were also no showers in Joshua Tree, or at Cottonwood Campground, which was our final campsite. For five days, none of us showered. Remember that adaptability I was talking about? This was one of those times. Baby wipes and spigot showers is all I have to say about that.

Overall, EGGS 330 is an incredible experience for anyone thinking of geology as a career path. Or in my case, photojournalism! It taught all 14 of us how to adapt to our situations and surroundings, it taught students how to work in the field and take good field notes, and it taught me how to document it all in a way that non-majors can understand what was going on.

I want to personally thank Dr. Cynthia Venn, Dr. Jennifer Whisner, and Dr. John Hintz for having me along on the trip, as well as all the students who put up with me taking their photos and asking them geology questions nonstop. It was an amazing trip, and I hope it will continue to be a class for years to come.

— Dallas Kriebel '19, mass communications graduate, shadowed ... #EGGS #HuskyUnleashed #HuskySummer

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