Some of my favorite times at the University have been our annual field trips. As part of our coursework as Geoscience students, we undertake annual week-long field trips to selected locations across the country to observe and study rock formations and other related geoscience-y things. The field trips have been basically hit-and-miss in terms of their academic impact on me: I really understood most of what I observed during the first field trip but the second one seemed like a crash course in an ancient forgotten language.
It didn’t stop me from having fun on the side though. I love travelling so field trips helped me to visit places I had only heard about while they also served as some of the best times to really get to know colleagues that I may just have been on a “Hello” basis with. In fact, this has been one of my biggest take-aways from the trips. You get to know people better if you are forced to live together for a week and walk for miles on a daily basis.
The latest one, which occurred earlier this month, is hard to describe. I don’t know if I benefitted in any way. There were seemingly “good” parts: Not having to walk for significant distances, for example (though I admit, I secretly loved those hikes); not doing anything that involved observing and studying rocks (my department – and the courses we take – is geology biased, but my second field trip confirmed my complete disinterest in core geology, and informed my eventual choice of a major in Petroleum Geoscience); a more practical-based, slightly entrepreneurial approach to the trip.
A lot however seemed “wrong”. Travelling very long distances (5, 6, 7 hours at times) in a bus that can be described as “uncomfortable” at best, to observe one or two events for an hour or so, and then repeating the same journey back didn’t seem effective. So was the fact that we didn’t actually do anything Petroleum Geoscience-y throughout the trip. Having to listen to people talk about their plans for National Service (a mandatory year-long program for Ghanaian graduates), while I am still unsure what I want to do, didn’t help. Most of all though, I missed my squad (they were on a different field trip, having decided they were the intelligent ones, deciding to major in geology, while I, the dull one, chose a different path). Instead of that situation spurring me on to try to get to bond with “new” people, it had the opposite effect, forcing me deeper into my shell.
The melancholy of the field trip has affected my activities since then. I didn’t want to do anything. I was content just lying down all day doing nothing and I didn’t know how to get out of my funk. I kept looking for inspiration everywhere but nothing would move me. Then I started reading. That translated into writing and now I am slowly getting back to speed. My final semester starts in a week’s time. I’ve got reports to submit, a project to undergo and the usual semester work to get through. I still remember the advice given by some of you here to enjoy this final year. This post serves as a catharsis. I didn’t have the field trip that I expected and the start to the New Year has been uncertain but I have resolved to enjoy every single minute of the next months and the time I’ve got with my “squad”.