Tag Archives: college

Disappearing Act

Seven.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten…

I release my breath and a wave of bittersweet endorphins muddle my brain. My fingers dance restlessly on the hardwood table. This is a weekly occurrence for me now.

Only one more month. Just have to push through. 

School is all I’ve ever known and come December I will be graduated with a degree. Ready for the world’s open embrace- or lack thereof.

Nothing much will change, I’ll still have my same internship. I still have another 6 months on my lease. So why is it so scary? What is so unknown?

I have a theory- For my whole life I’ve had a purpose. To learn. Come December that goes away. And I am scared that in that little window of time without a purpose. The few months after school but before my career, I will lose myself.

I’m the first of this generation to graduate college. I really want this, I’m scared I won’t make it. I am so close, but I can feel myself wearing out. My end goal is an end to what I know and a plunge into the unknown. Who knows where life will take me?

All I know is that if I stumble I will eat myself alive.

Find Your Voice

“You’ve ruined this country!”

“You had a chance to fight injustice!”

“You threw your vote away!”

A few comments stuck out, but eventually the taunts of enraged people yelling from across the classroom fused into an incoherent jumble. Konrad Johnson was president and the crowd made it feel like the world was going to end. I voted for Peter Snoqualmie, a third-party candidate from Montana. He seemed like the candidate I wanted for the job so I voted for him. If only it was that simple.

Earlier today, when my Political Science professor asked us to move to certain parts of the room based on our votes I did so with no predispositions. I thought it’d be fun to see the political views of my peers. But apparently the party that lost was not too thrilled. They were angry, and aimed their wrath at the several of us huddled in the north corner of the room. Since I was not with them, I was against them.

The following weeks were an isolating experience. Whenever I entered that class I was met with piercing glares. My normal study group wanted nothing to do with me. People were just so damn mad about him winning, and the media was all too happy to fan the flames of civil unrest. I should have noticed the change in the atmosphere before it started getting out of hand.

One day I walked into the lecture hall ready for a pre-class quiz. I had gotten in the habit of just watching my feet as I found my seat, to avoid passing glares. So I didn’t notice how empty the room had gotten until I fished out my books from my bag.

“Where is everyone?” I asked the sparsely populated student body.

A few students shrugged or looked away. It seemed no one cared to answer.

I heard a tooth grinding screech as the double doors flew open.

“Class! We are going to watch the live-stream of the protest on campus!” He excitedly held an open laptop as he skipped to the front of the class. “This is history in the making!”

With a few cords and keystrokes the live-stream was connected to the projector and shone on top of the blackboard. A pimple faced journalism major held a microphone up to the protesters, asking their cause. My classmates stood in the background waving signs.

“We want Konrad Johnson to resign! Your voice is a weapon! Use it to fight injustice!”

The ringleader spoke for a while longer, but as he did a crowd began to form opposite the protesters. The distinct sound of a bottle shattering on the ground interrupted the interview.

A counter protest had been spurred into action and it got violent fast. The audio cut out, and video was choppy but we could see the reporter struggling to escape. He caught an elbow to his jaw, knocking him to the ground for a moment before scrambling along the ground to get out of the center of the brawl. Blood streamed down his chin.

My professor jittered with excitement. His eyes grew, as if they were absorbing the flickering images from the screen.

“This is politics in the 21st century”

I stared blankly at the chaos projected at the front of the class. My fellow students fought viciously for their beliefs. This was not politics, this was a war rivaling the spectacles at Carthage or Hastings.

It dawned on me then why candidates like Peter Snoqualmie would never win. You can’t win a war by remaining neutral. It didn’t matter how much I liked Snoqualmie, I had to check the ballot unfolding in front of me. And he was noticeably absent from the choices.

I pushed back my chair and stood. It squealed against the linoleum floor. My professor was too enthralled by the dancing lights of the projector to notice me sliding through the double doors. As I neared the quad, the sounds of screaming and battered flesh echoed into the hallways ever louder. Sirens faintly approached from the distance adding a subtle sterile flavor. My nails dug into my palm as I clenched my fists.

I still was not sure what side I would join. But I would come out swinging.

It’s better than not having a voice.

A Different Kind of Short Story

Hey all, not sure if anyone still looks on this site after such a long period of inactivity (My bad). I’ve been pretty busy with finishing up my degree but I never really stopped writing. It just shifted focus. I just wanted to post a sample of the type of stuff I’ve been doing.

Below I have a science highlight for one of my recent papers (it ended up being 20+ pages so I didn’t want to post the actual thing here). Water and geology are my passions, along with writing. So I thought it’d be cool to mix my worlds together a little bit. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn something too 🙂

Study Finds That California Summers Contribute to Seismic Events

Jacob Edwards 5/7/18

 

With the changing of the seasons in California, there are many factors that affect the likelihood of earthquakes. The most prevalent of these seasonal controls is called hydrologic loading. During the wet California winter, the weight of water and snow compresses the continental crust. When that water and snow is evaporated in the summer, the crust raises again. This happens around the late-summer or fall, depending on the area of California. The type of ground that the water is absorbed into plays a part as well. It can affect how long it takes the water weight to drain or evaporate. Areas like the central valley have more soil to hold and retain the winter rains, whereas the coastal and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges have less of a soil layer and also drain down into the valley.  (Nature, http://doi.org/10.1038/nature13275, 2014)

The up and down movement of the crust, especially in the coastal mountain ranges helps to loosen the San Andreas fault system. When the weight of the loaded water is removed in the late summer, the strike-slip faults of the San Andreas unclamp, making it easier for them to slip and cause an earthquake. (Nature, http://doi.org/10.1038/nature13275, 2014)

The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast model geometry or UCERF3 is a tool used by Johnson et. al in the scientific paper: Seasonal water storage, stress modulation, and California seismicity, 2017. It was a collective effort by the geology community to measure the likelihood of fault failure of nearly every fault in California. Johnson et. al used the data to see just how much stress these faults undergo every year and when it was at its maximum. These times happened to be when the crust was under its maximum stress due to hydrologic loading. Then Johnson et. al compared this data to the historical records of earthquakes in California. The majority of earthquakes in the past fit this model, happening when stress from the weight of winter rain and snow was at its greatest. (Science Vol. 356 Issue 6343 http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aak9547, 2017)

 

  1. Johnson, Christopher W., et al. “Seasonal Water Storage, Stress Modulation, and California Seismicity.” Science, vol. 356, no. 6343, 2017, pp. 1161–1164., doi:10.1126/science.aak9547.
  2. Amos, Colin B., et al. “Uplift and Seismicity Driven by Groundwater Depletion in Central California.” Nature, vol. 509, no. 7501, 2014, pp. 483–486., doi:10.1038/nature13275.