Note: I will add a few links later.
APRIL 2 2009 UPDATE: Links are added.
I know I haven’t been blogging much lately even though I have much to say. I think I should have more time in the next several weeks, because I’m now done with college! Yay! Well, not really.
Sure, I’m very glad I’m done with classes. But with graduation comes the lack of anything to do, unless I have a job. Unfortunately, there is no “glide path” to smooth the transition from college to the workforce. The plan was for me to look for a job this past quarter. Not surprisingly but dismayingly nonetheless, I have failed to secure a job at this point, in large part because I haven’t been able to send out as many applications as I would’ve liked. Part of this is because I was busy, but most of it is probably more because I’ve been lazy. So now my choices are to continue living in San Diego on my own saved money, which I don’t have much of, or return to Fairview to live with my parents for free. Though I strongly dislike living with my parents, the lack of an income stream leaves me little choice but to do so; if I were to live in SD with no income, as I did in summer 2007, I would probably exhaust my savings, as I did then, and I have no desire to repeat that outcome.
All else being equal though I would’ve much rather had stayed in SD, because of a promising internship opportunity I found at the California Wolf Center in Julian, in the mountains about an hour northeast of San Diego. I met with the internship coordinator (and overall Center manager) a week ago. Besides learning all about wolf behavior, animal husbandry, facility maintenance and upkeep, education and administration, through the internship I would have the opportunity to do research, which is the activity that by far excites me the most. I could do studies on behavior of wolves – which would be awesome since my top research interests* are in the behavior of large social predators, such as lions, hyenas, and… wolves! – AND… if I could complete a successful research project and publish a paper, that would give me a tremendous boost in applying to graduate school, one that could perhaps overcome my less-than-ideal GPA (3.0, and my major GPA might be even lower… yeeks). And of course it’d be a great learning experience as well, both in terms of wolf biology and in terms of how to do scientific research (which, I readily admit, I’m still shaky on).
The catch to all this? The internship is unpaid, and my parents would be unlikely to give me free help (I tried asking them a few days ago and they reacted angrily in the negative), and since in order to do the internship I have to live in San Diego, in order to live in San Diego I have to get a paid job in San Diego that could sustain me, and then I could go work at the California Wolf Center on whatever days I have off. So that’s my goal right now. I will apply to jobs everywhere of course, but my ideal outcome is to find a job in San Diego. Because I want to do research at the Wolf Center during the summer, I’d need to find a job in San Diego as quick as I can so I can start on my internship ASAP, but I’m hoping that I’ll be back in SD no later than the beginning of June.
I have other reasons for wanting to return to SD as well: the weather is nice, beaches are fantastic, cost of living is probably slightly cheaper than the Bay Area, and I feel like I haven’t nearly finished exploring and getting my fill of the city yet.
So right now I’m preparing to move back to my parents’ place in the Bay Area. But at this point I’m feeling a lot like General Douglas MacArthur in World War II. After being forced to withdraw from the Philippines, MacArthur famously declared in March 1942, “I came out of Bataan and I shall return.” Two years later he fulfilled his promise and returned to the Philippines. I will return to San Diego, but I’m really hoping it won’t take two years. Something on the order of two weeks would be much nicer.
*I’m also very interested in the behavior of large social herbivores (e.g. Cape buffalo, elephants, bison) and their antagonistic relationships with the large social predators that, in some extraordinary cases, are starting to adapt towards hunting them. (Lions preying on buffalo and elephants in the Okavango, as seen in the National Geographic program Relentless Enemies and on BBC’s Planet Earth, is a great example of what I’m talking about, and that’s one of the top few topics of interest I very much want to do research in.) I’m also very interested in antagonistic behavior between competing social predators – lions and hyenas being the classic example, and again a top research interest of mine.