'I found myself'

Shannon Hall

As a geology major, I have the pleasure of being able to travel to various locations in order to observe my science. This summer was no exception. I  traveled to Oregon and northern California for 11 days with my fellow geologists, and learned more about myself in the process.

Trips are nothing new in the Geology Department at USI. Most geology classes will have a field trip planned in advance. Usually an average trip is a day or two long and involve a night of camping in hopefully fair weather or even a hotel stay. The subject matter is not too extreme, often requiring a field notebook to keep data and observations.

This Oregon trip was much different being 2,200 miles away from home and 11 days long. On this trip we crossed four to five climate belts as well as three to four vegetation belts.

What this equates to is pure confusion as I wandered through temperate, cool rainforests along the coast into the hot, dry environment of the mountains of northern California. After that, I found myself sleeping on snow in the middle of July in a tent that was surrounded by alien mosquitoes that were the size of half an inch at Crater Lake.

The amount of driving on the trip was large, coming in at a total of 1,610 miles. This made for what seemed like exceptionally long days. Coupled with waking up at 7 a.m. every day and falling asleep around midnight or later; it was no wonder what happened next.

Halfway through the trip, all of the days began to blur into a giant mess. This is when I found I had lost my sense of fear and time. No longer did I care if bugs were crawling on me nor did I fear any dangerous height or task.

To me, the sun rose and the sun set, and I saw a lot of rocks along the way. Nothing could stand in my way.

I never knew I had the capacity to perform in such a manner. I found a side of myself that was excited to take risks and rise up to the challenges before me without fear or hesitation.

After this trip, I felt mature, strong, healthy and wise, which has made all the difference to me in solidifying that studying geology was the best decision I have ever made in my life.