anyone who has majored in geology, please give tips, advice, warnings, pros, cons
Take every field trip that you can. A geologist builds a library of features to look for in the rocks, and guided trips are the way to do it.
If the opportunities arise to attend conferences, take them. You might find some of the talks are above you. If nothing else, those will prepare you to make connections when you formally study the material in class.
I also recommend that you not skimp on chemistry. Get all you can out of required courses and consider going beyond the requirements.
Study your minerals and chemical components, focus on plate tectonics, groundwater, waves, crustal formation, composition of Earth-This can all be applied to space science and planetary geology. There is a lot more to it than just studying rocks, it is a whole wonderful new world.
There are no cons, only pros. Go for it.
Sounds cliche but find something you like to do. You should definitely find opportunities to go into the field during the summer months either with grad students, professors or some sort of internship program (this is when proffesors and grad students will be most active in gathering raw data for their research). Talk with your advisor about job openings in the department, scholarships, undergraduate project, and graduate school guidance.
As a geology graduate, echoing in part what others have said:
-Go on as many field trips as possible; take advantage of any student conferences (i.e. SIMEW and SIFT in Canada) that you can
-Enroll in as many field courses as possible; even do geophysics field school if you are in geology.
-Pick up as many electives as possible; it will broaden your geological perspective in ways you may not be able to forsee.
-Read as many papers as possible; you will understand only a fraction at first, but the learning curve will quickly propel you forward.
-Take as many writing courses as you can, and write often. Even start a blog to hone your skills.
-Present as often as possible. It can be extremely painful and stressful, but it will be very beneficial.
-Start a dialog with your professors very early; don't pester them for answers like every other undergrad, but ask them legitimate questions
-Work in private industry for the summer. Not only will you make make excellent money, but it will be akin to taking an extra course.
-Don't limit yourself to either hard rock or soft rock, but don't hold yourself back either if you have a clear preference.
-If you have the opportunity to do an honour's thesis, DO IT.
-If you are looking to get into private industry, make sure you have all the science courses for professional registration (i.e. P.Geo status in Canada).
-Take the time to learn the 'boring' or 'hard' stuff (i.e. optical properties, structural geology, isotopes) - it'll pay off big-time eventually.
Enviromental geology is a very active area of research and private industry work in many countries. And in countries where mining is a major industry, the two fields of study go hand in hand
A solid grasp on the classic fundamentals is a must as is the ability to write concisely and technically. Though, as the bulk of geological work is in either mining and mineral exploration, skills that will give you a head start for these fields is what will give you the edge.
+ Learn about the different mineralisation styles, genetic models, temporal and spatial distribution and lithological and tectonic associations.
+ Mineral and rock identification skills are a must and if you can learn what weathered rocks look like as most of the stuff you see sticking out of the ground in areas that have not undergone recent continental glaciation will be often highly weathered.
+ make sure you learn your sulphide species and their weathered products.
+ A good understanding of structural geology is also a very good tool to have.
+ A good understanding of geophysical methods and their application is very useful.
+ A good understanding of regolith and regolith processes is necessary for an exploration geologist.
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