By Rachael Kroot
Published December 17, 2012
It’s winter break! After a very exhausting couple of days (including a sixteen hour drive home), I am finally back in Pennsylvania. I left Mississippi two days after my last final. I would have gone sooner, but an allergic reaction left me in bed hopped up on Benadryl the day I was supposed to make the drive. At least I was done with my exams by then, or I would have had some real trouble focusing. You can’t make these things up!
Now that I’m home and off Benadryl, it’s nice to spend time with friends and family. Of course, the work of a true grad student is never over. A lot of my second year grad student friends are staying in Starkville for an extra couple of weeks to work on their theses. Defenses come in the spring semester, so it’s cram time for them. Boy, am I glad I don’t have to worry about that!
Other friends are buying next semester’s textbooks in advance to get a head start on the reading. That’s not really my style. I tend not to read textbooks… and if you remember my post from the beginning of the semester, most professors said I didn’t need to anyway. So, I would rather save myself the money.
No thesis and no textbooks does not mean I can let my mind run idle all month, though. What can I do? I have set some personal goals for myself to stay on top of the weather this break.
1. First and foremost, I want to take the time to follow different weather models. I would like to become more comfortable reading them and picking out differences between each models’ predictions.
2. Using the models, I want to practice forecasting. My goal is to make daily forecasts for both my homes in PA and MS. If I keep track of my forecasts in a spreadsheet, maybe I can learn where I misinterpret things and adjust accordingly.
3. Very simply, I want to watch the local weather on tv. With a semester of lab experience under my belt, I’m hoping I will be able to better pick up on what works on screen and what doesn’t.
4. Last but not least, I want to put out some feelers for a summer internship. I’m hoping I can find something in PA or MD, so it’s never too soon to start asking around!
If you’re a grad student with a nice long winter break like me, I recommend finding your own way to stay involved in your field. But whatever you do, I hope you also have some fun and enjoy the holidays. You’ve earned it!
Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently attending graduate school for broadcast meteorology.
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