Dhows in Zanzibar

Hard travel = memorable journeys (East Africa #4)

Hong Kong skyline

Hong Kong (China #1 and #2)

November 24, 2007 Comments (3) Americas, Backyard, Experiences

Out of the frying pan….. (Graduation preparation)

Despite an absence of updates since my return to Canada, I have not abandoned this blog. It was a mere state of hibernation as I plunged, like some nutty Scandinavian member of a Polar Bear Club, into the first semester of my final year at UBC.

This term I opted to forego involvement in the executive of the Varsity Outdoor Club, and any major involvement in the Mining Executive (I represent students at 3 meetings with industry members each year). Yet my term has been as busy as I could ever imagine, despite thinking last year was busy! I’ll outline some of what I’ve been up to:

Applying for scholarships. Jon convinced me I had a shot at a Rhodes Scholarship. He’s given me some of the best advice of my life, so I listened. A lengthy application procedure followed – including 6 reference letters! How it works is that UBC selects 8 candidates to send to the BC Selection Committee, who select 1 candidate each year. I would have liked to make it past the UBC judges. I didn’t. It turns out that UBC failed to see the subtle genius of my application, and how my life is intricately tied with Cecil John Rhodes’. I didn’t make it explicit, because I didn’t think they needed a history lesson, but I’ll lay it out for you here:

Cecil John Rhodes founded De Beers in 1880. I worked for De Beers Canada in 2005.
The territory of Northern Rhodesia, named after Cecil Rhodes in 1895, became independent in 1964 and changed its name to Zambia. I worked in Zambia in 2007.

Come on, clearly I was destined to win this thing! Ah well. Who wants arguably the most prestigious scholarship in the world – a fully-paid 2 years at Oxford – anyways?

Applying for jobs. Who knew university could fly by so quickly? Suddenly I realize so many of the strangers I met in Vancouver have now become close friends, whom I will sorely miss when I leave to work. Work where you ask? If only I knew! Lots of interviews but no offers forthcoming so far. Canada or Australia seem likely choices.

Organizing/fundraising for February field trip to Chile. Every year the graduating class of UBC Mining Engineers flies off for an international field trip over reading break. Past years were in Brazil, Poland, and China; this year’s in Chile. We need to raise $85000 and self-organize the entire trip. I’ve been helping out as much as I can, and fortunately my fellow engineers are awesome team members: About 3/4 the class is really making a contribution. That’s a pretty good fraction, trust me.
On a related note Colin, Jeremy and I went down to a mining investment conference in San Francisco last weekend. Partially to raise field trip money but also to get our school’s program out there and network with industry. What an incredible experience! So many hospitality suites, sponsored parties at expensive nightclubs and art galleries, business cards and job offers. I had the finest hors d’oeuvres and wines I’ve ever sampled, had a day to do some sightseeing and photography, and unforgettable late-night wandering with Colin around downtown SF. Check out the San Francisco flickr set for photos. One of the best parts was to spend quality time with two solid buddies from mining.

Rock climbing, as usual. Great trips to Penticton, BC and Smith Rock, Oregon with the VOC. Fun times as usual. Click the locations in the previous sentence for links to flickr photos.

Next term I’m only taking 4 classes, by far my lightest ever! What a way to finish university. Hopefully I can get some great backcountry skiing and (indoor) rock climbing done. And make sure to spend more time with those extra-special friends I’ll miss post-graduation.

3 Responses to Out of the frying pan….. (Graduation preparation)

  1. Ah, Cecil Rhodes, eh?

    I was recently reminded of a fantastic quotation from the man, thanks to a book I’m reading at the moment (about a village cricket side that toured the world). It was: “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life.”

    I mean…

    Bad luck on the scholarship application, though, old chap.

    Hopefully catch up soon.

  2. Emily Payne says:

    Too bad about Rhodes, it seemed Cecil was your man…

    I guess it wasnt in the stars.

    Hey, Im moving to Toronto for two years in May, up in yo hometown! Hey-hey.

  3. Emily Payne says:

    Good luck with your final term at school, Mike. Sweet, beautiful freedom is whispering your name.

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