Matilda O’Connor

Master of Science (Earth Sciences) student, Matilda O'Connor, discusses her love of geology and her advice to students looking to undertake research.

Geology is a truly fascinating science; to think that the world is around 4.5 billion years old, and we as humans only live to a mere 80, blows my mind. I also love the outdoors and learning about the processes that have created the beautiful planet we live on. Geology is a well-rounded science that incorporates a range of disciplines (chemistry, physics, maths, biology) to create a history of the earth. Understanding the earth’s history is important for the development of society both economically and environmentally.

I completed my Bachelor of Science studies at the University of Melbourne majoring in Geology. Geology is a relatively small faculty, so getting to know the professors/lecturers is a lot easier. Because of this, I was able to discuss a range of projects with the academic staff and choose something that focused my interests.

I am now studying a Master of Science (Earth Sciences) and have met many interesting and inspirational people, including fellow students, academics and geologists in the industry. Because I was able to choose my research project, I am studying something that I am highly passionate about. Research has enhanced my organization, communication and goal setting skills

As part of my research I am going Germany to complete my fieldwork and take samples to bring back to Australia. I will be working alongside a German in one of the brown coal mines just outside of Cologne, in a small medieval town called Bedburg. Although it will be challenging, I cannot wait for this experience; to actually look at the brown coal I have been reading about for so long, to improve my German and to work alongside someone who has been in the industry for many years.

To current and suture students I say this: keep busy by maintaining your hobbies, fitness and social activities. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, can be both mentally and physically demanding; that’s why it’s important to have something to look forward to. Furthermore, setting both short and long-term goals is important, particularly for your research, as there are not as many deadlines compared to undergraduate so it can be difficult to keep motivated.

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