Okay, so this past Tuesday was the first job shadow day offered to the seniors at my high school. The juniors were all taking the ACT, so it basically was a free day for us seniors. Most of the people I talked to mearley planed on job shadowing their pillow, or in some cases Get Air, but I was super excited to find someone to job shadow!
A couple of weeks prior, I called up the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Kentucky (UK). I gave my information to the woman who answered, and within two days I had received a reply from Doctor T offering for me to shadow him. Not having heard of him before, I looked him up on UK’s web-sight. I discovered that not only is he a professor of astronomy and physics at UK, but a Doctor of astrophysics who performs his own research! AND he received he degree from University of California BERKLEY!! That was my absolute dream college for about the first ten years of my life. I was so ecstatic, I’d never even met someone who had anything to do with that field!
I had the best time. Doctor T was very sweet and witty, and he reminded me of my great-grandpa. He spoke very highly of his adult daughter, often he would say how he tried to give me advice as if he was giving it to her. We discussed different careers I could potentially have, and how, even if I decided I wanted to pursue a job other than astronomy in the future, starting off by majoring in physics would be a good backboard to continue grad school for a variety of degrees. Although, Doctor T warned me to be prepared if I continue with my goals of being an astrophysicist, he said astronomy was for dreamers.
Later, two of his graduate students joined us and talked to me about their studies. They both had really interesting research, but honestly I didn’t understand most of what they were saying to me. Doctor T suggested a Tai food place for lunch, but gave me numerous options and inevitably allowed me to decide where we would eat. Well, I love the Tai place we have where I live, so I said his suggestion would be great. Over lunch we continued to talk about astronomy and physics, and towards the end of the meal Doctor T asked his graduate students if they had any advice for me in college this fall. Basically, they just suggested that I get involved in a lot of organizations, go to sporting events, and make a ton of friends. The best advice they gave me was totally “power naps.” One of his grad students was on her schools soccer team during her undergraduate college, and she said she lived off fifteen to twenty minute naps she and her teammates called “power naps,” and I defiantly plan on executing a ton bunch of those.
After lunch, a grad student gave me and Doctor T a tour of UK’s observatory. It’s was so cool. The telescope was huge, even though they said it was actually really small in comparison to other telescopes. The telescope they have there at UK is in the middle of campus to allow access for students. Although there’s a downside to having the observatory in the middle of campus; it’s surrounded by bright lights, which makes viewing things through a telescope difficult. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience.
At the end of our afternoon, Doctor T waited with me for my grandpa to arrive. As we waited he told me of the different space centers in the United States, and I told him of my visit to the Kennedy Space Center and how incredible it was. I said to him that if I received my dream job, I would love to work in the kind of environment the Kennedy Space Center offers. As my grandpa was walking up to meet us, Doctor T looked over at me and said though what little he knew about me, he could tell I was defiantly a dreamer.