Geology Personal Statement
My interest in the natural world started early in my life. At the age of 4 and at my first school years, my favorite trip was at the Greek Natural History museum where I admired the shinny purple stones, the giraffe, the lions, and most of all, the huge Triceratops skeleton.
Dinosaurs where the fascination of my younger years, I wanted to be a paleontologist. My favorite memories from visiting the UK at the age of seven are the toys I bought, a Jurassic Park themed Raptor and a Spinosaur, and also the visit to London’s Natural History Museum.
I can say that it was a letdown when at my second year of geology studies the paleontology was focused mostly on moluscs, pigs, horses, hippos and bears. I blame the Tethys for that.
I have to admit that my performance has fluctuated over my undergraduate studies. This was mostly because at my first two years I wasn’t sure if Geology was the right choice for me, I had greatly given thought in re-applying for Biology studies.
A sample drilling for petroleum leakage from a train accident that I attended at mid June 2009 (36 degrees Celsius) didn’t help, I was convinced that all a geologist would do is overseeing a drilling process and photographing the core samples.
My opinion changed when I took Engineering Geology class. I enjoyed the different scope of an engineer, it’s not about the petrology as much as the joints, the strength of the rock mass. All rocks now must have numbers. All the theoretical background I had as a geologist could be used for something quite different from what we had known as students.
Thanks to my professor, Mr. M., I found a field that I was really good at, and I enjoyed studying about it. This as a result made me a better geologist after all; I had to be good in all, not just a fraction of my studies. My performance and knowledge the last couple of years has improved dramatically. It concerns me that I could have finished my studies earlier and with better grades, but on the other hand, now I know what I want to do in my life.
The thing I like most in Engineering Geology is that it does not only it requires a solid earth science background, but it’s an applied field. I tend to see geologists and engineers as right brain- left brain, very different groups. An engineering geologist I believe is a bipolar situation.
Your scientific side makes you curious about something; the engineering side makes you solve problems. You will have to communicate with different people from different backgrounds, from the drillers to the project manager. This I enjoyed the most when I worked for Intergeo, a geoenvironmental company.
I liked that I could work outdoors as much as to an office, this is a great plus for an engineering geologist. I could listen to the different approaches of the project and learn much from it, how an environmental engineer accesses it, how an engineering geologist, how the manager calculates the costs and handles the customer.
I found equally informing being at a drilling site and being able to see difference between an ophiolite and a limestone, and reading a final report at my desk.
Being an engineering geologist enables you to see features hidden most of the times, from constructing a trench to a highway slope. I enjoyed studying Structural Geology and as a geoengineer I don’t think I will likely miss it. Another thing that I like most is rock, much more than soils, and Greece is the perfect place for it. “Rock speaks”, a geologist working for Metro construction at Thessaloniki, once told me.
Tunnels are my fascination; I loved learning about the Egnatia tunnels, the problems that they encountered drilling through flysch, ophiolites and limestone rocks. Water flow, rock wedges, old landslides, fault zones, I was very puzzled at the begging how can someone understand the existence of those issues just by walking on the project area, looking at some aerial photographs and some core drills.
I find very fulfilling to be able to help producing something as beautiful as a bridge, a tunnel, a dam, and go back out there thirty years latter and see your handiwork. Engineering geology I believe is takes an enormous amount of engineering judgment and maturity.
Greece has an amazing geomorphology and geological history. At the end of our studies we had a six-day trip focused on the Geology of Greece and Engineering Geology. This I believe was the best lesson I ever took.
We walked through peridotites and pillow lavas: a slab of oceanic crust and upper mantle emplaced onto continental lithosphere.
The highlight of our trip for me was the red and white bands of folded slates and radiolarites as seen from a cut slope for a dam construction at Acheloos River. Geology
makes driving around and soaking in the mountains, their history, their scientific wonders (unstudied essentially), all the more glorious!
The scope of my diploma thesis was the paleomagnetic properties of a historic furnace found buried at Thessaloniki. I chose a thesis in paleomagnetism (and not in applied geology) because I was fascinated by magnetism as a phenomenon and how it can be captured within rocks.
Geophysics has a broad spectrum and is one of the most interesting fields in earth sciences. I wouldn’t have the chance to learn about it after the completion of my undergraduate studies. To this decision helped my professor, Mrs. K., who helped me a lot during my studies.
I pursue an MSc degree with an ultimate goal a PhD. I chose Imperial because the master program deals almost exactly in my point of interest, aside from the high standards of the university and the facilities provided. Imperial has been my first choice for a long time; I see it as a fulfillment of my dreams.
I hope that through the academic year I will find a specific field that I really enjoy and hopefully pursue a PhD. I believe that because the Master studies are 1 year is a great plus and will make up the lost time from my undergraduate studies. The program is highly challenging and this is greatly motivational.
Nowadays in my free time I read scientific books and articles, open courseware and watch online courses to get accustomed to the terminology and get an in-depth knowledge of Engineering Geology, so as not to have any background knowledge deficiencies and be completely focused in my MSc studies.
My determination to study what I aspire, my love for the subject and my desire to distinct will find the best place to nourish at Imperial College.