My carefree (ha!) days as an undergraduate are numbered, and I can take a hint when my dad keeps giving me books about applying to grad school, so here's my most recent idea:
(Dad, this post is dedicated to you, by the way...because I'm sure no one else is really interested in the teeter-totter--no wait, maybe it's more of a tilt-a-whirl--that is "Jordan trying to figure out what she wants to do with herself after college.")
All this space stuff I've been learning about is amazingly cool, but I got interested in space in the first place through geology, and the things that interest me most about human space exploration are the things that relate to geology. (What can I say, I just think rocks are really cool.) So why haven't I been studying geology? Well, maybe it's because when after working in a geology lab I realized that I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life.
As much as I complain about my major, I do think that I enjoy engineering. I haven't really gotten my hands dirty on any huge engineering projects yet, but there's still something attractive about the field.
Now how do these things fit together? There are several schools that offer, within either the environmental engineering or the civil engineering department, a sub-field of geotechnical or geological engineering. (I'll just say geo-engineering for short.) It consists of engineering things that are made of or in rocks, and engineering solutions to natural disasters like earthquakes and floods. And that's just the beginning.
I've been yearning to return to the west coast ever since I first started at MIT (no one needs to remind me that in high school I pined away for the east coast), so in that vein there are programs that have a focus on geo-engineering at UW, Berkeley, and Caltech (to name just a few). And if I decide I want to take a hiatus to the midwest, the University of Minnesota has a geo-engineering program as well. And if I get really adventurous, there are always programs in Australia and New Zealand.
Of course I still have fantasies about studying literature, or linguistics, or becomming Indiana Jones, so we'll see what happens when I sit on this idea for awhile.
And there's still the question, what do I want to do before I go to grad school? I'm still waiting to hear back from Maria on how Teach For America goes.