My TV meteorology class was...interesting. I learned the graphics/maps are not really behind you, but on a TV screen off to the side. You can't wear blue or that part of your body disappears on screen, and the second that camera light turns on your mind goes completely and utterly blank. (Most on-air weather forecasters ad lib as they go - they know the weather forecast and don't have a script.) Well, my mind went blank, and I couldn't remember the names of states or cities. At the end of the class, we made a resume tape that we could send to TV stations in hopes that they would hire us. I enjoyed the class, but forecasting on TV wasn't what I wanted to do. Occasionally, we'll watch the video for laughs as my children find it quite hilarious.
I recently went back to Penn State to tape an interview with Dr. Nese for Weather World. He was a Ph.D student while I was there, and way to studious at the time to mingle with us undergraduates. You may recognize him from his 3 years on The Weather Channel. The weather station is still located in the top floor of the Walker Building - a nice big area with windows all around so we could see the weather fronts coming in. It was recently renovated to keep up with the technology. As soon as I walked into the elevator in the Walker building, the memories just slammed into me.
Back in my day, we had a map wall filled with maps that were printed off these huge printers. They used purple ink that reeked. We hung them still damp. Below is a picture of me and Ed Chiang, another graduate student, but he was cool. We both wore our Dept. of Meteo sweatshirts and the department wanted to get a picture of us. I was supposed to look like I was asking Ed to explain some weather detail like we were a couple of weather weenies. We called the people that would drool over big storms, weather weenies :) And yes, we all acknowledged the fact we were all weather weenies. In that picture, you can see the map wall behind us. When friends and family used to ask me what the weather was going to be like the next day or so, I would say, "I don't have my maps." Of course now the maps are available online.
I also included a picture of the map wall as it looks today - a big difference. And the other renovations to the weather station looked sleek and modern and comfortable -see picture below. Me and my meteo friends hung out in the station all the time - we did our homework there, worked the campus weather station there, we goofed off there, we fell asleep on the couches there, we hooked up there ;> Let's just say, at that time, there were about 10 female meteo students and 65 males - odds were good for the girls.
Right before I graduated, my good friend Jennifer and I sneaked up on the roof of the Walker building and had a picnic with a bottle of wine. The classes were hard - all math, science and fluid dynamics - but the people were fun and I had a blast. When I went back, I watched the students in the station. They hadn't changed - they still wore their Penn State sweatshirts - a group still sold special Dept. of Meteo T-shirts and hoodies - they still drooled over the weather forecasts - they still mooched food.
Yep, I had come full circle. I might miss those days, but I'm happy to be where I am - writing books, hanging with my family, traveling, and not having to mooch food anymore :) And I still have my curly hair! It's just not as long (see picture below).