Life After Alaska
I spent three weeks in AK driving to lakes, emptying traps full of stickleback, fertilizing innumerable clutches of eggs by dissecting those stickleback, and then sending mass shipments of embryos back to our lab at Clark University (among other things). A daunting yet satisfying workload, to say the least, but what happened after Alaska?
Well, I flew home to Boston, rested up for a couple of days, and got right back to work monitoring my Master’s thesis at Clark. Some of the embryos we fertilized while in AK were destined for my experiment and they became my life (with the help of many others who were kind enough to lend a hand or two) for the rest of the summer. I said goodbye to the luxury of having weekends off and got to know my stickleback babies on a more personal level. Sounds like hard work, you say? Hardly. Compared to the three weeks I spent in AK previously, my summer was a breeze. I am extremely thankful to have been sent into the field, particularly at the beginning of the summer where I was suddenly kicked into high gear and forced to reevaluate my priorities. By the time I got back to Worcester I was so used to days packed to the brim with excitement and responsibility that I actually found my thesis work to be quite relaxing. I actually enjoyed taking a few hours a day out of my weekend to visit my developing embryos, and the satisfying sense of accomplishment I was left with afterwards. I think it is safe to say that my time in AK was actually life changing, and allowed me to grow up a little and become more confident in myself in the field and in the lab. Who knew?
I am currently still at Clark continuing my fifth year and moving into the next stages of my thesis work. I have finished my data collection and am currently immersed in the wonders of effect sizes and power analysis, (yay statistics!). I am ready and willing to see where this next year of my life will take me.