So I’ve been on vacay since last Wednesday (bliss!) and it ain`t over until Monday (double bliss!)
Last Thursday was a super-fantastic day. I hopped in my car, hit the road and took a drive down to The University, where I hope to be soon immersed in geekly goodness, and met up with Dr. B, my future supervisor.
First of all, The University is smack dab in the middle of a super-cute little village, and looks over a river. It’s a small campus, only 1500 students total (all of whom are studying environmental/biology stuff of some kind), and is loaded with green space, trees, and old stone buildings covered in climbing ivy. There is a mini-farmer’s market on site, bike paths galore, and an 80 hectare naturalized woodlot with trails. It therefore gets eleventy-million extra bonus points for good vibes and picturesqueness.
After wandering around in a building that seemed normal on the outside, but had a strangely hexagonal-feeling corridor layout inside, and eventually asking for directions, I found Dr. B in his office. He’s a young guy, probably no more than 10 years my senior, if that. He’s quick to laugh and wears a gold earing and jeans. He gets bonus points for laid-back-ness. I think it’s safe to say we hit it off right away; our personalities are a good fit. He introduced me to my future labmates, a collection of PhD, Masters and undergrad students, all of whom seem to genuinely enjoy their work. They welcomed me with open arms and ready smiles, and drew me into the fold by showing me their “lab mascot”, Benny Lava. We laughed and swaped field work horror stories (theirs involved brand new lab vehicle doors getting ripped off in the woods, and being stuck 40 feet above the ground, suspended by climbing gear, in the middle of raging thunderstorms; mine involved howler monkeys. Ask me some time about those bastard howler monkeys, it’s a good story).
Dr. B took us all out to lunch at the faculty club, which was delightfully stereotypical in its adornments of dark, polished mahogany and old marble; our little jean-and-sneaker-clad group stuck out amidst the tweed and bowties of the senior staff, but none of us cared as we supped on salmon and chicken a la king.
I sat in on Journal Club; it’s basically a group of grad students who get together a few times a month to dissect a scientific article. I loved sitting amongst them – intelligent, eager, questionning and inquisitive, not afraid to respectfully challenge each other’s opinions and ideas. Some dined on leftovers out of tuperware containers. Not a few of them showed signs of recent sleepless nights- bed head hair, rumpled clothes, large thermal mugs of coffee, unshaven faces. They seemed glad to be there nonetheless.
Just before I left, Dr. B got the email he’d been waiting for all week: theresearch grant he’d applied for, the one that would fund a good chunk of my studies, came through. An exhuberant “WHOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!” echoed down the hall outside the Journal Club meeting room. Dr. B came running in, exclaimed “I got it” and was rewarded with a round of applause and cheers. He then turned to me, pointed and said: “I’ll see YOU in January!”, then bounded back down to the hall to his next appointment. He was most definitely a very happy dude.
I drove home with a glow in my heart and a smile on my face, because I knew for SURE I had made the right decisions up to this point. I knew that in January, I’d pack up my knapsack and laptop, drive back to The University to start this new chapter in my life; I’d be going home.
I can’t freaking wait.