Why hello there, lovely Wordpress world that I so neglect! There's a ginormous amount of things I should post about, both marine news and personal life greatness, but I'm just going to ease back into the habit of blogging without making too much of a thang. Since my class has ended all there is left for me to do is prepare for the upcoming Fiji trip (!) and grad school in general, so I've been kicking back and truly enjoying the simple things in life. Lots of reading, cooking, random spurts of adventure, and sunshine. Oh yeah, and work, but these days tutoring the girls is more of an enjoyment than a chore, they've grown so much this year and are impressing me every day with their curiosity (the other day one of them asked me about vaccines, and let me prattle on about adjuvant and herd immunity and Guardasil for 15 minutes straight, it was bliss)! Basically, it's been a long time since I've had a substantial amount of free time. I've been constantly working, volunteering, studying for various versions of the GRE, and trying to add relevant and valuable things to my resume...and now that I'm in, now that grad school is actually happening, I am granted this amazing window of time where I can direct my energy towards whatever I want. And it's amazing! I'm trying to soak every ounce of it up, because come August (or June even, our first field trip as a lab!) things are gonna get realllll crazy up in here :) Which I am RIDICULOUSLY stoked for. And which brings me to my next point (of the sloppy, not-very-solid points I've made in this post so far): getting back into science as a daily way of life.
One of my favorite things I have going these days is the weekly literature review seminar I'm a part of at UCLA. Even though the research project I was a part of is technically over, our little lab group still gathers to talk about papers we find, chemical ecology, and science life in general. Today our lively discussion included (in addition to chemosensory systems, of course) the topics of worm castings, summer internships, victory gardens, and the colorful history of Fiji, as well as accounts of Dr. Z's numerous near-death plane experiences (note to self: never. ever. fly with Dr. Z). I left UCLA a happy camper, and even more excited for grad school in the fall where once again I'll be immersed in the scientific conversation every day :) Since graduating from undergrad, I've really missed lab life, being a part of a greater academic community, and the access to scientific resources/conversation/development that the academic community offers as a whole. Working at UCLA really opened me up to that realization (as well as the scary thought that I could maybe be happy with being a student my whole life - ahhh! *erasing thought from brain*), so even though I'm very happy living my easy-peasy lifestyle for the moment, it is so so so awesome that I'll be re-joining the hustle and bustle of the scientific community in the near future!
Hmmm that ended on a cheesier note than expected haha. Here are some random photos to distract you from that fact.