Friday, June 19, 2015

Birthday Beer, Bikes, and Blue-Green Algae: My First Week in Menomonie

            Although I have only been in Menomonie for 5 days this project has proved to be a great learning experience already. Before traveling here I had never flown alone and the last time I had flown was almost 10 years ago with my family, so getting to Wisconsin on Sunday was an adventure in itself. That Sunday was also very special in that it was my 21st birthday! After arriving on campus, getting unpacked and having a picnic, Dr. Nels Paulson offered to take me out along with some of the LAKES crew to a bar. Having my first legal drink be a Wisconsin beer was an opportunity all in itself.
            The next day we met as a group and got our bikes that afternoon. I have never ridden a bike as a means of transportation before and I love it so far. It is a new kind of freedom. I only have to depend on myself to get from one place to another. Slowly but surely I am feeling less and less lost and I am sure in no time I will feel comfortable getting around on my own. I am one of the few that think Menomonie seems like a big place. I graduated high school with 96 students and I attend a college with less than 600 undergraduate students. In time I am sure that Menomonie will feel smaller and more like home when I become more acquainted with it. Exploring the small shops and cafes in Menomonie has been fun and has reminded me much of home, giving me a sense of belonging.
            The biologists and geochemists have already been getting to work in the field and in the lab. I am part of the biology group and I will be working under Dr. Steve Nold this summer with Lanna Anderson. I have not done much fieldwork before coming here so there is so much I am already learning! Getting in the lab and learning alongside my new peers has been a great experience thus far. Coming from such a small school means that the equipment in our labs is often antiquated. I feel very glad that I will be using better equipment this summer.

            Talk to you soon gracious reader and goodbye for meow!

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