Thursday, June 29, 2017

Chit Chattin' in Chetek

One of my favorite things in life is adventure that takes me out of my comfort zone, and every single day that I've been here in Wisconsin has been that. I've plunged into the freezing cold Lake Menomin after a long, rainy day, I've traveled around the entire perimeter of the Chetek Chain of Lakes to chat with strangers all in one afternoon, and I've tried the squeakiest food on the planet: cheese curds. And it's not just these adventures that I enjoy doing, it's the people that I am honored to enjoy them with. I get to work with the most fun, adventurous people; they make me laugh too much to be worried about stepping out of my comfort zone.

There's another cool thing about research - all the interactions you get with people you meet along the way. Researchers sometimes hope to solve problems within a community, and we can't do that if we don't go around and meet the actual community members themselves. Today, my partner Ryleigh and I distributed tourism surveys to 14 different locations around the Chetek area, and people were so incredibly friendly everywhere we went. I can't deny, it's pretty nerve-wracking walking up to a building where you have no idea who you're going to meet, and if they'll be accepting of what you're doing. But in a similar way, when you're analyzing a research question, you have no idea if your expectations will be met - they may just prove your own internal theories wrong and you have to be willing to accept that.

The next step is compiling our data and putting it into statistical analysis programs, which will be a whole new adventure that I absolutely cannot wait for! 

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