life

Where Have I Been?

You may or may not remember from the introductory post I did a while ago that I was in graduate school working on my masters of science in biology and since my last class (biostatistics) ended I hunkered down and started studying for my comprehensive exam which was a 4 hour test on 10 classes over the course of the past 4 years.  Between still working full time, having an energetic toddler, and studying for comps I decided to take a hiatus from writing.  After I finished my exam I had to spend the next 11 days down at Mississippi State University running from lab to lab completing the capstone portion of my masters.  It was a grueling almost 2 weeks but I finished my program and was informed last friday (July 7, 2017) that I passed the comprehensive exam and I’m pretty confident that I’ll pass the capstone class.  Now I’m just waiting on the official word that I am a MS degree holder.  While that is good news I definitely had some adventures when this Yankee city girl ended up in the wilds of Mississippi.

I will not lie I was a little nervous heading down to Mississippi for 12 days leaving on Father’s Day for a variety of reasons.  I was leaving my 15 month old Munchkin with The Mr. and Babci, I was a very stereotypical New Jersey girl heading down to the South, I was battling a brutal case of strep throat (102 degree fever on Thursday before I left), and I was trying to stay on top of the very hectic schedule the program coordinator had set out for us which was jam-packed laboratory days from 8am-6pm.  I flew down and ended up meeting a lot of really great people from all around: Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan by way of Florida, Illinois, Texas,  and then me.  I definitely was an odd person out because I am loud, take no prisoners and curse like a sailor (I blame my father…) and many of them were not but amazingly we (for the most part) meshed pretty well together and worked together to try and make sure everyone was able to succeed through the grueling days with the lab reports to write and exams to take (for 12 days I had 5 lab reports, 6 or 7 exams and quizzes, and then a few other assignments) as well as some time for fun along the way.

I ended up going “herpin’” with a couple of the guys that were in the program which basically consisted of driving around looking for amphibians or reptiles around dusk.  One of the guys, I’ll refer to him as M-squared, knew way more about herpetology than anyone else I’ve ever met and could identify frogs by their call and most organisms on site.  He was our guide as we went driving around the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and would identify various frogs, snakes, and other things we saw.  We even saw a crayfish (or crawdad) crossing the road (I feel like there’s a joke there…) and got attacked by a giant Stag Beetle but that’s a story for a different time.

We also ended up having a few nights off where we didn’t have a lot to do and were able to go out and enjoy ourselves.  It was almost like reliving college days but with much better bank account and much worse sleeping in ability!  I missed my family but had to concentrate on what I was doing and didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk with them but the few times I did it was great to connect with them but I’m not going to lie, I embraced my unencumbered lifestyle.

It was the first time I had spent any significant time away from the Munchkin and I had asked for some advice from some other moms (that’s always a mixed bag isn’t it?) and one of them said to make sure I put myself fully into the adventure because otherwise what was I leaving her for?  So I took that advice and focused on where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with instead of constantly worrying about what was happening 1,000 miles away and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyway.  Luckily the Mr. is someone who is quite capable of handling his daughter without any trouble but I wasn’t sure how the 5 fuzzy four-legged children or the state of the house would fair.  I knew I would come back to everyone fed and alive I just wasn’t sure how well it would have been done!

After being out of reality for 12 days and shedding all of the roles that I play I came back home and slipped back into those roles but with one less burden.  Those 12 days were a blessing in many forms: I had to focus on what I needed to and I had to let go and let the Mr. handle it all for good or for ill.

I’m glad I was gone and now I’m glad I’m back!

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