But first, an interruption:
Walking to the shuttle, I happened across a group of people, looking at something on the ground. Ever curious, I went to check it out, and found a dense nest on the ground with several baby squirrels around and in the fallen nest. One was squealing, they all didn't yet have their eyes open.
A nearby onlooker called CLAWS, which I guess is a wildlife rehabilitation center. He then gave that phone number to an RA, who promised to take care of the situation. I went to grab a box, and someone else found a tshirt, which I used to put the squirrels in the box.
Here's the part that made me responsible - in this process the RA disappeared. We later saw him walking far away, eating a sandwich, before disappearing entirely. The undergrads, sweetly concerned, stuck around for a while until I finally found the number of CLAWS and called them myself. Undergrads, I guess, have better things to do, and I shooed them away. So here I am, sitting next to one of the buildings, with a cardboard box of three baby squirrels next to me (there were five, but two of them weren't breathing when we got to them.. campus police came and took them and the nest to their final resting place, probably a dumpster somewhere).
My evening, interrupted.
But I enjoy it. And I enjoy that I don't have any commitments pulling me (except some grad student keg party). Up until now, I have experienced only extreme predictability. As usual, I misread the bus schedule, and ended up having to take a different one, and make the hike to my car. Since then I've consistently missed the shuttle, so.. it's good that I know how to take the alternate route now. I'll be employing that again tonight.
I've registered for classes:
- Applied data analysis of environmental science (statistics)
- Fundamentals of GIS and geospatial analysis
- Conservation biology with Stuart Pimm
- Basic ecology
- Land Use principles and policy
In no particular order, I have also:
- Met some people, though due to the usual social awkwardness, not nearly as many as I should have by now.
- Been fed a lot of sandwiches, and sweet tea (!) not quite Google food, but still free
- Gone to a heck of a lot of info sessions
- Talked with my advisor (Norm Christensen)
- Applied for assistantships
- Found, ordered or inquired after my textbooks
Apparently I'm also crazy about my dancing, because I've scheduled a dance lesson in Charlotte for next Monday night (2.5 hrs away) with Dimitrijus Sazinus. When did that happen?
My apartment is huge, and internet-less (see Facebook for photos). My evenings are totally devoid of plans. I'm having trouble with this, actually - to compensate I've made plans to be totally overloaded in the coming months.
I miss everyone terribly. Katya posted a photo from Spectrum, and the homesickness was so strong it hurt. But I spoke to mi illa on the phone yesterday (she beat me to blogging about it), but it was total bliss to have her on the phone and be able to tell her everything. I'm elated to have her so close, in the same time zone for the first time in 3 years.
But more about the program, right? Well, there are 120 of us, about. 60+% are female. I would estimate that a half are either straight out of undergrad, or have just a year of work experience. We're in the LSRC and they've had to build new mailboxes and lockers to accommodate us (we're the biggest class yet). Most of us girls are really tan and tank-top wearing, and all the guys look like they spend their summers chopping wood or sailing, something like that. I'd say we're an attractive bunch, overall. I came to the program to learn a lot of science and data analysis, and I'm able to take those classes. So I should be pleased. The support/admin staff so far have been AMAZING in their responsiveness.
My apartment is about three miles south of campus, and my parking spot is out of the way - it takes me about 35-45 min to get from my apt to LSRC. Nothing else to write about now, I suppose future posts will be more philosophical?
update: Well, Duke, I have to say you are admitting some high quality undergrads. The same group came across me still sitting by the box of squirrels and were incredibly thoughtul. One offered to get me dinne, another ended up driving me to my car so I didn't have to take the shuttle/walk back. Finally the man from CLAWS called me back and I dropped the litle creatures of with him. He even pulled a fourth squirrel baby out of his jacke pocket, wrapped in a little cloth, and put homing the box with the rest.
funny to think that out here the people who have tried to take the best care of me have been the undergrads who also helped the squirrels find a caretaker and who us "old" types like to write off as careless. There is a lesson in there somewhere.