I love New England. I love how the wind bites and brings with it the hint of a far away frozen land. I have a desire to wrap myself up in fleece and down and brave the streets with a mug of hot liquid in my hand.
Why am I in Rhode Island? I am here to attend my first major scientific conference. I, armed with my free conference bag and name placard, walk purposefully around downtown Providence and try to imitate the confidence and intellectual superiority of those that surround me. I nod and attempt to look wise as I listen to such brilliantly presented discussions on mathematical estimates on philopatry and connectivity in aquatic systems and landscape modeling of ecological processes.
In all actuality, I am intimidated by the level of scholarship apparent here and wonder if I have the personality and capacity to be equally competent. It also renews my desire to re-apply myself and get the rear in gear—especially if I want to actualize my dream of getting into a Ph.D program in the Pacific Northwest.
And hopefully, I won’t embarrass myself and burn any bridges when I give my first presentation on Wednesday. Wish me luck!