I don’t know if they actually say that in the Midwest. They also don’t have a plethora of corn fields and flat dirt planes. There aren’t horse drawn carriages or tornados taking people away from home either. Oh wait, wrong state (although there is a tornado watch until 1am today. Hooray adventure!)
Needless to say, choosing an REU (undergraduate research experience) that took me out to the middle of the country has been an eye opening experience in the best way possible. I know, I could have gone to Amsterdam to use mechanical engineering for art restoration, which sounded awesome at the time… until I realized that I wouldn’t actually be working with art. And it was a volunteer position. And I had to pay for airfare, housing, and food. It’s still my dream to live and work abroad, but this summer just wasn’t the right time.
Instead, I’m in the Midwest working on noninvasive intracranial pressure monotoring for NASA and nano-robots for surgeons. Plus, I get a stipend so I won’t be bone dry broke by the end of it. I. Am. Stoked! I haven’t actually been able to do any experiments, data analysis, etc. yet, as I’ve only been here for two days and still have to complete hours of training. Hopefully after this week I’ll be able to start research though.
I’m also happy because I went to the gym, which is 8000 sq. ft. of awesome, at the university I’m doing research at. I’m really proud of myself, as I usually get a lot of anxiety going to new training places since I’m unfamiliar with the set up and how people act. Unfortunately, my first time there was a mildly awful experience, as I went during the most crowded time of the day and I was already feeling extremely self conscious since I hadn’t lifted weights in over a month. Also, one of the stands that housed the plates wasn’t bolted down properly and roughly 200lbs of weights fell onto my shin. It didn’t hurt since they kind of bounced off, but I felt like that girl who made a mess of everything and didn’t know what to do in a weight room, even though I know that’s not true. I decided I had to redeem myself because just like falling off a horse, it’s imperative that you get back on. So today I put on my big girl panties, marched to the weight room (at an earlier time so the people from yesterday wouldn’t be there) and got a much better lifting session in. I also found an aerobics room that I can use to practice dance in, which I’m going to test out tomorrow.
Overall, I’m just happy that despite some minor setbacks regarding research, weight training, and getting used to a new environment, this experience is going quite well. People are really friendly and I feel like I’m slowly transforming into a responsible and independent human being.
I hope y’all have a great day tomorrow 😉
P.S. I’ll try and take photos throughout the week so I can share them with you.