My summer as a research fellow is over.
Honestly, I never expected working a 9-5 job to be this tiring, but every day after work I barely had enough time to eat, shower, and collapse into bed. I had to try to comprehend complex neuroscience concepts without a background in neuroscience or anatomy or psychology or anything that could help me understand the intricate details of interneuron pathways that only five people in the world know about. That took a lot of brain power. It was also physically challenging because our lab was on the second floor, our rats were in the basement, and our behavioral training was on the fifth floor. I also had to work with a low hum of anxiety about getting a grade and impressing my lab so I could get a good recommendation letter. And to top it off, I constantly felt disappointed in myself due to my inevitable fuck ups.
But overall, I had an amazing experience. Lodge, Stephanie, and Angie were so nice and smart and funny and inappropriate. We never had a dull moment. They taught me that not all smart science people are weirdos and not all labs are boring. And Jennifer, she taught me everything I now know about molecular and behavioral experiments and data and shit. She was definitely the coolest thirty year old I’ve ever met and I really want to ask her to get pho with me next time I’m in San Antonio because I need her to catch me up on all of the gossip. Like who is going to replace the coordinator of our program, Stephanie who dressed really weird, after she suddenly quit without her two weeks notice or an explanation other than “I’ve heard what’s been said about me”? I’m dying to know what is happening.
I had a great time with the other research fellows, too. Except Jogen, because he was an arrogant asshole who hated sororities and A&M and constantly belittled me for loving my sorority and my school. Emily was arrogant too and her social skills were sub par, but at least she wasn’t malicious. She was a little bit of an attention seeker and really got on my nerves, but at least she tried to be kind. Serena was from San Antonio so she already had friends her and didn’t hang out with us a lot, but when she did she fit right into our group. She was funny and down to Earth and really easy to talk to.
Laetitia was very reserved and didn’t share a lot about her life, but she would occasionally throw out this hilarious comment and it constantly shocked all of us. She was a great listener and a real joy to get to know. I always drilled her about growing up in Seattle and going to school at Johns Hopkins, or as we affectionately call it JHops. I always thought her life was so interesting. Erin was great, too. She grew up in Chicago and now goes to school in Manhattan, so she’s incredibly diverse and really different from me. I loved hearing her stories of city life and making fun of her accent.
Hannah and I connected the most. She’s goes to UT Austin, so you think we would’ve hated each other, but everyone else went to small schools so we shared out experiences at big universities. She also just seemed like she needed a friend. She got into a car accident when a 89 year old man side swiped her and she was incredibly nervous driving in San Antonio, so I tried to pick her up when I could. She was in a really tough, no nonsense lab and it really got the best of her. When she had a bad time, I’d meet her in the bathroom and let her cry it out in one of my famous hugs. I don’t know, there was just something about Hannah that drew me to her and then we bonded over our love for weird music and our older brother horror stories and our personalities just matched. I know I’ll hit her up when I’m in Austin because I already feel like a worse person without her.
Outside of Hannah and possibly Jennifer I know I will never see any of these humans again. It’s a little weird that I spent ten weeks getting to know them and letting them get to know me only to say goodbye forever. It was just long enough to get me attached to them and not long enough for me to get bored of them, so it was a really crappy time. I almost cried at our going away party. Okay, I didn’t almost cry but I did give everyone really great hugs and tell them to keep in touch. But I get the Rat’s Cupcake, which we played like Kings Cake except whoever got the cupcake with the cheerios in it would get good luck for the school year. The competitive side of me was very pleased, but my stomach would’ve rather had a cupcake that wasn’t tainted with cheerios.
Anyways, I wouldn’t trade the relationships I made this summer for the world. I wish I had taken a picture with my lab or at least Jennifer, but I was too self conscious to ask. Oh well. I have plenty of selfies with Hannah.
(back) emily, me, erin, jogen (front) laetitia, serena, hannah // jogen even looks like an ass
hannah laetitia and me // summer undergraduate research symposium @ 8am
laetitia, emily, hannah, me, erin // pharm fam outing to floores country store
hannah beautifully playing any song we can think of while we all sing along horribly // and emily
me and hannah // right before i bit into the rat’s cupcake
me and hannah // our face swap doesn’t look that terrifying