Saturday marked my last day as a teenager, and it started off with me working on my poster and sitting in a meeting with Richard about my poster. It was extremely nice of Richard to sit down with me and have a fresh set of eyes on my poster. It was also a great opportunity for me to better explain my project to him because I think there were some miscommunications during last week's Professional Development. My friends Bri and Juliet arrived a little before noon, so I got to see them after the first half of my meeting with Richard. My mom, sisters, and grandparents arrived during the second half of my meeting with Richard, so they hung out at the Marine Life Center while I worked. I took my family on a tour of my workspaces here at OIMB, and even showed them South Slough's Interpretive Center. Later in the evening, Juliet and Bri took me to see the new Jurassic World movie, and it was nice to have a night out with my girls after not seeing them for a while.
Sunday was my birthday, so Bri and Juliet took me out to breakfast. Afterward, they embarked back home. When I arrived back on campus, Natalie took me to one of the beaches for snorkeling. However, it was very windy, so we ended up sitting in the waves instead. I spent the rest of the day working on my poster, adding a trendline and taking out some words. After dinner, I received a card from the rest of the REU's. Then, we set up a movie and chilled on the couches. It was also my younger sister Caitlin's birthday, so she called me so we could wish each other a happy birthday. My dad also called, and I got to talk to my youngest two siblings.
Monday was the day of poster printing. After a few cosmetic changes to my poster, I have 3 copies of my poster. To be fair, one is an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper and is very cute. I helped Nicole roll the posters and slide them into the protective tubes. As a thank you to Ed for his help printing the posters, I bought him some coffee from Bayside, and it made his day. Natalie and I took Nancy with us when we went to Bayside during lunch because Nancy is leaving early and hadn't been yet. After work, I binged the new season of Voltron, as a reward for finally getting my poster finished.
Tuesday morning I printed off my references that go with my poster since they didn't fit on my poster. Then, Ali and I went out on the boat to Valino to pick up the SeapHOx. I cleaned it, then we plugged it into the laptop to download the data. I then got to invade Wyatt's lab again and let the SeapHOx sit in the water table. After that, I worked in Access to add in missing zeros from certain years. With the time left before Professional Development, I started on an Excel worksheet that will have all the South Slough, Coos Bay, OSU (Seagrant and Caitlin's), ODFW SEACOR eelgrass data on it, and helped Adam start Chlorophyll analysis. Professional Development this week was about future internships and job opportunities. It was really cool to discover the wide variety of options I have open to me, no matter what path I end up taking with my life. Since it was Nancy's last night with us, we went out to Thai food. I had never had Thai before, and it blew my mind, in a good way. I'm going to have to learn how to make Thai iced tea because I am hooked. analysis.
Wednesday started off with Adam and I finishing working on Chlorophyll tests. Then, Ali and I went back to Valino to drop off the SeapHOx. I ended up dropping my phone at the dock and didn't realize it. Luckily, it was still there when we went back for it, and it was unharmed. I realized on our way back on the boat, that it was my last time being out on the water for my internship. It was a bittersweet moment because I have learned so much and love what I have accomplished, but I am also excited to go home. We got back in time for me to get ready for the poster session. The presentation was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, I got a lot of positive feedback on my project, and it was inspiring to hear how many people also care for eelgrass. Seminar was by Dr. Hilary Hayford from the University of Washington, and it was about snails. I couldn't help but be reminded of my own snail, Blinker, and really enjoyed the talk.
Ali had given me a list of things to try to get done before I left, so I spent Thursday trying to get as much of it done as possible. I started by going into Access and fixing some of the previous entries made by past interns by entering zeros for all blank quadrats of eelgrass. next I entered in new eelgrass data from ODFW into a new Excel worksheet, along with all the data I used for my project. Ali is going to be using all the data for a small grant. Next, we worked in Primer some more, but this time with all the data. Thursday was also my last full day in the office, because Friday we have our last meeting with Richard and Maya at 2:30. I knew this experience was coming to a close, but I feel so many mixed emotions about the end. I'm so grateful to the staff at South Slough and OIMB for my summer, I learned so much from everyone. To cope with all the feels, I had one last movie night. This time we watched Babadook, which I had seen before. Spoilers, I still get mad when the dog dies.
The past few days in Charleston were foggy and cold, so waking up on Friday to no clouds in the sky was pretty sweet way to start my last work day. Primer was still running the PERMANOVA Ali and I set up the previous day. To be fair, there are 14 years of data, each with 4 quarters. And we are including all 15 sites. After eating lunch today, Natalie, Wyatt and I walked down to the private beach. I returned to work after lunch, sadly the PERMANOVA was still running, but I cleaned up my desk and gave my thank you notes to everyone. I also sorted some files for the South Slough office, making specific binders for eelgrass data at the sites. Dinner was at Richard's house, and it was a blast. He brought out a potato gun, and everyone was given the opportunity to fire it. Ali gave me a goodbye present, and I gave her and Eleanor one last hug. Bree also snuck a hug. We returned to OIMB, set up for another movie night, but we ended up going to bed.
For future OIMB REU interns, my advice would be to take the wall situation in the dorms seriously, earplugs and headphones are heavily encouraged. Also, if you want the most enjoyable experience during your internship, don't treat this experience as school work. Yes, you are here to learn, but you are also here for the experiences. Don't be afraid to take a walk to the beach, help another intern with their project, or go tidepooling. Your experiment will be finished, your poster will be printed, and you will complete as much as you can. There is hard work involved, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't also be fun.