Sunday, January 30, 2011


Whadup, Strawberry Root Weevils!

Today is the last day of my 6-week winter vacation.

It was a relatively eventful one.

I got accepted to present my McNair project ("Social Desirability Bias in Surveys and Online Discussions of Civic Engagement in American Teens and Emerging Adults") at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Ithaca, New York, from March 31 to April 2.  Okay...that's the good news.  Two other McNair kids from my cohort also got accepted, and guess who one of them is??  Brain!  So I will be spending nearly 5 days with this guy, including travel time.  But I can't really complain too too much, because the trip is all-expenses-paid.

I also received a free plane ticket from AirTran for a delayed flight I experienced last summer.  But I'll probably just toss it in the garbage, because not only do I HATE commercial flying, but AirTran routes don't really go anywhere interesting, and to use the ticket, I'd have to spend money on food and lodging.  So it's not really a "free" trip.

And I decided to pick up running again and commit to completing a local half-marathon this April. 

Man, I haven't been in good running shape since 2005, so I will have to be very disciplined in my training.  Luckily, I have a running partner, who for the moment I will refer to as Stefan.  We are going to try minimalist running, also known as barefoot running:

We are both reading this book, too:

As much as I would like to try running completely barefoot, the reality is that it is the middle of winter in Wisconsin, and that the sidewalks and roads are covered with salt and other anti-ice chemicals that are caustic to human skin.  The other reality is that Vibram FiveFingers are too expensive for my college-student tastes.  I looked into buying neoprene surfer socks or leather-bottomed slipper socks, but instead found a $5 pair of ballet flats at Target.  They are vinyl and thus waterproof, and have a thin rubber bottom with next to zero cushioning.  They are also technically too big, so my feet will have lots of room to move naturally.  Perfect!

My first run will be this Tuesday morning, so stay tuned for updates on my avoidance of "proper" running shoes...

Oh, and for all you orthodontic enthusiasts, I also got my braces tightened again.  For comparison:

June 2, 2010 (Day 1)

January 22, 2011

Tomorrow is my last "first day of school" as an undergrad.  I hope that doesn't sound all reminisce-y, because I am happy.  As much as I like learning, I am simply tired of this campus and of undergrad life--and I'm graduating on time!  I can't imagine what it must be like to drag through 5 or 6 years for a bachelor's.  Anyway, the class I am most excited about is Human Evolution 378, where the required textbook is 989 pages and I will get to do my own research project on the topic!  Woot!

So those are my updates, and now I will retire to write to my new group of African kids.  A coworker of mine is sponsoring them, while I am helping with correspondence:

Here is a video about the school they attend:

I hope it inspires you to get involved in helping those less lucky in whatever way you can.

Thanks for reading!