Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

— Written by Maggie Slein

I know, you’re thinking, “What does poetry have to do with marine ecology?” Keep reading and you’ll find out…

Day 1: To kill or not kill (“To be or not to be”–ecology style)

Within the building we did ascend 
I watched my hopes and dreams upend 
From crack to crunch and snap to pop,
Each lobster friend begging us to stop.

For one, for all, for coveted scientific gain; 
We euthanized each lobster, again and again 
Traumatic as it may sound, I learned today,
Being a marine ecologist is not about the praise.

It’s about being inquisitive and having no fear 
And that is what it takes and sometimes, that includes tears. 
So wipe those tears away in the name of tomorrow 
It is time to overcome the undertow. 

Day 2: Who are you, are you a marine ecologist too? (Project progress and life advice via Haiku)

Thought provoking ask 
Maze of complicated paths 
Design, data, repeat

Air in, exhale out 
How much? How little? When? Why?
Allocation varies 

How are you here, now,
In this place, doing this work 
With maturity and luck.

Day 3: Discovery is the thing with tentacles (“Hope is the thing with feathers”–science style)

I see my future flash before my eyes, each night when I close them 
Eyelids become heavy, breathing becomes instinctual and my thoughts soar 
Like shooting stars, the questions enter and leave my mind, one by one 
Where will I go? Who will I be? What will I do? How will I do it?
They consume me until the sun smiles again and the cycle repeats once more 
Am I making the right choice? Will this choice lead me to the choices I want later?
I don’t know now, I never will and that is the terrifying part of the equation. 
Neither the plethora of possibilities nor the myriad of machinations do I find horrifying; 
It is the sheer reality of never knowing which choice is truly the right one, until later. 
What do I do? How do I carry on? Which choices do I make? How do I make them?
A wise professor bestowed upon me some of the sagest advice I will ever come to receive. 
Asking her as a naive nineteen year old how to design an experiment:
A series of questions that would produce novel data.
My imagination sprinting until she pierces my dream with a chuckle
”That isn’t how science works. You follow each question through. Rinse and repeat,” she punctuated.
Funnily enough, that is even more applicable in life; 
It isn’t about reaching some far off goal, like publishing.
Follow what calls to you until it’s natural end and when that fateful day comes, find a new one. 
The journey of life is about finding the calling that shouts to you for decades.
So here is what I know now, after one week in this mere eight-week journey:
I want to go to graduate school. 
No, I don’t know where and no, I’m not quite sure when (just yet)
But the important discovery, is that I know I want to go and yearn to embark
Thus, it’s not a matter of if, but when and that is where I will close my eyes, for now.

In summary, my first week here in Santa Barbara has been eye-opening. I am excited for more poetry inspiration and most importantly (jokes aside), for all the growth to come. My project regarding lobster respirometry and installing heart rate loggers will be an adventure nonetheless (I can’t wait!). More to follow soon! Until next time:

Day 5: Shall I compare thee to Kryptonite? (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day–avid cyclist style)

Ticking and tocking, clicking and snapping; 
These are the sounds of yesterday’s rapid entrapping. 
We arrived home to find, in almost no time, 
That our bicycles were indeed gone.
They’d be carted away, where they would forever stay, 
Until we released them tomorrow. 
What we didn’t know then, is that we have fairies in our den;
All of which made our wishes come true.
In very little time, and without so much as a rhyme, 
We received our bikes and more.
So thank you to the staff, who floated us our “safety raft”, 
To continue our journey onward.