The Beginning of the End and Mental Health

Happy Sunday folks! Let’s start with some of the nitty-gritty science stuff. This Friday I completed my last fieldwork in Yaquina Bay. Amy and I took a trip upriver to three eelgrass beds where we collected water, sediment, and eelgrass samples for processing. For the first time this summer the processing went completely smoothly! Nothing got mixed-up and the new lab layout gave us tons of space (we totally reorganized this week in anticipation of a visit from an EPA bigwig). It appears that, based on our preliminary data, eelgrass is a massive reservoir of Enterococci (a fecal indicator bacteria). What’s more, the majority of this bacteria is loosely-attached to the plant via biofilms and could be easily resuspended by wave action or storm energy. This finding could have big implications on future work as storm-based water sampling could be providing skewed levels of indicator bacteria due to resuspension. This would falsely indicate levels of fecal matter in the bay. I know you’re all hooked but you’ll have to wait until my poster is complete to learn the whole story (I can’t go spoil the results for you).

Speaking of posters and presentations, there’s only 5 days until the final symposium! How’d that happen?!? This coming week is going to involve a LOT of figure-making and R script…I know, sounds like a party, right? I am actually excited to see if there are any interesting findings however! We shall see.

On a very non-Sea Grant note I want to take a second to talk about an issue that I feel doesn’t get addressed enough in our fast-paced culture: mental health. It’s not a very popular topic and it’s slightly taboo in our culture to discuss mental health; maybe it’s because we associate the term with ‘crazy’ or ‘illness.’ Regardless, it’s a topic that we should all stop and think about every so often. I think it’s especially relevant for those of us thinking about graduate school to take time and evaluate how we make our choices and if they are good for us. I don’t just mean good for us professionally but also mentally and personally. I know that I’ve felt immense pressure to go to grad school ASAP and get my degree ASPA and get a post-doc ASAP and get a job ASAP and produce research ASAP…it’s exhausting just to think about it all. The truth is that this thought process doesn’t leave much room for our own personal growth or happiness. I would argue that making choices for mental health reasons should be just as important as, if not more so, than academic reasons. Being happy isn’t a luxury that’s earned with success; it’s a right that we all should take the time to exercise in our lives no matter what are professional goals are. Invest in friendships. Forge healthy relationships. Bottom line: take care of yourself first.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “The Beginning of the End and Mental Health

  1. It is impressive that in less than 10 weeks you have been able to both collect data and get back some preliminary results. Even more impressive that your findings seem to have implications for future work. Looking forward to your presentation and poster! I very much appreciate your thoughts on mental health. Making decisions that are right for you both professionally AND personally is important. It is great that you recognize this early on, and are willing to share about it.

  2. Appreciating the ability to have choices can be conflated with the necessity of making them quickly, before they escape. Seems like a recipe for missteps, like sampling bacterial indicators during a storm…

  3. I love the ‘life advice from Angus’ included in this post! I’m glad this summer has given you time to reflect on your wants and needs and contemplate your many options moving forward from this program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.