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Sunday, October 30, 2011

If I had a pet rock, I'd name him after you.

Alright, one week to go until I'm exploring Prague! Not going to lie, I'm quite nervous. I have a horrible sense of direction, and I will be going solo. Without a GPS. However, Columbus made it to the Americas alright, so I think I'll be fine. Granted, he didn't reach what he was aiming for... alright, you know what, I just popped a hole in my theory. Oh dear. Well, as long as I keep my wits I'll be fine!
If all else fails I'll just call someone.

So I've spent a few hours taking a look online at what there is to explore in Prague, and I've found quite a bit. I'm not going to post exactly what yet, just because knowing me plans may change, but never fear, I'll have an excellent post to make when I return! Until then, anyone have any tips or suggestions as to surviving Prague and/or what to do and see?

Now, I've got some exciting news. I'm the newest member of the Extremes Research group!! I'm majoring in Kinesiology-Exercise Science, and I've been dying to get into research ever since I've started working on my degree. I'm generally very very shy, though, and have always chickened out asking around back in Austin, so I've not yet wormed my way into it. Two weeks ago, though, I had the sudden inspiration to ask about it after one of my lectures. A PhD student lectures for my Physical Activity for Health module, so after lecture I went up and asked her how to get involved in research. She told me her boss/supervisor was actually over research, and that she'd see if there was a way for me to get involved. Unfortunately, I never heard back from Becki, but I still didn't give up. I really wanted this, so I asked the lecturer over my Sport & Exercise Physiology module this past week about getting involved. He told me to check out the School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science website, click on the research tab, and email the supervisor over whichever research group held my interests. For those of you who don't know me well, I thrive on extreme. My highlights of this past summer were crashing my bike, grave hunting in New York, and exploding the bbq grill. Looking like Quasimoto was pretty sweet too, to be honest. At the Grand Canyon, I went as far out on cliffs (with complete drops on the sides and a 1 1/2 foot wide walkway) as I could. Mind you, the wind blows extremely strong out there as well. Anyway, so naturally, the extremes group grasped my attention unlike any other group. Dr. Neil Walsh is over the program, so I emailed him asking about it, and he told me to come chat with him on Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning I head to his office, we talk about the research going on, and he told me that he'd speak with the teams and see where my timetable would best fit.

I am now officially the newest member of the thermal extremes research! Granted, I just monitor the ergometer and gases, but I don't care. It's research! I've finally overcome my shyness (for that moment anyway) and got my way into research! Officially, the research experiment is titled "The influence of exercise induced muscle damage upon subsequent thermoregulation during exercise in the heat".
We sweat 'em out.

I really am so excited. 

This whole experience has got me thinking, though. I've really come a long way. In high school, the thought of going up to complete strangers and asking for a position in something like this would have terrified me. If you'd threatened my grades with it, I would have done it, but that is the only way you would have gotten me to approach someone asking for this. I mean, just the idea of calling tech support or whatever and having to speak to someone I didn't know killed me. I did whatever I could to never call those types of numbers. To be honest, I've only just gotten over that within the last few months. 
I know, it's ridiculous. I've improved, though!

I still have my moments of shyness, all the time, but studying abroad has helped me improve. For example, my first day in the U.K. with getting from London to Liverpool and then Ormskirk. All the strangers I had to approach to ask for help! It was intense. I probably sounded like a little girl when I was talking to them! Haha. This whole experience has been such a personality and courage builder. I'm still learning how to be myself around people, but I'm getting there. I still struggle in larger groups, and even in small social settings, but I'm getting there. I know my family's probably thinking this is all made up, but I swear it's true! Mom, how long did it take me to call financial aid and sort out my loans summer 2010? Exactly, it took weeks. I kept convincing myself that all was peachy and it was taking forever for the loans to be processed because of all the students applying for loans (nope, there was a missing document). Ugh, I hated calling up the Office of Student Financial Aid Services.

Anyway, a million thanks goes out to study abroad. If you're struggling with shyness, you should study abroad. It won't cure it, but it'll help fight it.

Hmm... so let's see... what else did I want to mention today? To be honest, I haven't gotten up to much this past week. It's all been focused on school work and research. However, I would like to comment on Halloween.
The first thing I noticed about Halloween here? How small the pumpkins are! A lot of folks do decorate and carve pumpkins here, but the pumpkins are miniscule compared to Jack O'Lanterns you see back in the states. Not going to lie, it's a bit disappointing. I was hoping that Halloween was big here, but it really isn't. People dress up, have parties, but it's just not as festive as it is in the United States (or at least from what I've seen). It's alright, though. At least there is some celebrating!

I swear I had more to mention, but I can't think of it. I guess that's all I have for today! 

Nos da, and Happy Halloween!!

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