This is my inaugural post and I am already excited.
As evidenced by my bio I hail from Arizona. While I was enthusiastic about escaping the Arizona heat before it pushed well into the 90s before 7am I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The drive across country (yes, I drove!) was a nice one. It was uneventful and I arrived sooner than I thought I would. Awesome! After getting settled in and soaking up the last few days of “vacation” before Fundamentals Week started for all of the incoming students at MSPP I wondered whether the calmness would subside or be a constant in my new world. The calmness was definitely short lived.
The 1st day of Fundamentals Week went off without a hitch. I made new friends, connected with some of the people I had met during my initial interview for the program in April, and I even learned all of the Professor’s names and faces. MSPP pulled out all the stops. There was a wonderful buffet of food to nourish us in the morning and a nice spread (with enough for seconds) at lunch time. Each staff member and returning graduate student ensured us that they all have “open door” policies and they strongly promote self-care. I felt that my future was definitely their priority. I felt secure and I knew I was in the right place.
The 2nd day of Fundamentals Week began much like the 1st. Breakfast, friends, introduction to the ins and outs of MSPP by the staff and students, lunch, friends, further information about the ins and outs of MSPP, and then… EARTHQUAKE!
Granted it was a slight disturbance (not everyone in the room felt the rumble beneath their seats) but I went from thinking I was getting sick to realizing I wasn’t shaking… the ground was shaking! A quick check on a handy cellphone confirmed what those of us in the back of the room had felt. A 5.8 earthquake had hit Virginia. I was thrilled! Arizona doesn’t have their own earthquakes. They “borrow” earthquake shakes from California. Yet, despite some of the shocks felt in my home state over the years I had never actually felt one myself. This was my first.
And if that weren’t enough excitement I come home to learn that Hurricane Irene was on her way. The weather report was promising that she would be in Massachusetts before the weekend was over. Amazing, I thought! I’ve never been through this type of weather before. This is going to be much more exciting than a monsoon! And it was. Although she was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time she hit, Irene managed to flood our basement and rip the power lines off of our house. We were fortunate, however. The damages were relatively minor and we never lost power. And while I ran around documenting everything on my trusty Flip for my family back home my family here had their own idea why such odd things were happening on the east coast.
“Jess never does anything small. She comes to town and already she is shaking up the place. See what happens when we let an Arizonan move to Boston? Earthquakes and hurricanes!” Of course the comments were made in good humor but it got me to thinking… Even though a part of me misses the calmness that carried me from AZ to MA I love nothing more than to make the most of any situation. I never took the earthquake or hurricane as a deterrent. I take it more as an initiation.
Thank you, Massachusetts (and MSPP). I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting start to graduate school.