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The Grad Students of the Corn

Posted on Feb 28, 2010 by | 0 comments

I flew to Illinois this weekend. I’m really becoming a traveling pro. I miss Jacob a lot when I am gone, and also feel very behind on my work (I still haven’t studied much for my Applied Statistics midterm on Tuesday, eek). But the visit is really necessary, I think, to decide where to go.

Illinois was nice, very small town. On the tour my host took me on we drove down one street; “this is downtown Urbana,” she said. We passed campus and then we were in downtown Champaign. The latter reminded me of the cool part of downtown Roanoke. But there isn’t much to do except bowling and bars. Whenever I asked what people did around here the immediate response was “we have a great farmer’s market.” ha.

I really liked that the department assigned me a graduate student host. She was my buddy and who answered all my questions. We had time with other graduate students but she was the one who took me to the airport etc. My buddy’s name is Katie and she got lost on the way to the airport. Apparently it has moved recently so her directions from google lead her down a dead end street. On our way back we stopped at a fast food restaurant that had a fish tank and a chandelier, it was quite classy, and then we proceeded to get lost together. Good bonding time.

The department put us up in the student union, apparently it has some hotel rooms along with the normal campus-center food court and student organizations right on campus. The building was lovely and old and had a lot of charm, and old fancy fixtures.

I met with a lot of different professors. The research going on was so interesting. One guy even courted me towards chemical bio with his protein folding studies using fluorescene, ha. Katie is actually doing some amazing research with lasers which blow through aluminum foil and she studies the impact the tiny particle of foil has on a piece of glass.

After dinner on Friday a few of us gathered around a TV at the bar in downtown Champaign and watched Apolo Ohno race the short track. The relays are insane! Then Saturday my hostess took me bowling and I met an LDS grad student and his wife and little boy, so I got another perspective on life in IL.

I’m off to Cornell this weekend, then it is spring break(a.k.a. Live in lab week!). Haha, the roller coasters of chemistry life.

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