Today is T14, meaning we are almost three fourths of the way to our original end date. There is some talk of possibly going a few days longer if trends are being seen, but we won’t know till we reach T20. After fifteen solid days of sampling early in the morning, I’ve started to lose track of the date and am functioning simply on the recorded experiment day. I’ve talked to others and they seem to be experiencing the same. When you work regularly on a schedule that involves weekends and suddenly you switch to a schedule where Saturday and Sunday are no different from the rest of the week it’s a little disorienting. The days of the week begin to blend together so it becomes hard to figure out whether it’s a Tuesday or a Friday.
Here is how I describe my feeling at Friday Harbor Labs: every morning is a Monday, every afternoon a Friday, and every evening a weekend. For me, I wake up in the morning on the days that I process, and I think, “There are still many hours of sampling and processing left before I get a break.” If it is raining and windy, this feeling is much stronger. Since we have had a few days of sunlight, this feeling has lessened, which I’ll chalk up to Vitamin D. Additionally, I find turning on music makes a huge difference. Some days I listen to my iPod and have a mini dance party while I filter my samples, others I like listening to the radio with everyone else. Then comes lunch, and suddenly there is a brighter outlook: just finish up your lab work, go to lecture, and then you are home free! I can only compare the feeling to that of a Friday morning, when you know the weekend awaits. While I enjoy completing my lab work, nothing compares to resting for more than five minutes. Once class is over I am free to do as I wish. Yesterday we had class presentations of our project thus far. I think everyone did really well, even though some of us were worried. To celebrate we had champagne and played several rounds of Bananagrams. It was a nice relaxing night.
I am writing this entry between trading out filters and pouring the samples into the filtration system. Every sentence or two I look back, check the vacuum pressure (TEP is highly sensitive to these changes), and look at the water levels. I am currently on sample eight, and have two more sets to go. Since lunch is in less than ten minutes it appears I will be eating late, but that is fine. I would rather eat later than sacrifice comparability of mesocosm data because I turned the vacuum off and had to readjust it, especially since my filters are finally beginning to hold color! I am excited to look at them in the spec today, but that won’t be happening for a while now. I still have to finish filtering, acidify the samples, and wait two hours. I think I will work on my Materials and Methods section while I wait; we might go on a fieldtrip tonight, and I would rather not put this off till after we get back!