I’ve just about finished the last pre-class assignment, so I suppose it’s as good a time as ever to write my first blog post. I definitely underestimated the amount of work that would go into making taxon cards and presentations and readings and quizzes. On one hand I feel like I’ve learned a lot, but on the other I feel wildly underprepared and that I should be reading a million papers this very moment to become some sort of expert (can one become an expert in under 24 hours???). Needless to say, I’m nervous about how prepared I am (or not prepared I am) academically…then there’s the bugs and sunburns and imminent physical exhaustion and nagging worry that I’ll be too busy worrying instead of having as much fun as I’m supposed to. That aside though, I expect to learn a lot and be very tired (in a good way) for two straight weeks. Generally, I hope to learn new field survey methods (like how to actually effectively use a quadrat) and conquer my fear of bugs. Cautiously optimistic.
In terms of the rainforest, I’m excited to go birding and to see representatives of my assigned taxon: the reptiles. I might actually burst with excitement if Dr. Solomon will let me hold a snake or a lizard or something (the safe-ish ones obviously, not like a fer-de-lance or coral snake or any other of the five venomous guys I highlighted in red every place I could on my pre-class assignments).
On the reef I’m really excited to see some healthy corals. Most of my experience with corals is with sad corals, be it while snorkeling back home in South Florida or in Dr. Correa’s lab at Rice. I also really hope we see some Caribbean Reef Squids doing weird things; from what I learned while studying them for my other assigned taxon (molluscs), they school, change colors, and sometimes jump right out of the water.
I guess now it’s time to repack my suitcase one last time (or let’s be honest, two or three more times) and maybe I’ll feel prepared enough…then adventure!