In my BSURF application, I wrote that I hoped to use this summer to explore a new field of biology and to connect with animals that I had not worked with before. Now at the end of the program, I feel so grateful looking back and seeing that those two things are exactly what the experience has enabled me to do. I found so much satisfaction learning neurobiology, linking animal behaviors to the underlying neural mechanisms. I found so much joy working with mice (except when SuperFiesty bit me, jumped away from my hand and almost gave me a heart attack). During the first week, I felt nervous, unsure, overwhelmed. I remember looking at the schedule for eight weeks and thinking to myself what a long journey it would be. Retrospectively, it was indeed quite a journey. But I can’t say enough how happy I felt with every little step I made along this way, whether that is a deeper understanding of the experiment, progress with the habituation, increasing familiarity with the techniques or simply nice conversations with the people in my lab and with the amazing friends I got to make. Thank you to Dr. Grunwald and Jason for giving me this chance. It has been a valuable learning experience. Like what Dr. David said, I just started to feel so comfortable operating on my BSURF schedule and here comes the graduation. But that’s okay, because every time I walk into the lab again, I’ll remember how all this began.
Yesterday, I told my mentor that when I first looked at the mouse brain on the confocal, it felt like I was looking into a galaxy. In a sense, that’s true for the summer, because I am starting to see a whole new world of ideas and possibilities.
It is with great excitement and gratefulness that we cheer to a future with more science, more friendships, and of course, more mice!