29 September 2014

Returning to my old stomping grounds.

I mentioned in my semester overview that I was doing a bit of traveling this fall. Last week I made the long drive from east Texas to Central Missouri to visit University of Missouri. My Ph.D. advisor, Chris Pires, was incredibly kind to store some research materials for me while I was working in North Carolina as a postdoc. Now that I'm starting my own lab, it seemed appropriate to resume custody of my plants and DNA stocks that were taking up valuable real estate in the greenhouse and freezer.

Lots of plants...the backseat was full, too!
Major life transitions (like moving halfway across the country and starting a new job) make me a bit nostalgic, so the drive back to Missouri was surprisingly emotional for me. I drove through the Ozarks several times as a graduate student as I collected plants from Arkansas, Texas, and Mexico for my dissertation research. This time, instead of returning to MU with a truck full of plants, I was leaving there with my Kia Soul packed with Commelinaceae goodness. Maintaining a living collection of plants takes a lot of time and energy, and I'm happy to see that so many of them survived. While my new university doesn't have a greenhouse on site, Tyler Junior College has a beautiful conservatory and have offered to house and maintain my collection. I'm looking forward to having my plants nearby again as I start thinking about developing them for research and/or teaching.

Perhaps more important than obtaining plants and DNA was the mental recharge I experienced by seeing some familiar faces and getting a much-needed pep talk from Chris. More pondering on reframing my mindset as a professor will assuredly occur over the next few weeks as I continue to develop my master plan (cue comically ominous chortling and cackling).

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