Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Antarctic Reflections

A frozen pond on Mount Discovery
Well, the Antarctic adventure is over - and what an adventure it was! I've had some time to settle in, and reflect on my experiences. It's crazy to think that two months ago I was at the bottom of the world hiking the wild beauty of Antarctica. It feels like my time there came and went like a whirlwind. Yet, in that short period of time I learned so much. Being in that environment allowed me to witness so many talented professionals work, especially our fearless leader Drew who's research we helped conduct. After working on this project, I feel confident that I have grown in my abilities to conduct scientific research. But beyond that, I feel confident that I have grown as a person. Between surviving 3 day snowstorms in nothing but a tent and hauling boxes of rocks on and off the flying death traps that are helicopters... I realized that with a little hard work and some awesome companions, I can survive anything.

Natalie, my fantastic partner in crime, and me pondering the wonders of Mt. Discovery.
The pressure ridges. 
My favorite view, the royal society range. 
I'm so thankful to have had this amazing opportunity! It truly was a life changing experience. But, as always, time will pass and now it's back to classes, homework, and the mundane life of an average college student in Boston. This semester seems exceedingly dull in comparison to the craziness of my time in the Antarctic, but at the same time, it's kinda nice to be home. Since returning, many people have asked me, "Would you go back?" I thought about it, and the answer is definitely yes! I've seemed to develop a world travel bug from this trip, but Antarctica will always have a special place in my mind now. It's the last wild continent, untouched by human greed. We are able to learn so much by studying it, and the research there is incredibly important, especially now. Living in that Antarctic world of scientific study and adventure may have sparked a whole new career path for me. It's a study I would love to be a part of, and maybe one day I will.
Me saying goodbye to the Black Island field site 
A poised seal model wishing us farewell. 
Natalie saying goodbye to Antarctica at the "Antarctic Airport", Willy Field. 
But for now, my journey is over. It's time for me to step back and focus on my more immediate studies. Next year there will be a whole new cohort of students traveling down to the bottom of the world, excited for their adventure to begin. Then it will be their turn to discover Antarctica's majesty, and perhaps it will change them too.

-Emelia Chamberlain

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