And so came that dreaded day, the impending deadline for graduate school decisions...
Meh, it wasn't that bad. These things always seem to have a way of working out, the decision falls into your lap and you realize that it was the obvious choice anyway.
The last few weeks, I talked with family, grad-school-bound friends, graduate students close to me, and some of my most admired professors. They all had great advice to give, and their support was incredibly reassuring. And I found that, when you've got it down to your last concentrated list of schools that fit all of your criteria and goals, when there really is no wrong choice, you just have to go with your gut. What place felt the best?
For me, that was the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. It was the first interview I went on, back in late January, and I never expected to be as impressed as I was after that weekend. Even though it was the first school I visited and I had no comparison, I left thinking that this option would be a hard one to beat.
I will be studying under Dr. Manuel Leal in the Division of Biological Sciences. Manuel studies a wide range of topics in Anolis of the West Indies. I was drawn to this lab by the range of topics and ideas Manuel and his students are interested in. I found it to be a fun and productive intellectual environment I could see myself fitting right into. Although I don't know where my dissertation is going to take me just yet, I am very interested in how behavior drives divergence and speciation, and I could definitely see myself going in this direction with my research.
I also really got along well with the people at Mizzou. I think this is very important when choosing a place where you are going to spend a large part of your life. The professors, students, and my labmates are just so easy to get along with. The low cost of living and the ample natural beauty of Missouri also helps. I am really excited to start this next chapter of my career and life.
Now it is time to spend the rest of my summer planning my big move - the biggest one I have ever made, at least - and enjoying my last few months in Michigan. And still doing lots of science while I'm at it...stay tuned!