Friday, October 2, 2015

The First Annual DLF Retreat - Day 1

I am spending the weekend at Topsail Beach, NC with my advisor and 2 other senior students in our lab. You may be asking yourself 1) why are you at the beach with your colleagues and 2) did you know there's a hurricane coming that way? Our fearless leader decided it would be a good idea for us all to spend a weekend together AWAY from the lab to brainstorm ideas for our research and future publications. I must say, we are off to a pretty great start. I will also add that the trip was planned wayyyy before anyone knew Joaquin was headed this way. :)

Today was the first day of the retreat; the weather was wet and gross, as it has been for the past 2-3 weeks, but we made the best of it. Our first stop on the way in was the Duplin Winery (gotta get the trip started right!). Duplin is a local wine, which I had heard of (and of course drank) but had no clue originated in NC. We got to taste various red and white wines for free -- and of course we had to buy some as well! We even got complimentary homemade crackers, which were actually pretty good. Before leaving the winery, in true researcher spirit, we had a brainstorming session. I shall not divulge the awesome ideas we came up with, but know the DLF is making moves ;).

Once we made it to our place of residence for the weekend, we ate some lunch (which our advisor so thoughtfully packed) and then continued to do our first official activity of the weekend. For this activity, we had to think about our career path (where we see ourselves in 5-10 years) and answer various questions about to our career path such as advantages and disadvantages, measures of success, and how our career path might evolve. Even if we aren't sure what we want to do for a career, the exercise helped us think about what it is we truly want to do and why. More concretely, it helped us think about how we can better prepare ourselves (and others in our lab) now for their future, whatever it holds. Retreat or not, I recommend this activity or anything similar to researchers/research groups. Even if the discussion is informal, it can be informative, thought-invoking and lead to more detailed discussions.

Now after all this heavy, of course we had to toss in some leisure; the rain gave us a break so we took full advantage. Despite the lack of sun, it was still nice out on the beach. We even got to see some surfers try to take advantage of some of the waves coming in!  After the beach, we had a lovely gourmet dinner prepared by Dr. E -- corn dogs, tater tots, and salad :P. So delicious!

We probably should have stopped there though, since once we continued exploring we found a post-apocalyptic arcade, complete with broken ceiling pieces on the floor, a closed "surf shop" where you are supposed to be able to rent fun water gear, and  an indoor pool and hot tub that was not only dark but surrounded by a moat of water. Condo = nice. Beach = wonderful. Everything else = meh.
After exploring the beach and the "resort" we're staying at, rather than trying to play arcade games around the broken and water damaged ceiling, we had some quality bonding time while watching COPS on Spike TV. Yes. COPS. Don't you love it? :)

Day 1 has come to an end...I'm pretty excited to see what day 2 brings. I'll try to post tomorrow on our festivities. Until next time! :D

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