Half Full or Half Empty?

Distance from home
Outside the International Arctic Research Center, a guidepost shows the distance back to New York City

By the time I heard that I had been selected for an interview with a researcher from PolarTREC, I had almost entirely abandoned hope that I was going to be hearing any good news about this grant opportunity. I find it easier to go through life as a pretty committed pessimist- while it would be dramatic to say I assume the worst is always going to happen, I refuse to hope for the best because that only sets me up for crushing disappointment. But I will let you in on a little secret, journal reader – there is always a kernel of hope that I just can't fully suppress.

I was confident that my application had been strong and that I had all the traits and qualifications necessary to make me a viable candidate for a PolarTREC position. Hoping seemed like a huge risk, but I was too thrilled not to. And now, here I am in Alaska, surrounded by an incredibly talented group of educators and getting more and more excited about my trip to Antarctica. The group of people who have come together for this PolarTREC orientation bring different backgrounds and different perspectives on teaching and educating, but I felt like we were a united team almost instantly. People have asked questions about concerns I was having trouble putting into words. People requested the chance to go outside before I realized just how fidgety I was getting in my seat. People expressed the same enthusiasm and joy I feel every time I realize that this opportunity is real and everything about it is as incredible as I could've imagined. It is hard to be a pessimist when things are this good.

Selfie in the woods
Excited to be in the woods during a break in our intense orientation schedule

International Arctic Research Center
Weather Summary
Clear skies and light wind
Wind Speed


Dominique Richardson

As a "closet optimist" who is always prepared for this worst (but secretly hopes for the best), I get this. The PolarTREC community is wonderfully supportive. I 'm excited for you and can't wait to follow your expedition and see your future collaborations!