Earlier this year, I was told I would be going to the South Pole for the '08-09 deployment season of the IceCube Neutrino Telescope (the project on which I am writing my PhD thesis). I had worked for this, I had hoped for this, I was nervous I would be the first grad student not to have this chance; so I was excited...for about a day. And then into my mind came trickling doubts. I realized that anything could happen: I might not physically qualify--drip!--I might have some horrible accident--drip!--my adviser might change his mind--double drip! These droplets became a stream, a veritable river of doubts that washed away my excitement and smashed me up against the sharp rocks of the present. I quickly and quietly returned to my normal life and didn't think about it often. I told people, and they were excited for me, but I knew: anything could go wrong.
However, as departure day approaches, I've started damming up that doubtful river with sandbags of hope...hope in the form of new long johns, sock liners, category 4 sunglasses, airline tickets in my mailbox--every day it's something new. Today it was the request to bring down two bags of parts with me, as I'm the next one leaving...the next one! Can you believe it? I'm going to the South Pole!
(How cool is that? -22 degrees Fahrenheit.)