by Kayla Duval **Blog Competition**
Transitioning from the bustling city of Boston to the sleepy small town of Hanover as a twenty-something year old was definitely a shock to the system. Gone were the days of endless food options, bar hopping through the city till 2am, and public transportation at night/on the weekends. These were replaced with debates on whether we should go to Thai Orchid or Tuk Tuk, drinking our way through the three rooms at the Hop and being asleep by 1215am, and committing to walking home after a night out. For many, NH small town life is like a whole different world – from the weather extremes, to the minimal indoor activities (RIP Shenanigans). Even for me, a born and raised New Hampshirite, Hanover was a whole new level of small town life. It’s easy to fixate on the remoteness of Hanover, but in actuality Hanover is a great place for grad school. Being at Thayer is like being back in high school; there’s only 100 PhDs so you know everyone, and of that 100 you really know 50% and you really really know 20-30%. In the 2.5 years I have been here, I have tried so many new things, become way more outdoorsy, and had way more fun than I ever thought possible, thanks to Thayer grads I really really know; it’s like its own little (big) family of friends. We have gone to countless DOC cabins, in the dead of summer and the dead of winter, cooking giant meals, and singing an eclectic range of songs around the fire. We have gone to Maine and canoed along the Saco river, camping along the edge and somehow not getting lost. We have hiked countless mountains from Moosilauke to Washington, with groups ranging from 5 people to 25 people. Winter is a time that many people struggle with because of the cold and snow, but I and others have recently learned how to ski so we can now join our friends and have ski trips with 20 of us at varying ski levels all having a blast. We have an annual Friendsgiving that grew to almost 50 of our closest friends this year and was a great time. We have random movie nights taking advantage of the giant screens in Thayer, and impromptu trips to cities like Nashville. On any given Thursday you can find anywhere from 5 to 20+ of us at Ramuntos, and at other times at Canoe. Outside of the social events, you can also overhear us talking about the wide range of research topics we each work on. I now know more about robots in Antarctica, buoys in Greenland, space weather, using bioimpendance to develop new surgical devices, circulating tumor cells for cancer diagnostics, and protein design than I ever would have thought possible. I guess what I am trying to say is that Thayer is an amazing place full of hard work on super cool research, and totally rad people who love to have fun outside of work.