Manifest (Your) Destiny

Graduation years are a turbulent time. At first, all you can focus on is that big light at the end of the tunnel. Finish writing my thesisPass my classes. Defend. Graduate. Success. This is my life for the next 2.5 months. Eventually, you’ll be able to look past the light and see all of the options that lie ahead of you. Darn. Options means choices. We’ve reached that point in our life once more when everyone only asks you that one dreaded question: What are you going to do after you graduate? Guess I have to start thinking about this again. As if I had that much control over my destiny.

*      *      *
Another early morning in South Africa. The sun is struggling to rise, as are we. Today is Kruger Day.  After days of hard work and animal relocating with Andre (the Indiana Jones of Africa), a day spent marveling at beauties of the wild is just what we need. 
Our caravan creeps slowly towards the gates. Other students get out to stretch their legs. I try to get a few extra minutes of sleep. We’ll be spending the day driving through the park. You don’t get out. Inside the vans, with our cameras, snacks, and guides, we’re in our temporary habitats. Everything else belongs to the animals.

Dr. Stokes, our experienced leader and resident Mammalogy guru, has been through the parks many times. Each experience provided a different glimpse into the vast diversity the park has to offer. To make things even more interesting, he issues a contest. The student to correctly predict the first mammal we encounter in the park gets a Magnum bar. And this was before Magnum bars were available in the US!

I must have that ice cream bar.


What mammal will we see first? I focus very hard on this question. I think about all of the different possibilities. The others will guess more obvious choices. Impala due to sheer numbers. Giraffes, due to height visibility. I close my eyes and open myself to the answer. 


Rhinoceros.

Greater Kudo Capture

A bold move on my part as often this member of the Big 5 is not often seen at all. My fellow competitors mock my choice, but I gather all the positive energy I can muster and focus on my goal. 


We see not one but a group of White Rhinos just inside the park. 


Sweet, sweet, Belgian chocolaty victory.

*      *      *
I once manifested multiple Rhinoceroses, how difficult can this future thing be? I’m still a few weeks away from knowing whether my plans for after graduate school may involve four months in a Mars analog habitat. I need to be focused on finishing processing samples and writing my thesis, but I can’t help but try and peek out past the end of this tunnel at my future. 
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3 thoughts on “Manifest (Your) Destiny

  1. I like this. I think it's your best post yet. Just file this away for later. Ok? Not now (even though I have a sneaking suspicion you'll do it now anyway), but later. “On Writing” by Stephen King. You've shown a clear interest in writing and demonstrate great aptitude for someone who isn't a writing student. I think you'll like the book. So, check it out.

    And again, thanks for sharing this insight in your life. Great post.

    Like

  2. You're right I would totally look at that book now….if I wasn't swamped with thesis-ing. I'll add it to my list and get to it this summer! Thanks so much for the advice and support. I went back and forth with this post a lot. Wasn't sure if I liked it, but it's great to hear that it's been appreciated.

    Like

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