“Don’t let your degree get in the way of your education” …

The MOC House!

The MOC House!

Hidden McGill gems, part 2: after cooking with the Midnight Kitchen a few weeks ago and reporting about it on this blog, I want to bring up another great group on campus: the McGill Outdoors Club (MOC). As its name suggests, the Outdoors Club is an all-purpose sports/travel/adventure club which serves as a hub for outdoor activities of all kinds. What’s not to love?

And yet, having known of the MOC for two years, I had, until recently, never done anything with it. Not, mind you, for lack of opportunities: their mailing list, which I’ve been on since I’m at McGill, witnesses emails every day from people proposing trips and offering shared rides for anything from skiing at Mont Tremblant to trekking in up-state New York (or just building snowmen on McGill’s lower fields). I was even an MOC member last year, but no – no trip, no outdoors, no adventure; it was always for “next time”, when I would have fewer things on. But not this time! After one and a half years at McGill, it was time to stop “letting my degree getting into the way of my education” – the MOC’s motto, incidentally. And – *spoiler* – it was fantastic.

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Working Holiday (hold the holiday)

A marine invertebrate biologist in her natural habitat, the rocky intertidal.
Playa Venado at Veracruz, Panama.
Photo by Maryna Lesoway

Picture this: Reading week. Tropics. Panama.

You’re probably imagining sandy beaches, palm trees, dense forest, a canal. And if this were a regular trip, you would probably be right. But this is a field trip. And while a field trip for me does in fact mean a trip to the beach, it is one that involves wearing long pants and a long shirt, a big hat, dive boots, a cooler full of collecting gear, and being covered in mud. This is the fun part.

Field work also means finding funding to go to the field, stressing over getting permits, organizing equipment, going out with the tide, hoping you get what you are looking for and then spending more time in the lab to process everything than you do collecting it in the first place. This is slightly less fun.

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