The first week back at Oberlin is always a bit of jolt back to reality. After a break of sitting on the coach and eating homemade cookies, the idea of setting an alarm to get up in the morning seems pretty daunting. Working in an unfamiliar lab where the professor is on a different continent added to my apprehension. While a bit scary at first, figuring out what you need to do on your own is always fun. For me this is most apparent when using the Harbin, a machine that detects radioactivity in soil samples. The first few times of running a sample took half an hour of me and my lab partner Isaac carefully reading and rereading the manual, searching for buttons, and figuring out what the report said. After a few more times we are both more comfortable, and faster with running the samples. I also read a few papers that explain the implications of the numbers we are recording. Being able to really delve into one topic is the great part about winter term. I don’t feel like I have to memorize anything, or rush through it, I can take my time and really learn about what I am doing. As we keep moving through our checklist, I’m excited to see what new material I will have to work through next.