Arrived at University of Minnesota. Today was within the range of cold I’m used to back home, but on Saturday, the day I’m leaving, the high temperature is a negative number.
My planned route to the hotel where they are putting us up turned out to have me crossing the bridge that collapsed last summer. I hadn’t realized the hotel was on the other side of the river, so I ended up driving circles through down town Minneapolis for a while as traffic began to surge towards the 5 o’clock rush hour. But I finally found the hotel and burst in just in time to catch the shuttle to campus. I also got a surprise, two of the people from the summer internship program at Danforth are interviewing with me. I suppose if I’d thought about it, that would have made sense, but I didn’t, so it was a complete surprise to be greeted by name as a dove headfirst into the hotel.
Anyway, the only event tonight was a combined dinner between Plant Biological Science, Applied Plant Science, and Plant Pathology. Lots of awkward mingling. As one girl I met pointed out, most people who study plants tend to be shy by nature. But at least that meant it was a level playing field. If there had been pre-med and business students thrown into the mix, all us plant science people would probably be huddled in the corner (by the palm tree, of course). I also met a number of PBS students who are very interested in ecology and disturbed ecosystems. Which I guess makes sense, since the leader of the program says PBS students everything from atoms to the entire planet.
On the ride back to the hotel, I talked to another interviewee who had corned some grad students over dinner to ask about housing costs, rents are apparently pretty reasonable in St. Lous (edit: St. Paul I mean), and with the way the housing market is going, some grad students are actually buying houses! Which is not something I would have expected to be able to do on a graduate stipend, but is definitely an…interesting idea. Anyway, tomorrow I meet with faculty so I should be heading to sleep, as I’ve been told on good authority the one surefire way to blow an interview is to fall asleep during it.