First thoughts upon waking (7:30 am):

“I hate morning radio.”
“Still have to try to finish that half-assed homework.”
“Oh, geez, it’s going to be a long day…”

Get on the computer, find out my writeup got cooled. It’s my first one. I’m thrilled.

I think, “Maybe I can do this day right.”

Go to the library and fudge the rest of my electrostatics problem set. Go to the class, realize Mondays mean quiz time. Start to panic a little, knowing that I don’t have a very good grasp on the material since I decided to go to an unbirthday party this weekend instead of studying.

Get the quiz. I think, “Hey, this…. Isn’t hard. I can attempt to solve this. Wow.”

The day speeds up. More class, run into friends. One friend tells me he’s made a date with a girl I introduced him to at this weekend’s party. Though I’m not sure if they’re compatible, I’m pleased because I so rarely play the role of a matchmaker.

Go to work. I think, “Who would have thought working in a space research lab could be so boring?” as I test cable after cable. I think, “Maybe astronomy isn’t the career for me.” Start brainstorming for my next node.

Go to a friend’s apartment because I promised to help her design a poster for her club’s upcoming dance performance. My contribution to the arts this week. Produce something, not as nice as she or I want it to be. Can’t finish because I have to run to an astrophysics lab.

Get to lab in record time. I think “I’m tired and hungry. I hope this doesn’t take too long.” The purpose of the lab is to plot the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram of the Pleiades cluster. It entails going up to the roof of the physics center and taking pictures of the cluster with a CCD camera.

Get to the roof. The telescopes don’t work right at first, so we wait while the lab TA gets the lab director to figure it out. This is taking place in Chicago, so I can’t see much. I try to remember the constellations I learned when I worked at the planetarium, but there aren't enough stars visible to jog my memory. Then we see some glowing light.

I think, “What the hell is that? Light pollution makes the sky orange, not pink and green.” It turns out the sun has been pretty volatile this week, and I am witnessing an actual aurora borealis! I have never seen one before, and I am astounded. I think, “Maybe astronomy is the career for me.”