It’s the final cup in our series. Posting these images has been a fun way to reminisce about our adventures in the Cayman Abyss and hopefully give you a small glimpse into the more whimsical side of deep-sea research. To finish of the series, here is my favorite cup:
That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.
It’s true! There are no giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) at the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center (but there are smaller tube worms).
What all this about?
There’s some seriously cool geology down at the world’s deepest known hydrothermal vents.
What’s this all about?
Isis checking out the Beebe Vent Field. Or Piccard, if you drive on the right side of the road.
Isis, checking out some vents.
Whats this all about?
We actually watched an Oceanic White-tip take several lunges at the ROV Isis on her way down. Sadly, she was only visible on the umbilical camera (a low-res upward facing camera we use to watch the status of the ROV’s tether), which we don’t record.
Where did that shark come from?
What’s all this about?
Reimbursements and International Travel
Graduate school comes with several financial challenges that require planning and careful attention to details. Chief among these challenges are the two big wallet busters: university reimbursements and international travel. Often these two combine to form a deadly, money sucking hydra. You will inevitably need to pay for something – airline tickets, hotels, fuel, equipment, contractors – out of your personal funds, and then file for reimbursement with your university. Depending on how efficient your finance office is, it could take anywhere from four days to several months for your reimbursement to be issued. If you paid with a credit card, during this time you’re paying interest on those charges.
International travel adds another layer to the mix. Most credit card companies will charge a foreign transaction fee (often 3%), there’s a high degree of variability regarding which networks are accepted where, and many nations have adopted EMV chips (a feature few US cards have) for added security. Whether it’s for a field season or a major scientific conference, you will probably have to make at least one big international trip. If you haven’t planned ahead, you may find yourself stuck with little or no functional currency, and end up leaning heavily on cash advances, travelers checks, or other high fee alternatives.
You should use a credit card to pay for reimbursable expenses, especially travel, if for no other reason than you need money in your bank account for things like food and shelter. If you’ve read my previous post–Credit, why it matters, how to build it, and how to use it–then this should seem familiar. I’m talking about your tank, with some particular caveats for international travel. If you’ve planned ahead and paid attention to the details, you can carry an extra balance for several months without incurring any additional fees.
Continue reading Surviving Grad School: Credit Cards, Reimbursement, and International Travel
Graduate school can be a financially volatile time. Grad students, often living on a low, fixed income, may find that they are required to shoulder unexpected expenses–new computers, travel for research, professional attire, not to mention the cost of relocating to a new area. Many graduate students arrive straight out of university, having never needed to manage a household’s finances. In this situation, credit seems like an appealing solution. If used conservatively, a few reasonable lines of credit can help the struggling graduate student get the most out of their financial situation. If used carelessly, credit can saddle you with massive debt that will follow you for years after graduate school. As we’ve argued in our previous posts about surviving grad school, beyond student loans, earning an advanced degree shouldn’t put you into debt.
But there is another reason to maintain a few active lines of credit. Your credit score is how banks decide whether or not to give you a loan. If you want to buy a house or a car, most people will need to finance that purchase, and for that you need a decent credit score. Having a good credit score will result in lower interest rates and save you money. Many landlords, especially in big cities, require credit checks just to rent an apartment. Credit can also help you out in an emergency. If the transmission drops out of your truck or you have to make a last minute cross-country trip to visit a sick relative, credit will allow you to pay off that expense over a few months, rather than taking a major hit to your savings all at once.
Relying too heavily on credit, and failing to pay of the bills in a timely manner, will crush you with increasingly growing debt. Learning to manage credit is an important life skill, especially in countries like the United States, where credit is king.
Continue reading Surviving Grad School: Credit, why it matters, how to build it, and how to use it
The anemones around Beebe weren’t quite this colorful, but they were still fantastic.
A colorful anemone from the Beebe Vent Field.
What’s this all about?