About mseaver

Hi! I'm Micaela, part of the University of Puget Sound's class of 2020, studying Biology and Geology. I like dogs, being outside, and the color teal. Keep on fighting the good fight!

The Case for Type 2 Fun


I often bring up the “Fun Scale” to describe certain activities. Type 1 fun is always fun – I’m talking about climbing trees, 5.9-5.10a slab, and good food/sex/conversations with people you love. Type 2 is the fun-after-it-happened kind of fun, like some transect work and most mountain experiences. Type 3 is… Well, it’s just NOT fun. At all. Like falling on a cactus. Or getting dehydrated as all hell in the desert and almost dying. (This post by Kelly Cordes describes the scale in more detail for those interested.)

Most people think that Type 1 fun is the “best” kind of fun, because it’s the most enjoyable in the moment. But I disagree. There really is something to be said about Type 2 fun.

Picture this. You’re climbing up a mountain, and you’re fucking TIRED because of x, y, and z reasons, the flies are attacking you from all sides even though it doesn’t make any sense for them to be attacking you, cause isn’t there a bigger, better-tasting creature SOMEWHERE that they could be bothering instead of you, like those ridiculous mountain goats that keep following you because they like the smell of your sweat?, and god DAMN this mountain just won’t give you a downhill (or even a flat!) section to hike on. But then you look down at your chaco-laden feet and look at the incredible mixture of dirt-and-sweat-and-more-dirt that coats them, and they’re still trudging along. Step by step. Over the pink and purple and green of the high-alpine plants that you so missed. Taking you ever-closer to your goal. And then maybe some other things go wrong and you find yourself butt-scooching/down-climbing down the scree/sheer rock face you climbed up on because you literally couldn’t find the trail to save the life of you and thought that yeah, you climb, so this is definitely a good idea! as the fog rolls in from Port Angeles and you think to yourself more than once that HOLY DAMN THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE UP HERE. But somehow you make it, an hour later, back to the trail that you found far too late. You’re sore and even more tired than you were before, but you’ve never been so happy to see a patch of dirt in your life. And then you look back at where you were, and you don’t remember how crazy the journey up was, but you remember that you did it. And you realize that you loved every second of it even more than you appreciated the view from the top.

And that’s the thing about type 2 fun. Sometimes, it really fucking sucks. It’s miserable, and you question everything you knew about yourself and your abilities as a human. However, in the process of complete suffering, you grow. Type 2 fun is all about being uncomfortable, and it is through discomfort that we grow the most. And eventually, the stuff you used to find to be Type 2 fun becomes Type 1 fun – your comfort zone grows as you do.

College (and research, in some parts [like writing the proposal, not so much the research work itself – that is definitely Type 1]) is much the same way. It pushes you to be uncomfortable. It prods you and pokes you and sometimes it feels like you’re going to die under all the work you have. But then you get through it, like you do when you climb a mountain – by either slowing your pace down, or speeding it up so you can take a rest at the top of the hill. And you realize that you’re stronger and capable of more than you once thought.

So other people can have all the Type 1 fun they want. I’ll take Type 2 any day of the week.

IMG_6122 2 IMG_6123 IMG_6128 2


Gettin’ High

About a week and a half ago, I was lucky enough to actually go into the field and start doing research. Which meant, of course, that I got to rest my butt about 60 feet up an Acer macrophyllum tree for the first time.

It. Was. Spectacular.

The day was beautiful to begin with – it was sunny, the birds were chirping, the mosquitoes were biting – and it just got better when I was far above the solid ground. I looked around and saw nothing but sun-specked green for as far as I could see. Plus, the mosquitoes go away once you get far enough off the ground, so that also helped.

Needless to say, being so high in the canopy changed my perspective. But it didn’t do so in the typical “I saw the world from above” sense, as rock climbing has given me that sensation far too many times. But I’ve never been so far above the ground on another living thing, surrounded by thousands of living things. Before climbing the tree, I knew that research on these trees was important, but I didn’t really know why. Afterwards, however, the meaning behind what I’m doing became clear: these trees are beautiful, complex, and full of life. I want to do all that I can to have other people understand that, as well.

We return to the field in 4 days, and, needless to say, I can’t wait to get high again.

The research team, listed from left to right:  Dr. Carrie Woods, Kimmy Ortmann, McKinley Nevins, Eric Hartel, and myself (Micaela Seaver)

The research team, listed from left to right:
Dr. Carrie Woods, Kimmy Ortmann, McKinley Nevins, Eric Hartel, and myself (Micaela Seaver)



And So it Begins

It’s official – summer has arrived at the puge. The flowers are out, the birds are chirping, the rain has been absent for well over 7 days now, and students – myself included – are beginning research.

Which is crazy to think about. Because between school and finals and OLE, I was not able to fully process the fact that research is upon me. I always knew it was coming. I’ve prepped this entire semester for this moment – I’ve written a proposal, created images plotting what my plan for this study is, and have had multiple hour-long conversations with my advisor/professor/role model for life, Carrie Woods, about bryophytes and epiphytes and life itself. The days turned to weeks which turned to months, and there was always something else to do before I could focus on the research I was doing this summer. And, like so many things about college life, it snuck up on me – but unlike many things about college life, this sneak-up was pleasant.

Because now I am here. I am sitting in the sun (!!!!!!) in the courtyard of Thompson on this beautiful Friday, after my first full week of undergraduate research (which included learning mosses, extended walks through Point D, climbing in the rafters of Harned, and over-complicating things in the typical college fashion). And I know that, for once, everything I worked for this semester has paid off. All the stress the proposal put me under, all the hours I spent reading paper after paper about epiphytes, all the mini-breakdowns that occurred all too often in Carrie’s office about “What-am-I-doing-Where-am-I-going-I-don’t-know-what’s-going-on”, all the people who told me that it wasn’t possible for a freshman to get a research position here, everything – everything – has boiled down to these 10 weeks.

And I couldn’t be more stoked to spendthe summer doing the thing that I love, with the people I adore, in the place that I can officially call home.

The first prototype of the bags that are going to be used to hang the bryophyte samples. Super over-complicated, as per usual.

The first prototype of the bags that are going to be used to hang the bryophyte samples. Super over-complicated, as per usual.

The second prototype for the mesh bags - this one took far less time and makes far more sense.

The second prototype for the mesh bags – this one took far less time and makes far more sense.

My view for the past few days

My view for the past few days – look at that beautiful bryophyte!