I usually go on hikes to get away from the lab, not to focus on it. But as I approach my qualifying exam, it's hard not to look at the trail ahead and think about the road leading me towards graduation. They have identical characteristics: lengthy, winding, and bumpy. Both are sure to make me lose my way at least once (or twice, or three times), and both are made much more enjoyable with the company of good friends. I know the feeling when I receive my diploma will be the same one that I have when I return to the parking lot: the realization that the journey is over too soon. All I can do in the meantime is enjoy the ride.