These are some of my favorite questions I get asked as an out of state student from Alaska:
Did you drive to College? And Can you drive from Alaska to Kansas? No, I did not drive here, but it is possible. Driving non-stop it’s 2 days and 8 hours, which is not even close to the worst road trip I’ve ever been on but isn’t terribly practical.
Is there snow or is it cold all year round? Does the sun come up? No, we actually do have summer, and it’s pretty neat. Because of how far north Fairbanks is, and the tilt of the earth from May to August we have nearly 22 hours of full daylight, and the other two hours are civil twilight, which means it doesn’t get dark. So right now, on April 11th, we have 15 hours of sun and the snow is melting pretty quick, and on the flip side, in December we have three or four hours of actual sunlight, and a few hours of twilight, but it’s still dark for most of the day. I’ll tell you, that twilight is the weirdest time of the day, a time of transition, where the shadows don’t look quite right but everything is such a soft color, but it’s a different experience when it lasts for hours rather than minutes. As for the cold, it’s relative. When it’s been below 0 for two months, 30 degrees feels toasty. It’s why Alaska eats a lot of ice cream, because when it’s -30 outside, a bowl of ice cream is quite warm.
Do you get fresh Salmon, and do you fish in the ocean? Fairbanks is in the interior of Alaska, which is 600 miles or more from the ocean, so while the seafood eaten here is still relatively fresh, it’s not just down the road. And it’s important to note that I personally am not that big of a fan of fish. I will eat baked salmon with lemon, but I’d choose beef over salmon every time.
Have you seen the northern lights? Yes, in high school I’d see them while walking to the bus stop in the dark, and they are as fantastic and wonderful as everyone says, and completely indescribable. You really do just have to see them for yourself.
Have you seen the show, Gold Rush?
I don’t know that I’ve ever actually seen a full episode, but before it aired, I met Parker Schabel and his grandpa, really all I remember is him showing us gold nuggets in a baby food jar, since I was only 7.
Do you see moose often?
It honestly depends on the weather and season, but we see them regularly in the winter in our yard. It seems counter-intuitive, since they’re such large animals, but a moose is hard to spot, so a lot of the time they may be close, but we don’t see them. For perspective, a cow moose is generally 6ft at the shoulder, while whitetail deer are 3 to 3.5 ft at the shoulder. The tallest Alaska Moose was 7.6ft at the shoulder.
And my absolute favorite question:
Why did you come to K-State?
Easy answer: The University of Alaska Fairbanks doesn’t have cows.
But really because before we moved to Fairbanks, I grew up in Washington State, close to my grandparent's ranch and my mom’s land, raising hay and beef cattle, and I always knew I wanted to be a vet, but for me, it’s more than just knowing the biology and medical side of it because I know I want to work in the Agriculture industry. Not only does K-State have the programs I want, but from the day I submitted my application I felt like I was part of the family, which allowed me to join Sigma Alpha and find other like-minded, strong women.
I love answering questions, because watching people’s faces light up when they learn something new is one of the best expressions, and I hope that people never run out of questions to ask.
Bonus: my own question to ask visitors to Alaska: Did you get your money changed to Alaska Money?