Flying Fish

Monday Morning Motions
by Nicole Carlozo -- September 15th, 2011

Lessons learned from my Monday morning blues: all things in life are bearable. We just need to change how we view the more unpleasant realities. This week, I took that lesson to heart in other areas of my life.

There are many reasons I returned to school for a Master’s Degree. Mainly, I’ve always enjoyed learning – the challenge, the unknown, and the constant state of busyness. Taken out of an academic or challenging environment, I soon find myself in a persistent state of laziness. And no one likes that.

But despite my love of academia, Mondays are never easy. No matter how dedicated I am to my work or how excited I am to learn something new, all of those expectations and thoughts disappear on Monday morning. I roll out of bed and can only think one thing: five more minutes? How I envy the “morning people” in my life (you know who you are!).

This Monday, as I stumbled onto campus, I wasn’t ready for the noise and activity that comes with an 8:30 class. I needed a moment. The marine lab is a fairly quiet place, so I took refuge under some trees behind the dining hall. Not a soul was in sight. I sat only for a moment, however, when Captain Pivers sauntered over to me from lab 2, jumped onto my bench, and began purring in my ear. Yes, Monday began with a visit from the marine lab’s resident cat, Captain Pivers.

Captain Pivers, resident of the Duke Marine Lab

Captain Pivers, resident of the Duke Marine Lab

And so my early morning blues were lessened by an affectionate creature in need of some company. Monday mornings, I learned, don’t need to represent sleepiness or an internal struggle with the sun. They can be about other things – namely, a few quiet moments with a purring feline. It’s all about perception.

Changing My Perceptions: From Mornings to Management

This idea of “perception” has become a theme in my life lately. Most recently, it was discussed in my Marine Policy class on Monday night. We weren’t talking about individual perceptions, per se, but instead discussed the role of cultural perceptions in environmental policies. Interestingly enough, the class is taught by a cultural anthropologist who likes to point out the very human components of laws and policymaking.

Much can be said about the Coastal Zone Management Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and other ocean and marine laws of the 1970s, but one thing is certain. These environmental management efforts came into being due to perceptions of the environment. Those perceptions shaped how stakeholders thought humankind should treat and interact with the environment. The goals of these laws may differ in relation to conservation, management, and resource use, but they are goals based on a cultural view of the world.

Did that view include science? I’m sure it did, although other economic and social concerns were also considered. However much I’d like science to dictate policy choices, I’m constantly reminded that people create and implement policies – and not all people view the world as a “pure scientist.” As a result, science only aids in those policy decisions. In some ways, this reality is frustrating; in others, it’s encouraging.

Relating more easily to science myself, I’ve always thought of lawmaking as a series of complicated, contentious, and frustrating endeavors. Yet, in time, I think my my views can change. If my relationship with Monday mornings can improve, then I’m sure there’s hope for my relationship with the U.S. lawmaking process. From now on, when I think of policymakers and the painfully long legislative process, I’ll focus on the hearts of the people. After all, that’s what these laws represent.

I just hope our hearts are all in the right place.


  1. Fran DiGiano
    Sep 19, 2011

    Acting Locally- Help Remove Trash from Jordan Lake Shoreline

    In just 2 years of existence, Clean Jordan Lake has attracted over 700 volunteers to 10 different trash cleanup events, including a number of Duke University students. These volunteers have collected 1,300 tires and 2,200 bags of trash.

    Our next public cleanup event is on Sat., Oct. 1 from 9am to 2pm. We will be ferrying volunteers to Wilderness Island on the Haw River Arm. Raffle prizes at end of event. For details, go to:

    Fran DiGiano, President of Clean Jordan Lake

    • Nicole Carlozo
      Sep 19, 2011

      Seafood Festival

      I think most of us in Beaufort will be attending the NC Seafood Festival, but I hope those in Durham check out your cleanup events.

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