Another thing. Plan on more quiet time than you might expect.
I believe you got a job as a DA. By now you know that it is one of the hardest job down here. More monotonous than physically hard. They try hard to hire people that have been full time dishwashers in their past and know what they are getting into, but they don’t always get a full crew of experienced kitchen workers. It’s part of the reason they are thinking of outsourcing the jobs.The end result is that some of the people around you will be coming in with no concept of what they will be doing and will be bored out of their minds. If you are not careful, you may find them dragging you down. Your challenge will be to figure out ways to enhance your time off to balance out the job. Get out and enjoy Antarctica to it’s fullest. It’s easy to do if you are proactive.
One of the worst things about being a DA or janitor is also one of the best, depending on your point of view. Because the job is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week operation. You will probably find yourself working when most the other 1000 people are off. If you are coming down hoping for a hard core party as many of the younger set expect, you may find yourself working during the parties and left out. That can be depressing.
The reverse side of this is that having a 1000 people off at the same time you are off isn’t so much fun either. You are going to get days off with quiet and small groups of close friends. Plan a little in advance to feed the quiet side of you. Things that give you great joy alone at home, will be even nicer here. The gym, hiking, library, coffeehouse etc will all be much nicer for you than for the rest of us. There is also a fair chance that you’ll make friends with the science groups going out on the sea ice each day and may get mid week trips helping them out. McMurdo supports the DAs pretty well in that respect.
Things people do might include music, or musical instruments, cameras and photography, books, painting, etc. So bottom line is that if you have favorite things now, send the stuff down and keep it up on the ice.