I just finished another grant application. This is my fourth grant application this year, not including the NSF GRFP. I have another one due in two weeks, and probably another one right after that. So far I have secured $1500 (my plane ticket) and I need about $10,000.
Yesterday Sam really grilled me about my international travel, experiences with culture shock, thoughts on poverty, ability to be strong and flexible, and my mental health. I know he just wants to make sure I'm capable of working at his field site, but it was a little intimidating. But, I think I did a good job of staying positive and strong rather than being intimidated by his questions. I know I can do this.
Then Sam described the painful process of getting permits to do the work I want to do to mentally prepare me for what to expect. There are three separate things I will need to get in-country before I can start my field work at Nyota, and I might have to spend three weeks in the capital city going to offices every day and being very firm but polite in order to get all of them. Geeze, that's practically my whole summer field season. On the bright side, I should only have to go through that lengthy process once, because thereafter it will be renewals which should only take a few days.
In order to start this lengthy permitting process, I need to write a clear, comprehensive plan of the type of research activities I'll be doing for my entire Ph.D. in 6-10 pages in the next two weeks. You see, it has to mention everything I might possibly do so that two years from now if someone says, "You don't have permission to do that with critters," I can point to the line in my permit application where I mentioned that possibility. Otherwise, I run the risk of having to go through the arduous process described above more than once. (Remember this is all in addition to my university's required animal protocols).