Today I had a meeting with Sam about my prelims and a database project he and I are collaborating on. The database actually involves several people from a few different countries, and the long-term plan is that I will get many papers from the database, several of which I can be first author on if I run with it. Sam said he and the others really see me as a collaborator on this and that I should not be afraid to speak up with my ideas. Exciting stuff, but also a little bit intimidating as this project could easily be with me for the next decade and I have a bit of commitment anxiety.
But, there have been some major frustrations with this project so far and I've tried really hard not to rip my hair out. Long story short- someone on the project either doesn't know what they're doing, did crappy work in order to get paid for more hours of work, or their task truly is 1000 times more difficult than I thought it would be. AAAAH!
The upside: Sam said these things are the other person's problem and I should just work on different parts of it while the mess is sorted out. Phew.
We also talked about possible chapters for my thesis and what exactly I should write my prelim proposal about. For my thesis: My review will be the introduction, then I can have a chapter about observational stuff I'll do this summer, a critter-based chapter, an interdisciplinary chapter, and a database chapter. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I need an EXPERIMENT. My prelim proposal will focus on a truly experimental study that I can submit to NSF for a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG). Before the end of January I've got to figure out exactly what that experiment will be (I've got plenty of ideas).
Oh, more exciting news. Sam wants me to mentor one of his undergrads! In fact, it's the one I mentioned here who asked great questions. We'll be working on a project at the museum that is tangentially related to my thesis and the database, and it will broaden knowledge of the natural history of some Ukenzagapian animals. I'll be helping the student analyze and write up the data she collects. I'm looking forward to this since the UBC mentoring program never gave me a mentee.