Saturday, July 31, 2010

More than I can chew?

Yesterday I had a crazy busy day in which I met with Sam for several hours, submitted a huge final report for my interdisciplinary project, and didn't eat lunch until 5 pm. Then I talked to Leo at happy hour, went straight to dancing, and then proceeded to play office chair games in a gym and drop an egg off of a building until 3 am. Anyways, while talking to Sam yesterday, it dawned on me that I might end up with two Ph.D.'s worth of data, or at least it feels like that right now.

I've got my main project with the critter study system. I collect some data that I'm not so enthusiastic about, but I also set up an experiment that could be really cool. I'm going to do some other experiments on my next trip. I wrote my big proposal that got rejected for this system, but I'm not going to pursue that part of the project anymore. I should still get 2+ dissertation chapters out of this.

I've still got that review paper from forever ago that has hardly budged an inch in more than a year, but will likely be my introductory chapter. Then there's the database project. That's what I was working on with Sam yesterday. It's going slowly but will be cool and powerful. That should be fodder for a chapter in my dissertation.

Now I'm working on a proposal for a slightly different study system. It's super exciting and is likely to lead to management recommendations (read: totally applicable to a real-world problem). The more I think about it, the more excited I get about it, but it's also daunting. It occurred to me while discussing experimental design possibilities with Sam that this project alone could be the bulk of a dissertation. I think that (if it works) this project will provide the most important chapter(s) in my dissertation, which is something I could not have anticipated even just a year ago when I first had the idea.

I'm excited about all of these projects, though admittedly least excited about the review paper and some of my critter system data. I just hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew.


Jax said...

That much stuff doing on/data to collect does sound tough, but as long as you're interesting in and enthusiastic about the questions you're addressing, it should end up being a satisfying experience! And all the better if you really help change the way critters are managed/protected!

African Fieldworker said...

I think this tends to happen when you do fieldwork. I'm spending almost 2 years in the field (not counting 5 months preliminary work). I also have a lab component to my study. I definitely feel like I'm doing more than one project.

Karina said...

Wow fieldworker! 2 years in the field is a looooooooong time. I think when all is said and done it will be one year all added up for me. How many more months do you have in the field?

African Fieldworker said...

yeah, it is critters and project require it. I've got 4-5 months left. Frankly, I could use another 6 months or so to up my sample size, but it's not possible (although the El Nino rains in East Africa really messed me up, without that my original timeline would've worked out). And I did two summers of 2-3 months as preliminary work (got a conference talk out of one of them and were instrumental in getting my big grants). Crazy huh?