I hope the start to your 2016 was as productive as mine! Since returning from Malaysia, I have been quite busy travelling and writing. I got to visit my parents in Arizona and other family and friends back home in Toronto. I have also finished the first draft of my literature review and 2nd draft of the proposal.
I often get people telling me how lucky I am to be travelling and doing research. I promise you, I know that I am extremely lucky and I’m very grateful to be doing what I am doing, however, it’s not all fun times. Writing the proposal for my project went fairly smoothly and I got the first draft back with fewer edits than I expected. The literature review on the other hand, was the hardest thing I have ever written, a sentiment echoed by almost every PhD candidate I have spoken to. In writing the lit. review I went through a case of wine, very little sleep, and a panic attack or two. The day I was planning on handing in the first draft, I realized one section was written about the wrong topic so I delayed one more day and rewrote the entire section in 12 hours. I honestly believe it was the best section of the draft, but I haven't received comments from my advisors yet to confirm or deny.
Writing that lit. review took a huge mental toll and, even though the first draft was ROUGH, now that it’s handed in for edits I feel relieved. I feel more confident to move forward in this PhD project and have now started prepping for the Confirmation of Candidature. My confirmation will be at the end of March and I hope to have all the videos from Malaysia analysed before then.
Remember before how I said travelling for research isn’t always just fun times? This is the not as fun part. Watching over 300 hours of video footage is a daunting and often monotonous task. It is much harder than you would expect because it requires extreme focus to see animals that may be far in the distance, off to the side, or swimming through the frame quickly. Most of the time, it involves looking at this:
Yes, that thing in the red circle is a stingray. You can even see the shadow on the ground. That bluespotted stingray was on the screen for about 3 seconds and that was the best view of it! Not all the spotting is difficult though. Sometimes they make it really easy for you, coming right in front of the camera:
Next up for me will be the Confirmation of Candidature in March. I will, of course, update you all on the progress. One last thing: watching videos means that I am going through hours of podcasts so I’ve run out of my usual ones I listen to. If you have any good podcast suggestions, preferably light and funny that doesn’t require intense listening, please send me a message or leave the name in the comments.
Thanks for reading, as always, feel free to share and comment!