Thursday, 5 February 2009

My strangle

I have just returned from that lab-chat I mentioned yesterday and have taken a moment to gather my thoughts but they are all over the place.

We call these meetings "strangles" because of an inside joke that I'm too new to understand, but I am told it has more to do with figs that with imposed asphyxiation. Whatever. I felt out of breath and panicky the whole time!

Normally the topics of these meetings centre around a question, usually data-driven and with associated hypotheses: basically there's a problem and several potential solutions are discussed. In my case there was no data. I haven't even started yet. My issues don't lend themselves particularly well to group discussion. They'd be better dealt with in a one-to-one "explain to me what this button does" sessions. So, I decided to take a more general approach and talk the group through a certain aspect of my project, and ask them their opinions about how I would go about locating my survey sites.

I got a couple of very useful suggestions about things to consider, people to approach and thoughts to explore. At the end I was approached by two people, a post-doctoral researcher and a lecturer/supervisor, who wanted a few clarifications of what exactly I was trying to achieve. They basically wanted to know what's so original about what I'm trying to do. All this has been done before. The only original thing about it is that it's in Cyprus. What's your big question?

I wish my supervisor was with me. How do you answer that?

And you know the worst bit about this: I feel disappointed in myself more for letting my supervisor down than for letting myself down.

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