i. What were your goals for the course in Peru? To what extent did you realize these goals? Please give specific examples if possible. We’d also like to know the extent to which covid-19 affected your ability to realize your goals.
The reason I applied to the course was to learn more about how traits are useful, which traits to use for what, how to measure them, and when there are better options. I was hoping that I would realise something important that helps my PhD sub-projects develop faster and better.
Unfortunately I was not able to join the field course in Peru, and was instead stuck in home office watching from the sidelines as the field course started. With a cat on my lap, and in an uncomfortable chair, I was spending the time reading up on the syllabus papers and simultaneously becoming increasingly worried about the students in the field course as the pandemic unfolded and the scramble to get home started.
I do not feel like I have properly achieved my goals for the course, as too many work distractions demanded my attention, but I will set some time aside shortly to get through all the papers and develop a manuscript idea from the data that was collected by the other students. Hopefully some of the others will think it is interesting enough to join me in writing and analysis.
ii. What did you learn about yourself during this course?
From my sideline view, I learned that I’m sensitive to feeling left out, and although it was the right decision to not to on the field course there is still a part of me that wished I had defied the doctor’s advice and joined the adventure – pandemic and all. I’m impressed by the toughness of the other students, who carried out the field work in super-speed and then supported each other through the difficult times when travel was being restricted and they had to improvise and keep each other’s spirits up. Although it feels sad for me to simply observe from a distance and not get the chance to make friends with the others, I know they had a much harder time and I’m impressed by how the situation was handled.