PhD Month Four: The One When I Had My Committee Meeting

People are always commenting on how December goes so fast and how Christmas sneaks up on you. It was true again this year. I went on holiday (I’m going to get a bad reputation if I’m not careful) before Christmas so only had three weeks in work, therefore the PhD portion of the month was cut short. December felt hectic, dark, but nevertheless productive.

  1. Had the first committee meeting of my PhD.

  2. Passed my firearms safety and hunter training course. The official acronyms are PAL and CORE, which stand for Possession and Acquisitions License, and Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education.

  3. Created a raster template (think pixelated map) to form the basis of my spatial analysis.

  4. Had my first ski lesson! And I didn’t fall over!

  5. Contacted a number of labs to find out if anyone can analyse our wolf scat (poop) samples. We’re hoping to analyse the DNA from wolf scat identify the species (hopefully wolf), individual animals, and what they’ve been eating.

  6. Baked gingerbread and watched Love Actually with a lab mate.

  7. Tentatively wrote some PhD hypotheses.

  8. Got my bike fixed! Thankfully one of my lab mates has a bike savvy partner and he kindly replaced the front gear shifter for me, just in time for the trails to be covered in snow.

  9. Booked my next trip to the field.

  10. Had a ground-based western lesson to learn the basics of western-style horsemanship. I was initially reluctant to pay for a riding lesson and not get on a horse, but I learnt so much about a style of horse training that I’ve always admired. Hopefully I can also get a ride in the new year before I head to the field.

On reflection, it was a fun and productive month. I struggled to think of things that I didn't do, but alas here are five things I didn’t get done in December.

  1. Have my eyes tested.

  2. Climb very much. I’ve had a few things on in the evenings, so I prioritised the gym and skiing/horse riding instead.

  3. Go to the dentist.

  4. Learn to ski – although I have had two lessons, I’m very far from being able to ski.

  5. Download all the spatial variables that I need to start analysing my camera trap data.

Happy on holiday with only a few cares in the world (© James Fleming)

Work starts again tomorrow, so here’s to a productive January.

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Photo Disclaimer: All photographs are property of Sophie May Watts or James Fleming unless otherwise stated.

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