Monday, July 9, 2007

The Beatings will Continue until Morale Improves

Well, let's see.

First, my first project was infeasible. And I contend that I could've been told that three weeks (or a couple months) before I realized it, the night before we were going to start the projects. But that's ok. We can put the reading, research, and planning I did down to general educational experience, right? And the fact that I got a little hung out to dry...that's what mentors are supposed to do, right? It helps you learn. Learn by Doing.

So then, my second project didn't work because we caught no lizards. We caught and starved a shrew to death, which saddens me a lot, because...shrews are just off limits. Any animal that has to eat at least every 15 minutes or starve...you just have to feel bad for it. And messing with them is not cool. So that project didn't work.

So then I was supposed to...study...squirrels. Yeah. I went to Costa Rica for the summer to do some reasearch. Really? What did you study? Squirrels. Um...you are aware that Cornell is full of squirrels? Yes...shut up. Ok, ok, but what did you look at with the squirrels? I timed how long it took them to eat different things. With a stopwatch? Yes...stop laughing. 24 hours later, I switched mentors...at the suggestion of my first mentor.

First project with Karin was going to be looking at whether ants that are used to spiders react differently to ants that aren't used to them. But the plants died.

So the second (current) project is to see if ants smell spiders or if they learn that the spiders are there in a different way.

Found out that people are getting scabies left and right. So...some people have been told the options about that, and some people haven't. Good thing they keep us so informed.

Found out that They (that'd be OTS people in San Jose, or possibly Duke University) are pulling certain Internet abilities. Among them: Skype, Instant Messenger, GoogleTalk, and all audio/video. Why? Well, because there have been people playing online games nonstop all day, and downloading music and movies to the extent that it makes it difficult for researchers to get stuff done. I can see banning high-bandwidth programs like Skype or even Instant Messenger during "Research Hours" or something, but what about before 6:30am and after 9:00pm? I mean, it's not like I NEED to talk to my girlfriend in Africa every week (and God knows, I'll save money if I don't)...but I'd like to be able to call her. Or my parents, ya know? I'd like to be able to call them every so often without paying through the nose. And again, it's not like I NEED to talk to some of my U.S. friends online (via IM)...but I'd <like to be able to talk to them. And honestly, being able to call Africa and talk with my U.S. friends...that's what's keeping me here, instead of ETing.

Found out that my ex-mentor, Doug, has told at least one of the other mentors a Nasty Lie about me. There's nothing I can do about it, because he's coordinator of the program, and I'm not stupid enough to make him completely hate me before I'm out from under his authority. It's not such a Nasty Lie that I can't deal with it; the Nastiness comes from (a) it's a Lie and (b) it implies that it's All My Fault that we Didn't Get Along as mentor/mentee. Actually, my reason for switching mentors was (ostensibly) that he didn't have a project that I could be interested in at all. Lots of other reasons, but that's the official one. Or it was. It really enrages me that I'm in a position where I can't fight back at all.

Sammie is ETing (that's Peace Corps (PC) slang for Early Terminating, which basically means Going Home Early)...leaving in about an hour.

My project data are completely random in their distribution.

There are 20 days left.

I had hoped that this summer would not end up being a "count the days until it's over" situation, but so far, it has been headed that direction. I can't remember feeling this trapped in futility for a long time. Also, they make us do all kinds of stupid hoop-jumping behavior...and since they can't decide not to pay me, and since they can't *fail* me, I think I might just happen to be out in the field (deep in the jungle) during the times they've scheduled for their idiotic "group project write-ups"...we did those projects a long time ago. Remember Cuerici? Remember La Selva? THOSE are the write-ups they still haven't had us do. I stayed up late the night before I left for the U.S. to finish my "methods" section for the frogs project. Some other people haven't yet turned theirs in...and then we're supposed to get them back and finish writing the paper together, all in the next three weeks. This is a time period when, let me remind you, we're all trying to finish gathering our data, write up our major project, make and give a presentation about our major project, and pack to go back home. The attitude among the capable here is pretty much "Eff that!". Of course I group myself in that category.

In other news, it's only 26 months until August, 2009. Also, I saw whitefaced capuchin monkeys when I was hiking, the day before yesterday. And if I'm not online or posting, assume it's because of the Internet ban. I think they'd be unhappy if they knew I was using blogger, but...what're they gonna do, fail me?

1 comment:

Ariel said...

Hey. Really sorry things aren't working out so well.

Surprised they're blocking IM; it's low bandwidth. Wouldn't it be easier to kick kids off the machine?

Hope things improve!