So this past week has been a crazy one in preparation for my trip to Chicago and needing to get the IRB proposal in and done, as well as a primary mentor and course contracts. The huge rush to get everything done is largely my fault as I didn't spread things out and plan my time better. That's something I'll have to invest more effort into when I get into the field because I don't want to be rushing to get everything done. In meeting with other students and reading their IRB proposal's, someone mentioned in data analysis a specific plan to begin analyzing the data while still in the field at various point to make sure they had complete answers to interview questions, but most importantly to make sure they were accomplishing the aim of the study. Doing something like that would make it easier to detect shortcomings in the research and give a heads up of how to overcome it. That way there is less of a chance of leaving the field and later realizing I had missed something. Maybe that will still happen anyway because I doubt I'll be able to answer every question, but I think it will be good to check up at the first of every month or something to make sure I'm focused by reviewing the research I've gathered and really thinking about what it is I'm trying to accomplish.
Another interesting experience this week has been the fact of getting a primary mentor and my course contracts set up before leaving to Chicago with my major. I am excited about my mentor because he will help me build up my portfolio for graduate school and I may have another opportunity to work with him in the fall. He is a licensed landscape architect, the only professor with that qualification, and will be able to help me determine more specifically what aesthetics to look for beyond the western concepts we learn in class. In class we discuss a little about Chinese, English, Japanese, and Italian gardens, so it will be interesting to see if I can detect something similar (and similar may be a stretch) for Tonga.