Week 2 – Humble beginnings

[A/N: I wrote this on the 7th of November and forgot to post it. I can now look back at my task list for the weekend and laugh]

It’s been a big week and let me explain why because already this thing has already become a diary and, by Jove, it might as well continue that way:

    1. I got a desk (yay)
    2. I went down to a private farm in the Waitomo region for my first field trip (yay)
      1. There were fun caves (yay)
      2. The farm is really well kept and seems like it would be safe for some sustained, nocturnal field work (yay)
      3. I found lots of sheet-web spiders (yay)
        1. Most of the ones I collected seem to be the wrong species (boo).
        2. The spiders definitely don’t like white light but don’t seem to notice red light.
        3. I hadn’t really thought about how easy the spiders would be to keep in captivity but given that, with very little encouragement, they started spinning new webs even in their pottles, I’m optimistic about getting them set up in the lab.
        4. But still, as much as it would feel like cheating, if I can set up a camera for observations when I get them set up in the lab that would be cool.
    3. I finished the online academic integrity module (which ticks off one of my ~11 provisional goals) and it wasn’t nearly as tedious as I thought it would be and actually clarified some of the issues regarding creative commons to me (always a yay).
    4. I attended a doctoral induction course (tick #2) which put me in contact with various support services and also gave me the chance to talk to several other doctoral candidates. I have trouble not getting degree envy when these sorts of things happen. One candidate is doing an inter-disciplinary study of traditional Maori building structures and another is doing a multi-site study of dance education in Asia and the role of women within these education institutions. Also met a large number of very brave international students (considering how daunting this all seems to me, I can’t even imagine how terrifying it must be for a student for whom the country, as well as the university, is wholly alien).
    5. I got a free Speight’s umbrella from the University bar when we got kicked out into the rain at 8:30pm.

      so it begins

      And so it begins

Naturally the most disappointing thing was the fact that I collected the wrong species. I think they’re Sombrero spiders (Stiphidion facetum) rather than Cambridgea spp. and I had suspected that they might be the wrong kind but it wasn’t until I got back to Auckland and checked in my book that I found this to be the case. I haven’t looked at all of my collections yet but I think I’ll just have to take a more careful explore now that I have a better idea about what they look like. It’s a little embarrassing but I have been informed well ahead of time that doctoral candidacy basically consists of feeling like a doofus 24/7 for 3+ years.

Over the weekend I’m going to be teaching at a postgraduate writing retreat hosted by Te fale pouawhina, Student Learning Services but I should be able to get some reading and writing done as well. Namely:

  1. Read up on key reviews/papers regarding male aggression and morphology.
  2. Start getting my head around the phylogenetic work I’ll be aiming to do during the winter
  3. Get my Miomantis manuscript to a point that I would be willing to allow another set of human eyes read it
  4. Review Tuakana tutor applications
  5. Begin writing if only about the Cambridgea group

I am hoping that I’ll be able to be in at uni and working a little more consistently next week but MOVING HOUSE.

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