Ethics challenge: day 20

ETHICS CLEARANCE GRANTED!! Done and done … finally!  I am happy that this milestone has been achieved, but scared that I have to go into the big bad world and start collecting information.  This is it, once I start contacting clients, I just can’t go back and don’t finish at least the report.  Over the next two weeks I will be pilot testing my survey questions, making lists of people to contact and hopefully making appointments.  It does not feel real just yet, it feels like I am dream-walking.

Last night while I was at boy 1 school, I got a phone call that my mum was lost. At first I felt that she maybe doing it on purpose – staying away – given that she was upset from the night before.  As the night progressed hubby and boys starting to get worried.  I tried calling her a couple of times, and once she finally answered her phone she sounded scared and fragile, she truly was lost. At first could not even tell me where she was, finally she was able to look at the signs around her and hint her location.  Once I  got home, hubby was cranky because he had been searching for her for hours and felt angry that I was not taking the matter seriously.  The thing is that I was  worried, but calm. This is something that i know always happens to me when in a crisis, I detached myself of the crisis and just do what it needs to be done.  I never get into panic mode.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Last night it worked because I reached home, got into the car, went to look for her, managed to get a better description of her location, and I found her safe and sound.  She was hidden in a place that nobody would be looking for her, she may have felt embarrassed and  was trying to hide away.  So dangerous.  Glad that God looked after her and she didn’t have one of her panic attacks.  Happy that she is home. Concerned for her well-being and clear that I cannot do much to help her. She’s still feeling very unwell, but too proud to admit.

On a happy note.  The venue for the party is good and got access. Done, done.



3d illustration of checkbox with sign ‘done’


Ethics challenge: day 19

Only 11 days to go and this challenge will be over.  Good thing is that I already got conditional approval, and the extra documentation asked was not difficult to prepare. Bad thing is that my supervisor is the one that needs to submit, and even though I prepared the documents straight away, it took him a week to forward.  To be expected, and this time I didn’t even get upset.  Anyway, he sent the docs yesterday, and I should wait for an answer by end of week or early next week.

I overcame my silly fears and opened the feedback from the PIB researcher, feedback was fair, it was more a matter of design.  My survey is for all in the chain, but he is thinking of only the grower.  Relatively minor changes, but at the time of conducting the field research it may get a bit tricky. Tomorrow we’ll have the chat to see how we can manage his research concerns and my PhD needs.  With the PIB team, I have been very busy, got too many frenemies in the department, and don’t want to loose the support of these guys.   In other matters, the QU researcher finally sent an email to administration asking what to do with uni transfer.  No making any big move plans just yet, lets wait for the procedures and the likely costs.  Glad that she didn’t forget and followed up with her school.

Let’s be clear my main concern this week, my only worry this week is the confirmation party preparation!  Yes, now I got a venue, a sort of theme (white, blue, country), a menu, pinata, guests, decorations, clothes.  Very excited, but stressed, my muscles are tensing, my pack and neck are in pain.  Had a physio appointment yesterday.  Maybe on Thursday  I will get to neck massage.  Only a few days to to.  Naplan results came in, no good for my little boy. What to do?  How can I help him?  I’ll ask the holy spirit for patience and understanding.  More to come … 5

Ethics challenge: day 18

We have a sick household, mum is sick, boy 1 very sick, boy 2 trying to get sick, hubby always sick and me fighting a sickness.   Wrong week to get sick I  say.  So much to do with the party, my ethics, my job application, boy 1 music concert, boy 2 akido, hubby’s plan to finish garden. Well, this is life is a busy household.   Anyway, still we have some fun on the weekend, plus i got a chance to have a little nap. Yesterday was El Salvador del Mundo celebration, Jesus’ transfiguration – we went to mass and had a chance to be together with friends and eat Salvadorean food, yum, yum.

This week I am going to contact my supervisors once again and ask for their feedback on my ethics application.  I did sent emails and updates to them last week, but no input so far. I’d like the respond to the concerns of the uni ASAP.  Also, this Wednesday I will be meeting fellow industry researches.  They sent me input into my survey questions last week, but I have been very afraid of even opening the email just in case their questions are so different to mine or they don’t agree with my research methodology.  I must get rid of that fear soon, given that I will be meeting them in a few days to agree on survey questions and field work.  Once questions and ethics are ok, then, we can  start making phone calls and arranging times to interview people. So, the real research is starting now.  A lot of the advice on PhD is around lit review and writing of thesis, but for me the scary part is the field work.  Going to industry and testing my ideas. What if they think my proposal is rubbish? What if they don’t understand my questions? What if they don’t even answer my phone? What if my methodology is wrong?  I feel that my professional standing is going to be damaged, but worse of all is the embarrassment, the fear of being found I don’t know enough, that $£”()%( FEAR!!

The reality  is that I must overcome my FEAR … fear keeps me low and wishing low … fear keeps me from moving forward.  How to overcome fear? Fear is what our parents taught us, you see living in a war-torn country only the fearful who avoided danger survived: don’t to out at night, don’t get noticed, don’t be loud, don’t stand out.  That fear was ingrained into us, we were told to be fearful from the time we were born. Only El Salvador del Mundo can help, only God can protect you.  It worked, we survived the war! However, the war is over, I live in one of the safest cities in the world, surrounded by opportunities, but I am paralysed. The immediate danger is gone, but the feeling of FEAR stayed with me.  As I celebrate the miracle of the transfiguration in El Salvador del Mundo, our ‘fiestas patrias’, I  reflect on what being a Salvadorean survivor means.

el salvador2_n

Ethics challenge: day 8

It is after midnight and I just submitted my ethics application.  So glad I finally did it!! Very happy now and ready to go to bed.  Tomorrow big day at work, plus got that interview with other universities. Talk scholarship and stuff.   Worried a bit about chat with eldest boy.



3d illustration of checkbox with sign ‘done’

Qualitative challenge: Day 1 & 2

Must get used to writing up my daily journals again, must get used … I stopped writing about three months just before the confirmation fiasco, so the 8 minutes a day writing habit is well and truly gone.  Need to get again into the journaling grove so to speak ASAP.

As for the Qual challenge, yesterday I went into a Qual Analysis Master Class at Uni, class was ok, I’d rather it be more practical, but ok for an introduction.  While I was in the class, I got a phone call from DAF1, he are keen to talk about data collection.  Serendipity?  I just finished the draft of my first survey questions.  I will forward my survey for feedback and sort of approval.   I also got to work on my ethics approval.  At the beginning of the process I thought it would be only multiple choice questions, and boom … here it is you are approved to continue.  F$£k … there is so much work to do … complete the questionnaires, the letters that go with the questions, the consent form,  plus as I am going for mixed methods, I have to do the same for the on-line surveys too.  What a bore.  Now, I am not sure if i will get my ethics approval before the 20 August, only a month away.  My GU supervisors didn’t fail to disappoint me, still not given feedback on my draft surveys sent last thursday, only UQ supervisor as always got it done even though he was was away.  What a contrast.

Qual Research Challenge: 0 day

Today I will be meeting a prospective PhD student and a recently graduated PhD academic to discuss their experience, get advice and hopefully get inspired.  I need all the inspiration to keep going.  Studying is not easy with a full time job, two small children, a Latin husband and an elderly mum.  So much to do, so much to think, so much to write.  I have had two weeks off work to concentrate on my PhD, I wasn’t counting that mum would have pneumonia and I felt that I had to look after her.  It was my decision, but it has not been easy.  Having mum at home for two weeks has been very stressful, she is not showing major signs of dementia yet, at times I even doubt the diagnosis, but she is still very trying.  Just like now she is pacing up and down wanting to be taken home, after saying last night that she didn’t want to go.

Good thing is that I have come across Dr Tara Barbazon PhD Blogs.  My supervisors are quite hopeless giving general advice – or any general advice – so it’s good to listen to others that have gone through the process.  I was even thinking of employing a PhD consultant to get some additional support.

PhD Candidate 

Finally after months of waiting, and getting all upset about no getting any information on my confirmation, finally I got an email today: I am confirmed!! No more excuses, get back to work, start researching now!! I must thank God, only God knows how much work I did and how upset I was because of my supervisors. Now I am upset I wasted all this time, but relieved I got a response. 
Well done Edith!! I am officially a PhD candidate!! 

Procrastination challenge: day 19

What happened to my post?  I just wanted to updated you in my latest supervisor drama: I found a new external supervisor! A leading researcher in horticulture and a great scientist, but most importantly an awesome guy. I have the A team now, the weakest team member is me!!!   I am even grateful that R dropped me. How life sometimes gives you what you think maybe lemons, but are really gems instead.  Thanks God. Gracias  Dios, pedí y me respondiste. So today I must really get to read those  TAM models and tomorrow work on  existing references. Can’t forget about my little kids, so I have to B1 to soccer and get B2 to swimming and organise birthday party. Plus washing, plus uniforms, plus homework. Life always gets in the way of studies.



Procrastination challenge: day 18

Yesterday was such a busy, but productive day. Did my hair, went to dentist, got new reading glasses and even cooked for the family.

But the best thing that happened to me was that I got a co-supervisor! Lui got me in the program in the first place and now he seemed to be ok with new project. I am still disappointed that my other supervisor left me without saying good-bye. Who knows? This maybe the best way of me getting into my PhD and working towards it, a supervisor who supervises!!

I’ll be meeting them back in two weeks, continuing with confirmation report and looking at other models.

Happy? Yes, Scared? You bet!

Procrastination challenge: day 13my

Yesterday it was a very special day. The best and worst of my younger years came to me. One of the greatest groups I worked with was having their 21st reunion, I couldn’t get half because of the long drive by myself and half because of my thesis work, and a bit because Alice couldn’t bed me. Actually the main reason was because I am meeting my supervisor next week and needed to have something prepared for him. I was disappointed I couldn’t make it, but it was more painful when they call me to say how much they miss me and how much they wanted me to be there. My heart felt so loved and I was so grateful for having had them in my life all those years ago. At night i went to the FMLN party, after Esperanza asked me to go, I can’t say no to her. At the party, the S and brother were there. All their nastiness and my foolishness came back to me. Good that part of my life is gone.

Good thing is that I actually worked on my report. I think I am getting to 4000 words, unedited, about 3000 once I edit this. Good because I am aware I need to work much more on literature review and methods. I will aim for 8000 for confirmation report.

Today is Sunday, I spend time with family, a bit of cleaning and uniform washing I will spend 2 hours with report.