28 March 2011

Flexibility

Today in my prep class I made a brief list of some challenges I anticipate for my field study:

  • too many surveys
  • language barrier
  • technological difficulties
  • subjects who dislike me
  • hygiene, especially contacts and contact solution
  • public transportation
  • homesickness
  • laundry
One thing I didn't think of that I really should have was the way to balance my personal pursuits and my academic project.  

My teacher gave us four suggestions of ways we can improve our flexibility to better handle the challenges of a field study.  Here are her suggestions and my thoughts on them:

1. Time
This is the one that we think of first when we think about being flexible, probably because we're American and cannot think of a day other than that period of time we divide into 24 equal segments.  So, when things don't go according to plan, what is the solution?  Simply give it time.  I think flexible time will work for many of the problems I face in the field--I'll have to adjust to something like doing laundry differently, and that will take time.  However, this is a rather passive approach that ignores some other ways I could be flexible.  Read on!

2. Expectations
The goal here is to redefine success.  Instead of thinking of myself a failure if I cannot complete 200 surveys in 90 days, I can call myself a success because I adjusted my project when I needed to and learned from my failures.  Successful people aren't successful because they never made a mistake; they succeed because they learn from their mistakes.

3. Set goals for yourself, not others
Making a goal to have 10 interviews the second week in the field depends on me but also on 10 other people, and there is a chance that one or more of those 10 could let me down.  Thus, if I set goals that are based on my own efforts (perhaps that I will spend a certain amount of time each day building rapport with those around me and looking for possible interview subjects) I am in control of my own field work.  This will be important for me as I tend to set goals without regard to the people that need to be involved in them.

4. Understand context
This means that I need to try to understand what else is happening, why things are going the way they are.  I may be upset because I think that a subject doesn't like me (I have anxiety about these things) but that may be because I don't realize that I am behaving rudely toward them without realizing it.  If I can speak to someone about the situation, someone with whom I am already friends like Norbu, perhaps I will be able to work out the context of the problem and find a solution for it.

Obviously I can't prepare in advance for every challenge that will arise, but at least I'm on my way to developing the necessary flexibility!


1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts, Kristen Nicole. Keep them close to your heart in the coming months :)

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