Last week I emailed my Dissertation Adviser a ton of times and he never got back to me. I assumed I was in deep trouble. He finally responds and tells me that he will be out of town for 10 days. I think that I will get to enjoy a nice vacation while he is gone. Oops. Guess not. He suggests that I start doing some exploratory interviews as a precursor to my dissertation. I agreed previously these should be done, but kind of assumed he was going to help me out with company contacts and such. Oops. Wrong again. He suggests that while he is gone I have a great chance to get started on them.
It not just finding the companies, the contact, getting the approval and getting the interview done. I actually need to get approval from an internal university review board prior to doing any research. And since he is leaving tomorrow I needed to get all this stuff done by today. This past weekend I did a bunch of forms and appendices and got his verbal approval. Today I had to drive down to campus (about 30ish minutes) with Brooke to get his secretary to stamp his signature. I then had to go turn in the forms.
I got the signatures and went to the office where I needed to drop it off. It was about 11AM, and the door said it opened at 2PM. Great. I'm sure my toddler would love to hang around my campus for a few hours. I sat there panicking (while she munched on Goldfish crackers) and suddenly a woman appeared and went into the office. I convinced her to take my paperwork even though she couldnt admit it until 2PM.
"Do you have two copies?"
Um, of course not.
But "Rose" was nice enough to offer to photocopy one for me.
"Do you have your Research Protocol"
Me: "um, whats that?" (as Brooke starts to try to break free of her stroller restraints)
Obviously, I dont have it. She tells me I can email it to her.
I get home and shortly after the phone rings. Its Rose. She informs me she can't even log in my request for review because my status as a researcher is suspended. I need to take a research protocol refresher course. Luckily, it can be done online.
I felt terribly stupid and out-of-the-loop today. I clearly am a mother posing as a student. I spent Brookes nap taking this refresher course (it said it would take 3 hours. I'd say it took me 1. I'm a pretty fast reader). I then started on this "Research Protocol". I got most of it done before she woke up, and then when she did get up I put her in front of the television with a cup of raisins and finished it (yes, bad Mommy).
Anyway, my forms are in. Now I'm feeling a little down about myself and questioning my ability (once again) to get this dissertation done with the brain and life of a toddler's mother ;) I get a little time off while I wait for the review board to review them and grant me permission to start and then I need to start cold calling companies and try to get them to talk to me about how they do their business. I'm also worried that they are going to be able to see right through me too. Who wants to talk to a Mommy posing as a PhD student? I've gotta get it together!