Monkey Forest Tales: What Zocay Project had teach me personally?

Today’s post is again a personal one. When you are coordinating a research project there are many personal lesson learned not only from the animals/ ecosystems/ landscapes you study, but also from the students/ volunteers/ interns/ colleagues and local people with who you work with…
You not only learn about how to solve logistical and funding problems, you also learn what are your limits, became more flexible and tolerant with yourself and others. As Zocay Project is located on private farms, you also need to learn how to communicate with local people, farm workers and landowners, who not always have all the same education and shared interest.
Students, volunteers and interns teach you about your own limits, how to teach one to one, something that now I found more rewarding from a personal perspective, and how to deal with different personalities. It also teach you what past experiences you had are more important for your personal and professional growth and which of those you will like your students experience and which ones you can advise them to avoid, when they hear your advice.
Probably one the more challenging learnings of having a field research, and one that you learn when you design, implement and executes a research project in the field and/ or in a laboratory, is to manage the logistics and funding of your project.
A field research implies coordinating food, accommodations, transport (international, national, regional and/ or local), health insurance (at least for yourself), and in some cases permits and visa for you and your team. All that logistics is time consuming and sometimes undervalued when you are designing and implementing your research. So you also learn skills like time, money, staff and organization management, even if you are not aware that you are learning how to do this. This are some skills that you can transfer later if you don’t follow the academia path and you prefer to go for an industry, NGO or government job.
Although designing and implementing your own long-term research project is not for all and it is not easy to do, it is rewarding and an amazing learning process. So if you will like to do it, just remember to be patient, especially with yourself, and keep going despite the challenges and sometimes problems…
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