Becoming Part of the Team

Until this week, I would never have imagined how uplifting a nearly four-hour long Microsoft Teams call could be. The week started off with practical tasks at work. I had meetings to attend, research to do, and articles by my colleagues to read and offer feedback on. On Tuesday afternoon I received an invite on outlook to attend a Microsoft Teams meeting that was set to begin in less than half an hour. I had no idea what the meeting was going to be about, but I joined the call and hoped I could catch on quickly. The first part was productive discussion on preparations for the upcoming conference/workshop, but as time went on, it quickly became just a bunch of the team members relieving stress and hanging out together virtually. Admittedly, despite my excitement to be in Cape Town for the duration of my internship, it has been challenging at times to be here but still working virtually. As a result of CSVR researchers living in many different locations (even the individuals in South Africa are split between Cape Town and Johannesburg) connecting with the team occurs almost entirely online and coming in mid-project has been somewhat difficult. This meeting, however, felt like such a relief and offered a space where I really felt like I had become part of the team. Everyone was laughing and enjoying the time to decompress as a group and the barrier that I have been feeling regarding the virtual nature of the job finally broke down. I worked late that night to fit in what I had planned to do during that meeting time, and I was able to make a lot of progress after such a fulfilling meeting.

As for my research specifically, I spent a lot of the first few weeks getting familiar with works written by my colleagues that are supposed to act as a foundation and template for my work. I struggled a bit at times to connect the expected end product, the overall goals, and the suggested research process. Additionally, I found that as I approached filling in the database and outlining the country specific note, I was only getting a fragmented view of the research overall. I felt it was necessary to complete further contextual research prior to streamlining the information into actionable data.

Looking ahead to next week, a few members of the research team are heading to Norway. While there, they will attend an international workshop with the goal of bringing together the various organizations and individuals working on our project in order to nail down the specifics and to ensure everyone understands their role in the larger team. I, alongside a few other team members, will be attending the workshop virtually. I am excited to participate in the workshop and to virtually meet individuals working on the same project across different continents.